Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Men vs Women

So there is this ongoing conversation about how women would like to be treated the same as men, have the same rights, be viewed the same, etc. But, the problem with that is that men and women are so very different. Not just in the way we act, but in the way we need.

Recently I have been faced with an overwhelming earful of this. I love listening and giving my perspective as I feel it is actually different than most women's perspective. I have a few things going for me: 1. I have six brothers, 2. I have sought out answers/opinions from men, 3. I have read many books (see a few below), 4. I see things differently.

Men and women are not the same. They don't have the same needs or desires. They will never have the same reactions to life, situations, or people. A lot of women out there think they know men and try to give you advise among gossip, but often times they give the wrong advise... A long time ago I realized that if I wanted to know what a man was thinking, needing, wanting then I would go straight to the source and just ask. I know this is crazy for some women and they would never do this. But, I have always had a lot of guy friends (and brothers) and we have always been frank with each other.

For instance... Here are some things from my personal arsenal...

1. I learned about the "fade away" from a brother. Instead of a guy just coming out and saying he's not interested, he will just slowly stop responding and then disappear... ridiculous.

2. Also, I learned that sometimes it has nothing to do with who you are and everything to do with the way you look from behind (from a friend) - oh and they might not realize until a few months in and they see you from a certain angle that they just don't like that... ugh!

3. Sometimes guys do exactly the opposite of what you want them to do... ie: "I love facial hair" she says - in response - he always shaves ... he doesn't want to be who she wants him to be, he wants her to like/love him for who he is...

4. A guy will take what is given... So, if you are out on a date and he is actually interested in a relationship with you, but you slut it up - he will see you that way and forever treat you as a side peace while he continues his pursuit for the one ... all the while you will get emotionally attached and he will never ever see you that way.

We will just leave all that where it is and continue forward with ... A  man is driven by who they are, what they do, and what they make. At the core of every man they are a provider and that is what pushes them forward.

1. When a man breaks his back working long hours, sacrificing his time with his family, giving up personal space/time and guy time... This is him showing you love!

2. When a man calls you his, gives you a title, announces you as something other than your name... This is him showing you love!

3. When a man has holes in his shoes and yet he hands you hundreds to buy clothes for yourself, pays for the kids school tips, or buys everything they need for sports and yet he continues to suffer with a hole even when he spends all day on his feet... This is him showing he loves you.

4. When a man tries to solve all your problems instead of just listening... This is him showing he loves you!

Ladies.... We get all in a mood because we want our man around more, we don't want to be a "possession", we want our man to look good and stop walking around with holes in his shoes/clothes, we want him to just listen... We harp on him all the time because what he is doing is not enough, we need more... But, he is already giving you everything he knows to give - everything he has to give.

Men think, feel and act differently than we do. It is this long lasting bitch fest about how men can't give us women what we need and want - they don't understand... yet, when you tell a man you want something one day - he does it the next and you at him with crazy eyes and ask what he is doing because that's not what you wanted today... Ummm... isn't that a little confusing?!

You try to talk to him, cuddle with him and write him love notes because that shows you love him... that doesn't show you love him - that shows him how you like to be loved... Men don't need or want those kinds of things. Men are pretty basic (no offense).

1. Support him - tell him how you appreciate him, all he does and how you couldn't do it without him
2. Be loyal - stay with him through everything. thick and thin. for better or worse.
3. Be physical - obviously if you know me, then you know where I stand on this subject and I am a firm believer that there is a place and time for all this in a relationship - that aside... This is ultimately how men connect.

The problem is, when we try to give a man what we need - he misses out on everything that he needs. We are oblivious because we think we are loving him the way he needs to be loved, but we never ask and he fades away. Then we wonder what was wrong with us - what we did wrong - we commiserate for hours/days/weeks. Are we not pretty enough? funny enough? sexy enough? Then we get angry and pick out all the awful things about him that make us grateful that we aren't with him anymore...

All along - we missed the boat. We didn't give him what he ultimately needed. We didn't appreciate him, we didn't thank him, we didn't offer him any sort of physical attention (again appropriate based on relationship stages), we didn't seem loyal - there was something that made him go looking elsewhere.

