Category: marriage

Weekly Roundup

Sometimes I have a whole bunch of cool things to share and they don’t necessarily need a whole post. I am going to attempt to start a Weekly Roundup with those items in it. Have a great weekend!

 

{1} This post about marriage.

{2} 27 Underrated Things About Being In Your 30s

{3} Couldn’t agree more with this post on Thoughts on Parenthood from a Childless Girl

{4} 11 Life Hacks for the Emotionally Struggling 20-Something

Mascara Alert

I heard this story on my favorite morning radio show last week. A 96 year old man wrote a love song to the love of his life, his late wife. SO SWEET!!!

 

A Letter From Fred from Green Shoe Studio on Vimeo.

Shadow Theatre Group

This performance was on Britain’s Got Talent 2013. This is such an amazing video.

 

1 year

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About a month ago one of my friends I’d lost touch with contacted me. She’s one of those special people that you can spend 2 hours talking to and time seems to stand still. Abbi is one of the most incredible and uplifting people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She just has this gift with how she speaks to you. She and I talked a good bit when my dad was first diagnosed with cancer. When we talked one of the first nights a month ago, she told me that even though we’d lost touch she wanted me to know that she continued to pray for me.

I told her about the first dream I had about my dad, which was in his house a few days after he passed away. In my dream he pointed at me while he was smiling wide and said “We will dance.” Just having the dream itself meant so much to me. I thought that it was his special way of reaching out to me because as a child we watched Footloose and The Sound of Music a lot.  I remember seeing a picture of him when I was little of him dancing on top of a table. I get it from him, what can I say? I never really thought much else about it until I was telling Abbi about it. As we were talking about the last few moments with my dad, I mentioned to her that as I was holding his hand I told him all I’d ever wanted was for him to walk me down the aisle. Even though he couldn’t talk at that point, he squeezed my hand. At that moment I burst into tears. It meant so much to me that what I said to him meant something to him as well, and that he understood what I said. Less than 10 minutes later, he was gone.

Abbi told she was absolutely sure that my dream was him telling me that we would dance at my wedding. I think that hit me so hard I didn’t really know how to react until a day later when I cried because it meant so much and I was positive she was right.

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Isn’t it funny how things like that happen? That’s God doing his magic right there. There was such a feeling of peace that came over me after it finally hit me.

It’s hard to believe it’s been one year.

Dad I think about you every day. Most of the time I think about funny stories about you, or funny things you did, even things you would do and I would be so embarrassed about. I completely understand them now, because I am you almost to a T. (ha! T. His name begins with a T.) I am proud that I get 90% of my personality from you. Sometimes I long for the relationship we could have had, but I am happy that we were able to make up for lost time in 7 days. I love seeing you in my dreams, that will never get old. I had the fear of not remembering your laugh or your “hey” when you answered the phone. I hope those are things I never forget. I still hear your voice as clear as day when I think about you, and for that I am so grateful. I love you!

the One

A friend of mine sent me this last week and it hit me like a ton of bricks stuck with me. HELLO that’s why it hasn’t worked out with anyone so far – they didn’t fit with me like a puzzle piece. I needed to completely change how I was praying.

 

These are great points to remember as we wait for the man God brings to us and seek discernment in dating….
 
 
Is HE the ONE? THE RIGHT ONE
 
First we must allow our Heavenly Father to do the picking. And second, the decision for a mate must be made on a spiritual and intellectual basis before it’s made on an emotional one.
 
“What about love? Shouldn’t that be the third?” you ask. No, and I’ll tell you why. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
 
The heart is willful and is driven by its own agenda. It does not consider things rationally and intelligently it just loves to love! Therefore you have to point it in the right direction: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)!
 
Whenever you meet a man, you need to get clearance from God, check out his attributes, and then allow your heart to engage.
 
Dating exists not for mating; it exists for collecting data. I believe that the biblical design would be friendship, courtship and then marriage.
 
Friendship is two people walking together in agreement and accountability, learning and growing together.
 
Courtship follows the mutual agreement to commit to one another exclusively – it is the decisive turning toward the agreed-upon goal of the marriage altar. It is a period of laying a foundation and preparing your life together after marriage.
 
But dating? Well, if you do date, use the time wisely to gather these facts..
 
1. Check out the fabric. Is the person mate material? Does this man have an intimate relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ? Does he care what God thinks about his behavior? Is he accountable to God as well as another co-laborer in the faith? Accountability is an important factor. It is imperative to maintaining a committed relationship. Is your potential spouse a member of the same family – the family of God?
 
You need to have common interests and values and agree on the essentials of living day to day. You have a similar spiritual walk. You eat the same spiritual diet. You enjoy a lot of similar things. You have like interests, like goals in life, like opinions on basic life issues.
 
You have had like experiences in your background. Though there is some truth to the idiom that opposites attract, like-minded folks fare better together.
 
Furthermore, does he want to get married? If you want to be married and your dreamboat isn’t interested, don’t waste your time.
 
Remember, women fall in love and get married. Men decide to get married and then look for a wife. Note the difference in order. So if a guy says he’s not looking for anything serious, take his words seriously. If he’s not going in your direction, get off the bus and wait for the right one.
 
2. Does this man want you? Is he pursuing you? The man who is right for you will pursue you, and God’s hand in the relationship will be clear. No guessing, no fleeces, no dead ends.
 
Scripture says: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
 
Note -who finds whom? THE MAN FINDS THE WIFE. From the beginning of time, God has transported men and women across the world in order to put them together.
 
At the RIGHT TIME, He will bring that man on the scene and he will find you.. In God’s perfect design, the man is the one who recognizes his mate. Adam had no problem recognizing that Eve was his missing rib. You do not need to strategically place yourself anywhere. You don’t have to help a guy out because he’s shy!
 
Men will do whatever they have to do to get what they truly want. The man in your life should recognize you as the pearl of great price in his life and be willing to do whatever he must in order to gain your hand. If he is passive about gaining your affections, take it as a sign that he is not interested.
 
