The Three Self-Absorbed Things People Do that Drive Me NUTS!!!

A while back, I made a Facebook post explaining that I think we live in a “selfie” society, and regardless of how it was taken, I stand by that. We live in a self-absorbed society. Unfortunately, it is affecting relationships and the way that we interact with one another…so what follows is my self-absorbed blog on things that have been on my mind, that I hate…see if you can follow the theme. Please note…I don’t hate the PEOPLE just the BEHAVIORS.

  1. People who try to impress me and others with self-absorption.

I am a big fan of people doing what they can to improve the lives of themselves and others, but I grow weary of people using the things that they have achieved as a way of trying to impress others. I’m sorry but I’m not impressed by your job title. If you have a job, GOOD FOR YOU! I assume you are using it to try to pay your bills, so keep it up! But don’t expect me to be impressed by your job title. I’ve met astronauts, police officers, governors, high powered lawyers. One thing I’ve learned, is that in the end, all of these people go home, and somewhere along the line, they complain to their spouse, kids, friends etc. about their job, because a job is a job. Some of them throw their underwear on the floor, some of them can’t cook worth a crap, and guess what…ALL of them have problems, so…yeah…I’m not impressed.

I’m also not impressed by your car, your level of education, the amount of money you have and/or earn, or the things you think you know. I know an entire family who drives nothing but Mercedes, and another family who lives and dies by Honda, and both of those I would consider to be good friends. I know people with several doctorate degrees, I know people so smart that they have finished both medical AND law school, I also know people who never even started high school. Again…not impressed. I’ve seen people who seem to have all the money you could want lose it all and struggle just like everyone else…I’m NOT impressed.

You know what is impressive? A person who is giving, even in times when they don’t have it to give. People who love unconditionally. People who kind to a fault. THAT I find impressive. You know why? Because anyone can work hard and get a good education, get a good job, get cars, and houses…that’s nothing. But it takes someone with a real strength of character to make a LIFESTYLE change, to CHOOSE to love unconditionally, knowing that they will get hurt regularly. It takes an AMAZING person to give even when they are struggling themselves. Those people impress me, because they live for others, not for themselves.

  1. People who make it a point to announce their every move to the world.

I remember when social media first became popular. Let’s face it, it started mostly with Myspace…but that was way too much work, so people moved on. Then Facebook became available, but only to college students. It was a cool way to keep track of who you partied with at the campus you visited last weekend, but the thing is…eventually you realized that you really didn’t care about those people and you’d quietly press the “unfriend” button, and actually HOPE they never would notice because you didn’t want to have to explain yourself. Then it opened to everybody. Cue massive friending…and wait for it…cue the massive amounts of Facebook posts like: “FYI I’m going through my friends list and defriending people.” or “If you want to stay my friend, message me because I’m cleaning out my friends list!” REALLY? It’s interesting that people think that they are SO important that other people should have to beg them to stay friends with them, or really that they would even CARE if this “friendship” was ended. What you are SEEKING is attention, PERIOD. You want people to say “Oh no! Stay my friend!”…and then you want the gratification from others when you announce that your “cleanup” is complete and “if you’re seeing my post…you made the cut!” When was the last time you walked down the halls of your school, job, or church yelling “I’m getting rid of some of you people! If you still want to be my friend you better give me attention!”? You know why you don’t feel the urge to do that in real life? Because it would make you look like a LUNATIC. Well guess what…Facebook “defriending” announcements make you look like a jerk who is desperate for attention…so PLEASE….just stop.

“Checking in” is also another thing. I can understand “checking in” at a local restaurant where you are having a great time and a great experience, giving them props and a little extra advertisement is great. We don’t however, need to know where you went to purchase your gas today, nor do we care that you are at the grocery store down the road again for the third time this week. Before social media, did you call every one of your friends and tell them where you were every moment of the day? Probably not….so no need to now. :).

  1. People who post their marital problems for the world to see.

Marriage is hard. It’s always going to be hard. You know what makes it even harder? When you tell the world what a bum your spouse is because they don’t take out the trash, they don’t put the toilet paper roll back on the holder, or they look at porn in the middle of the night. What on EARTH makes you think that you, tearing your spouse down to the entire world is going to endear you to them or make them want to try harder to do better? Now the whole world knows their flaws because you have a big mouth and fast fingers. If you spend as much time working on your marriage as you do complaining about it on the web, then maybe things will improve. Your spouse did not marry your Facebook friends, you all don’t need the world to weigh in on your argument to see who is right, because let’s be real, the odds are…you both are probably wrong. What they need is someone to talk TO them, not ABOUT them.

On that same note, I do understand the need to vent, or ask for help, or advice. I’m fortunate to have a couple of very close friends that I’m able to go to in the time of frustration, I know my husband has those kinds of friends as well. They are the kinds of friends that you say “you know what my spouse did today???”, they let you go on for 45 minutes or until you’ve worn yourself out, and then they say “that sucks!” and they tell you about their horrible day, you go have some coffee, they encourage you to go home and work it out now that you are calm, and you live to fight another day. That will NEVER happen if you spill your stuff all over the web for everyone to see. I can tell you, that as a freelancer, I helped track down an old friend for someone. I found the individual…and part of the breadcrumbs that lead me to them was their complaints about someone else, that they tried to delete but I was able to dig back up. You think a picture is hard to get rid of? So is text…remember that.

So…that’s the end of my list this evening. My ENCOURAGEMENT is as follows: start living to try to make other people’s lives better. Stop trying to make YOURSELF look good, but focus on OTHERS. Focus on how your behavior affects others. If you read through this and thought: “I bet she means me!”…you are wrong, I didn’t really have anyone in mind, just the behavior, but if you thought I meant you, then clearly some of this applies. Feel free to make a change for the better and have a GOOD impact on someone else. 🙂

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Carry Him to His Mother

I want to share something I read in my devotions this morning.

While I was on vacation, my mother gave me this devotional booklet called “Carry Him to His Mother”. At the time I was very gung-ho about wanting to be a better mother, and wanting to do my devotions. I saved the booklet for when I got home, and now, almost a year later, I picked it up.

I read exclusively out of the King James Version (that’s a discussion for another time), so when I read a devotional I always look up the scripture. The scripture is out of 2Kings 4:8-19. I picked up my Bible and began to read the verses. I read about how this woman was a great hostess to the man of God, how she asked her husband to build an extra room on the house so that the Elisha had a place to sleep when he came through town, and how Elisha promised that she would give birth to a child as up to this point she didn’t have any children. Again, this story was not ringing any bells. The woman eventually gave birth to a son, who then grew up, and one day, while he was in the fields with his father, the son said “my head! My head!” So his dad said “carry him to his mother”. That’s where verse 19 ends. I wanted to know what happened next, so I read on, and in the next verse, the child died.

At that point I was ready to stop reading, and I actually DID stop reading. I’m a mother, so like most mothers, my greatest fear is something happening to my children. I try to avoid anything that will cause me to think those thoughts because it’s TERRIFYING, and it’s heart wrenching. I actually kind of got upset with the writer of the booklet, and thought: what possessed this guy to write something like this! So I started reading out of the booklet again, where the first lesson is focused on what a great woman she was. I couldn’t focus, all I could think about was the woman and her dead son. I had to go back and read the rest of the story. As I read on, I began to remember it more. She goes down and tells her husband that she needs his donkey and he basically says “why? Is everything ok?” and she says “It will be well” and just LEAVES! Then she goes and finds Elisha who first sends the servant to the child which is unsuccessful, and then goes himself and prays and stretches himself out on the child, and the child is revived.

So where am I going with this? The thing that sticks out to ME is the number of times this woman said “it will be well”. Her son is dead, but she has faith that everything is going to be ok. She didn’t say “it’s probably going to be fine” or “there’s a good possibility that everything will turn out OK” she said “It WILL BE well”. The faith that that woman had is amazing to me. I’m not there yet. I’m not even in the same UNIVERSE as having faith like that, and I hope God never tests me in that way, but that level of faith, it SCREAMS.

I know people with that level of faith, and it astounds me. I have a friend that I used to work with who recently lost her son. It was devastating to both herself and her family. He wasn’t sick or anything, but one day he was there and the next day he wasn’t. This woman had such a testimony at work of being a Christian LONG before anything ever happened to her son. I remember how far and wide her testimony spread after her loss. It wasn’t just because people were telling the tragic story of what happened, it was because of her response. She would have hard days of course, days when she would break down and cry, but at the end of every conversation she would say “It’s going to be OK. God’s got this”. THAT’S faith. Like I said, I’m certainly not there, and as matter of fact, I prayed over and over after my devotions that God would never test me in that area but MAN how amazing!

KEEP WALKING AND LET ME PARENT! (A blog for parents and non-parents alike)

Ok, we have all been there. We’ve all gone to the grocery store and experienced the child screaming at the top of their lungs, or running through the coat rack, or throwing things out of carts. I have been on both sides of it, anyone who is a parent probably has. Recently, I saw something that made me decide that I really needed to put this out there for people who have children and for those that don’t.

First of all, let me describe the scene to you. I’m in Wal-Mart with the twins, and I’m WAY BACK in the dairy section. I can hear the wailing and screaming of a child. This kid is GOING AT IT. The kid is probably in the produce section at the front, and I guarantee you as the screams grow LOUDER as the mom is bringing her kid to the back, I realize that it’s like this child is not taking a breath. It’s EAR PIERCING. When the mother finally makes it back to dairy I see her pat her son on the shoulder and say “it’s going to be OK baby I promise”. The boy is about two years old. What did I do? I went about my business and shopped! And THAT my friends is what this blog is about….MIND YOUR BUSINESS!

