Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quality Assurance on My Life

Several years ago a good friend complimented me on my personal and spiritual growth. Having known me for 6+ years, he had seen how far I had come in trusting the Lord, and doing good. It was such a comfort to know that someone else recognized these changes in me. Every once in a while, I do this internal check. It just so happens that I never know when this check will happen. It's funny, my pre-PMP test mode makes me think that I am giving myself 'quality assurance and verification.' At these times, I am most sobered by everything I am NOT doing. I have always been my worst critic, but I often feel that I need to be in order to grow. 

Lately, I confess, I have gone through one of the most trying periods of my life. I have had opportunities to share some of them with you. I have struggled with dealing with trials. I haven't felt graceful. I complain the whole time. I feel myself put a pavilion between me and God because I want a break. I am often tired, and everything reflects a poor attitude. Then I realize I need to shape up, but not before I have a minimal breakdown and get mad at myself for not doing better. Then I get a little upset with God because I don't want to stretch anymore. I think "Really, don't You think You have stretched me enough....I'm tired, could you just ease up a little bit?" Then I realize the request is ridiculous, getting mad at God isn't worth it, and I let Him do what He needs so that I can better understand what he expects of me.

From the book Teaching of the President's of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 7, Faithfulness in Times of Trial, it says: "The Lord has determined in His heart that He will try us until He knows what He can do with us. He tried His Son Jesus. … Before He [the Savior] came upon earth the Father had watched His course and knew that He could depend upon Him when the salvation of worlds should be at stake; and He was not disappointed. So in regard to ourselves. He will try us, and continue to try us, in order that He may place us in the highest positions in life and put upon us the most sacred responsibilities."

No matter how many times I read and hear about how trials are meant to strengthen, I still have to go through my internal quality check.

In the same book, Chapter 8, Search Me Oh God and Know My Heart, it says "… We must be true men and true women; we must have faith largely developed, and we must be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost to aid us in the work of righteousness all the day long, to enable us to sacrifice our own will to the will of the Father, to battle against our fallen nature, and to do right for the love of doing right, keeping our eye single to the honor and glory of God. To do this there must be an inward feeling of the mind that is conscious of the responsibility that we are under, that recognizes the fact that the eye of God is upon us and that our every act and the motives that prompt it must be accounted for; and we must be constantly en rapport [in harmony] with the Spirit of the Lord."

At the end of the day, I need to let the Lord work me and stretch me, so that He knows what I am capable of. I need to let changes happen by being proactive and positive about the outcome, because when I do, I am happier.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 5: Confess Your Expenses, Even if You May Think They Are Justified

Sweetheart and I are saving our pennies. Yes, that's right. Even though we both have great jobs, we have had to altar our comfortable lifestyle and be careful about spending. We have both been down this road before, but for some reason, it is harder to do together. How could this be?? The road is long and hard, especially with different spending habits. 

In the meantime, I went to the library on Saturday to study. I find the best studying happens there. The parking lot was crowded, and it made me happy to think that so many people were going to the library. Little did I know that the whole library was having a book sale. I knew that concentrating might be tough, but I went forward with headphones, highlighters, pens, and books. I set all my things up, got ready to go, and couldn't stop thinking about all those books for sale. I won't say that I bit my nails, because I have since stopped that nasty habit, even though sweetheart might tell you differently. 

After reading two paragraphs of my PMP book, I couldn't take it anymore, I had to participate in the sale, and by participate I mean act as the purchaser/buyer. I wandered the aisles of full bookcases in wonder. I felt like Belle on Beauty and the Beast, like Joe from Little Women. I wanted to read each cover, but I told sweetheart that I was studying, and really, I needed to study. So, I only read a couple. I ended up buying 10 books. With the purchase out of the way, I could finally sigh with relief and get back to studying. I knew sweetheart and I were meeting up later, so I finished up, but not before I checked one more area for other books that I might have missed. I ended up buying 6 more books. 16 books!!

At this point I was reluctant to tell sweetheart. I mean, here we are pinching and saving, eating Ramen again, and I go off and spend money on books. I was ashamed, and felt super guilty. But I was able to justify myself into the purchases thinking, "These are books I just bought...BOOKS. There is nothing wrong with buying something that will invigorate my mind, help me learn and grow, could potentially help my children learn and grow, right? AND it is helping the children of Fairfax...way to go Fairfax County library!"

Either way, I decided I wasn't going to tell sweetheart about the purchase, and kept the books in the backseat of my car, where he might never look.