Many a woman’s mother has suggested that it is a good idea to marry a man who loves you more than you love him. As cold as that sounds, it actually might be scriptural if you stop to think about it: “We love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Until then, take the ultimate chill pill . You don’t need a bunch of men in your life to make you feel all right about yourself.
 
You need only one man – your man, the one God has selected to select you. And trust me, the right man at the wrong time can be just as awful as the wrong man at any time. So trust God’s timing in this. He is the ultimate matchmaker. Relax, sit pretty and allow yourself to be found. Again – WAIT until the man voices his intentions. He should take the lead in establishing the relationship. You may have an inkling that he is the one, but God will use the man to set the tone of the relationship. Allow him the opportunity to woo you – this is your first act of submission. Jesus set the standard for all men to follow. They should love us first. And they should lead the relationship.
 
3. The man in your life should not desire to move into your house, only into your heart . A man who prepares for your future has made his intentions clear. A man who is husband material has the means to take care of a wife. He is a responsible human being who understands he needs to have something to offer. In short, a man should have the means to be a suitable lover for you.
 
4. Check out his buddies. Everyone knows birds of the same feather flock together, yet most women fail to see the connection between a man and his friends. A man’s pals tell you a lot about the person that you haven’t seen yet. They reveal things about the guy’s character that might be hidden when he is on good behavior. Everyone knows how to put his best foot forward. Don’t stay focused on the foot, check out the rest of the body!
 
5. Check out his relationship with his mother. How does he treat her? This is your preview of how he will treat you. There are lots of men who, because of a negative relationship with their mothers, really don’t like women, yet say they do. Unresolved issues between mother and son continue between husband and wife.
 
6. Remember that a man’s family reveals the cloth from which he’s cut. Take note and decide whether you want your future with the man in your life to look like his present family situation.
 
7. Check out the patterns of his life. Do you see repeated cycles of drama in his personal kingdom? Broken relationships? Problems in making commitments –including the job market? Mood swings? Is a problem always someone else’s fault? Does he embrace responsibility or shirk it? Does he keep his promises? Is he a man of good reputation? Remember all garments look wonderful hanging in the store, but with wear, some begin to unravel. Give yourself time and space to check out the man in your life. Time will always reveal whether or not he is made of the right stuff.
 
8. Does this man have a vision for his life? Is he running with that vision? Remember, God decided Adam needed help once Adam got busy DOING his assignment. As we saw Adam, a man doesn’t need help until he is busy doing what he was created and called to do. Is the man in your life guided by sense of destiny and purpose, or does he just allow life to happen around him? A man who is not certain of his mission can be a most miserable person – and you’ll be miserable too if you know where YOU want to go in life.
 
A man who has vision is not intimidated by a woman whose mission statement is clear. He will be your best ally, cheerleader and assistant because he wants you both to make it! A man who cannot be supportive of your achievements because he is floundering in a sea of uncertainty over his own life is not a healthy partner to have and to hold forever.
 
Creating dependencies or feelings of obligation is not the way to get the best out of your man. Somewhere along the way, he will resent you and flee from the smothering burden of obligation he associates you with. You want a man who is firmly anchored in his identity in Christ. Remember, we are looking for a man who will be priest and leader of his home. His first instinct should be to want to cover you, redeem you, and provide for you. Your job is to decide if this is the man God has ordained for you to complement.
 
9. Complimentary. Do your talents and gifts complement his? Do his gifts, compliment yours? What about your temperaments? Do you see the two of you as an effective team capable of bringing blessing to the lives of those around you? Do your futures mesh? Can you coordinate your gifts in an attractive and effective way?
 
This is why knowing your purpose is so important. Make sure your hearts beat for mutual causes. When I go shopping I always consider the fabric, the fit and what I already have in my closet. Will my next purchase be a complimentary addition to what I already have? If I find that I am going to have to buy shoes and matching accessories to go with a new outfit, I leave it right on the rack. It is too expensive a proposition. If the man you meet makes you feel that you need to completely reinvent yourself, something is wrong.
 
This is where I ask you to consider the relationship in terms of cost. Is this relationship expensive spiritually, emotional or physically? Does your longing for a mate make you willing to forfeit who you are in the process? Or does he see you as the gift that you are? The man in your life should consider you a rare find, a priceless jewel-because of you he is getting ready to get blessed big-time! Any relationship that causes you to feel unworthy, unlovely, unacceptable, undesirable or that you have to work for love, is too expensive!
 
God has called the man to cover, protect and provide not only materially for a woman, but emotionally and spiritually as well. You should be richer in mind, body and spirit for your union with the man of your dreams. The man in your life should make rich deposits into your heart and spirit, not withdrawals.
 
10. Does he have a healthy love and acceptance of himself? Make sure the man in your life has taken time to heal from past relationships and has made peace with himself. How he cares for himself is how he will care for you.  A man’s relationship with God is crucial here. His love for himself will only be as strong as his love for God. This is not something that you can impart. You cannot be his savior or teacher. That is out of spiritual order. In his rightful place as your personal priest, he should be leading you to a richer relationship with Christ.
 
If he is causing you to compromise your faith and destabilize your walk, if he is leading you into sexual sin or causing you to be distracted from your commitment to God, the relationship is too expensive. Offending the Lover of your soul, who promises you eternal love, is too high a fare to pay for a ride that has a limited run. If you and your man can’t soar in the Spirit, when the force of your love for another is tested by the pull or gravity of the world, your union will not be able to survive.
 
So you decide. How much is your life worth? How much is your love worth? You will be able to accept only what you believe you deserve. God himself calculated the worth of your love and decided it was worth His life. He now pledges you His love for eternity. Yes, Jesus sets the example for all others to follow when He paid a ransom for His bride. Should you expect less from a mortal man? Throughout the Biblical age, men were willing to pay the cost for what they truly desired. The truth of the matter is everyone knows that anything worth having, costs and no one gets a ride in this life for free.
 