For those of you who don’t have kids, or those whose kids grew up or left home YEARS ago, let me introduce (or reintroduce you) into the life of having kids. You have a little bit of money in your account, and you realize that your cupboards could go for a restocking. You can’t start dinner first because it would be burnt by the time you got home, and if you stayed to cook it, you’d have to stay to eat it, and by the time you’ve finished telling little Johnny Joe and Grace Joyce that they need to stop playing and eat, it will be time to put them to bed. So, you put dinner on a brief hold, bundle them up, get their socks and shoes on get them out to the vehicle, then take their coats OFF so they can get into the car seats properly, then head to the store. You get TO the store, get them to put their coats back on for the walk from the parking lot to the store, you walk into the store and hope and pray that one of the carts specially made to hold children is available and you snatch it up. Then, you begin your shopping, which is a walk up and down EVERY aisle to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. All the while, your kids are asking for things, old people are taking 30 minutes to figure out what kind of pasta sauce they’ve been using for the past 20 years and deciding if it’s an appropriate choice, and you are dodging men with carts and a cell phone, obviously on the phone with his wife trying to determine if minced garlic is the same thing as crushed garlic. Then your 2 year old starts to scream. He’s not a bad kid, you understand. He’s a tired and hungry kid. Now you have a whole new set of problems. You have to try not to meet the stares of young couples who swear silently or under their breath that when THEY have a child their child will NEVER behave like that. You have to dodge well-meaning older people who are determined to stop and talk to your child to find out what’s wrong and “would he like a sucker?” All the while, in your mind, you are calculating if you can afford to buy your kid a quick snack to quite him or if you just ride it out, you certainly don’t want to stop shopping and come back and repeat this fiasco any time soon.

Here’s where we have the problem folks. Parents that DO try to parent their kids in public are often interfered with. It makes our job HARDER. The woman with the screaming child, definitely did not want to come to the store for the fun of it, she had shopping to do, which CLEARLY you do too. It’s not necessary to stop her and talk to her, or shoot her nasty glances, get on with your OWN business. I have been this woman. I really have. I have walked into Wal-Mart, and my kids IMMEDIATELY begin fighting because the kid-friendly carts are not available so we have to use a regular one. So who gets to ride in the front and who has to ride in the basket? One day it became such a fight that I made a decision. The child who was “demoted” to basket seating, threw a FIT. I was having NONE of that. I had a lot of shopping to do, and I was hungry. I made him stand facing a wall for several minutes until he could get his attitude together. People would walk by us and give me nasty looks and look at him like he’s to be pitied. You wouldn’t feel sorry for him if he was screaming all over the store would you? He’s throwing a fit about something CRAZY and it must stop, because I need my sanity and he needs his boundaries. So KEEP WALKING AND LET ME PARENT! I have had my kids in the store on several occasions when they are hungry. It’s never my intention, but it has happened that way. I USUALLY made the choice to not get them anything off the shelf and let them eat it in the store. Here’s why (not that it’s any of your business but I’ll tell you anyway). I have two reasons for this, the first is that I don’t always have the extra money on me. Sometimes I bring just enough money for what we need and THAT’S IT. So they have to learn that that is not always an option. The other reason is that my children have a habit of putting what they want into the cart. I don’t want them ALSO opening what they want and beginning to eat it ESPECIALLY in the event that I’m not prepared to pay for it. So what have I done? I’ve tried to comfort them, and on some occasions even brought along snacks, but if it comes down to it, they will just have to cry until I get them home. Believe me, they aren’t starving. Yet, I have had people look at me sideways, offer my children candy (as if I would allow my child to take candy from a random stranger….NOT!), even offer to take something off the shelf and explain to me that I can just buy it at the register, I have EVEN had someone try to guilt me into buying them what they wanted to which I replied: “I know that yeast and cinnamon don’t seem like a big deal here in the store, but what they don’t understand is that it makes cinnamon rolls which I’m making them when I get home. They can wait.” And in my mind I screamed “SO KEEP WALKING AND LET ME PARENT!”

There are some times when parents with kids would WELCOME your help, but you have to be able to pick up on the cues. If you can’t, then…..KEEP WALKING AND LET THEM PARENT! The first clue that someone might welcome your help is if you are seeing something they aren’t. On one particular occasion, when the twins were about a year old, we were at the store, and I happened to get this cart that just wouldn’t push right. So I basically pulled it all over the store. I was doing some pretty heavy shopping and the twins were completely happy playing with grocery items in the basket. So I’m pulling us around the store, and then I started feeling like I was going crazy. I remembered putting toilet paper in the cart, but then…there was no toilet paper. The same went for some vegetables, butter, and laundry soap. I am looking all over the cart, when a lady comes up behind me and says “I think your boys dropped something”. They had been dropping things that they didn’t want out of the cart the WHOLE TIME! So now I’m walking around the store picking up groceries off the floor that the twins have left like breadcrumbs. They thought it was HILARIOUS!

Another cue you might pick up, is a mother talking to her kid but more out loud to the world. When I hear a mom tell their kid “I would love to get you a sucker but I’m not buying suckers and I don’t see any out anywhere” I come up to her and whisper “there’s some at the bank in the front if you are interested”.

A final cue, is when they start nervously talking to you. I don’t mean a nervous “hi”, but like word vomit where they just can’t stop themselves…something like “oh my goodness this has been an awful day, I can’t find the peanut butter, the freezer section is out of pizza and my kid is screaming and won’t stop!” Yeah…that’s a parent at the end of their rope that could really use some assistance. Buy their groceries, find the peanut butter or WHATEVER do what you can.

If you don’t see any of these or more obvious cues KEEP WALKING AND LET THEM PARENT! Let parents do their job, stop thinking that you can console a child YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW, stop casting judgment under your breath, stop giving dirty looks, just MIND YOUR BUSINESS AND GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE! Do what you came there to do! Believe me, no one is pinching their kid before they walk through the door in the hopes that their kids will raise a fuss in the store. Everyone is just trying to get through…so…one more time….say it with me now…..KEEP WALKING AND LET THEM PARENT!

The Faith in Giving and Receiving

The Faith Involved in Giving and Receiving

I think we’ve all been there, we’ve all had some kind of struggle where we’ve needed something. Perhaps the first thing that comes to your mind is money. It’s a common need. As a matter of fact, many of the things that we need, could be solved by money. You need a car? Well instead of getting a car, if you got money you could buy one. You need a bed? Someone could simply hand you the money and you could get a bed. In the world in which we live now, I think that that’s the way that many of us think. It’s not a bad thing per se, but I think that we miss out on a lot with that kind of thinking.

As a mother of twins, when I found out that we were having twins, I worried. I worried about how we were going to afford to get them everything that they needed. Clothes is a BIG thing. Children grow SO FAST. I was amazed at the sheer amount of things that were given to us. We were given so many clothes for example, that we only bought the twins clothes ONCE in the first two years that they were born, and that was only because I was so behind on the laundry and they were particularly ill and having “blow outs”. Well…as time went on, they grew out of their clothes, and again, I began to worry. A piece of me wanted to give their old clothes away, while another piece of me worried about what we would do if we were to have another kid. If we saved all of their clothes, we wouldn’t have to buy anything for the next child. If you are anything like me, I want to give you some words of encouragement.

Luke 6:38 says Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

I bet you think I’m just going to give you a lecture and some “holier than thou” routine, but I’m not. I always struggled with this verse actually. Because pretty much in my mind, when I had it, I felt like I needed to keep it, whether I needed it or not because who knows how I will get it again in the future? My thought process is kind of like this (let’s stick with the clothes example), I have a TON of clothes for the kids now, and we have jobs and whatnot NOW, but what if in the future we have another child, we fall on hard times, and we lose our jobs? Then what? So why not keep every stitch of clothing that we have now? This doesn’t just go for my kids either, since I had the twins I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. There are clothes that hang in my closet now that couldn’t even cling to my body on a wing and a prayer. My logic? I might gain weight again! Then what? All my friends are on these crazy diet kicks, so they won’t be able to give me any clothes. What will I do? That was my mindset. I know, it’s crazy, but before you judge me, how many time exactly have you told someone that you didn’t have any money to help them because all you had was $5 left in your pocket and you were saving that in case you needed something extra to feed your family with? How many times have you not given someone a ride somewhere because you thought that you wanted to save your gas JUST IN CASE you needed a little extra at the end of the week? I think we all have these tendencies.

Well, here I sit, in my home, cleaning and bagging up clothes for two different families. My kids just turned 4 and I still have GOBS of 18 month clothes sitting here….you know….for my imaginary future child born into a life of certain poverty. Where did my change of heart come from? At what point did I start just giving our stuff away? I’ll tell you when AND why. I’ve been there. I’ve been there with NOTHING. When literally I had $0 in my purse, and I needed a bit of extra gas to get home. I have borrowed $5 off of a friend to buy flour and sausage from the store so that I could come home and make biscuits and gravy for my kids for dinner, knowing that I couldn’t afford anything else. Once, I made pizza crust FROM SCRATCH, and used what we had in the house to MAKE pizza sauce. It was hard, and it hurt, but what hurt more was knowing that there were people who KNEW what we were going through, and couldn’t be bothered to help, while they sat in their homes and ordered 6 pizzas for their family with plenty left over. It hurt to see people I knew and who knew what we were going through take their families out to nice dinners while we struggled, and not offer to help. Then it clicked with me. We do the same thing. We have TONS of stuff we don’t use and don’t need that people WE KNOW need that just sits here and collects dust. That’s COMPLETELY bonkers.

The first time I got rid of some of the boys’ stuff it was HARD. Nothing but a few days later, I get a message from my sister online that she has sent the boys clothes, from STATES away. I got home from work one day, and there were BOXES on my front stoop, about six or seven, FILLED to the top STUFFED. And when I say STUFFED, you need to understand something, we are military kids. We know how to get as much stuff into something as possible. When I broke the tape on the boxes, clothes FELL OUT. From then on, it got easier. As a matter of fact, what hindered me from giving away clothes was not me, but other people. Other people had to say “oh we are overwhelmed with clothes right now! No more for a little bit please!” My sister-in-law has continued to give our twins bags and bags of clothes, and a friend from our church has given us quite a few as well. So now, we are in a position where we get to LOOK for opportunities to give away the clothes that the boys don’t fit because they’ve been in storage for a while, and it feels SO GOOD to know that we CAN help someone else.

