Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Could I Have A Minute of Your Time Please?


Thanks for stopping by.  If you've got a second I would really appreciate if you could take this little survey I've put together.  It is about knitting retreats.  It will not take much time, it's not even 10 questions, so you'll be done with it lickety split :)


Thank you SOOOOO much!!

Until Next Time,
Be Blessed

Friday, January 27, 2012

When the Ground Gives Way and Your World Collapses

I was watching Grey's Anatomy one night and that's what Meredith was saying in her monologue.  It was in reference to life in general, and marriage specifically.  I felt it was a very appropriate metaphor.  Most of the time your marriage is great, but occasionally there are those times when it feels like the earth is crumbling beneath your feet.  What are you to do in these situations?

As many of you know I'm still pretty blissed out from my anniversary trip a few weeks ago.  That being said I am not so wrapped up in my own joy that I can't see the marriages struggling around me.  And trust me, I am in a fight for those marriages as if they were my own.  I may only be a prayer warrior on the sideline in one case, and nagging little sister in the other, but I am there (no not literally), but if need be I will go to the mat with them, and for them.  Check out my goals -->one of the top ones is to help keep marriages together. I kid you not, that is important to me, and I'm not the only one.  Dee-Dee (part of the anniversary crew and founder of "I'm Every Woman") is hosting the annual marriage event and the focus this year is on couples who have overcome obstacles to stay together.

I want you to stay together because I don't believe in "irreconcilable differences".  The term is actually loathsome to me.  It is giving up plain and simple, you're tired of working, and that is the lazy persons way out.  Nor do I care for the "I fell out of love with them" excuse.  Say what?! That is malarky.  What you fell out of was the habit of treating your partner special, pursuing them, aggressively going after what you desired.  (We'll go into how to keep in fresh in future posts).  Maybe you drank the "marriage is easy kool-aid" then found out it was a lie; too bad you made a commitment.  Now if you've been a "Lifer" for  a while you know the Hayes family motto -"Ain't nobody leaving nobody", and the exceptions to it, abuse, however outside those parameters, suck it up.

I was reading I Am Husband.com and I as I read I was in total agreement.  (Confession time)  I don't remember saying my vows, I don't know WHAT I said (the minister was late and I was seeing "red rum") but obviously I'm married as the witnesses can attest to.  What I do know is that I meant to stay with my husband (not that we haven't had trying times), vows are a binding contract with your spouse; and when they (contracts) are breached mediation is usually par for the course, not out and out dissolution.  Society must learn to again put value in a person's word being their bond. We must again hold our vows as a sincere promise that we are doggedly determined to keep, and not let divorce be an option we have sitting on the side.

So what do you do "When the Ground Gives Way and Your World Collapses"?  Let's say there's infidelity, physical illness, trouble with the in-laws, fertility issues, mental illness, you get the idea....what do you do?  First I would suggest you take a step back, breathe deeply and go to your separate corners.  Space is good, I am still learning this. People need to process and every one of us does it in our own special way.  So give each other some time to take in what is happening.  Then I would suggest open, honest communication (preferably with a counselor of some sort).  And most importantly take your time, no matter what you do, don't rush into making any decisions.

Couples can surmount any number of obstacles in their marriages, however a key factor in whether or not they succeed is how much they are willing to communicate with one another. We talk even when it hurts.  I thank God everyday for my husband because he knows what he got himself into; eyes wide open he married me.  I am also thankful for the good sense to walk to my corner sometimes and sit quietly until I can figure it out.  We are imperfect beings in an imperfect world, but we are wholly committed to one another.  I pray we can change the tide of marriages and there will be more life-long unions that our children can reference as they are preparing for their own unions.  They will know it is not all sunshine and roses, but they will know to appreciate the rainbow after the storm.

Until Next Time,
Be Blessed

Friday, January 20, 2012

Forgive Yourself

Two thousand eleven was one heck of a year!! And I don't mean in a good way.  My world was rocked in more ways than I ever care to experience again, and I'm still feeling aftershocks.  Doubt, self-blame, anxiety, shame, anger, and a whole host of other emotions that I won't bother to list. All of that has brought me into two thousand twelve with some serious baggage I didn't realize I was carrying.

I'm a firm believer of confronting the emotions that are holding you back (in your own time - I really dislike confrontation), however there are occasions where you are just going about life (on auto-pilot) and don't recognize the fact that you aren't going anywhere.  That's how I've been the past 6 months or so, and I just realized it last night (well maybe last week, but last night was the straw).

When I am stressed I have a tendency to eat; I become the Human Garbage Disposal.  I eat late at night, what my kids don't finish on their plates, cookies, cake, ice cream, whatever is handy.   It's a wonder I haven't gained more weight, but I'll just be thankful that I haven't.

Guilt.  Yeah that's another one.

I digress, I've been eating like a cow (grazing) and occasionally guzzling, like last night.  I can't even tell you what I did it was horrifying to myself.  Suffice it to say I saw the light finally and know why I'm "killing myself" this way.  Yeah I went there, because that is exactly what I'm doing.  I don't workout...once every two months does not count, and I definitely could cook a little healthier.  I'm carrying around the middle and that is dangerous, especially with my family history.

Absolution...I desire it, but not from the living, and the dead have nothing to give.