The first thing I blurted out when I saw sweetheart again was "There was a book sale at the library today, and I didn't think I could study, but I did." (Insert nervous laugh here). We ended up talking about this and that and I was quickly able to avoid the conversation that I just spent a lot of moola on books. (Wipe forehead "Whew"). 

Sweetheart and I ended up taking an excursion to Dora Kelly Nature Park. We took my car on the way there and he saw the bag of books and said, "Huh, did you find the sale?" I sheepishly looked at him and said, "No! Who do you think I am!?" The subject was dropped, and we had a lovely evening together.

The next day after church, because I was feeling penitent, and even though I knew that he already knew, I said "Honey, I have a confession. I bought a bunch of books at the sale yesterday." We just looked at each other and laughed. Of course he already knew, and confessed he knew the moment I said "book sale."

It is a sad day when I have to hide my purchased books in the backseat of my car ;) Good thing I really didn't hide them. And that is where my next piece of advice for marrieds comes from - don't keep expenditures from each other, and if you do....make it funny.

I guess I better tell him I bought a couple boxes of cookies yesterday too, even though we are over our grocery budget.....

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 4: There is Timing for Two

One of the hardest things for me to understand is timing - that everything has its season. I have always had a hard time with this concept, especially when I was single. Remember my posts regarding Timing and Hope: Nobody's Fool, and Another blog about dating? Even after having 'coped' with the idea for so long, I find myself needing to recall what I learned, and understand that the Lord is not only working with my time table, but also working with sweetheart's too. Which means that now I have to learn not to worry about timing in mine and his life.

Talking about where we want to be in the next several years, kids, jobs, finances, etc., is SO tiring. Trying to seek inspiration for myself has never been my strong suit. The way I receive inspiration and the way my sweetheart receives inspiration is so different, you can see why our conversations about the future are so frustrating. My sweetheart lives his life and things just happen. I plan, and then things happen. Again, I must say how hard it is for me to let things happen. I have always been one of those girls that has to do everything I can then let the Lord take over the rest. However, during MY process, I tend to get weary, frustrated, and end up questioning my faith and hope in everything. So, why can't I just try it my sweetheart's way, and just roll with it? I think the first step for me is renewing my faith in the concept of timing.

I am reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

I don't want to spoil it, but one chapter really struck a chord with me. Essentially, the main character is having a hard time coping with some hard situations in her life, and has a hard time facing truth. Her heart needed healing and needed strength. Her mentor tells her: "There's a fullness of time for things, Lily. You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course."

I have not been succeeding on the "knowing when to prod and when to be quiet" portion. When I am in conversation with my sweetheart, it is so hard for me to understand how he has learned to make decisions. My way is so very different...but that's just it...that was MY way. And to be honest MY way is certainly not the best way sometimes, particularly when it comes to timing.

In a talk, Timing, given by Dallin H. Oaks, he says:

"The familiar observation that “timing is everything” surely overstates the point, but timing is vital. We read in Ecclesiastes:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; …

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

“… A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …

“… A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1–2, 4–5, 7).

In all the important decisions in our lives, what is most important is to do the right thing. Second, and only slightly behind the first, is to do the right thing at the right time. People who do the right thing at the wrong time can be frustrated and ineffective. They can even be confused about whether they made the right choice when what was wrong was not their choice but their timing.

My first point on the subject of timing is that the Lord has His own timetable. “My words are sure and shall not fail,” the Lord taught the early elders of this dispensation. “But,” He continued, “all things must come to pass in their time” (D&C 64:31–32).

The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith means trust—trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable. We should not try to impose our timetable on His. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said:

“The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best? The same is true with the second coming and with all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord’s timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purposes.” 1

Indeed, we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing.

In our service in the Lord’s Church we should remember that when is just as important as who, what, where, and how."

I need to remember that my sweetheart and I are both in this learning process together, and that when we trust in the Lord's timing we will be happy. I understand that there is a season of learning and opportunities that will come to my sweetheart, another season for opportunities for me, and a season for us. I know that as my sweetheart is directed by inspiration about our next steps, what jobs to take, where to live, etc, that I will be alongside him and will support him. When the scriptures tell us to 'cleave' to one another, this is what is meant. As my sweetheart follows the words of the Lord, I will follow my sweetheart.