Our prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father God,

I confess that I have not always been as careful as I should’ve been with my heart. From time to time, my desire for love has caused me to leave my heart in the wrong hands. I now commit my heart into Your hands for safekeeping. Please help me to stop being so impulsive with what you deem so precious. As I learn to celebrate Your love for me, let me learn from Your example what a bridegroom should really be like. Help me to never settle for less than what you desire for me. As I embrace You as the Lover of my soul, keep my affections in the haven of Your own heart. As I rest in Your love, make me more discriminating of those who approach me.

I ask that You take over this area of my life. Keep me from those You know would hurt my heart. I invite You to set a hedge around me and keep me from all who would draw me into unfruitful relationships until the day you present me to the mate that You have selected for me. Grant me the discernment to recognize him as he recognizes me. Cleanse me from the temptation to typecast the men I meet according to what I see. Help me to trust in Your knowledge and lean not on my own understanding. I know that You know what is best for me; therefore I yield to Your choice. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
 
Ladies this is something you should definitely share with a friend, whether you are single or married… It is something to think about, When you ask is “He” the one!

JT

I know I’ve already posted the JT song Mirrors butttttt I just saw the one where he performed it on SNL. This is going to sound so cheesy, but this song makes me hopeful, again, that I will find my mirror. See what I did there?

UH JT still has it goin on. Those moves! That voice! Jess Biel is one lucky lady! Not joking, I’d love to be her for 30 minutes. He could just sing to me. ha!

[Verse 1]
Aren’t you somethin’ to admire
Cause your shine is somethin’ like a mirror

And I can’t help but notice
You reflect in this heart of mine

If you ever feel alone and
The glare makes me hard to find
Just know that I’m always
Parallel on the other side

[Bridge]
Cause with your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there’s no place we couldn’t go
Just put your hand on the glass
I’m here tryin’ to pull you through
You just gotta be strong

[Chorus]
Cause I don’t wanna lose you now
I’m lookin’ right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I’ll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin’ back into you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside me
And now it’s clear as this promise
That we’re making
Two reflections into one
Cause it’s like you’re my mirror

My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

[Verse 2]
Aren’t you somethin’, an original
Cause it doesn’t seem really as simple
And I can’t help but stare, cause
I see truth somewhere in your eyes
I can’t ever change without you
You reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I
Would look at us all the time

[Bridge]

[Chorus]

[Break]
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow’s a mystery

I can see you lookin’ back at me
Keep your eyes on me
Baby, keep your eyes on me

[Chorus]

You are, you are the love of my life

[Verse 3]
Baby, you’re the inspiration of this precious song
And I just wanna see your face light up since you put me on
So now I say goodbye to the old me, it’s already gone
And I can’t wait wait wait wait wait to get you home
Just to let you know, you are

[Chorus]

[Verse 4]
Girl you’re my reflection, all I see is you
My reflection, in everything I do

You’re my reflection and all I see is you
My reflection, in everything I do

[Chorus]

I also found a Part 1 and Part 2 of him on The Jonathan Ross Show. He is so funny and I missed the memo that he was the voice of Boo Boo?!

Part 2

Mirrors

I’ve been a JT fan since N*SYNC. Hard core N*SYNC fan at that. My high school BFF and I would play their cds on repeat and then play it one more time, just because. It’s a wonder we didn’t have a dance to each song. Whenever we spent the night at the other’s house we would even fall asleep to their cds. JT is one talented man. He’s funny, hot, and ….what else is there? HA! Naturally I downloaded his new CD. Mirrors might be my new favorite song. I haven’t listened to it all the way through yet, but I love it. Pretty sure he wrote it for Ms. Beil. awwwwww

 

Thoughts and Prayers

I do my best praying and thinking in the shower. Depending on my day, I take a shower in the morning and one at night. Tonight after working out, I started thinking about God and why things are the way they are. Let me see if I can word this..

There’s a particular situation that I absolutely do not understand. Most of what I don’t understand are the feelings that I have. Do we actually have control over our feelings though? Which is probably the main problem. I am a control freak. I can’t do anything about the situation and it’s in the past. It hurts and makes me sad. All I have are the make-me-want-to-vomit feelings. Literally sick to my stomach. WHY? I don’t want to. I want to not care. Yet I do. A lot.

In the shower I started thinking, that’s your problem. HELLO! You’re a control freak. You need to let go and let God. Only, where and how do you begin? How do you change the pattern? Which lead me to thinking, why didn’t God make it easy? On the flip side, if he made us all perfect, what would the point of everything be? Everything as in, life, Jesus dying for us.. Why can’t we all just be happy and healthy and worship Him? That probably sounds really stupid but that was really my thought process. Can you tell that even when I’m praying I seem to get side-tracked?

I’m not sure if it’s my age or what, but I’ve started feeling ..empty. I think maybe that’s the best way to word my feelings. I’ve started to realize that just praying is not cutting it. I’ve actually read a few blogs in particular (Bloom, The Little Things We Do, and Butler: Party of 2)  that made me think, wow they are so into their relationship with God and you can tell. That’s definitely something that just praying is not doing for me. I downloaded the YouVersion Bible App that Kerri mentioned in her post. I think this should help me tremendously. I think that daily devotion is a good start for me.  It’s not fair for me to ask God to bless me with all these things that I want in the future (husband, family, etc) and only interact with Him through prayer. I figure I have absolutely nothing to lose. I mean, I want to feel joy too! That’s the one I am starting with – A Jolt of Joy. There are several others that caught my eye, but I think for now I need to stick to doing just one.

Waiting

You may remember this post about love. Some times you come across things that can only be a sign from God. Like these two posts. Click on the title and it will take you to each blog post. I only pasted a few parts from each blog.

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Not Open for Business

A few years back my friend Amanda was hell bent and determined to put me on match.com to find a man. Thank goodness she never did because I don’t necessarily believe in the whole online dating thing. Not to mention my roommate in college did it and went out on some dates with real whack jobs. Online dating should have a mental health screen first….