On that same token, we struggled for quite some time as we only had one vehicle. Now, this one vehicle was a serious improvement on the two broken down ones we had, but yet and still…it was difficult for our family. Still, we gave rides to people. One of my friends looked at me one day and said “why would you drive me to my house? I live 30 minutes completely out of your way, it’s not on the way to anywhere….I’d never do that for anyone”. To me though, the answer was so simple. I explained that I remember what it was like to be completely dependent on other people. I remembered the frustrations of public transportation when the bus doesn’t show up on time, or when the routes are changed at random. I remember what it was like to have to walk to the grocery store and have to try to tote 10 bags of groceries home. I get it. It’s not fun. So 30 minutes out of our way to help someone who is in a situation that we’ve actually been in? That’s nothing. Then came a point where the one vehicle just was not working. I work day shift and my husband was switched to nights, except he worked in a different town, and there was no way that we could work it out that I could even get to him in enough time to get him to work, and even if I could, it would mean that I’d have to wake up the boys in the wee hours to go get them. Well…guess what….that never happened. Once again, God blessed. We were given a car. A nice one too, something that we would not have been able to afford. And…this isn’t the first time that we’ve been given a vehicle either. Not only did this allow us to get back and forth to work, but by the grace of God both of us are now attending school. Without transportation, this would have been next to impossible. It also frees us up to help others, give people rides and whatnot. We talk a lot about wanting to be able to get to the point where we can just give someone a vehicle. Yet and still, we are tested. I was in a pickle not too long ago, twice actually, where I was worried I wouldn’t have the gas to get home. Yes, at least in one of those instances, I had used our gas to help someone else out. Yet, God provided, once, he had a friend offer to loan me money, and the second time, the man that runs the gas station just GAVE me gas. You can’t tell me that’s not the work of God.

One of the things about giving, is that you help someone who is actually IN the situation you are trying to avoid. No, I don’t want my kids to go unclothed, but there’s actually someone who is so close to that, that maybe without help, their kid would have NO clothes. No, I don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with no gas, but maybe without help, there’s someone who won’t make it home at all. Something I’ve learned about giving, is that sometimes, it makes room for God to give you more. We are at the point now, where I REJOICE when I hear that someone needs something that we have to give. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see ANYONE in need, but there are times when I think about all the stuff we have and pray “God! Please help us to give this away!” and God shows us someone who is in need, and I always want to thank THEM, but it’s kind of hard to say “I’m sorry that you are struggling but THANKS SO MUCH! I’ve been wanting to give this to somebody!” (Yeah, I won’t be getting any points for tact when I get to heaven…that’s OK).

The funniest thing to me though, is the things that God gives us that….we actually forgot we even wanted. Recently, a friend sent me a message and said “I have an old style popcorn maker, like they have at the movie theaters. I was wondering if you wanted it?” See…she had only used it once or twice, and for some reason, she didn’t want it anymore, but what she couldn’t have known was this: as a military brat, I’ve taken a TON of flights, and my favorite thing about flying is that there are these magazines called “Sky Mall”. As a kid, I dreamt of having kids one day, and having a type of movie theater in my home, complete with said popcorn maker, a hot dog roller thing, a nacho cheese heater etc. I’ve still wanted that, but with everything on my plate, it’s like a long lost thought in the back of my mind. When she offered to give it to me, I cried, because it was almost like having God just say “here honey, I was thinking about you”. Not only that, but I was kind of in this place where I was not feeling very close with anyone, even those saying that they were my friends. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I said all of that to say this: you will NEVER out give God. Give to others, without thinking about how this might affect you years from now. See the blessings, and feel how awesome it is to give to others. In this holiday season, we tend to think about the great gifts we plan to give: and X-box here, an HD TV there, but there are people around you in REAL need at all times, that could use something, that YOU HAVE to give. Giving is infectious too. We’ve been teaching the twins about giving, and the other night, one of them looked at me and said “Mommy, I want to put this in the bag to give to the other kids that don’t have anything”. Yes, it made me proud. I sincerely hope that we can all learn to be a little more giving. Think of the difference that we can make in other people’s lives. I challenge you, instead of posting your “30 days of thankfulness” on Facebook for people to read this month, or instead of obsessing about what time you have to get up for Black Friday shopping this year, take one day a week for the next two months, and meet the needs of someone else with the supplies that you ALREADY HAVE. See what a difference it makes in the lives of you and your families.

Why we don’t post photos of our kids online.

I’m that paranoid mom, the one that grabs her children’s hands in the grocery store when you stop to comment about how cute they are. I’m the one that told old ladies “yes, you can look at my babies but you can’t touch them.” I’m the one that orders the “Child Safety Kit” online, so that I have their finger prints and pieces of their hair for DNA in case something happens. Yes, I’m also the one that doesn’t post pictures of my kids online.

I’m asked quite often why I don’t post pictures of my kids online, and rather than holding individual conversations with each person, I figured it might be easier to put this in a blog.

First off, let me say, I don’t judge. If you are parent who posts a million pictures of your kids online, and has no fear about it, I’m totally for that. Everyone has to make the best decision for their own family, so here’s why this decision is what I felt was best for our family.

I think that we all love the fact that information is now so easily available to us. Unlike the old days, we no longer have to take pictures with our cameras, go get them developed, wait an hour or more, buy stamps, and mail them off to family. We can take pictures now with our phones, and almost instantly share them with our family and friends. When we want to know someone’s telephone number, we don’t have to call around and ask family and friends when whitepages.com will do. And to find out if someone is home or on vacation, we no longer have to call and ask, nor do we have to find the town gossip, we can simply look at their Facebook status. Amazing isn’t it? We stay connected in a way that wasn’t possible a mere 20 years ago.

What’s being lost in this is that criminals have the same access to information that we do. Recently, a friend of mine asked me to explain why I don’t share pictures of my kids online. As an example to her, I went to her Facebook page, her mother had posted an old photo of a little girl. From that photo, I went to her mother’s Facebook page. Her mother had posted that her son was flying her to him in Texas and had posted the date. From there, I went to her son’s Facebook page, and working backwards, using simple free sites like Google, whitepages.com etc. I was able to tell my friend where her mother lived, relatives of hers that weren’t even on Facebook, when her mom was going to be out of town, where her brother went to college and high school, what sports team he played on while in college etc. All of that started with just a picture on a screen. What could I have done with that information? If I were a criminal, I could go to her mother’s house when I know she’s out of town and rob her home. I could call relatives and pretend to be a long lost friend and get even more information, I could even show up at the event that she said she was going to be attending and stalk her. Again, all of it started with ONE picture.

Another thing that I think about is pedophiles. I’ve heard people say “why would a pedophile go out of their way to research something on Facebook or some other form of social media when they can just pick up kids from a school or the park? I would say, isn’t it easier to get that information online? I’m using Facebook as an example but what I’m saying remains true for most social media sites. So stick with me here.

How I use it to find people:

I use Facebook to find people within specific areas. I’m a military brat, so finding my friends from all over the world can be difficult. Every now and then though, someone tells me “remember Katie? The last I heard she lives in California.” So I use this as a tool to find my friends.

How a criminal could use it:

Someone who lives within my area could easily search for others in the area who are within a certain age. From there, they could easily figure out which people have children, and with the pictures, they can tell how old the children are.

 

How I “Check-in” to keep up:
Ok, let’s just be clear here. I don’t “check in”. I think in the entire time that I’ve had Facebook I’ve “checked in” maybe once. BUT I have paid attention to where others “check in”. It’s helpful to know when my friends are on vacation so I don’t call them at random and ask random questions like “do you want to get together today for lunch?” “could you watch my kids for an hour today?”. It doesn’t always work, because I have missed it, and several times have called the same friend when she’s completely unavailable, but it does keep me up to date when I’m paying attention.

 

How a criminal can use it:

People post all the time about their activities in the household. Everyone knows someone who posts things like “I can’t wait to get married” “my house is so quiet” or “I can’t wait ‘till me and my husband have kids”. Then they post things like “we are going on a cruise!” or “White water rafting today!” You might as well hang a sign out for a criminal that says “hey my house is empty come on in!”

 

Please understand, I’m not trying to scare you, this is simply to give you some insight as to why WE don’t post pictures of OUR kids. Now I will say, it has been cool to see my cousins grow up. Our family lives ALL OVER, so seeing pictures of my cousins in cheerleading squads, or a picture of one of my cousins dressed as Ruby Bridges, VERY COOL. I get to watch them grow up from afar. There are people who are completely comfortable posting pictures of their kids, and that’s wonderful. This post is not to start an argument about how you are parenting in the right/wrong way, this is simply to help others understand our choices. What works for us may not work for you and vise versa. Would I love for everyone to see how adorable my kids are? ABSOLUTELY. But for US we just feel that the risks simply outweigh the benefits.

 

There you have it folks. I encourage comments, but please remember, if you post a comment with profanity it will NOT be approved. Thank you! 

