Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gettin' Hitched

I knew it had been a while since I last posted anything on here, but I didn't realize it's been over a year and half! When I logged in, I noticed that my last post was about a book I read back in 2011 called "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" so it's kind of funny that this is the post that I divulge my wedding plans. 

Ken proposed in September in Glacier National Park. Of course, I said yes because there simply isn't a better man out there than Ken.  I certainly don't deserve him, but I'm glad he feels differently. 

He was promoted to Sandpoint, Idaho in February and I followed a couple months later.  Now we're in a new town, new job, new house (rental), new friends, new church and quite a different new life. 

So without further ado, our wedding announcement:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Settling for Good Enough

I recently read Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb.  I first saw this book this past summer while shopping for a gift.  It caught my eye so I picked it up and read the back.  I was in a hurry and quite broke so I made a mental note to pick it up when I had a few extra bucks to spend on myself.  Over the last six months, I've thought about the book a lot and I finally purchased the ebook for my Kindle late last week after a conversation with a couple girlfriends about my relationship with Ken.

I'll start by saying that the title is a bit misleading.  The book wasn't exactly making the case for settling, but rather for reevaluating what you think is important and compromising on the superficial things.  Most of us girls are taught to be confident and have a high self-esteem.  We are taught to NEVER SETTLE for less than we deserve and, well, we deserve nothing but the best, of course.  We grow up with all these fairy tales about knights in shining armor and valiant princes and we believe that someday our prince will come.  We think our soul mate will show up one day out of the blue, sweep us off our feet and we'll live happily ever after in a harmonious and passionate relationship.  Okay, so maybe we realize there is no such thing as a perfect man or a perfect relationship, but we're bound and determined not to settle and we overlook some wonderful men in our search for that elusive Perfect 10 (even if in reality, we're only a 5 or 6)!  At the beginning of a relationship, we tend to focus on all the wonderful qualities our man possesses, but before long, we are picking apart everything he does, comparing him to every other guy we've known and focusing on his imperfections.  We decide that we want more... something... and we jump ship looking for whatever that something is.  Meanwhile, we are oblivious that we don't have the very qualities we expect our man to have.

How many of you ladies have (or had) THE LIST?  You know the one - it usually starts something like this: tall, attractive, kind, funny, stable... and it goes on and on and on.  Every time you break up with a guy, you add things to the list that he wasn't or you modify existing attributes (i.e. funny, but not corny; stable, but not married to his job).  The older you get, the more time and experience you have to refine the list and before you know it, you really are looking for Mr. Perfect.  Then you  meet a guy who has most of the qualities on the list, but he's short, or balding, or maybe a little older or heavier than the person you pictured and you don't give him a second thought.  This book addresses all of those things and encourages women to not judge a book based on it's cover, but to open yourself up to finding happiness with someone you wouldn't necessarily expect.  (I mean, how many single, tall, dark, handsome, rich, funny, adventurous, supportive, age appropriate men with a full head of wavy locks and a desire to settle down and have a family do you think there are out there?  Certainly not enough to go around!)

I wanted to read this book because of where I am in my own relationship.  I absolutely love my boyfriend and am eternally grateful for him.  He's loving, kind, supportive, compassionate, and so much more, but I'd be lying if I said I'm always content in the relationship.  There are days when I think of an ex or of someone else's relationship and I wish Ken had some of those qualities.  I'll have easy, witty banter or a deeply intellectual or spiritual conversation with someone and wish I had that with Ken.  I'll remember the passion of a previous relationship and wish I had that with Ken.  I'll hear about or witness some gesture or quality and wish that Ken was more like that.  I go through phases where I find myself focusing on the qualities that he doesn't have instead of the amazing man that he IS.  The thing I need to remind myself of when I'm going through one of these phases is that those past relationships ended for a reason.  I compare Ken to those men, but those men hurt me deeply.  There may have been intellectual banter or a shared faith or spontaneity or passion, but there were also lies, betrayal, abandonment, instability and passion.  (The thing about passion is that when it's good, it's great; but when it's bad, it's awful!  It's a double-edged sword.)