I believe that God – big man upstairs – has something better planned for my love life. I trust that He is going to put the right man in my life at the right time. I’m just wondering WHEN. When making my cheesy wedding website, I don’t want to have to tell everyone and their mother that we met online. DISCLAIMER – I am not knocking online dating and those who have done it and or gotten married from it. My big met her husband through it. If you found the love of your life then more power to you sister!

They say that you find love when you least expect it – whomp whomp – well isn’t online dating basically a supercharged way of looking and finding a mate?

On that cheesy wedding website I want some kind of equally cheesy or nauseating love story about how we met. I am sure that I sound ridiculous right now. And if you are a man reading this you might call me crazy and I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I pretty much am and so are all the rest of the women on this planet. I hope you have figured that out by now. And if you haven’t, I hope I just didn’t blow your mind.

 

Thank you, my thoughts exactly! It will happen when it is supposed to, not just because you set up an online dating profile.

 

God’s Perfect Timing

 

Here’s what I’m learning. We claim we trust God….and most of us think we trust God. But when it comes down to it, do we REALLY trust Him??

We trust God with our eternity, but it’s so much tougher to trust Him with our NOW. We live in a generation where we like quick fixes, and we expect our prayers to be answered in the same way. Quickly. Preferably in our own time, and in the way we want. We are not content with anything else.

We assume when God doesn’t answer us immediately that He doesn’t hear us; that He isn’t working in our life; that He doesn’t love us; that we have done something wrong and are being punished. It seems like He is blessing everyone else BUT us….and we begin focusing on and comparing our journey with others’. That is NOT at all what God intends.

Your journey is your own, and God has you EXACTLY where He wants you, and for a reason. Our goal as believers should be to continue to seek Him, draw closer to Him, TRUST Him, and have faith in His works….which includes (as difficult as it may be) accepting HIS TIMING.

God is ALWAYS at work. And God is LOVE. He always has your best interest at heart. He wants the VERY best for you, and that includes HIS perfect timing. We forget that we  can only see right now, but God sees big picture. Sometimes He is busy working other things out so He can bless us above and beyond all we have asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). Sometimes he is trying to help us to grow closer to Him….to learn to trust HIM alone, lean ONLY on Him (Proverbs 3:5-6), and develop our faith. When we try to rush things and make things happen in our own timing, we can end up causing ourselves a lot of heartache and pain. I know I have seen this time and time again…particularly when people rush into marriage. We tend to always be thinking of the next step, and sometimes God just wants us to BE STILL. To listen. To let Him finish a work.

So here’s my challenge. Id you are in a season of waiting, do not give up. Try not to questions God’s timing. Rather, ask Him what He is trying to show you during your waiting. What is it He is wanting to do in your life, right now?? Dig into the Word, spend more time with Him in prayer, and find comfort and peace in Scriptures that speak to you. And definitely do NOT make a move until you hear clearly from the Lord. So many times we try to rush things and make them happen in our own timing, and like I said, when we do things out of God’s will, that usually results in chaos and heartache.

 

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Vday

Apparently I talk a lot about wanting to find The One. Even to people I hardly know.. Yesterday, this was delivered to my office.

flowers

along with this super sweet card..

card

Day. Made.

Off to go get my 2nd treatement for tattoo removal. Say a prayer!

Sweet Proposal – Vote For My Friend

Tonight I was uploading a picture from the weekend on Facebook when I saw that a guy I’ve known for several years show up in my news feed. I met Justin through a friend of a friend around 2005-2006. Justin is an amazing person. I have always admired him. Not only is he very easy on the eyes, but his outspoken love for God makes him that much more attractive. Any one that meets him can tell he’s not your average Joe. We used to call him Crest because of his Ryan Seacrest looks and that mega watt smile.

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Any way, the post I saw was him asking for people to vote for him and his fiance to win a contest for a 30K wedding on Lake Lanier. They made it to the final 3 out of 500 applicants. So, I’m asking that you register and vote for them. You can vote one time a day and voting ends January 31, 2013.

Check out his proposal video.

 

To vote for them, click HERE.

Prepare to Swoon

Remeber this post? Well, I came across something else.

 

Wow. I want that. I want someone to say sweet things like that to me, not just on my wedding day, but every day. I want to never question his love. I need to be shown love, and told… I’m like that and I truly believe that I need someone just like that. 🙂

If the video is not showing up, go here.

I Can’t Wait

In the past week or so I have noticed a reoccurring theme that keeps popping up when I least expect it. Love.

I am slightly obsessed with Ashley & J.P. I didn’t watch their season, but I do follow her on twitter because I think she is the cutest. I know that their wedding was televised and I missed it. A few days later I remembered it so I watched in online. Now, I am not typically a crier at sweet things, but I was bawling happy tears. They are adorable together!!! They sort of remind me of Carrie and Mike. Maybe not physically, or their story, but their love for one another does. It’s the real deal…

As I was browsing Pinterest earlier, I came across what I thought was a wedding picture. It was pretty and I thought it would be a cute idea for when that day comes. So I clicked on the link to find that it was a blog post someone had written about How to Ensure Your Marriage Will Get Better with Age. I was curious to see what all she had to say so I read her post. She was pretty dead on with a lot of things. I am pasting her post below for easier access to reading it.

how to ensure your marriage will get better with age

 

I have been really hesitant to write this post, not only because it is a personal subject, but because I don’t want anyone to think I’m claiming to be a marriage expert. I’m not one, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to write this. Finally, I decided that even if this post helped to strengthen just one marriage, it would be worth writing.  Every marriage is different, everyone has their own struggles and challenges, and I don’t claim that this is a comprehensive list.  It is a sincere attempt at dissecting why my marriage is the best thing in my life, and what it is that makes ours and other marriages successful.