My 26 day journey to becoming a better wife: “I”

How “Hold him first and the kids second” and “Honesty is key” went:

            I’ve been working on holding my husband first for a while. It’s a difficult thing because when you have more than one child, you are trying to meet more than one demand, and then trying to put someone ahead of those demands can be very difficult. The good thing though is that so far, I’ve been pretty successful. What I’ve seen from this is that my husband is much happier. Instead of him feeling like he’s been pushed aside, it seems as though he’s much happier. Plus, when he doesn’t put US first, he feels bad. Yesterday, he went out of his way to put me first. I had been talking about this chicken sandwich on pretzel bread that Wendys started selling. I really wanted to try it, but because I had been laid off we really didn’t have money to play around with. Yesterday was my first day back at work, and after work he took me WAY out of our way to go get one. It made me feel good because he had been listening to me. Even though it was inconvenient for him, he was happy to do it. So instead of me feeling like “ugh I’m always putting him first and he keeps putting himself first” I kept putting him first and he has started putting me first. It was really quite nice. Do my kids feel neglected? UMMM NO! First of all, like I’ve said, my kids are 2 years old, so if we keep doing things this way, they will get used to it. Also, they are in no way neglected. I don’t know if it’s possible that they could be more loved, and because we are fighting less, the kids are much happier.

I: Intimacy is important:

            I’m sure you knew this was coming at some point, you just didn’t know when. I need to preface this though with a statement/rant, so buckle up your seatbelts for this. Some people will look at this subject and think “I better not read this blog…it’s too racy.” Or they might think “This is something that shouldn’t be discussed in public”. Well here’s the thing, maybe if we were more open about what should be going on in the marriage bed, we wouldn’t have to sit in the pastor’s office fighting for our marriage because our husbands (or in some cases wives) are struggling with porn, or maybe we wouldn’t end up in divorce court because our spouse has committed adultery. So like it or not, part of this post is going to be about sex, because it needs to be said, because it’s a REAL part of marriage.

            Women and men are different. As women, we can hold hands, kiss our husbands, cuddle in bed while watching television and be completely satisfied. That’s not to say that we never want sex, but we are definitely not made like a man. Studies have been done that show that men think about sex 5x or more than women do. While we as women cuddle up to our man at night and think “wow he smells good, I feel so comfortable and safe”, the man is laying in bed thinking “when are we going to get to the next step?”

            The problem is that women, we often times are “not in the mood”.  You go to work, or spend all day with the kids, you cook dinner, clean up after, put the kids to bed, whatever the routine is, you just want to cuddle your man and be happy. The problem is, when we are constantly saying “I’m not in the mood” it causes our husbands to become frustrated. Some men will then seek satisfaction in other ways. It may be porn, it may be adultery, whatever it is, it’s not healthy for your marriage. Now what he’s doing if it’s porn or adultery is still sin, and there’s NEVER an excuse for sin, but you definitely aren’t helping matters. What I’m learning is to “give myself over to him” even when I’m “not in the mood” so that in the times where I’m really and truly not feeling good, he’s more understanding of it and doesn’t just feel like I’m brushing him off. Also, think about this: most of the time when you hear about sexual problems in a marriage, it’s not that the guy got sick of having sex with his wife every day, it’s usually that there wasn’t ENOUGH sex. The best way to combat this is to purpose within your heart to give yourself to him more. If this is something that you are struggling with, pray about it, every day. I did have to pray, and sometimes still do, mostly for the energy.

            The other thing is that sex becomes a “weapon”. I think that’s a misconception though. My husband and I recently had this conversation. It seems to me that women withhold sex because when they are withholding is usually when their husbands treat them nicer because they are trying to get it. Then when they have sex with their husband, he goes back to treating her like he did before he was “deprived”. It seems that more women see it as a “tool” than a weapon. The problem is though, that withholding sex from your husband is a sin, and God did not intend for it to be used in that manner. Also, if your husband is treating you well, and you enjoy it, then maybe just TELLING him that you enjoy the way that he’s treating you would encourage him to continue to do so. Male or female we all love to know that we are appreciated. Another thing I’m finding is that when you DON’T withhold sex, your husband starts treating you better on a REGULAR basis. As a woman, I encourage all you other women to not allow sex to be an issue in your marriage. We all know someone who has gotten a divorce who will tell you that sex was a huge issue. Don’t let it be an issue for you. You have the power to turn it around. So now, when my husband initiates, I’m trying to be more open even if I’m exhausted or I’ve had a rough day. My goal is to continue to do so, so that my husband never has a reason to look for satisfaction in other places. Remember, biblically speaking neither of you should be refusing each other. There’s nothing like knowing you are sinning by not pleasing your husband.

            Intimacy isn’t just about having sex though. Another part of intimacy is being lost the more technologically advanced our society becomes. Intimacy is also about sharing things between yourself and your husband. It seems that there are no secrets these days. With the invention of social networking, people have started to put information out there for the public to see that years ago would never have been mentioned in public. What people post about their relationships on Facebook amazes me. Is NOTHING private? Why on earth do you think it’s ok to post online that your husband is a complete jerk? Why do you think that it’s ok to post arguments that you’ve had with your husband and then encourage people to take sides? It’s tacky, people talk about you when you do it, and guess what…it destroys your marriage. There should be things that only you and your husband know about. My husband and I have secrets that we keep between the two of us. We have inside jokes, there are conversations that never leave our household, and even things that never leave our bedroom. It helps your marriage. Remember when you were in high school and you told your best friend EVERYTHING? Well your husband is supposed to be your best friend. There should be times when you can look at each other and burst out laughing because someone has said a key word or phrase and both you and your husband are thinking the SAME THING. There’s something to be said for privacy and intimacy. To develop this, I’m trying to spend more time with my husband, just relaxing with him and spending time with him. That’s how these secrets develop. I will say that the one exception to the secret thing is when you are in counseling. You need to tell your counselor the information that they need to know to be able to properly assist you.

I: “It’s a Wonderful Life”

            Every year, my family has a Christmas movie marathon. One of the movies in our marathon is “it’s a wonderful life”. For those who don’t know…without going into too much detail and giving it away, it’s about this man who is about to kill himself because he’s going through financial issues (that aren’t even his fault). An angel who pretty much sucks at his job and is really old but has never gotten his wings (because he’s never successfully helped anyone), gets assigned to this guy. The angel shows the guy what life would be like if the guy had never been born, and pretty much the ENTIRETOWN is effected. It’s a great movie, if you haven’t seen it, GO BUY IT RIGHT NOW!

            Anyhow, every time we watch this movie, I wonder how the world would be different if I weren’t in it. One year, I admitted to my husband that I thought that the world wouldn’t be that much different, and in some cases it would be better if I had never been born. My husband said “not for me.” He went on to tell me how he thought his world would be if I had never been born, if we had never gotten married. He told me how he felt that I had changed his life etc.

            The reason I chose this as my letter “I” is that if for no one other than your husband, you need to make an impact. Your relationship with your husband should be so deep and the impact that you have on his life should be so positive that when thinking about his life without you, he should be able to come up with some way as to how that would negatively effect his life. I think that a lot of people just “exist” together. For a while, my husband and I did simply “exist” together, meaning that if either one of us dropped off the face of the planet, the other would shed a tear and move on. That’s not the way it should be. We should mean so much to our husbands and them to us that when you think about “what if I never existed” or “what if he never existed” you could see how there would be a big difference in either life.

            This may seem like a hard one to work on, but I think in trying to improve my marriage, I’m already working on this one. The better our marriage becomes, the better we are to each other, and the more that we grow together, the harder it should be to imagine a life without each other. In some cases we just don’t know. In some cases we devalue ourselves, so first, ask your spouse how their life would be different without you. If they seem to be “reaching for straws” don’t get mad, just work harder to make a better relationship, so that you have more of an impact on their life. Women, we above all others should have the most impact on our husband’s lives. Not their mother, not the kids, US. The same applies in the reverse. Husbands should have the most impact on OUR lives.

            Another thing I’m doing is trying to be honest with my husband about how he can make a greater impact on my life. I’ve told him a couple of times (in a kind way), how I like to be treated, things that I like that he does for me etc. I also tell him how much I love spending time with him etc. I want to be the most important person to him, and I know he wants to be the most important person in my life. I want him to be able to look back and say “honey if I had never met you…I can’t imagine how different my life would be. It would be harder because ______, I would be less happy because __________ etc.” I don’t just want him to say “well I guess I would have married someone else.” So, with that in mind, I’m going to end this here and spend a little time with my husband.

            Again, I appreciate all of the faithful readers of this series! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

20 reasons why having children close in age is not the same as having twins.

I realized that my blog name is “twin mom” but I have never written anything specifically about twins. I’m a member of a lot of “twin parents” or “parents of multiples” groups online and I’ve run across the same complaint many times. Twin parents hear a lot of “Well I have 4+ kids they aren’t all the same age but still…” or “I had two kids that are 9 months apart, it’s the same thing”. It drives twin parents crazy, and then people actually get offended when we admit that it drives us crazy. So, I’d like to give you the chance to have a “peek” into our world, in the hopes that maybe you will understand why these comments sometimes drive us nuts, and why sometimes parents of multiples cling to each other for support. So here’s a list of reasons why it’s much different. Try to remember these things when you think “that twin mom is just playing-up her situation…it’s really no big deal”