And yes, ladies, that is your fault. Please hear me on this. A man has basic needs that are very different from a woman's. Women can last a long time without getting their needs met. They will fill that with girlfriends, babies, etc. But a man cannot fill his needs with guy friends, babies, or anything else.

I am not perfect. I am far from perfect. I miss the boat on this a lot! But, hear me when I say - my husband and I have this relationship thing down to a science (almost). We know what love means to each other, how to meet the others needs, how to actual act that love out each day. Love is not just a mushy feeling you have in your heart or tummy (that's indigestion!). Love is action. Love is actually putting life, energy, desire, will power into making sure that the person in your life that is your partner knows that you are there for them no matter what (even in their worst state), that you love them more than anything else in the world (infinity and beyond), that you will be physical with them when they need it (endorphins help with headaches).

Take a step back and just think about all this. Stop harassing him that he's not giving enough - he will feel unloved and defeated. Stop asking for more - he has nothing more to give and is giving you all he knows how. Actually sit with him and tell him what you need:

Flowers make you feel loved because it tells you that he was thinking of you when you weren't there.
Love notes mean the world because that means he can put into words how precious you are to him.
Snuggles are necessary because that helps you feel connected the way intimacy helps him.
You need a date every week/month (whatever) because that shows you he cares enough to plan for you and is still interested in showing you off/getting to know you more and more.
He takes the baby when he walks in the door because that shows you he loves his family and nothing else matters more. 
He cooks dinner after working a long day because he recognizes that you have been working hard as well and need a break.

I'm not saying that you can expect these things all the time. But, if you actually vocalize what makes you feel loved - he will do this for you because he loves you and wants to provide you with everything that makes you feel more loved and satisfied.

But... if you don't tell him and leave him guessing - he will always put a lot of time, energy and effort into other things and they will never be good enough for you - at some point you will both be so far away from each other that there will be no fixing this...

So, lets be proactive. Don't be scared. Don't be timid. Don't just keep guessing or keep him guessing. Tell him what you need/want and don't send him on a goose chase, don't give him unattainable goals, you will appreciate his love more when he can offer you love more often and not just once a year because you are being selfish and asking for something he cannot give you often.

Also - keep in mind... if you want what he has to give... you have to give too! This is what I like to call the 60/40 rule. Know that if you give 60 and expect 40 then you will always get back more than you expect too! The more you give, the more you will get.

 

It's inevitable... If you keep filling someone up and never stop - eventually they will overflow. Obviously if they are empty when you start pouring into them it will take longer for you to see that overflow - but it will eventually happen. The more you give, the more you will get back. It's simple and easy. 


Resources!!!
Books you should check out:
Men are like waffles - Women are like spaghetti 
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Must watch movie: 
Fireproof

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why blogger?


Why blogger? why even write in a format that other can read? why post online instead of keep a handwritten diary? What's the meaning/purpose of blogging? Is blogging a dying concept? Do people read a blog? What do people think of what you write? Why do people not comment? Does what you write cause others to think and really salivate on life? Why bother?

Often times I hear these questions - or I pose them myself. It an interesting concept - blogging. I have been blogging for years through different websites or social media, but the one things that has held strong is my inability to care what others think. 

I blog because I love to write. Whether it's about me, other people, life experiences, wisdom to share, or thoughts that come through and become a page of constant stream of conscious... I write just to write. A lot of the reason for blogging is to share with others. My purpose is not really meant to make me money (which most people know you cannot do through blogging anyways) or to get people's opinions on anything. I just have this belief that if I am thinking it and feeling it, then someone else in the world has to be thinking it and feeling it to. They can read what I have written and share in that moment with me knowing they are not alone. 

Sometimes my blogs are really deep and dark - other times they are light and fluffy, but always they are genuine. I have worked my way through life writing. Once upon a time I was in therapy and my therapist suggested I write. I picked up a pen and just never put it down. I am a strong believer in writing everything out - because even if you cannot say it out loud - you can put it on paper. 

Yes, there is this passive aggressiveness to writing. Most of what people write, they would not say aloud or to someone's face because of a fear of rejection, disappointment, disapproval, etc. Sometimes I can be passive aggressive in my writing, but it's never because I am afraid of what others may think or feel after reading what I write. On the contrary, I want people to think and feel differently after they read what I write. I want there to be a connection, a resistance, some level of uncomfortable. I believe that this challenges us. 