Today is our five year anniversary. I can’t believe how fast five years has gone. It’s crazy how in a way five years seems like a big deal, but at the same time it really feels like we’ve been together so much longer than that. Recently we traveled home to attend Bryce’s little sister’s wedding. One morning all the girls went for a walk and my MIL asked us if we wished we could go back to being “newlyweds.” I was shocked at how quickly everyone responded “no way,” including myself. Although I loved being a newlywed and cherish those memories, I could never give up the things I have learned in these five short years. We have grown so much. Overcoming challenges, making decisions together, growing together, changing together, really getting to know this amazing man I married, I could never give up what we have learned and shared. Yes, things change. Bodies change, lifestyles change, children come and eventually they will go out on their own, but one thing I will always have is my husband, so here’s to making sure marriage gets better with age.
Don’t keep score. Marriage is not a game. It’s not a contest either. So why are we inclined to keep a mental tally of who is ahead? If you notice yourself checking a mental scoreboard when you do something to benefit your spouse, chances are your heart is not in the right place and you probably aren’t even noticing all the things he does for you and your family.
 
Learn to communicate well. Men and women are so different (duh) and it seems like communication is one of the ways these fundamental differences like to manifest themselves. When we were engaged our ecclesiastical leader strongly recommended that we take a marriage prep class. I’m so glad we did.  When it comes to communicating I always remember one particular story the instructor told. He and his wife were newly married and they were driving somewhere in the car. His wife asked him if he wanted anything to drink. He replied he did not. She responded, inquiring if he was sure he wasn’t thirsty. He assured her he was fine. She said, “there is a 711 right up here on the corner, it would be really easy to stop if you are.” He said again that he didn’t need a drink, but thanks anyway. When they arrived at their destination he was shocked to realize that his wife was upset with him. All she wanted was a drink. The reason I remember this story is because as comical as it is, I catch myself doing this even after five years. As soon as I realize what I am doing I force myself to say, “babe, I want a drink, can we stop?” and amazingly he is always quick to agree. Ah, direct communication. Everyone’s communication issues are different, but miscommunication causes fights and tensions that can otherwise be easily eliminated. Try to figure out what your communication differences are and breach the barriers.
 
Forgive immediately. My husband is so good at this. I remember one night saying something so mean to him in a hormonal frenzy and running up the stairs to our room. I am a proud person, and even though I knew even as the encounter happened that I was in the wrong, it was still hard to make myself go downstairs and apologize. I remember getting up my courage and finally going down. No sooner had a tearful “I’m sorry” escaped my lips than my husband had swept me up into his arms and told me it was okay, and how much he loved me. I was ashamed at this moment to realize how often my husband had committed smaller offenses which I then made him suffer for as he laid out extensive explanations for his tiny misdeeds. Or, the times when he had sincerely apologized and I had responded with an indifferent “it’s fine.”  I am trying to teach myself to forgive right away, acknowledging that no one is perfect, and remembering how much I love him despite any weaknesses. Not to mention how I want him to forgive me mine.
 
Make the time you have together count. Life is demanding. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t time in the day to get your chores done, let alone go out on a date with your spouse. One thing that has really blessed our relationship is that we have always tried to make the time we do have together worthwhile. For example, if you are going to watch a show, don’t sit on separate couches while you each browse your phones during commercials. Hold hands. Talk about what you’re watching, Talk about anything. Another way we have tried to do this is by establishing an early bedtime for our son. As soon as my husband gets home he focuses on our son, giving him his full attention, playing, laughing, teaching, and then he puts him to bed so that he gets a good amount of quality time with him each day. It has been such a blessing for us to have a few hours together before we go to sleep when we are kid-free. I realize everyone’s schedules and demands are different. Ours have changed several times since we’ve been married, but the point is to make an effort to spend meaningful time together.
 
Pray and read scriptures together.  I know that not everyone is religious and I’m not saying you have to be to make a marriage work, but I couldn’t leave this out if I am being honest about what strengthens our relationship. We read our scriptures and pray together every night and I can’t begin to explain how it has blessed our marriage. For starters, it is really hard to hold onto a silly grudge or argument as you hold hands and pray together. To take it deeper though, I can’t explain the love I feel as I hear my husband plead with God for me and for our children, for strength to keep our marriage covenants and for solutions to our problems. It is also a time when he gets to see that I recognize the things he does for our family as I tell my Heavenly Father about them and express my gratitude for such a loving husband and family.
 
Keep the sexual flame alive. Since this is a personal subject I am not going to go into details, I’ll only say that the physical side of a marriage not only matters, but is critically important. It always makes me sad to hear couples joke about how this dies out over time, after kids, etc. It doesn’t have to (shouldn’t) be that way. I’m not saying things don’t change, I’m simply saying make the physicality of your relationship a priority.
 
Don’t ever talk negatively about your spouse to others, especially your parents. If you and your spouse are having an issue or disagreement (and we all face them), it should stay between you. Complaining about your spouse to your mom not only doesn’t solve anything, but is a breach of trust and sews seeds of worry and dislike of your spouse in your parents and friends. Write in a journal, talk to God, talk to your spouse, and sincerely try to deal with the issue on your own. If you still struggle, consider consulting a councilor or ecclesiastical leader. Once you’re past the problem, you will be glad you didn’t tell the whole world about it, and so will your spouse.
 
Focus on the positive.  To state it simply, every relationship has good things and bad things. Focusing on the bad things only blurs the good ones out of your line of sight.
 
Serve your spouse. All relationships have peaks and valleys. It’s totally normal to have times that are particularly good and times when things are just static. During times when I feel static and not head over heels in love, I ask myself “what have I done for him lately?” “What am I doing to make this relationship fresh and exciting?” “What am I doing to make him love me more?” Try to do something special. Write a love note, clean his car, set up a date, or simply look into his eyes and tell him you love him so much. It’s amazing how when I change the way I treat him, it automatically changes how I feel about our relationship.
 
Set goals together. You are a team and it helps to have common goals. Talk about your hopes and dreams and then set about to work hard and realize them. As you work and sacrifice toward the same things it will bring you closer together and neither partner will feel like they are “doing it alone.”
 
Live frugally. It would be naïve to act as if money doesn’t often cause marital discord. Monetary issues are one of the top three reasons cited for divorce in the United States. There is a really simple solution to this: live within your means. Be grateful for the things that you have. If you focus on how you can work together and save to achieve your goals it will bless your marriage and help you focus on what is really important in life. I have loved writing this blog because it constantly reminds me to simplify and live frugally, which in turn has blessed our relationship.
 