  1. When  our kids were born we had to buy two car seats. We don’t get to purchase a  car seat, have a child grow out of it and pass it down to the next child. That’s two car seats, and guess what, when they grow out of said car seats,  we have to buy two more!
  2. Going to the store alone when your twins are infants is next to impossible. You have to use a carrier of some kind. My husband and I chose  to use their infant car seats which doubled as carriers. Guess what: Two infant car seats and a diaper bag fit into a cart…that’s ALL. So you can go to the store alone, you just can’t buy anything bigger than a pack of      gum.
  3. Our kids start walking at the same time. Even if you have kids 9 months apart,  the older child is going to walk before the younger one. Which means that  you only have one child to hunt down and stop from making a mess. Plus      then, eventually you are able to teach that child “DON’T TOUCH THIS”,  granted you have to turn around a couple of months later and do the same thing to the younger child. But consider two children, walking at pretty much the same time, but in different directions, tearing two different things up, and trying to teach them BOTH “Don’t touch this”. That’s a twin parent’s LIFE.
  4. The terrible twos. Remember when your child threw a fit in the middle of the supermarket? Or when they ran around the department store like a crazy person? Or when they had a meltdown at home because their favorite movie      wouldn’t play? Imagine having two of them, and one is running around the store while the other is having a meltdown. Or one is having a meltdown at home while the other is BREAKING your DVD player trying to get it to work      for THEIR favorite movie. TWO kids going through the terrible twos AT      ONCE.
  5. Potty      training. Yeah you would think it would be easier because they would see      each other doing it, but it’s not. They try to close the lid on each other      while the one is sitting on the toilet. Or one flushes the toilet while the      other is trying to use it, which scares him to death.
  6. The blame game. When you have kids that are somewhat far apart in age (not born on the same day), you can pretty well figure out who did what. For example, there’s no way that your infant spilled milk all over the kitchen floor, but when you have two kids at once who are the same age and both testing their boundaries, unless you see it happen, you have no idea who did it, and they will both blame each other.
  7. The popularity and stupid questions. Parents of singletons, do you ever go to the store and people gather around your child and say “What a lovely 2-year old! How much did he/she weigh when they were born?”, “Are they a      singleton?”, “Was it a hard pregnancy?”, “Is your child natural?”, “How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?”, “Are they healthy?”. These are questions that twin parents get almost EVERY TIME we go out. It      got so bad for us as we lived in a medium-sized town, that the Wal-mart employee who greets you at the door would spread the word that “the twins are here!”, by the time we made it back to the movie section, there was a gathering of employees around our cart making it impossible to move or shop. Complete strangers would follow us around the store asking crazy questions. In what world is it ok for a stranger to ask about my medical history or that of my children? That’s the world that twin parents live in.
  8. Increased doctor’s appointments. This happens from the moment the doctors find out that you are pregnant with twins. You know those ultrasounds that singleton moms are sooooo excited to have? Well twin moms have them EVERY      TIME they go to the doctor, and the plus side is that when you are GIGANTIC, they take EVEN LONGER and your back spasms so bad that they      allow you to take breaks so you don’t go into labor. Ohhh…and it doesn’t      stop after they are born, because twins are usually born premature, so      they have to go to the doctor A LOT. Plus they usually don’t get sick at      the same time, so it’s almost 4x as much as going to the doctor with a      healthy singleton baby. (I had to go to the doctor once a week for a month      and a half with the twins until they reached 6 pounds).
  9. The      long/involved stories and anecdotes from strangers. When parents of      children of differing ages go out in public, they don’t hear comments like      “I had a baby once”. “I know someone who had a baby once”, or “I was once      a baby”. Nor do they have to politely listen to the 10 minute story that      follows. Parents in GENERAL are busy, not just twin parents but ALL      parents are busy. Just like all other parents, twin moms want to get in      and get out of the store. Instead, we hear “I knew some twins once”, “I      knew someone who had twins”, “I am a twin” etc. Then we have to politely      listen to a long drawn-out story. It’s kind of exhausting. Plus, if you      catch us on the wrong day, we immediately call our friends and make fun of      you!
  10. Going      to sleep at night. Yeah…remember the countless nights you stayed awake      with your child trying to get them to go to sleep? When they were infants,      your eyes were red and puffy, you lived on caffeine, and were incredibly      short with people? When they were toddlers and got out of bed in the      middle of the night, you simply let them slip into bed with you so you      could go back to sleep? Being a twin parent is a whole new ballgame. For      about six months, my husband and I got about 2 hours of sleep a night. My      husband drank 5 hour energy drinks like they were water and STILL fell      asleep. Wanna talk about edgy? I answered the phone with “WHAT DO YOU      WANT?” or “THIS BETTER BE AN EMERGENCY”. As toddlers, they won’t sleep      without each other. So one has a nightmare, gets up in the middle of the      night, and I’d love to just let him slip into bed with us, but the problem      is that they’ve slept together their whole lives. When the sleeping child      no longer hears the breathing of the other child, he instantly wakes up.      We have it down to an actual science. You must have the child with the      nightmare back in the room in 10 minutes or less or both children will be      wide awake. Oh and…even if the other one wouldn’t wake up…the awake child      refuses to sleep with mommy and daddy as their twin is in the other room,      and I have FRATERNAL twins…I can’t imagine what people with IDENTICAL      twins go through. Oh…and let’s not even talk about the time that one of      the twins was admitted to the hospital. Talk about not getting any sleep.      My husband stayed home with the “well” twin, and I was at the hospital      with the sick twin. NO SLEEP! They spent three days looking for each      other. I was so glad to reunite them when I brought him home from the      hospital. I knew it meant that I would get some sleep!
  11. The      constant assertion that “it’s no different than having more than one child      or children close in age”. Believe us when we say, there’s a HUGE      difference. Being a parent is difficult in general, it’s VERY difficult      for twin parents, EXTREMELY difficult for triplet parents, and goodness      gracious, I don’t know how parents of more than 3 kids of the same age at      the same time make it through the day. We don’t say these things because      we think that we are better than a singleton parent, in my opinion, good      parents are just good parents regardless of the amount of children. The      thing is though, don’t reject something you know nothing about. By no      means would I tell the parent of a child with no legs that “it’s no      different than having an infant that can’t walk”. How would I know? Being      a parent is just difficult, but when a twin parent is venting to you      because of something specifically related to the fact that their kids are      twins…don’t try to downplay their issues. There’s a reason that there are      support groups for parents of multiples.
  12. Buying      two of almost everything. You know that awesome toy that you bought your      child that they lost interest in so you just passed it down to one of your      younger kids? You know how your older child grew out of their clothes and      you just passed them down to your younger child? That doesn’t happen in “twin      world”. In the world of twins you buy one cool toy, you might as well buy      two of them. All of us fall into this crazy trap though, because we think:      “instead of me buying two of this particular toy, why don’t I buy one of      this toy and one of this other toy”. Well…the twins will be having none of      that. They are only interested in the toy that their sibling has.      Sometimes, even if you buy two of the EXACT SAME THING they actually can      identify the exact one that they want and fight over that. (I’m sure that      some singletons do that too though). We don’t get to “pass down clothes”.      Fortunately many of us have family and friends that are willing to help us      out, but generally, the twins grow at about the same rate, and then when      they grow out of it…you are just kind of stuck looking at it. OH and when      you want to give it away, it’s a PAIN. People are all for taking clothing,      but a twin parent has TWICE the amount of baby clothes, and most people      don’t want two of the exact same outfits.
  13. The      constant comparison. This isn’t always from strangers, believe it or not,      the worst of it comes from us as parents. See…you as a parent may look at      your toddler and think “my older child was talking by this point” or “my      older child knew his colors by this point”, and it may be true, but you      can’t really be CERTAIN can you? When you watch two kids grow up together      you end up thinking: “why isn’t THIS child doing what the other child is      doing?”. It’s a constant battle that you have to deal with. It’s an      internal thing that you can’t really just “get over”. It’s something that      none of us are proud of, but there’s not much we can do about it.
  14. The      challenge to stay one step ahead of them. I have friends who have kids who      were telling me about when their kids started crawling out of their cribs.      When I told them that the twins were doing it, they were really surprised,      because the twins started this REALLY YOUNG. Finally we caught them in the      act and found out why. One child was helping the other by boosting him up      out of the crib. Then we separated their cribs. They were still doing it.      Wanna know how? The child who could climb out on his own would throw all      of his blankets and stuffed animals into the other child’s crib. The child      who could not get out on his own would then take these blankets and      stuffed animals and throw half of them on the ground. The child who is on      the ground would then make a pile. The child in the crib would then pile      the blankets and stuffed animals into a corner, step on this pile, tumble      over the side of the crib onto the soft pile of blankets his twin brother      made. Yeah…they think TOGETHER. They weren’t very old when they started      this. They learn fast. When you have one kid who tries something and      fails, and possibly gets hurt, it takes them a while to come up with      another scheme. When you have twins, they are both thinking out the      problem and working together (even without talking) to fix said problem.
  15. The      empty nest is SUDDENLY empty. I’ve not experienced this yet, but it’s      something that twin parents are told to prepare for. When you have      children who are even 9 months apart in age, generally they won’t leave      the house at the same time, so your nest slowly dwindles to “empty”.      Apparently, twins usually leave at the same time and a lot of times they      will leave TOGETHER. Now, my boys are two years old, and today was a rough      day, so I’m not sweating that right now….but just know that we all think      about it, even in passing…it’s there in the back of our minds.
  16. Twin      talk. Twin talk is a real thing, look it up. It’s a form of communication      that twins have with each other. My kids do it, I’ve actually never met a      pair of twins that don’t do it. The problem is, YOU can’t understand it. The      other problem is, it delays actual speech. So, I have a child who doesn’t      like to talk…instead, he chooses to “twin talk” with his brother (which      sounds like gibberish to me), and then his brother translates. It’s like      trying to teach someone who speaks a foreign language how to speak      English, except you don’t speak their language and you don’t have anyone      to teach you. Every “twin talk” is different, so I can’t even go to      someone else’s twins to learn.
  17. The pregnancy.      Yes we have more doctor’s appointments, but do you remember when you were      pregnant and craving that strawberry pie? Or maybe it was steak and French      fries? Well, in a lot of twin pregnancies (mine included), we crave things      that make us sick to our stomach to even think about eating. I craved      bacon so badly, but the THOUGHT of eating it made me nauseous. I finally      asked my doctor why, and she said that in a twin pregnancy, one twin will      cause you to crave something, while the other will cause you to feel      nauseated about eating it. It’s almost like your body is having two separate      pregnancies. Fun huh? Then you become a raving lunatic because you just      HAVE to have that bacon, but you can’t afford to keep getting sick! Oh…and      remember later in your pregnancy when you had to sleep sitting up because      you felt like you couldn’t breathe? That happens earlier rather than later      in a twin pregnancy, and when you DO lay down, your babies are ANGRY. They      don’t have much room as it is, so if you lay on your side, one baby will      kick the bed, if you lay on the other side, the other one will do it. So…you      will be quite a while without rest…that is until your doctor hands over      the sleeping pills.
  18. Keeping      everyone else straight. I know a couple of people who have kids that look      similar that have to constantly tell people “no,…THIS is Billy…..THAT is      Bobby”. Let me let you in on a secret, my twins look NOTHING alike, and      people STILL get them confused. People that have known them since BIRTH      get them confused. It’s ongoing.
  19. Keeping      YOU straight. You know how you have one kid that loves chicken while the      other one loves beef? Or one kid wants the crusts cut off the sandwich      while the other one would be happy if you gave them extra crust?      Eventually you just get into a system. You’ve gotten so used to it that      you are in a system. With twins, it’s harder to remember that. So, you end      up cutting the crusts off one sandwich and giving it to the wrong kid…never      fear though….they work it out and switch their food on their own once they      get older.
  20. The      fear that you did it wrong. See, when you have one kid at a time, you can      look and say “man I wish I did ________ differently” and with the next kid      you can. With twins, you are doing it for two kids at once. So if what you      are doing doesn’t work out…guess what! You deal with the consequences      TWICE!