In the meantime, I know we can't be lazy about it. We still have to work, pray, seek inspiration through the Spirit of Christ, involve others, read scripture, etc. This small testimony I have about timing helps me worry less about where we need to be and the 'right way' to make decisions. It helps me focus on being present and seeing the miracles around me. I am better able to love the one I am with. Even if the road my sweetheart wants to take isn't the road I may have typically gone down in the past, this testimony of timing helps me realize that there is probably another road we haven't seen yet. Even if the third road is not there, my testimony of timing helps me merge onto his road.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The PMP and Marriage

I am studying for my PMP (Project Management Professional) certificate and exam that I take SOON! In Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Seventh Edition, she discusses effective communication models as part of the standards, which have been identified by the Project Management Institute as best practices in project management. Having to meet certain standards in the professional world is something I feel every company/organization should work up to, as the definition of standard is: a level of quality or attainment. I find that creating standards is helpful, and should be something we strive for. 

That being said, most standards I am learning about to become a PMP somehow relates to creating standards in personal life also - and in particular my relationship with my sweetheart. I find that when something is top of mind that everything seems to relate to it, if we seek the connection. And so, here is how I think the PMP relates to my marital relationship.

Human Resource Management: I read that there are several different leadership styles including, supporting, autocratic, consultative, consensus, delegating, bureaucratic, charismatic, etc. In the autocratic way of leadership, the manager has the power to do whatever they want, and when it is demanded, people do it. In the consultative leadership role, the manager uses their influence and others' opinions/ideas to achieve results. 

I thought about what leadership role I execute in my relationship with my sweetheart. I find it is hard not to be autocratic because I just want to get 'it' done - whatever 'it' means. 'It' can be defined as doing the dishes, making decisions on where to live, selling parts to the broken tv, etc. I just want to say "OK, the dishes are in the sink, it's time to do them," or "The tv better be gone by tomorrow since it will most likely sit in the house, broken for ages." But that is not the best role for me to execute in my relationship with my sweetheart. The best role in this situation is consultative. Discussing who should do the dishes and what should be done with the tv, seem to be the most effective form of communication and reduces overall conflict. 

Conflict Resolution: The book says that conflict could be caused by personality differences, and is often avoided where possible. In addition, some people turn to physical separation as a way to resolve conflict, which tends to enhance the conflict. The book suggests that Project Managers (PM's) look at new ways to deal with conflict, and changing their overall perception of conflict. The books suggests that conflict is supposed to happen. It is natural to have conflict in organizations, just like it is natural to have conflict in relationships. Once PM's regard conflict this way, and once I start changing my perception, conflict will be easier to manage, because I am not trying to avoid it. Conflict can also help. With anything that is growing and progressing, it is important to realize that conflict can be beneficial, and help companies adapt and grow toward a common goal. Isn't it the same in my relationship? You bet. Even though sometimes the conflict hurts. In addition, conflict is resolved by open communication, and involves problem solving techniques. Not much is needed as a follow up here. Just an AMEN. 

Communication Management: Most of what is communicated is nonverbal. The book discusses physical mannerisms and how that aids or deters effective communication. I notice that my sweetheart thinks I am uninterested in what he is saying when I look tired. It is important for me to strive to be better at expressing my interest particularly when I am tired. The book also says that paralingual communications, or rather the pitch and tone of voice, also affects effective communication. I can't tell you how true this is. When my pitch rises, my sweetheart thinks I am getting angry, and vice versa. I may just think I am passionate about the subject, but it is important for me to maintain a certain voice that allows for openness. It also lets the receiver interpret the information without the added pressure of reading into my volume.

Risk Management: A PM's work should not focus on dealing with problems, but rather working to prevent them. I love this standard. Often when I am dealing with problems, I am not having a good time, am often cross and tired, and don't enjoy the journey. I really do believe that if I could spend more time working to prevent conflict, the journey wouldn't be so bumpy, and I might enjoy it a lot more. I have yet to discover how to practice this in my marital relationship. 

I am sure there are several other things that I could relate, but these were top of mind. Who knew that project management had so much correlation to my personal marital journey? I think it would be funny to put a project management plan together and present it to my sweetheart. Perhaps I will!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 3: Love the Person You Found

Love has never been something I struggled to give. During my courtship experiences I would fright those boys with too much love! That's right, they would sense that I had so much of it, and weren't ready to receive it :) My friends often told me that I needed to wait a long time when I was interested in someone before I showed all that love. I just couldn't help it.