Shed your selfishness. If I was going to give only one suggestion to anyone who was having marital trouble it would be this last one. Put your spouse first. If you let go of your own wants and needs and seek to meet the wants and needs of your partner you will be amazed at how your love will grow and your happiness will multiply.
 
Even though I am nowhere near perfect I am willing to work hard every day to make sure that my marriage succeeds, so now you have a list of the things I work on. I hope that this post helps someone else to do the same.
If you have any other thoughts on what makes a marriage work or ideas that have helped you strengthen your relationships I’d love for you to share in the comments, I am always learning from your thoughtful responses.
 
 
 
I am so excited about falling in love. Real, honest, sweet love. 🙂

A Love Like The Reagans’

I saw a recent pin of Nancy Reagan which intrigued me, so I clicked the link…
 
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I came across this and thought it was SO sweet. (the opening of the eyes also reminded me of my last moment with my dad)
 
According to Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, “At the last moment, when his breathing told us this was it, he opened his eyes and looked straight at my mother. Eyes that hadn’t opened for days did, and they weren’t chalky or vague. They were clear and blue and full of love. If a death can be lovely, his was.”[2] His wife, former First Lady Nancy Reagan told him that the moment was “the greatest gift you could have given me.”[2]
 
Upon further investigation (since I was so young when Reagan was President)… I wikipedia’d Nancy…
 

During her Hollywood career Davis dated many actors, including Clark Gable, Robert Stack, and Peter Lawford;[29] she later called Gable the nicest of the stars she had met.[14] On November 15, 1949, she met Ronald Reagan,[37] who was then president of the Screen Actors Guild. Nancy had noticed that her name had appeared on the Hollywood blacklist and sought Reagan’s help to maintain her employment as a guild actress in Hollywood, and for assistance in having her name removed from the list.[14] Reagan informed her that she had been confused with another actress of the same name.[14] The two began dating and their relationship was the subject of many gossip columns; one Hollywood press account described their nightclub-free times together as “the romance of a couple who have no vices”.[37] Ronald Reagan was skeptical about marriage, however, following his painful 1948 divorce from Jane Wyman, and he still saw other women.[37] After three years of dating, he eventually proposed to Davis in the couple’s favorite booth at the Beverly Hills restaurant Chasen’s.[37] They married on March 4, 1952 in a simple ceremony designed to avoid the press[38] at the Little Brown Church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. The only people in attendance were actor William Holden, the best man, and his wife, actress Brenda Marshall, the matron of honor.[37][39] The couple’s first child, Patricia Ann Reagan (better known by her professional name, Patti Davis), was born on October 21, 1952. Their son, Ronald Prescott Reagan, was born six years later on May 20, 1958. Nancy Reagan also became stepmother to Maureen Reagan (1941–2001) and Michael Reagan (born 1945), the children of her husband’s first marriage to Jane Wyman.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nancy and Ronald Reagan on a boat in 1964

 

The Reagan family in 1967, shortly after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as Governor of California

Observers described Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s relationship as intimate.[40] As President and First Lady, the Reagans were reported to display their affection frequently, with one press secretary noting, “They never took each other for granted. They never stopped courting.”[41][42] Ronald often called Nancy “Mommy”; she called him “Ronnie”.[42] While the President was recuperating in the hospital after the 1981 assassination attempt, Nancy Reagan wrote in her diary, “Nothing can happen to my Ronnie. My life would be over.”[43] In a letter to Nancy, Ronald wrote, “whatever I treasure and enjoy … all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you.”[44] In 1998, while her husband was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy told Vanity Fair, “Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.”[41] Nancy was known for the focused and attentive look, termed “the Gaze”, that she fastened upon her husband during his speeches and appearances.[45] President Reagan’s death in June 2004 ended what Charlton Heston called “the greatest love affair in the history of the American Presidency.”[41]

Nancy Reagan assumed the role of unofficial “protector” for her husband after the attempted assassination on his life in 1981.[109] On March 30 of that year, President Reagan and three others were shot as they left the Washington Hilton Hotel. Nancy was alerted and arrived at George Washington University Hospital, where the President was hospitalized. She recalled having seen “emergency rooms before, but I had never seen one like this—with my husband in it.”[110] She was escorted into a waiting room, and when granted access to see her husband, he quipped to her, “Honey, I forgot to duck”, borrowing the defeated boxer Jack Dempsey’s jest to his wife.[111]

An early example of her protective nature occurred when Senator Strom Thurmond entered the President’s hospital room that day in March, passing the Secret Service detail by claiming he was the President’s “close friend”, presumably to acquire media attention.[112] Nancy was outraged and demanded he leave.[43] While the president recuperated in the hospital, the first lady slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by the scent.[43] When Reagan was released from the hospital on April 12, she escorted him back to the White House.

Nancy Reagan’s health and well-being became a prominent concern in 2008. In February she suffered a fall at her Bel Air home and was taken to St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Doctors reported that she did not break a hip as feared and she was released from the hospital two days later.[166] News commentators noted that Reagan’s step had slowed significantly, as the following month she walked in very slow strides with John McCain.[167] NBC’s Brian Williams, who attended a dinner with Reagan in mid-2008, recalled, “Mrs. Reagan’s vision isn’t what it always was so she was taking very halting steps as a lot of folks her age do… [I]t is so important for folks in her age bracket and in her bracket of life to remain upright and captain of their own ship. She very much is captain of her own ship.”[167] As for her mental ability, Williams remarked, “She’s as sharp as ever and enjoys a robust life with her friends in California, but [falling] is always a danger of course. She’s a very stoic, hardy person full of joy and excitement for life… She is not without opinions on politics and political types these days… She is, as most of her friends described her, a pistol.”[167]

LOVE that her friends describe her as a pistol! She’s 91 and that is awesome! Hopefully I’ll still be a pistol at that age! 😉

Uncertainty

I think that when you are younger you have this idea that everything falls into place and its super cookie cutter perfect. Maybe that just comes with watching too many Disney movies. BOO Disney and their “fairytale endings”!

