grateful monday

It’s grateful monday time! I decided last week that I would share some of the big and little things I’m grateful for each Monday as a reminder to focus more on what I do have instead of what I don’t.

Thanks for joining me!

lunch with my dad!

this devotional! reading this treasure first thing in the mornings is just what I need!

"let Me teach you thankfulness..."

2 Things:
My wonderful MacBook Air
and...
An incredibly healing, educational, and eye-opening workshop this weekend! I learned so much that I am eager to incorporate into my counseling practice as well as in my family!

This video monitor has been a gift from God. I love it!

and I got to see a dear childhood friend again and she’s pregnant! I am very grateful for her friendship and her baby!

Your turn! Who wants to be the first to share something big or small you are grateful for today?

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the truth about barbie

I decided to do this post because I wanted to illustrate something to all my fellow real women out there: you don’t have to be a size 2 to be beautiful! Now, I know the Barbie proportions are extreme and I doubt that the average adult woman aspires to look like Barbie per say…but I think that the women we see on tv and in movies and magazines often define beauty for us (whether we realize it or not!) Ladies, I encourage you to redefine beauty for yourself. Beauty is strength, character, and a loving spirit. Beauty is a healthy body and feeling good about yourself.

I urge you to encourage other women to do the same. It breaks my heart when women are nasty to each other. Let’s decide to build each other up. {Even if you only critique movies stars, we have to stop!}.Our words have tremendous power. Use them for good. And by the way, have I mentioned how much I like your smile? Your smile makes me smile. You are lovely, friend.

And so…just for fun:

If Barbie were a real woman, her head would be the same circumference as her waist, meaning she’d have room for only half a liver and a few inches of intestines, (as opposed to the usual 26 feet). The result: chronic diarrhea and death from malabsorption & malnutrition.

To look like Barbie proportionally, a healthy woman would need to add 61 cm to her height, subtract 15 cm from her waist, add 13 cm to her chest, and 8 cm to her neck length.

Because Barbie’s neck is twice as long as the average human’s, it would be impossible for her to hold up her head. Her legs are 50 percent longer than her arms, (the average woman’s legs are only 20 percent longer than her arms). She’d also have to walk on all fours (her feet are so disproportionately small, her chest would pull her forward onto her toes).

REAL WOMEN
Average woman’s height is 5’4″
Their weight is approx. 140 lbs.
They wear a size 14 dress
Their bust is between 36″ and 37″ (B cup)
Their waist is between 30″ and 34″
Their hips average between 40″ and 42″
Their shoe size is estimated to be between 8.5 and 9.5

BARBIE
Barbie’s height would be 7’2″
Her weight would be 101 lbs.
She would wear a size 4 dress
Her bust would be 39″ (FF cup)
Her waist would be 19″ (same as her head)
Her hips would be 33″
Her shoe size would be a 5

info about Barbie taken from here.

grateful mondays

It’s the beginning of a new week! Do you ever find yourself focusing more on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do? {yeah, me too} So, I love the idea of posting some of the little and big things I’m grateful for this Monday!

and here are a few of mine…

Yummy spinach salads for dinner!

Full of my favorite veggies (aka all of them!), a little fat free feta, roasted chicken, spices, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil!

A big ole cuppa joe and delicious biscotti from Trader Joe’s during nap time!

Our eldest fur baby, Penny! She loves to be rubbed and is so patient with our overeager, grabby baby.

Our goofy boy, Cyrus loves to snuggle!

My super smart and very delicious {almost} 10 month old is learning and growing so quickly!

I’m also feeling very grateful for my supportive, hard working, and super hot husband!

And for reconciled friendships!

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Your turn! What are you grateful for this Monday?

practical ways to reconnect

Check out my last post on how to know if you and your spouse are friends.

As promised, here are some practical ways to reconnect with some examples from my own marriage:

1.   Talk! 

And by talk, I mean about more than scheduling and the kids. Try the rose and thorn game at dinner. Share one disappointing or difficult part of your day and one positive or pleasant part of your day. This is great for the whole family.

— Josh and I make it a point to talk for at least 15-30 minutes a day sans baby and TV.

It’s also important to continue learning about and getting to know each other on a deeper level. Here are a few questions you might try to get the ball rolling:

  • Would you keep working if we won the lottery? Why or why not? If not, what would you do instead?
  • What are the top 3 places in the world you’d like to visit? Why?
  •  What is your hope for our marriage in 5 years? 10? 20?
  •  When we met, I first noticed…What did you first notice about me? What were you thinking when we first met?
  •  I am attracted to your…(this can be a nice mix of physical and emotional qualities). What qualities do you admire about me? 

**note: you will most likely feel a little silly at the start of these conversations, but stick with it! You will hopefully feel more known, loved, and appreciated afterward!**

2.    Do stuff together. Anything! It can be a shared hobby or something mundane, like grocery shopping. If you are a person of faith, worship and pray together!

—  Josh and I try to do our grocery shopping and cooking together, if possible. We also have a few shows that we both like to watch together (DVR, you are the best invention of all time!) It’s so simple, but this is one of the highlights of my day!