I know that often times there are things that I write about that people may disagree with. I open those topics to healthy debate. I will never be offended by someone else's opinion, but just know that I will stand by mine and I will respect yours. Differences are often times what I write about - how we are different, how we should be different, how to fight the world and be the same... Other times I write about how we are similar and we should find those similarities that bind us together. 

If I looked back on the last 10 years - I could see my blogs develop from self centered rants or online diaries to self revelation and online wisdom sharing. Its interesting to chart your life and have a way to visibly see the growth that has happened in your heart and mind. 

I blog because it is soothing and healing. I blog because I believe sharing and being vulnerable can change the world. I blog because I believe there are others out there that can benefit from what I have to say. I blog because that's just what I do. 

Why do you blog?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Flight

There are times in our lives when we hear a song and it just sinks into our skin and gives us then chills. That moment when a lyric stings your soul and you feel like there is a distinct connection between you and what is being said. I had that today. It's something you cannot explain, but people who love music and feel it this way can completely understand what I am talking about. 

I was sitting in church and they were talking about transformation. The idea of non-conformance and really taking the focus off working so hard toward being different and just being different. Which I think is a great key for many people to really take hold of. Often times we get stuck in this cycle of trying to being different, we work so hard toward it and all the while we are being sucked into the ideas and ways the world wants us to be. It hard. Then we find that we are not being different at all and all this time and effort we have put into this task has been a waste. 

What if we stopped putting in the effort? What if we just loved God more and allowed him to work on us and transform us? 

Still, God, you are our Father.
    We’re the clay and you’re our potter:
    All of us are what you made us.

Isaiah 64:8 (MSG)

So, then after allowing all this to just sink in.... here comes this song... 


I've lost my balance
I fell from the trapeze
This act isn't easy
I've been under water 
This storm has been raging
These nights are not sleeping
My dreams are now strangers to me 

And I need you now
There's too many miles on my bones
I can't carry the weight of the world
No, not on my own

Your eyes are like lightning 
Your voice is like water
This place is a desert

I've been walking in circles 
I'm screaming for answers
I might fall into pieces
Or maybe I'm finally breaking through

I need you now
There's too many miles on my bones
I can't carry the weight of the world 
No, not on my own

No more running, no more hiding
No more hurting, no more crying
No more trouble, no more sighing
No more falling, no more striving
No more heartache, no more fighting
No more fears, only flying 

It's that moment when you have those goosebumps on your arms - you are marveling at the twisty lyrics and haunting melody - you find yourself being drawn in... then the music and vocals get stronger and more distraught - a desperate woman appears on camera and starts signing... The desperation is not just in the emotion you can hear through the voice of the singer, but now through the entire body as she shows us. 

This act isn't easy. My dreams are now strangers to me. I can't carry the weight of the world. There's too may miles on my bones. I'm screaming for answers. And I need you now. I've been walking in circles. Or maybe I'm finally breaking through. No more running, no more hiding. No, not on my own. 

I love that I can displace the lines and yet still come across with the same message. Here we are in a state of desperation. A moment or a year of trouble that has crippled us with fear, hurt, heartache, fighting, crying, etc. Yet, here is this song that basically tells us to call out, cry out, have no more fear, and just fly. 

Leap of faith? 

I can't carry the weight of the world. No, not on my own. 

I don't know anyone who can carry the weight of the world on their own. Yet we all work really hard to. Whether you are the husband who wants to be the provider for your family and you work yourself to death to try to make it happen - or you are the mother who tries to be Susie Homemaker and you refuse to ask for help because you want to show the world that you can do it on your own - or you are the child who puts on the act and portrays the perfection through the glass house that you know is not who you really are... 

This act isn't easy... 

So just stop. No, not one of us was meant to do any of this on our own. God did not create us to be a lonely being. He created us to live and thrive in community, to love and dwell in family, to be intimate and share in a spouse. We are not meant to carry the weight of the world on our own, nor are we meant to put that weight on the ones we love. 