I do strive to focus on the positive and most of the time Ken makes that very easy.  He is thoughtful and generous.  He supports me in everything I do, donates to every cause I participate in, buys me flowers for no reason, tells me he loves me ALL THE TIME, compliments me and believes in me.  He surprises me with weekend get-aways and unique experiences and steps out of his comfort zone and is willing to try new things.  He doesn't even like coffee, but he bought me a coffee maker for his place, learned how I like it and makes it for me on those mornings I'm there.  He doesn't drink wine, but he keeps a bottle or two of my favorite at his place for me.  He apologizes when he's wrong, laughs at all my jokes, encourages me, cooks for me, takes care of me when I'm sick or sad or just feeling lazy.  He took amazing care of me when I was recovering from surgery.  He is the most selfless man I've ever met.  He is completely focused on my fulfilling my needs and desires, even if he doesn't share them.  And he genuinely thinks HE'S the lucky one! 

I don't feel like I'm settling. I do feel like I am more realistic than I was even just a few years ago.  He may not be everything on my mile-long list, but he has all of the qualities that I NEED and many that I want too.  He is enough!  In fact, he's more than enough and far more than I deserve.  I know I'm the lucky one in this relationship and I'm so thankful we found each other. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Reading List

I've been known to be a bit of a bookworm, but I really thought I'd get through more books than this in a year! 

Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon
The Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks
The Choice - Nicholas Sparks
The Weight of Silence - Heather Gudenkauf
Mothers & Other Liars - Amy Bourret
How Full is Your Bucket - Tom Rath & Donald Clifton
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Forever Odd - Dean Koontz
Four to Score - Janet Evanovich
One Cold Night - Kate Pepper
Something Borrowed - Emily Griffin
Map of Bones - James Rollins
5th Horseman - James Patterson / Maxine Paetro
6th Target - James Patterson / Maxine Paetro
The Starter Wife - Gigi Levangie Grazier
The Land of Women - Regina McBride
The Rule of Nine - Steve Martini
The Templar Cross - Paul Christopher
Relentless - Clair Poulson
The Bodies Left Behind - Jeffrey Deaver
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness - Brianna Karp
Blood Lust - Sarah Clapham
Eclipse - Richard North Patterson
Tell No One - Harlan Coben
7th Heaven - James Patterson / Maxine Paetro
8th Confession - James Patterson / Maxine Paetro
A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley
The Final Detail - Harlan Coben
Gone for Good - Harlan Coben
Dark Room - Andrea Kane
Hard Truth - Mariah Stewart
The Next Accident - Lisa Gardner
Alone - Lisa Gardner
Nowhere to Run - Mary Jane Clark
Devil's Corner - Lisa Scottoline
Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) - Carol Tavris / Elliot Aronson
First Daughter - Eric Van Lustbader
A Very Simple Crime - Grant Jenkins
Pray for Silence - Linda Castillo
The Last Child - John Hart
The Hanging Tree - Bryan Gruley
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough - Lori Gottlieb
Accountable to None - Ashley Fontainne
That's an average of about four books a month, but I'm five books shy of my "one-a-week" goal.

If anyone out there has read any great books this year, I'm always looking for suggestions. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Optimist Creed

Easier said than done, but I'm working on it.  I'm choosing to be a more positive person.  Some days I need a little more help than others. 

The Optimist Creed
Promise Yourself ...
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Faking It

I know I've said this before, but sometimes I feel like such a fraud. 

Case in Point #1:  A few weeks ago, Ken and I were hanging out with a long-time friend of his.  She told me that the thing she likes about me is that I am fun and adventurous and she loves that influence on Ken.  I don't remember her exact words, but that's the gist of what I got from it. 

Case in Point #2:  A few days ago, I got a facebook message from a friend of mine who moved away a year or so ago.  She commented that it looks like I am enjoying life and making the world a better place.  She said she admires my passion and "joie de vivre."