3.    Notice how hard your spouse works. And thank him/her. A lot.

4.    Act like a team. You are on the same side! Support and encourage each other! Tackle your marital, financial, discipline, kid problems together!

5.    Touch and kiss without it leading to sex every time.

6.    Have sex. Decide together a reasonable goal and try (aka schedule it, if you have to!) to meet it.

7.    Make your marriage a priority. If this list sounds too hard…resolve to do something about it.

“Action expresses priorities.” -Ghandi 

What do you and your spouse do to stay connected?

are you friends?

My last post was about the secret to a happy marriage. If you read it, you learned that it’s a deep friendship based on mutual respect and honor!

You know that your positive feelings about your partner outweigh the negative ones when:

  1. You want to spend time together.
  2. You want to share your hopes, dreams, and secrets with your partner.
  3. You treat your partner with respect.
  4. You do not intentionally embarrass your partner.
  5. In the middle of a fight, one of you can do something silly and make the other one laugh or smile.
  6. You are able to recover after a fight.
  7. You do not have feelings of contempt or disgust in your partner (note: actions can disgust you, I’m referring to disgust in who your partner is).
  8. You usually are able to give the benefit of the doubt.
    1. You know that he or she didn’t hurt you intentionally.
    2. You give your partner a chance to explain before you assume the worst.
I do not pretend that any marriage is perfect. A marriage is made up of two imperfect human beings. I’m only suggesting that even when mistakes are made, couples who share a deep friendship are able to recover from those mistakes (like hurt feelings, disrespect, etc.) and continue feeling positively about each other.

Stay tuned for my next post on practical ways to reconnect with examples from my own marriage!

the secret to a happy marriage

Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… you suffered through reading alarming divorce stats. And why most marriage therapy fails. Now, you are ready for the secret.

And here it is: happily married couples share a deep friendship. This means they enjoy each other’s company and share a mutual respect for one another. They like each other.  In other words, their positive thoughts about each other override and outweigh their negative ones.

“In the strongest marriages, husband and wife share a deep sense of meaning. They don’t just “get along”– they also support each other’s hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose into their lives together” (Gottman, p.23).

Does this sound like your marriage? If it does, awesome! Keep on doing the things that keep you close and feeling mostly positive about each other!

If it doesn’t sound like your marriage, I pray you’ll consider doing something about it. Now, it doesn’t have to be therapy (although I’m sure you have picked up on my not-so-subtle hints that good therapy can help). It can also be through a group, classes, and workshops or even reading this book (the “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman) together.

Life is hard. Raising a family is even harder. And it’s just a darn shame when you and your partner don’t feel like much of a team. The good news is, there are a lot of resources out there that can help. Let me know if you’d like help finding them.

I wish you blessings in your journey, friend. Good luck!

why most marriage therapy fails

I introduced my favorite marriage book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” in my last post. I love this book because it’s based on scientific research. There are a million and one books on marriage and some are very good, but very few are based on actual empirical data.

I'm really enjoying reading this book again!

There are many reasons why marriage therapy often fails. I won’t bore you with a long list since I’m ultimately trying to make a point: I believe that good marriage therapy can work.

What often goes wrong is that therapists can get caught up in each individual fight and ends up refereeing this week’s drama. So, they teach communication and conflict resolution. You learn active listening techniques (nothing wrong with teaching it, it can be a helpful tool). BUT, successful conflict resolution isn’t enough to keep a marriage together. Communication is not the secret to a blissful union (gasp!). Believe it or not, happily married couples can have screaming matches (Gottman, p.11).

So, what is the secret to a happy marriage?

the state of the {marital} union

Summarized from “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman:

  1. The chance of a first marriage ending in divorce over a 40 year period is 67%.
  2. Half of all divorces happen in the first 7 years.
  3. Some studies say that the divorce rate for second marriages is 10% higher than first marriages.

Yikes. With this in mind, I tend to agree with Gottman when he says,

“The chance of getting divorced remains so high that it makes sense for all married people – including those who are currently satisfied with their relationship – to put extra effort into their marriages to keep them strong” (Gottman, p. 4).

People who are happily married live longer, healthier lives than either divorced people or those who are unhappily married.

I’m sure that these statistics are not new to you, and yet…I would argue that our marriages tend to be what we neglect more than anything else. What do you think?

stay tuned for my next post on why most marriage therapy fails!

my dad is (almost) 50!

My sweet Daddy loves to celebrate Easter and his birthday jointly. So we did! Complete with grilled burgers and dogs, cornhole, egg hunting and dyeing, cake and presents!

lil man and his first Easter basket!

perfect day for playing cornhole!

didn’t have time (or the energy) to make a carrot cake from scratch, but this Duncan Hines mix is (almost) as good!

Daddy and his girlfriend, Jennifer

I am blessed indeed. Could not ask for a better father.

My favorite part of the day was giving Daddy his gift. With help from my Grandma and sister, I made him a photo book with letters from the three of us sharing our favorite memories with him, pictures from his childhood, Jenn and I  growing up with him, and pictures from now. I think he liked it!

Happy Easter and Happy 50th to my wonderful Dad!