This journey we have been on these past few months has surely been trying. We have hit road block after road block and our world has really been shaken. But I have believed through it all that we would come out stronger. I know that I have this crazy faith that God will provide what we need. It doesn't always happen in our timing (ugh - or never does), but it definitely happens in His timing. We can loose sleep and worry till we are blue in the face, or we can lift up our hands and raise the white flag and surrender. Because he can't help us until we ask for the help! 

I've lost my balance
And I need you now

Just the mere act of asking for help moves us from that trying so hard to make everything work our way on our own - to - resting easy and trusting that he will carry us through it all. 

I will have no fear and I will take flight. I will continue to trust and obey because I know that the minute we give up and give it to God is the moment He steps in and works it all out. We are really good at making messes of our lives and He is really good at helping us clean it all up. 

The catch is... after everything is beautiful and lovely again - we cannot forget how we got there. Remember, rainbows and butterflies come out of storms and ugly larva. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Unknown (The Black Hole)



That moment when you see the black hole and then suddenly you feel yourself falling… and falling… and falling, not knowing when or where you will land. That’s the life. When there is so much unknown and no answers, everything keeps getting pushed and pushed and there is no end in sight. And as I want to throw my almost 30 year old self on the floor and flail my arms and legs in a fit of rage and rebellion, I am quickly reminded that a) I’m too old for that, b) I’m pregnant and I would struggle to get back up off the floor, and c) we are called to have faith in the uncertain and unseen. 

The first two are no brainers… Duh! You cannot do that and won’t be a good example for your children. It’s hard enough to get off the couch after sitting for a while, so it’s obviously going to be a challenge to get off the floor. Do I really want to object myself to that low of a level? No. Okay – so now that I have opted out of self-condescension, I am reminded again of the faith I am called to have.

Some people think I am crazy because I have this reckless abandon toward aspect of life and struggle paired with this faith in God. I believe he will take care of me and provide for me and bless me. Even when things aren’t going as we think they should or everything seems like a mess, I still try to lean on that comfort I have and know that eventually it will all work out (as I chant to myself …. I will be fine. We will be fine. Everything will work out). I was explaining this to my husband last night… When it is unmanageable and out of my control, I just put it in a box to the side and move on to everything else that I need to tackle. When I come back, the box is either gone or it is there and doesn’t seem unmanageable or out of control anymore, or I just have to keep staring at it and praying over it, waiting for God to come in and take care of it.

The hardest thing in life is the unknown. Praying for what you want or need and not getting a definite answer. Throwing all your eggs in one basket and then when the basket falls and all the eggs break we cry out in anger and horror – How did you let this happen?! Why me?! Why now?! We try to find reason in everything that happens in our life and assign guilt, yet most of the time we are wrong and carry grudges or shame for a long time when we could have just left the unknown alone.

So here I am starring at the black space, falling and falling into this unknown. Even when I try to leave that unknown alone, slowly but surely it creeps up into my heart and mind wearing me down. But still, I know that eventually an answer will come – whether it’s the one I want or not. It’s just hard waiting.

In this black space I am comforted. Strange – I know. But, I am comforted in knowing that God’s got this. As hard as it is to say – whether the end result is what we want or not – whatever is meant to happen will happen. In His time, in His way. The struggle is real though… keeping that positive attitude. Giving it to God and trying to not worry about everything that is going on. Taking deep breathes and easing that anxiety away.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

So we are challenged not to fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. Oh how free you feel when God displaces that worry.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Most of the time when we are struggling it is because of something we did. I’m not saying everything bad that happens you should blame yourself for. Often times the negativity in our life is due to consequences being reaped from our own actions. Whether those are actions from the present or far in the past. What we don’t realize at the time is how that will affect our future. Everything we do now will come back and affect us later. Whether that is positively or negatively. And then everyone in our life at that time will suffer or rejoice with us.

So stop crying out in anger and horror – How did you let this happen?! Why me?! Why now?! And start looking within. Often times it is not someone else doing something or letting something happen – it is us doing it and allowing it for ourselves.

So before you jump into that black hole and wallow in your own self-pity about how awful everything is at the moment. Sit back and appreciate how awful it is not.

When I was in Hawaii I found out that I did not get accepted into the Grad program that I wanted, but they advised me to reapply the next year which apparently doesn’t happen often. At that time I was devastated. I was in the most beautiful place in the world (at least that I have seen) and it was hard for me to not jump into that black hole because this Grad program was my focus, my goal, my dream.