The last few months I have come to the uber realization that the idea of that is completely false. At least, so it seems. I suppose it is possible for some people, but generally speaking, I think it’s rare. I know nothing is easy unless you work at it, constantly work at it, and work hard.

My best friend is currently unhappy in her marriage. She literally married the greatest guy, ever. {Yes, she knows this} I guess in talking to her about things and trying to help her figure out the next step, I’ve realized that nothing in life is guaranteed. Just because you marry someone doesn’t mean that you will stay in love with them, or vice versa.

On the other end of the spectrum, one of my good friends and I were talking about a radio show here in the A earlier this week. They were discussing the highest combined sexual age of anyone you know. Which is pretty funny in itsself. I told her that her parents would be like the couples in their late 90s still doing it. She responded by telling me that she had a conversation with her mom over Thanksgiving. Her mom {whom I wish was my mom because she is the coolest} said that she truly thought her husband was her soul mate. She said, “I know it sounds stupid, but I truly think that. Who gets married after two weeks and 41 years later is still married and more in love than ever?”

Love and life are both so confusing. I guess that’s why its so important to have faith in God and prayer in your life.

Just a little thought for the day..

Bachelorette

I was flipping thru the September issue of ELLE magazine and I came across an article on Bachelorette (the movie). Leslye Headland the writer and director was talking about the movie..

“There’s a checklist by which women should live their lives, so that they’re always defining themselves by what they don’t have.”

How true is that, seriously.

She also says.. “Female friendships are deep and complex, and the lengthy ones are submerged in this dark history. If you’ve been friends for 10 years, you’ve done some terrible shit to each other.”

Kirsten Dunst who plays Regan, agrees, “It’s the part of your friends you don’t want to see. That should be the tag line.”

So true. Have you seen the movie?

Virtue

I’ve talked about this before, but this question that Oprah asked Carrie Underwood has really stuck with me.

O: What word or virtue best describes what matters the most to you?

C: Love. If you love somebody, if you love people, if you love your surroundings, everything else, all that other stuff will happen naturally. If you love somebody you’re going to be honest with them. If you respect and love your surroundings, you’re going to treat them right. It’s all about loving people and just openness and acceptance and love.

SO. TRUE.

Hell In Heels

Before I start off with this post can I just say that I am SO glad it’s football season!??! Ahhhh football season, when you can pick a bf based on his team choice! Greatest time of the year.  

This past week has been.. interesting, to say the least…

One of my high school friends came into town so we met up.  He ended up telling me he thought we had something. Uhhhhh…no.

A shit show went down between my sister and myself on Sunday.. and one of my exes text me. Didn’t even have the number in my phone and I had to look at it a few times to figure out who’s number it was because I deleted a lot of people a few weeks ago. BTW, HI!

Oh, one of my more proud moments.. while we were at the bar Saturday night, some guy walks up near me – I think to close his tab? – and I believe I am just gawking staring at him. He smiles and I tell him that he is so hot. He came back with, “It must be the glasses.” I was all over it, “Actually, it IS! and the eyes, and the pretty teeth..” At that point he laughs, puts his hand on the back of my head and tells me I’m cute. Damnit! I start searching for a ring – no joke – and I’m like “You must be married” and when I don’t find one he tells me he is engaged. Of course you are. Story. Of. My. Life.

All the guys I don’t want, want me, and all the guys I do want, don’t want me. Sadz.

It’s been a cray week. I’m actually still at work. Ugh. Something is wrong with me.

Here are some pics from the weekend.

me and HS friend.

OH! We were telling people that it was our 21st birthday. ?!

We found these rando glasses.

La La with her drank.

Cheers to 21!

Hmm

GO DAWGS!

Clearly I am deep in thought.

ITS MAH FAVORITE SONG!

Us. Again.

Mimosas and bloody marys! mmmmm

Just making a mimosa!

Last Moments with My Dad

Sorry this post has taken a long time for me to write. It’s precious to me and I wanted to make sure I was able to get everything down.

If you keep up with my blog or follow me on Twitter, you know that my dad passed away..

Saturday July 7th I got out of the pool to see several texts and missed calls from my sister. My cousin called her saying that my dad was in bad shape and if she wanted to see him that she needed to get there soon. With that, I left the pool, showered and packed like a maniac.

It’s a 3 hour drive to my hometown from Atlanta and I actually got pulled over and was given a ticket. Exact reason I don’t like cops – he asked why I was speeding and I told him my dad was dying. He asked a few more details and I was given a ticket. As if I wasn’t already hyperventilating, when I got back on the road I had the ugly cry.

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Sunset driving home

Luckily I made it to my dads in enough time to spend a full week with him. This was him the night we arrived. He would fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.

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One conversation that absolutely cracked me up was one that he had with one of his sisters with my cousin {her daughter} and myself in the room. My aunt told my dad that she was going home since he had two helpers. I guess he got offended by this because he said, “Why?” My aunt told him that John {her husband} was home. He responded with, “So?!” She reassured him that she was going to come tomorrow to see him. He told her, “If you’re not going to come until 5PM, don’t bother!” hahahaha! I get my non filtered mouth from him.

That was a rough week! Luckily we were able to get away at times. Dealing with your dad close to death and your crazy family is a lot to take in.

We had a neighbor bring us figs! Too bad I didn’t get any.

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One day we had to leave the house because our family was driving us crazy. We wanted to go have some wine but the main restaurant in town was closed. So we opted for the gas station. We drank in the car at a park which happened to be right outside the sheriff’s office. Ha!

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Another day we had to go into town and stopped by a local farmers market for some boiled peanuts. Mmhmm!

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During the week we spent as much time with him as we could. It was hard to get alone time with him though.

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Me holding his hand

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Nic holding his hand

The one time we were left alone to take care of him we had a bit of an accident. He was being stubborn per usual and wanted to turn over. He kind of laid in the bed funny. Nic and I just laughed to ourselves. Typical that he was being stubborn and we didn’t quite know how to help him get to the position he wanted.