Again, none of this means that the job of being a singleton parent isn’t hard, because like I said, being a parent can be hard. I wrote this because I know a LOT of twin parents have these same complaints and just wish that others understood them. So, there it is. I hope that it was eye-opening for some of you, and for the parents of multiples out there, I know many of you laughed while reading some of these things…so I hope you enjoyed the comedy and enjoyed knowing you aren’t alone!

HAPPY PARENTING!

My 26-day Journey to Becoming a Better Wife. “H”

How “Go along with the decisions that he makes” and “Give thanks to God and your husband” went:

            Yesterday was a busy day for both of us. My husband forgot to take the checkbook with him to work, and we live REALLY FAR from the place where we needed to pay the bill. Instead of getting angry, I thanked my husband for getting up and going to work, and when he got home, I went out with one of the boys to pay the bill. It was really no big deal, when weeks ago, this would have been a hug hairy deal. Thankfully we were able to simply move on. Furthermore, I was actually thankful that my husband got up and went to work. He has a great work ethic, so it makes our lives much easier in that I don’t have to try to force him to go to work on a regular basis. So I got to find something to be thankful for. As far as the decisions he makes, yes he requested certain clothes which I went along with, but yesterday was hard for me because I still am not feeling well. I was laying in bed, and my husband said “babe, you really need to get going on dinner, it’s getting late”. I know that I could have easily said “I really don’t feel up to cooking” and he would have been fine with that and made himself a sandwich, but instead, I got up and cooked. He was extremely happy with his dinner, and we had a peaceful evening together. I love it when the household is peaceful!

H: Hold Him First and the Children Second:

            This one is really hard for me, I’ve always wanted children, every since I was little I wanted to have children. Before we had kids, my husband and I lived a very quiet life. We used to go to this little second hand bookstore and buy books by the box. We’d come home to our dog, and our quiet little apartment and sit and read. We would read in silence for HOURS. When we started to get hungry, we would fight over who had to run to a drive-through and get us food and who had to walk the dog. The person who got to walk the dog got to keep reading, so that was the chore that we always wanted. Eventually we kept track and took turns. If I decided to cook, we would both stop reading and while I was cooking we would stop and tell each other about our books. Neither of us was particularly interested in the other’s book but it was fun to talk about. We would stay up late playing gin rummy (he ROCKS at that game), monopoly, and trivial pursuit. We would watch movies before bed. This was our life. We loved it, but I still wanted kids. When we had the twins, our whole lives changed. Our lives became ruled by two other lives. Two people that needed us for EVERYTHING. Forget reading, we couldn’t even EAT or use the bathroom in peace! Our quiet little home turned into a place where the noise level rivaled that of a rave. Yet and still, we loved these little people. Somewhere along the line though, our relationship began to suffer, because my whole world became about them. It wasn’t just that they needed me, it was that I fell in love with them, I was completely enamored by everything that they did. I was so focused on them, that I allowed my relationship with my husband to falter. We spent less time together. We stopped talking to each other about anything other than the children. We stopped telling each other how much we loved each other, and in a short amount of time, we became strangers. Strangers that couldn’t even look at each other without bitterness.

            My husband always wanted our old relationship back. That’s not to say that he didn’t want the kids and didn’t want to keep the kids, but he wanted a balance. It took me a while to realize it, but I fell so much in love with the kids and put them first in so much that I was making my husband feel as though I didn’t love him at all. What he doesn’t know is that I yearned for that relationship back with him. I felt like he regretted having children at all, and I felt like maybe he regretted being married to me. This is obviously not the way that a marriage should be. For some reason, we both felt trapped. What changed? Don’t think that I’m an awesome wife yet. A while back, I started to become overwhelmed with the kids. I still loved them, I just realized that yet again I was feeling empty, and this emptiness is because I was missing some other kind of love. The kind of love that you get from a husband not from kids. I’m not talking about sex, I just mean that kind of love. That relationship that you have with your spouse. Our pastor was on this kick about families during that time. God had laid on his heart exactly what I needed to hear. It seemed like every message was about family and how God wants our family to be etc. He kept talking about how children need to be second to your spouse. They are important, but you need to put your spouse before them, because it’s important that your marriage be first. If you put your marriage first, the rest will fall into line. You aren’t doing your kids any favors by putting them first, because eventually that either leads to a bad marriage or it leads to divorce. How does that help your kids exactly? It doesn’t.

            So, in an effort to be a better wife, I’ve started putting my husband first, and I realize that I don’t have to neglect my kids to do so. As a matter of fact, I can incorporate them into it, and the funny thing is, other people start to notice. My husband has been hinting around for weeks that he wants me to make him some pies, cakes, cookies, something. He gets that way now and then, especially as it gets close to the holidays, he gets this sweet tooth. Well, we just recently found my pie pans. I took the twins to the store a couple of days ago, and to keep them interested, I try to talk to them. I started saying “we are going to make daddy a pie this week! Daddy wants pie! Are you guys going to help me make daddy a pie?” Several ladies stopped me in the store commenting that they wanted to come over, and that it was so sweet that we were making my husband a pie. I also knew that I was planning to make lasagna that day. My husband loves Texas Toast, I on the other hand think toast is pretty disgusting. Every once in a great while I will eat a piece of toast, but I just think it’s gross. Texas Toast is even worse because it’s really THICK toast. They have this Texas Toast that is a garlic bread. I also think that garlic bread is nasty. So they put two nasty things together and people actually buy it! Well my husband is a big fan. I like breadsticks. I stood at the freezer section debating, and then I decided that we would get what my husband likes, and then I told my kids: “we get Texas Toast because daddy likes Texas Toast. Daddy loves us, and to show him that we love him, we get him the things that he likes”. I did that with several things throughout the store, until one of the boys started saying “daddy likes this?”. Another thing I’ve tried to do is put my husband first when making plans. If we are invited somewhere, or even if I’m invited somewhere, I don’t just say “sure”, I say “well let me talk to my husband”. It’s easier that way, so that I don’t end up scheduling things that end up inconveniencing him. Another thing I’ve tried to do is have conversations about subjects besides the children and finances. We don’t really agree on politics, but it’s still something that we can talk about. We also talk about current events, we plan for the future, we have a lot that we can talk about. It allows us to get closer to each other. We also watch movies together at night, and to be perfectly honest with you, I yearn to spend time with him now. I can’t wait to put the boys to bed so that I can spend time with him and focus my energy on him. We also try to have occasional date nights. Unfortunately it’s too expensive to have someone watch our kids for us, so what we do is put them to bed, eat something nice and play games. I love it when my husband plans these things because it makes me feel like he wants to spend time with me.

H: Honesty is Key:

            One of the biggest issues in relationships is that of honesty. We have become a society that is ok with “white lies”. I hear people say “a little white lie never hurt anybody”, but it really does. When you lie about small things and your spouse finds out, it causes them to not believe you in the big things. Women in general amaze me, they ask their spouse if they look fat in an outfit, and if their spouse says “yes” they are in huge trouble, if the spouse says no, and later someone says “wow that doesn’t look good on you!” they get angry at their spouse for lying. It’s almost like people WANT to be lied to. I am not a fan of lying, for ANY reason. I think that when people lie it’s because they are too cowardly to tell the truth. I also have serious trust issues, so when I am lied to, it makes it very hard to trust a person again. When I ask my husband if I look fat in an outfit, he will tell me the truth (yes, he has in the past told me “yeah…it does kind of make you look fat”). Does the truth always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside? No. It does make me feel safe though.

            What I struggle with is being honest to a fault. I can be brutal in my honesty which really hurts people’s feelings. I defiantly am not one who is good at speaking the truth in love. This is something that can tear a marriage apart. If I don’t know how to tell my husband in a loving way that I feel that he’s being selfish, all I end up doing is hurting his feelings and he shuts me out. There has to be a better way to say how I’m feeling. That’s the balance that I’m working on finding. I don’t want to be any less honest, just more kind and tactful.

            In your relationships, I encourage you to work on honesty in everything. Little white lies turn into big lies. It will break down the trust in your relationship. When your spouse looks and you and says “I can’t trust you” it’s because you’ve lied so much, even if it’s just little things, that they don’t know when you are telling the truth. You have to make a change. You have to be honest with one another. Take the first step by being honest. One of the things that my husband will tell you is that he never has to be concerned about where I am, because I’m very honest with him. He can trust me. If I say, “I was here at this time” he never has to think “was she really?” he can simply trust me. If your spouse can’t trust you, you must make a change because a relationship can’t make it without trust. So remember, be honest, but be honest in a way that doesn’t hurt the other person’s feelings. Instead of saying “you look enormous in that outfit” something like “that outfit doesn’t flatter your figure” is just as honest and a lot more kind. I pray that all of you who are working to make a change are finding that your marriage is improving greatly. Remember to put your trust in the Lord!