The thing is, I don't feel like I'm fun or adventurous.  And I KNOW I'm not currently making the world a better/happier place.  I'm not enjoying life and have completely lost all passion and joy.  I'm irritable and distracted all the time.  Things that used to come naturally, I now have to fake.  I used to be very spontaneous, passionate, adventurous and fun.  I used to be compassionate.  People used to frequently comment about the "light" in my eyes, but all that seems a lifetime ago. This not-okay-ness is affecting every aspect of my life - my friendships, my job and my relationship with my boyfriend.  It has zapped my energy, motivation, compassion, peace, joy and patience.   I'm going through the motions, doing what I do.  I'm not LIVING; I'm simply existing. 

I hate this feeling and this phase, but I don't know how to snap out of it.  I need a break - an escape from all the pressures and demands on my time and emotions.  I KNOW that I have so much to be thankful for and I try to focus on those things daily, but it just doesn't seem to be enough to help me climb out of this dark hole.  I need some time - away from here - to be alone, get my head screwed on straight and examine my heart, to draw out whatever it is that is making me so miserable and deal with it. 

I'd ask for suggestions, but I'm tired of getting "Dr. Phil'd" & preached at and the "fake it 'til you make it" strategy clearly isn't working.  I just want to rent a cabin or cottage or something cheap and just go clear my head - I want to run away...

...but it'll have to wait because I'm currently broke. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Update

The court awarded custody of the kids to mom and Saul again. They’ve had them on a trial basis for about three months and now they have permanent custody. There was only one condition – that they get one of my brothers tested for learning disabilities. They agreed to do so, but mom made it clear she’d be home schooling the children this year. Either she doesn’t truly care about their educational success or she is still in denial that there are problems. Regardless of her reasons, she is going to allow her pride to hinder the kids’ education and thus, their future. I feel so bad for them.

At the end of the day, they ARE her children and she IS their mother and it is her right to raise them as she sees fit. No one else has to agree or like it. I pray that her eyes are opened so that she can clearly see the damage that her pride and her actions (and inaction) has caused them. My first concern is their physical safety, but I’m not even convinced they are safe. I have a feeling that as soon as Saul is off probation, they’ll leave the country and not come back until the next time he beats the living daylights out of mom. Hoping I’m wrong, but… (Say it with me)


Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review (spoilers included)

I just finished reading "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness" by Brianna Karp. It was my 24th book this year. I've now read 25 so I am one book behind in my one-book-a-week goal.

What a book. I was hooked by the first sentence in Chapter 1 and by the end of the first page, I knew it was going to be my kind of book.

It's a story about a woman who faced adversity in some form all of her life. She was raised in what she calls a cult, force-fed a very hypocritical religion her whole child-hood. She was molested and abused as a child/teen, raped and cheated on as a young adult. She started working at nine years of age to help support her family and she finally found her dream job and worked hard to finally have a place of her own. And then the recession hit. She was laid off from her job and six months later, lost her home. She moved back in with her mom, only to suffer even further abuse and false accusations. She inherited a travel trailer from her estranged father who had committed suicide and lived in it in a Walmart store parking lot until it was towed (even after she had the permission of the store manager) and she didn't have the money to get it back. This woman was no slouch. She applied to hundreds upon hundreds of jobs and worked for a couple more companies that laid her off after promising full time work simply because it was cheaper to bring on a full time employee and lay them off than it was to contract through a temp agency. She lost everything, but she found love. And then just when you think things will work out okay, she lost that too (and a baby). But this isn't just another sad story. She not only survived all of what she went through, she conquers her destiny. She found success, not in spite of adversity, but because of it.

In this memoir, Brianna Karp makes you question your beliefs, assumptions, prejudices and opinions. As much as I am an advocate of the homeless and less fortunate and although I work with a couple different homeless ministries in my community and do what I can to show love and respect to all people, regardless of social status, I found myself feeling some pretty strong conviction for judgments and assumptions that I didn't even realize I had. This book humbled me. I identified with several of her experiences and couldn't help but thinking several times throughout the book "this could have been me.... if not for the grace of God."

I know I put a spoiler or two in there, but this book is absolutely worth the read. It is not for the faint of heart though. It is laced with f-bombs and other profanity, but it is REALITY for so many people out there.