I have been blessed with people around me who love too. I love, love. Isn't it strange then that love has a tendency to wax and wane with the people that are closest to us? Sometimes I am so full of it, I could burst, but sometimes I am am hanging on to a thread. In my relationships with my family, close friends, and now my sweetheart, I find that sometimes the moon is full, and sometimes the moon is a sliver fingernail in the dark sky. Sometimes I question, I doubt, I fear what true love can really be. Why - when, me....huge heart, amazing, me - loves love so much?

I believe the original post comes from the Empower Network, but I found this profound article through our favorite social media site FB.


During a seminar, a woman asked," How do I know if I am with the right person?"

The author then noticed that there was a large
man sitting next to her so he said, "It depends. Is that your partner?" In all seriousness, she answered "How do you know?" Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it's weighing on your mind replied the author.

Here's the answer.

Every relationship has a cycle… In the beginning; you fall in love with your partner. You anticipate their calls, want their touch, and like their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love wasn't hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn't have to DO anything. That's why it's called "falling" in love.

People in love sometimes say, "I was swept of my feet."Picture the expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It's a natural cycle of EVERY relationship.

Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse's idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship; you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, "Am I with the right person?" And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when relationships breakdown.

The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person; it's learning to love the person you found.

People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes.

Infidelity is the most common. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your relationship. It lies within it.

I'm not saying that you couldn't fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you'd feel better. But you'd be in the same situation a few years later.

Because (listen carefully to this):

The key to succeeding in a Relationship is not finding the right person; it's learning to love the Person you found.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. You have to work on it day in and day out. It takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it demands WISDOM. You have to know
WHAT TO DO to make it work. Make no mistake about it.

Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your partner), Just as there are physical laws Of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. If you know how to apply these laws, the results are predictable.

Love is therefore a "decision". Not just a feeling.

Remember this always: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let GO! ♥


My takeaways from this is that love is not lazy; it requires work. I find that the emotions that I want are happiness, joy, love, peace, are possible...if I choose it, and if I work at it. Happiness doesn't just happen. Even for the person who seems like they have never experienced a bad day in their life. Their perception is what helps them get through the day. Driving positive perception is work. And it doesn't need to be hard work either. This is where I need to the Lord step in and help me...if I choose to, and if I let Him.

Most older and wiser people have told me that true love comes with time. In the Preparing for Eternal Marriage Lesson Manual: 14, True Love it reads:

Understanding love helps us in selecting an eternal companion and establishing an eternal marriage. Bruce C. Hafen, who was later a member of the Seventy, said: “Be friends first and sweethearts second. Lowell Bennion once said that relationships between young men and young women should be built like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is friendship. And the ascending layers are built of things like time, understanding, respect, and restraint. Right at the top of the pyramid is a glittering little mystery called romance. And when weary travelers in the desert see that glitter on top of the pyramid from far off, they don’t see what underlies the jewel to give it such prominence and hold it so high” (“The Gospel and Romantic Love,” in Brigham Young University 1982–83 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [1983], 32). 

In another talk, Love Takes Time, by Marvin J. Ashton, it reads:

"True love is a process. True love requires personal action. Love must be continuing to be real. Love takes time. Too often expediency, infatuation, stimulation, persuasion, or lust are mistaken for love. How hollow, how empty if our love is no deeper than the arousal of momentary feeling or the expression in words of what is no more lasting than the time it takes to speak them. A group of college students recently indicated to me their least favorite expression to come from us as the older set is, “If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please let me know.” They, as do others, much prefer actions over conversation.

Undoubtedly our Heavenly Father tires of expressions of love in words only. He has made it clear through his prophets and his word that his ways are ways of commitment, and not conversation. He prefers performance over lip service. We show our true love for him in proportion to our keeping his words and the processes of feeding."

Love=Action....steady and growing in intensity. So, going back to an earlier thought, it seems to me that love is more than a choice, it is a commitment that brings true joy and happiness. 

Loving the person I found (even though he found me) is part of this miraculous journey, and I need not be afraid.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 2: Speak Well Of and To Your Spouse

I remember working in an office where ladies would come in and rag on their sweethearts. I told myself "I will never do that." That thought "I will never do that" is a funny one, isn't it? Never - that seems so final. How do we know we will 'never'? It reminds of another time I was with some friends at a mall and there were kids screaming down the mall corridor, escaping their parent's grasp, and creating such a riot. One of my friends turned to me and said "I will never let my children behave like that in public." Really.....hmmm. Ok, perhaps I should have faith in that the thought that 'never' means 'never.' 