Until Tomorrow!

My 26-day journey to becoming a better wife! “G”

How “Flexibility Breeds Contentment” and “Forget the past” went:

            Ok, so first, a general update: we didn’t argue for the past two days! That’s good! I apologize for not writing  one yesterday. You ever have one of those days where you wake up and everything is already going wrong? That’s the kind of day I had yesterday. I was panicking, calling my husband, trying to get some information etc. It was just ROUGH. Then, the kids were being completely crazy, and you know how that goes. We both kept our cool, and we were actually both really flexible in coming up with new plans for dinner, with working out our stressful situation in the morning, and eventually we just relaxed so that was WONDERFUL. Over the past couple of days, there have been times when my husband has done things that make me want to bring up the past. Fortunately, I remembered my goals and decided not to bring it up. It made for a much more peaceful household, and surprisingly, I couldn’t even tell you now what he did if I wanted to because I simply can’t remember. Something that I’m learning about “forget the past” or not bringing it up, is that it makes the current situation easier to deal with, and easier to forget as well. So cheers to a successful day!

  G: “Go along with the decisions that he makes”: </ This is another one that I’m sure people will think is old fashioned, but it’s Biblical and very important. It’s also something that I struggle with. I am a natural born leader, but I enjoy a dominate man. When I was dating my husband, he was extremely dominate, after we got married, and had kids, I think he became overwhelmed by the responsibility, and he began to wane in his dominance. I started to step into the things that he was waning on. This became an issue as eventually I became the dominate one in our household. This would cause a lot of problems in our household, as I would greatly desire for him to take charge, as me being in charge was really stressful for me, and he would just be constantly annoyed. God put the man in the role as the head of the household for a reason. I have a theory behind it: men and women are different. Men see a big picture, while a woman sees little details. Because we see little details, we are completely obsessed with everything going “just right”, but the problem is, in real-life, most things aren’t “just right”. Plus, a man deals with stress in a much different way than we do. Do you as a woman ever have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you are stressed out, and then you look at your husband who is snoring away and it infuriates you? Men are better able to compartmentalize. Basically, they can be stressed about an issue, but they tend to move on until the issue arises once more. Women, we tend to be the opposite. We stress until an issue is resolved, and EVERYTHING we do becomes driven by this underlying stress. There’s nothing that we can do to change that, but there’s a very easy way to get you out of the stress cycle: do things GOD’S WAY!

            God’s way is that the man should be the head of the household. He should make the decisions, which should be lead by instruction from God. We as the women should follow. I know it’s hard to do, like I said, I’m a natural born leader, but even as I’ve been working on this, I have noticed that my stress level has decreased which has decreased the stress level in the household all around. The reason that I feel less stressed is because I just feel like “if this is the plan that my husband has, and I do what I’m supposed to do and follow him, it’s going to be OK.” That’s not to say that everything is always going to work out. Our husbands will at times make stupid decisions, but that falls on THEM, because even though those consequences may effect the rest of the household, it’s then HIS DECISION as to how to fix these things! It’s still your job to just FOLLOW! I asked my pastor once what if my husband makes a decision that I really feel is stupid and wrong, and my pastor said “so what? Suck it up! You are supposed to be his help-meet and submit”. Ok…well, I haven’t even sucked up the fact that pastor said that three years ago lol! So, “sucking it up” is a hard thing to do, but the fact is that he’s right. Don’t get me wrong, you can and should still voice your opinions to your husband, but encourage him to make the final decision, and when he does, you need to follow it.

            One piece of advice that I will give to leaders like myself, BACK OFF. I mean TOTALLY back off. I would constantly give my opinion, and when my husband would make a decision that I didn’t care for, I would say “well did you think about ______?” Eventually, I would in a round-about way, get him to make the decision that I wanted him to make in the first place. That’s still ME leading, NOT him. If you are a natural born leader, stop giving your opinion for a while. If your husband has all of the information that you do, let him make the decision. I know that it’s hard, and it definitely is very difficult for me, but I realized that this was the only way to truly allow him to be the leader, and for me to be submissive. After we get comfortable in those roles and it’s more established, I can then give my opinion without feeling that I’m swaying him.

            Some women feel that they have husbands who just don’t know how to lead or that will never make decisions. As I said, my husband used to be very dominate, but then somehow our roles got switched in the household. When that happened, my husband stopped making as many decisions, it almost became like pulling teeth to get him to make a decision. What I’ve started to do is back off, but also I ask him to make smaller decisions on a more regular basis. For example, I ask him on a daily basis what he would like for me to wear when he gets home, and what he would like for me to wear to bed. Now remember, guys aren’t really that detail oriented, so I’m not expecting for him to say “wear a black skirt with a red top and a red scarf in your hair” but I know that it’s going to be something more along the lines of “wear a skirt and something nice”. Now when it comes to bed clothes, expect him to be able to be way more specific. :). These are things that he knows I will be asking him every single day. Also, when I make my meal plan for the week, I run it by him for “approval”. I do ask him for ideas if I’m stuck and can’t think of anything, but generally I try to come up with most of it myself. Ladies, you know why. Your husband may just LOVE something that you make that takes you about 6 hours to make. You really may not be feeling up to that. Or you may have a husband that could live off of corn dogs and French fries. My husband falls into the first category. If I ask him what he would like to eat, he’s going to say “fried chicken”. I know he loves it, but he has very little idea as to how much work it is. When I suggest pot roast, he’s for it but he’ll say “isn’t that a lot of work?”. Dude, pot roast takes me 15 minutes to get everything together and put it in the oven or the slow-cooker, fried chicken is at least a 1.5 hour meal all together (chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls etc.). So again, open things up for him to have the ability to make decisions, and ASK him to make even small decisions on a daily basis just to get him more used to you stepping back and him stepping up, but when it comes to things like the meal plan, be smart about it. My husband would tell you in a heartbeat that he loves my cooking, but if me cooking a huge meal means that I don’t have energy to be intimate later, he’ll settle for a hot dog and call it a plan.

            The other thing about going along with his decisions is that you must remember that there will be “growing pains. He’s not going to instantly be the best decision maker in the world, and you are not instantly going to become the most submissive wife in the world. So if your family is being run like “Roseanne” today, don’t expect to have a “Leave it to Beaver” family tomorrow. So try to be patient with one another.

 

G: Give thanks to God and your husband Constantly:

            1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

            I know that life is tough. We go through so much on a regular basis, and sometimes in a trial, it’s hard to find anything to be thankful for, but yet and still, you need to. Let me take you through my morning this morning. Last night, I had trouble sleeping. Yes, I was stressed about something. My husband was snoring away. I had to ask him several times to roll over, I finally got to sleep and it felt like just then my husband is waking me up telling me I need to come latch the door behind him (our kids know how to unlock and open doors so we have to keep the door latched at all times so they don’t “escape” in the middle of the night). I get up, latch the door, and my husband told me that he had recently sent the boys back to bed. I crawled back in bed and went to sleep. A little while later, one of my sons comes in my bedroom and asks for some milk. I get up, walk to the kitchen and stop dead. A half-gallon of iced coffee has been poured all over the kitchen floor. The box of doughnuts is on the floor, with several doughnuts missing. My husband’s tool box has been moved to the living room. They had pulled the Redi Whip ® out of the fridge and put it on the counter. The ketchup was on their small table, and there was a block of ice melting on the floor. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I already have enough to do without little people adding to the difficulty. Instead, I got busy trying to clean it up, and then praised God for the fact that my children are healthy enough to make a mess. My kids have had so many health issues in the past, and have been to the hospital more times than I can count. So today, I thought of every parent who has had to kiss their child for the last time on a hospital bed, who has had to bury their child or children, and I thanked God for mine. Remember, God deserves your praise regardless of what you are going through. Everyone in my household has the flu right now. It’s annoying because I’m drained, my husband is drained and the kids are cranky and drained, BUT I praised God that we are all sick at the same time. There were MONTHS where we couldn’t go to church because we all kept passing around a virus. This way we all have it at once and will hopefully get over it at once. Even if God never gave us another thing, and never did anything for us again, He still deserves our praise as He sent His son to die for us. So in every struggle you face, find a way to praise God. In EVERYTHING!

            You should also find ways to thank your husband on a regular basis. I know it’s hard, especially when your husband is driving you nuts, but thanking him can be encouraging and it also lets him know that you appreciate him. When my husband has a hard day at work, I try to remember to thank him for even going to work, because there are men out there that just won’t get off the couch and work. I try to thank him when he’s taken care of the kids, given them baths etc. When he does things that take some of the responsibility and pressure off of me, I thank him for that. Being thankful toward your husband also does something to you too. It helps to get rid of some bitterness. If I can thank my husband for cleaning the kitchen so that I didn’t have to, then maybe I won’t focus so hard on the one dish that didn’t get cleaned. If I can thank him for giving the twins a bath for me so that I could relax, then maybe I won’t focus so hard on the fact that the bathroom floor is covered in water. It’s harder to be bitter when you are thankful. The thing is though, that you have to make sure that you are sincere about your thankfulness. I did try this for a while a while back, and then actually became bitter because my husband wasn’t reciprocating and telling me “thank you” back. Well now, I kind of don’t care. If my husband thanks me for things that I do that’s AWESOME and I love that. If he doesn’t, that’s OK, because I’m doing the things I do out of love not for thanks. Make sure that you continue to thank your husband for things. If you are struggling that badly to find something to be thankful to him for my advice is to pray. Get on your knees and pray until God brings something to mind that you can be thankful to your husband for. Your thankfulness can be an encouragement to him, and it will help you to see him in a different light. That’s a win-win for both of you.