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One of my favorite moments was when we laid beside him in his bed.

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We had a lot to take care of during that week. We found out that he had signed his house over to us in February, we changed the car title over, picked out his coffin, picked out flowers for his blanket, decided on music to play with a slide show of pictures for the viewing, and found poems and songs to be played at the funeral. Some of this was done after he passed. We were just going through the motions.

You could see a noticeable difference in him daily. One morning my sister and I woke up hearing him in pain. He hated staying in his bed so he liked to walk around even though it took about an hour for him to get to one end of the house to the other.

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When we felt overwhelmed we would walk around in his yard. He had a beautiful yard.

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Two days before he passed I was sitting beside his hospital bed in the house talking to him. During those two days he was not talking and would only make noises when he was in pain or say water. I was holding both of his hands and told him that all I had ever wanted was for him to walk me down the isle. At that moment he squeezed both of my hands and I bawled.

One day {I keep getting my days confused} a Hospice nurse came by and gave him a bath that morning. He pitched two fits to take a shower that day. He told my sister and I that his mind was going because he kept getting confused. That broke our hearts.

I remember us sitting on the edge of the bed with him as he shouted he was angry and punching the bed with his fist. It’s so hard to see someone you love feel so helpless and miserable.

After that we went outside to sit on the front porch. While we were outside it dawned on me that he would be passing on the 13th. He had mostly been in his hospital bed {minus the fit he threw to shower}. He was too weak to walk around and move a lot. By that point we were praying for him to go because it was obvious that he was in agony.

When the Hospice nurse came on Friday I asked her how long she thought he had. She told us she thought it would be within 24 hours. I stayed by his side all day after that, talking to him and holding his hands. While my sister was the more emotional of the two of us, I had many moments where I broke down and leaned on her.

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Last time I saw my dad

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He was so thin and frail. The red coloring on his legs was from the foam under the sheets.

Late in the afternoon my sister knew I needed a break. She took Bentley outside for me while I used the bathroom and fixed a glass of sweet tea. As I walked by my dads bed to go outside I noticed he looked at me and followed me with his eyes. I said to myself, “Did he just follow me?” I thought that was odd because he had been asleep most of the day. I joined my sister on the swing. She asked me at one point, “Why is it so pretty out here and so ugly in there?”. Not even 5 minutes later my cousin motioned for us to come inside. He was gone.

One memory I’ll never forget was when we made everyone leave the house so we could have alone time with him after he passed. We held his hands and talked to him. All I wanted to do was lay my head on his shoulder. {Which was how I felt all week but he was so frail}. That week and day I replay in my head every day.

For him to have passed on Friday the 13th was typical of him – he loved messing with people and joking around.

My sister and I were not close with my dad. As I’ve said before we always wanted the doting father but because he didn’t have one growing up, {we assumed} he didn’t know how to be one to us.

In the week we were at his house, we spent a lot of time with him. We were able to have conversations that we had never had with him. I think we both realized a lot of things ourselves in that week.

We had several family, coworkers, and friends tell us that not a day went by that he didn’t talk about us, and how much he loved us. That blew our mind.

One day while we were walking in his yard we thought we would cut 3 flowers from his yard to cheer him up. Two of them started dying. The last one was still in one piece the day he passed. After he passed I noticed the bottom petal had fallen off. Very symbolic.

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This is the sun from the front of the house the day he passed.

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The sun was very bright and hot the day of his funeral.

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Sun setting the day of his funeral

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My Dad’s casket was very pretty. It was pecan wood and it had a little drawer for family to put notes or pictures. My sister and I both wrote him a note. His flowers were gorgeous. We had 5 roses cascading down the front to symbolize Nic, me, and her 3 daughters.

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While the funeral home did a great job of filling my dad out, he didn’t look like himself to me. He looked like some man I’d never met.

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On the day of his funeral we had two poems read and two songs played inbetween speakers.

My poem:

My Dad, My Angel

© Jamie Cirello
Your battle is now over, no more tears flowing down your cheek,
no more pain, no more suffering, now you are no longer weak.
I still do not understand why this had to happen to you,
but I am proud to say you are my dad.
Although you will not be here to walk me down the aisle,
when that day comes I know you will be by my side with a smile.
You were always there for me and never once made me cry,
until the day you closed your eyes and had to say goodbye.
Now you are my Angel, so spread your wings out wide,
please wrap them around me whenever you see me cry.
Our time together was memorable and God took you way too fast,
but the most precious thing to me was you being there for my first breath,
and me being there for your last.

Song: Carrie Underwood – See You Again

Nic’s poem:

I Love You Dad

© Diana Doyle
I love you Dad with all my heart
And hate that we should be apart
Our love is a bond that can’t be broken
You may be gone, but never forgotten

I remember the day you went away
The pain in my heart is every beat
But I know that eventually, one day
We will, once again meet

The loss is something I can’t describe
I’m really going to miss you
One day I’ll be back by your side
So I can hug and kiss you

There are no words to tell you,
Just what I’m feeling inside
The shock, the hurt, the anger
One day, will gradually subside

Things will never again be the same
And though I’m hurting quite bad
I will smile whenever I hear your name
And be so proud to remember my Dad

Sleep well darling Dad, forever in my heart and my thoughts.

Song: Steven Curtis Chapman – Remembering You

A few weeks later I returned to his house. I was driving in and out of heavy rain – the kind that you drive 30MPH in. Once I got out of it I noticed that the sky was SO blue. You can’t tell much from the picture but there was a light blue line behind all the blackness.

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A month later, the sunset from his yard.

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Family pic of us

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Pic from Christmas 2011

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Thank you to everyone who has sent my sister and I kind words and prayers. It has meant a lot!

The Kind of Love I Want

Last Friday I watched Oprah’s Next Chapter interview with Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher. I’ve always been a fan of Carrie’s, but even more so now. She and her husband have something special. Something I want. Something I’ve never had. Something I know I deserve.

Here is the first part..