Alas, what I thought I would 'never' do, has come to light. I found myself complaining against my honey. GASP! I have become the very woman that I would 'never' be like. How did I get here? What in the world has my honey done that makes him deserve my behind-his-back bashing? Nothing. No one ever deserves it, but especially not him. In fact, I have been so focused on what isn't going right that it is putting such a negative vibe on everything. This is no good. I liken this thought to the energy we create around any situation. I've heard that if you say things like "I am going to fail my test" you start to believe it, and are more likely not going to pass.

According the article Enhance Your Health by Overcoming Stress, Negative Influences,
"The power of the mind is immense. You can often influence a situation simply by thinking about it meticulously, therefore changing the way you assess and approach the situation. You can even trick yourself into thinking something that is completely untrue."

When I say bad things about my honey that may be fact, the thoughts and ideas surrounding that relationship are bound to that negative energy I have created. It makes my heart hurt, and it is easier to react negatively to my sweetheart who has no idea what is going on in my mind and in my heart. It is better to concentrate on the positive things in the relationship. This is why when people ask newlyweds how marriage is, they most always respond that is is wonderful - even if the reality is that they are struggling with all those marital things like learning how to live together, trying to figure out finances, figuring out the next step in life, wondering how to be together romantically, figuring out how family fits into the picture, living in everyday 'roomate' situations, etc. 

In addition, picking on each other, even if WE individually think it is in funny can sometimes create internal and emotional challenges, especially if the other person does not think it is funny. There are some things that drive Adam crazy like when I lick my fingers, or when I sniff instead of blowing my nose. I have tried and tried to be better at not doing them. These things have become habits of mine, and it is really hard to stop them. I was trying so hard not to do them, and found that I would resent my sweetheart for having mentioned it at all. Then there are things that drive me nuts about Adam. He knows them. 

We both realize that we are trying not to purposefully annoy the other person, but also realize that we shouldn't spend all our energy trying not doing those little annoying things because it gets the best of us. We also found that when we can make fun of these little annoyances in fun and creative ways, it becomes easier to bear, but we have to be cautious on how we make fun of the annoyances. We are still getting the hang of it, but we at least try to laugh when the other is annoying us. And sometimes, to spare feelings or little disagreements, it best not to say that we are annoyed at all.

In the article, Responding the Challenges Through Positive Communication, there is a great story;

"At times it is better to leave some things unsaid. As a newlywed, Sister Lola Walters read in a magazine that in order to strengthen a marriage, couples should have regular, candid sharing sessions in which they would list any mannerisms they found to be annoying. She wrote:

“We were to name five things we found annoying, and I started off. … I told him that I didn’t like the way he ate grapefruit. He peeled it and ate it like an orange! Nobody else I knew ate grapefruit like that. Could a girl be expected to spend a lifetime, and even eternity, watching her husband eat grapefruit like an orange? …

“After I finished [with my five], it was his turn to tell the things he disliked about me. [He] said, ‘Well, to tell the truth, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about you, Honey.’


“I quickly turned my back, because I didn’t know how to explain the tears that had filled my eyes and were running down my face.”

Sister Walters concluded, “Whenever I hear of married couples being incompatible, I always wonder if they are suffering from what I now call the Grapefruit Syndrome” (“The Grapefruit Syndrome,” Ensign, Apr. 1993, 13).

Yes, at times, it is better to leave some things unsaid."

Today, I logged onto FB and saw this great post. I noticed that the majority of the ideas revolve around what we say about our sweethearts, and how we talk to them. I hope you find these ideas as fabulous as I did.


3. Go on regular date nights
4. Hide notes in secret places
5. Go to bed at the same time
6. Listen to music together-share ear-buds
7. Buy him gifts he will love
8. Revitalize the romance with intimate dates
9. Wear shirts that tell the world you love your spouse
10. Praise your spouse to other people
11. Read a marriage devotional
12. Sleep in his t-shirts
13. Renew your vows privately with whispers and memories
14. Renew them publicly with cake and bubbly
15. Go away together at least once a year

For Women Only
16. Hang pictures of the two of you around your house
17. Make his favorite dessert
18. Make sex a priority
19. Spend time apart occasionally
20. Learn to enjoy something he loves
21. Surprise each other
22. Meet him at the door
23. Text each other from across the room
24. Set reminders on your phone to remember him/her throughout the week
25. Call him right now and tell him you appreciate him