Now… I look back on that and think – Oh Boy. That was the best thing that could have happened to me this year. I will reapply in the future, but I am so grateful I did not get accepted. Because – I would be there right now. In the middle of my pregnancy, in the middle of selling and buying houses, in the middle of all this craziness of life… I would be weighed down by so much more stress than necessary.

It’s a wonder sometimes how we cannot see the good in what is happening while we are in it. Yet, at some point down the road we can see – this is why this happened. Case in point.
God absolutely has a plan for us – He would never harm us and only wants us to prosper. We have to stop standing in His way and let Him work it. When we stand in his way – more often than not – we struggle. We struggle even when His plan is unfolding at times. And that is the conundrum of life and faith. There is no rhyme or reason at times and we cannot quantify how when or why things happen. Everything does not happen for a reason, and everything is not happening because that is how God wants it to, but He is there with you through it all. 
 

It was then that I carried you… Enough Said.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

I've been holding out writing because I have been bursting at the seams (literally and figuratively). I almost couldn't bear to put my fingers to the keys and not spill my guts. But enough time has passed and here we are - So now I can...

Our family of 4 will be a family of 5 in February 2016!!! oooolala! So very exciting.


So, when I Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes are coming our way, what I really mean is that they are upon us and overtaking us!

We bought a new car, but still need to buy another one. We are selling our townhouse and buying a new beautiful single family home. We are moving!!! I am cooking up this beautiful baby that I cannot wait to meet in February. The girls have started at a new school, are making friends, and are adjusting well. Both Eric and I are making long term career decisions. We are just all over the board here.

The only thing that is keeping us up is our strong foundation, our family and friends, and of course God. I believe in miracles and there are so many instances in my life in the past and present that prove that to be evident. And although our life feels more like a hurricane than a roller coaster right now, we will get through it and we will be closer and stronger than before.

So, I'm sorry I'm not sorry. Most of my posts from here on out are likely going to be family/mom/baby related or new house/decorating related. I am also considering starting my own at home sewing business. I know crazy right? How will I make any money or be successful? IDK, but what I do know is that we were not put here on earth to be minions/robots. We were meant to change things up and make waves. So I plan on doing that by making things other people love and can use. Whether that's bags/purses/wallets, clothes, baby stuff, etc, I will put my heart into it and see where it goes. That will also give me time to get back into writing and actually do stuff that I love. The hard part is that what you love never really makes you a lot of money.... ugh. But, I know we will be provided for as we always have been - so I just put that worry on a shelf and let someone else take care of it.

I am super excited and cannot wait to post pictures from my maternity shoot that my dear friend Julia did for us when we were in Buffalo over the weekend!!! EEEKKK! As time goes by, I get more and more excited.

Yes, I am that mom to be that is writing a journal to her baby.... I am that mom to be that already has a name picked out... Waiting not so patiently to find out if this baby is a boy or girl... Has three baby apps on my phone that tell me the same things different ways... Charts the baby growth week to week and tells me the new and interesting things about what the baby can do and how he/she is growing, etc.

I'm also the mom that already had all the chromosomal blood tests done weeks ago, not because I am the mom that would terminate, but because I am the mom that wants to plan ahead and be sure that I have the right people and the right doctors in place for when my baby is born. All the tests thus far have shown nothing but a healthy strong baby, which is all we can ask for!

If you have known me for years, then you have followed my struggle with longing to be a mom, but always being told it would never happen. We were fighting the odds and we have won! It is still all sinking in... it is nerve wrecking, anxiety ridden, crazy, stressful, glorious, exciting, and wonderful all at the same time. I have never been so stressed and excited all at the same time!

And, while there is so much going on - this is also a time where there is so much unknown. I have never been really great with the unknown as I am more the type of person who plans and prepares. I need to put concrete things on the calendar and make permanent lists and plans that will not change. Crazy I know, but this has been really difficult for me through this process of Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes that is leaving so much up in the air.

The silence is killing me!!! But, with that said, there will come a time when answers will start streaming through and we will be on the other side of this craziness wondering where all the time went and sitting in awe at how me made it through.

So... to all our Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes I say - Bring on the excitement, draw us closer and make us stronger because we aren't looking back.