 

That’s it for now. Thanks for continuing to read and follow the blog! Please keep us in your prayers! Thank you!

My 26-day journey to becoming a better wife: “F”

How “Encourage Him” and “Expect a lot of yourself” Went:

            Ok, this is another opportunity to be honest with you. I wish that I could tell you that we had a great day yesterday. I wish that I could say that everything went swimmingly and we are the happiest couple on the planet. I COULD say that, but it would be a lie. Our marriage is under attack. No, it’s not another woman or another man, it’s us. Something I’m learning along the way is that, working on our marriage isn’t going to make everything perfect, as a matter of fact, it’s going to be much harder than I thought. We still have the same issues that we had before. One of those being that we have trouble communicating with each other. For some reason, I thought that when we were working on our marriage, our old issues would go away and the only issue we would have is Satan. Well, it’s not true. You still end up struggling with the same problems, but then because you are trying to work on improving your marriage, you have Satan causing problems too. It’s actually almost twice as hard as it was before. So where does that leave us? Fighting a battle together, but at times, acting like we are fighting a battle against each other. This is obviously not the way things are supposed to be, and hopefully, one day it will get easier, and one day it will get better but it will take a lot of work. We are good now, no longer arguing, but it’s still not what I wanted, and I’m sure that that’s not what my husband wanted. On the up side, now we are both not feeling well (possibly the flu) so perhaps God is giving us this opportunity to slow down and take care of each other because that’s exactly what we are doing! Now what do we do? We press on!

 

F: Flexibility Breeds Contentment:

            The thing about life is that it’s full of disruptions. It’s full of unexpected knocks at the door, random phone calls in the middle of the night, and of course, unplanned illness. The problem is though, as annoying as unexpected life events can be, what can be even more annoying is when our spouse throws unexpected things into the mix.

            Growing up, I saw a lot of that. My dad is what my mother would call a “social butterfly”. I’m convinced that if it were up to him, we would have gone to every single social event that life had to offer, and spend very little time at home. My mother on the other hand, was the exact opposite. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t a wall-flower, or one of those people that is so anti-social you worry about them going berserk on a crowd of people one day, she’s just one of those people that is content to say “hi” to you and be on her way. This would cause a strain as my dad would constantly invite others over to our house after church, or accept invitations for our family to go over to other people’s houses. It drove my mother CRAZY! The thing is, she, like me, has trouble eating other people’s food. We aren’t stuck-up or snooty, but rather possibly a bit paranoid. Think about it this way: you go to someone’s house who has dinner prepared, but what you DON’T know is that they never wash their pots and pans, and when they were preparing it they sneezed in the food. We actually KNOW a woman (someone famous in Baptist circles so I won’t mention her name), that told us the following story: her husband had invited guests over to eat for them one day. He gave her 24 hours notice, so she was good to go. She decided to make a lemon cake. At some point, she realized that ants had crawled into her batter, she didn’t have the ingredients, nor the time to start over. So what she did was put poppy seeds in the cake. Her guests LOVED it, as did her husband even though she kept TRYING to tell him to stop eating the cake! It’s a funny story, but it does kind of make you want to think twice about accepting dinner invitations doesn’t it? Well, anyway, back to my parents. As I said, my dad constantly got us invited places and invited people over to our house, which drove my mother (and sometimes me) up the wall. I knew that almost every time this happened my parents would get into an argument. Pretty much the same argument. My mother would be angry that he didn’t talk to her first, and he would really have no clue as to why it was a big deal. Nothing ever really got settled because it happened over and over again. The thing is though, he didn’t HAVE to stop, because he knew his wife, my mother, would act like a lady. She never embarrassed him, they didn’t get into arguments in the presence of the guests (or hosts), she acted like a lady. Now, I thought this was something that would go on until the day that they died, but I was wrong. After talking to my mother a couple of years ago about this, she said that they kind of met in the middle. My dad started to talk to her first more often, and when they did get invited to places, my mother purposed to go with a good attitude. It definitely changed things for them.

            My marriage is somewhat similar. My husband is very shy, while I’m extremely outgoing. Usually what happens in our case is that I get to know the woman of the couple, and after a while, my husband gets to know the man. Now after he gets to know someone, he can talk to them like they have been friends since birth, but until then he’s really shy. In our household, we both have a weird way of dealing with social gatherings. I’m all for having gatherings at our home, but they must be planned weeks in advance, I want everything to be perfect and it becomes really stressful because I’m stressed about everything being perfect. My husband is happy to have a couple of people over to our home (we don’t have a large house), but most of the time he prefers meeting up with a couple somewhere, which can also be stressful as we have the kids. I realized recently though that we had somewhere along the line met in the middle. Here’s our story. Several months ago, our family moved out to the country, there’s two acres of land, we have three bedrooms two baths. It’s nice, but there’s a LOT of work needed both on the house and the lawn. Well, our pastor’s wife (who I would consider my friend), was so excited that we were moving out to the country. She said “hey in August we are going to come over and see the meteor shower that’s supposed to happen!” The whole conversation made me smile, because the mark of a true friend is one who doesn’t say “hey could we come over” but one who says “yeah…I’m coming over be ready!”. So I loved it, I was so excited, and I told my husband who was totally fine with it, but because it was going to be from about 11pm-1am he said he’d have to go to bed so he could go to work in the morning. No big deal right. So my pastor’s wife was bringing herself and three other people. I thought: well that will be fun, I’ve never seen meteors and it will be nice to spend time together. Then, because this was on a Sunday evening, we decided that she and her family would come to our house to eat first, then her husband (the pastor) would leave with their children and put them to bed, while the rest of us stayed and watched the shower. I figured, since we are having a cookout, why don’t I invite a friend from work? I didn’t think she would even come, but she accepted the invitation and brought herself, her daughter, and her boyfriend. Then, I thought about the fact that there would be no one for my husband to talk to. Who better to invite than a couple from church that we had just recently made really good friends with? Since we had two couples from church coming, I realized that my kid’s God-mother and one of my best friends should come with her family too. Do you see where this is headed? One thing lead to another and all told there were over 20 people at our house. We have a grill that’s made to cook for a small family, that my husband cooked on all night, with the help of his friend who held a flashlight over the grill…oh and our grill is CHARCOL. That’s right! They had to get the charcoal to light. They also had to bring our dining room table outside with meant taking the door of the hinges. This was no small thing. This was a LOT, and I put EVERYBODY to work! In the end, I had fun, but I was worried that my husband would be so annoyed the next day. What surprised me was what he actually said: “I had a lot of fun! I hope we can do it again next year, plus then we will have everything more straightened out and more organized!”

            So I said all of that to say this, things don’t always happen the way that you expect them in marriage, but you have to be flexible. If you keep working on flexibility, one day you might find that you have actually met in the middle and that you are BOTH enjoying yourselves. It also makes your relationships with other people better, because neither of you spends their time being angry and annoyed with each other while socializing. This of course does not only apply to socializing, it applies to all areas of your life. Remember though, that flexibility in a marriage is just like physical flexibility. You don’t just wake up one day and discover that you can do splits and turn yourself into a pretzel, it takes time and work, and after you do become more flexible, you have to continue to work at it to remain limber. So KEEP BEING FLEXIBLE!

F: Forget the past

            This one is hard for me. I grew up with a family that can tell you everything that you’ve done wrong since the time that you were an infant. The sad thing is though, that our family would pride ourselves in that. It’s really one of the WORST traits a person can have, and it’s something that can be passed down from generation to generation. If you are reading this right now and thinking “my spouse remembers everything I’ve done wrong all the time!” I want you to consider the story that follows.

            I am really OCD about certain things, and one of them is food. I know that my mother often struggled to put food on the table but she always made it happen. I have become really OCD about it though. So, what I do is purchase almost everything in pairs. So instead of buying one jar of peanut butter, I buy two. Instead of one can of green beans, I buy two. Everything for us comes in twos. I have one hard-fast rule: we NEVER eat the last one of anything unless we absolutely need to. Therefore, if we are down to the last chicken finger, no one gets to eat that until I replenish them. I know it sounds insane, and it really isn’t a good thing being as God calls us to depend on HIM not ourselves for our DAILY bread, and not be consumed about what’s going to happen tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.). This is something that I struggle with. Well, two years ago, my husband ate the last pop tart in the house. When I realized it, I was REALLY upset, and said that I would NEVER purchase pop tarts again (which I didn’t for about a year). My husband and I just recently got into an argument where I brought up that pop tart he ate two years ago. HOW STUPID IS THAT? Don’t judge! You’ve gotten into some dumb arguments too!

            So here’s the deal, in most relationships there’s at least one person, or sometimes both people bring up the past, either during arguments or just random discussions. It’s not a good thing, not for either of you. What it does, is it makes one person feel like no matter what they do, they will never be able to make up for the past. It also breeds a seed of bitterness in the other person’s heart as they are constantly remembering and reminding the other person of things that have happened in the past. Instead, we need to forgive and forget, in the way that God does: Isaiah 43:25 says: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.    Hebrews 8:12 says: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. One of my personal favorites is Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  Think about it, you can never travel so far east that you are starting to head west. God forgets our sins, and he’s PERFECT. He’s NEVER done anything wrong. He has every right to remember every single thing we’ve ever done wrong. We on the other hand are sinners, we have done a LOT wrong, we have no right to hang on to the past and the sins of others. So to truly forgive, we need to try to do what God does. Am I going to work on this? ABSOLUTELY. Do I think I’ll do it great right away? NO WAY! I’ve had YEARS of practice holding on to stuff, so it will probably take quite a while to learn to let go, but it’s something that I want to do to improve my marriage.

 

I hope that those who are following this blog are enjoying it. I also hope that you are continuing to pray for our family, because we really do need it! For those who are trying to do this as well, we will keep you in our prayers. Feel free to comment at any time and let me know so that we can be praying for you! Until tomorrow!