For Men Only
26. Leave work on time and come home early
27. Engage every day in meaningful conversation
28. Compliment each other
29. Take one day a month to make your spouse your total focus
30. Argue fair: avoid these words “you always” and “you never”
31. Kiss every day
32. Find tangible ways to serve your mate without complaining
33. Forgive quickly
34. Be honest.
35. Get on the same page: plan your budget together
36. Look your best as often as you can
37. Guard your marriage
38. Laugh together
39. When you are together-BE TOGETHER (take a break from phones, technology, etc)
40. Tell her she’s pretty, especially when she’s not feeling it

41. Make each other breakfast in bed
42. Do her chores for her
44. Get a couple’s massage or host your own privately
44. Dance together-soft music (both of you alone) or rocking music with the kids
45. Exercise together- hikes, bike riding, etc
46. Choose not to be annoyed by an irritating behavior/disappointment from your spouse
47. Thank your spouse often even for the least reason or gesture
48. Lay in bed together and stare into each other eyes, without talking
49. Learn something new together-take an art class, cooking lessons, etc
50. Leave a sweet comment on the Facebook wall
51. Support each other’s goals
52. Bring her flowers/gifts (even when she says they are too expensive)
53. Wear something your spouse loves
54. Share furniture-sit in his lap
55. Fight for your marriage
56. Make a point to eat dinner together most days of the week.
57. Never let your spouse feel like they come second place to your career or any other thing.
58. Talk about your dreams and aspirations. Be supportive of each other and dream big together!
59. Maintain a united front as your motto: Meaning- “Me and you against the world."
60. Speak well of your spouse.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Newest Member of Our Small Family

This morning I received the following text message:

"Kiss Kiss from me, Trevor, and Stewart."

I once blogged that I slept with a Teddy Bear. It has nothing to do with security or comfort, but more about the fact that my firm Teddy Bear keeps my arm from going underneath me at night, a symptom that plagued my early high school years. I received this Teddy Bear in high school from a good friend named Trevor. 

After years of having my Teddy Bear, I slept with him one night and was shocked to realize how much I loved it. I was about 19 years old at the time, and sleeping with the bear became habitual and something I looked forward to. After a while, I also realized that I needed to name my Teddy Bear. I decided it was only fair to name him after my friend who gave him to me. I find that I don't need to have him all the time, and it isn't like I sleep better having him there, but Trevor and I have a long history, and I am not ashamed.

That being said, when Adam and I first started dating and he saw Trevor, he thought it was great I had a Teddy Bear. I didn't confess that I slept with the Teddy Bear until we had been dating a while. When Adam found out, he embraced it with open arms. He would often talk to the bear upon entering my room, and asked him all kinds of questions like "Trevor, does Lindsey snore?", "Trevor, what secrets does Lindsey tell you?"

Then one morning after we were married, I caught Adam sleeping with Trevor! When I yanked Trevor away from Adam, Adam exclaimed that sleeping with Trevor was the best! I laughed and laughed, but Adam was dead serious. It therefore became a game to see who got to sleep with Trevor. When we were home during the day and Trevor wasn't placed in his spot on the bed, Adam would ask "Where's Trevor" in this cute little voice he gets when he talks to children and animals.

That being said, Adam has this thing for squirrels. In our kitchen we have a squirrel that is holding two acorns full of salt and pepper. He has recently become our kitchen mascot that we named Chaz (which came about when I started singing Chaz-nuts roasting on an open fire). To further my case that Adam likes squirrels, every time we are out and about, Adam has to talk to all the squirrels we see. He calls to them saying "Com'ere you little bitty buddy." He just loves them. As is an Easter tradition, I decided to buy Adam his own little Trevor in the shape of a squirrel. It took me a long while before I found the perfect one. I didn't want this squirrel to look so much like the real one's, but cute, fuzzy, and friendly. After a day or two of searching, I found the perfect one.

Everyone, meet the newest member of our small family: Stewart

We got him in the mail the day before Easter from StuffedSafari.com, and he is even cuter in person. I don't know why we named him Stewart, but the night we got him and I said it jokingly, it stuck. Every time we get ready for bed, Adam has to make sure Trevor and Stewart are ready to go to sleep too. It may seem silly, but this little ritual has become one of my favorites for us. I never thought that it would be such a comforting thing, but I know that if Adam is asking where Trevor and Stewart are, that all things are right in our marriage and in the world.