When one of my dad's died in June I felt bad, not that he was gone, we knew it was coming, and with a little advance notice I handle death pretty well.  Why then was I so upset?  Because I wish I had been a better daughter.  My dad was sick, but I was angry with him (because he wasn't taking care of himself ironically) and I wouldn't talk to him.  Thought about him all the time, but didn't go to great lengths to see or talk to him until he could no longer talk back.  I went and sat with him at the hospital when he was in a coma and told him that I loved him, and I was sorry that my girls hadn't known him.  I hoped he would get better, but the prognosis was never good, and I'm a realist when I have to be.

In November when one of my sister's passed I was devastated...utterly and completely.  My husband,  (thank God for him), carried me home and took care of me because I was unable to do so myself.  She was 30 years old and I hardly knew her, which could be said for most of my siblings.

Split in two, I lay in pieces, the person I wanted to be, and who I really am.  My husband carried me home and slowly, I began to heal.  The scar is invisible because the wound is emotional.  It exists nonetheless, a reminder of what I no longer desire to be.  Incomplete, less than, detached...an island.

I don't make resolutions, people rarely stick to those.  I made a goal to be a better "daughter-wife-mom-sister ... friend".  I don't want to cry again because of all the things I didn't take time to do.  From here on out my tears will be due to the memories that I shared with the ones I've lost, not the regrets I have for not making more time for them.

To move forward though, I must forgive myself - the dead give no absolution; and make amends with the living.  I absolutely must make these changes or I will eat myself into an early grave, and I just told my husband I wanted to spend the next 50 years with him, and I would love to see grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.  That won't be possible if I don't take care of myself, and my emotional and mental health play a role in my overall longevity so I've got to get it together.

Forgive yourself.  We are not perfect beings, but if we work earnestly, diligently and sincerely toward a goal, we can achieve it.  Including seeking peace within.

Until Next Time,
Shanta

Monday, January 09, 2012

So This is What "Post-Racial" America Looks Like...

In Georgia anyway.


This was the homework given to several third graders in Gwinnett County, GA.  Yes, 8 year olds received this as an assignment last Wednesday (January 4, 2012).  Welcome to the real world kiddos.  There were also questions like "If Frederick received two beatings per day, how many did he get in one week?  Two weeks?"  Seriously?!  And the teachers claimed to have been using it as a cross-curricular exercise. FAIL!!!

What's so "post-racial" about this? 

Until Next Time, 
Be Blessed 

Friday, January 06, 2012

We Had A Ball...Literally!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

I hope you all had a restful and relaxing holiday season, I certainly did.  The beginning of winter and the holidays that accompany it always excite me for various reasons.  My family is always together at this time, and my anniversary (New Year's Eve) is always cause for celebration.  This past December 31,  I celebrated 9 years of matrimony with my dear friend, and husband Mr. Hayes.

Surprises and I have a "Love/Hate" relationship, as in; I love surprises, but I hate waiting for them.  Yes, yes I'm a grown woman, but I hold onto some of my childish ways.  However I digress.  Let me tell you what a wonderful husband I have.  Not only did he plan a romantic weekend away for US, but he also coordinated it with two other couples whom we are friends with that have anniversaries the day before and after ours.  Say what?!  Yes, we have an #AnniversaryCrew.

These wonderful husbands of ours plotted planned a delightfully restful, and romantic weekend for us at the lovely Chateau Elan.  (If you haven't been make plans to go).  After I tell you about our weekend you'll want to head there straight away.  First of all these men worked it, they arranged for all of our rooms to be together and for us ladies to have our spa services simultaneously, so that we could maximize our time together (don't get me wrong there was plenty of couple time), but we enjoyed each others company as well and celebrating our marriages.

We all arrived at the Inn on Thursday evening, the ladies having no clue where we were going, but having been given a short packing list, (evening wear, bathing suits, athletic wear, cute going out clothes, etc..)  that could have been for honestly ANYWHERE.  EverythingManHB said we (Dee-Dee and I) almost gave it away chattering on Facebook...no way!  WE were totally blown away when we all arrived and saw each other, and the grins were PRICELESS :D  There's nothing like spending time with people who value their relationships as much as you do.  But the surprises don't end there.  Over dinner they kept hinting at more..yes MORE.

Wine Cellar
Friday the gentleman had some golf instruction while we enjoyed massages and scrubs at the Spa (you have to go...really you should treat yourself to this experience at least once).  After we came back from tea at the spa we dressed to go to, drumroll please... The Charlie Wilson and Kem concert, yeah baby love making music at its best.  We had a fantastic time, then to cap the night we went to our favorite late night spot and had a late supper and dessert (some had two desserts ;).

Ballroom
Breakfast caught us rolling in late (but that was a daily thing - I let Mr. Hayes sleep-in whenever he can).  There was a wine tour on tap for the afternoon, but this was really just a leisurely day, because when the evening rolled around....there was The BALL!  Yes, an honest to goodness masquerade ball.  I told you we had a ball.  Talk about some Cinderellas...take three Stay at Home Moms, and their prince charmings, ball included and you have a fairy tale.  No, not at all this is our life, this is us being honored by the men who promised to do so.  This is us celebrating our marriages, vowing to keep our families strong and together, and sharing in the promise that "Your Marriage is Important to Me".

Now don't think that I forgot Mr. Hayes.  My gift just wasn't as big.  I tend to go with traditional gifts and I was very happy with the one I found this year.  For the ninth anniversary willow wood items are customary.  Do you know what a willow tree looks like?  Its the one with the long flowing branches (they honestly look like strands hanging off the tree), they blow in the wind; even with a gentle breeze.  When I think of a Willow trees I imagine a strong trunk and deep roots with branches that just go with the ebb and flow, standards of a good marriage. "The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity to life..."  A great marker for any relationship I'd say.  


Once early in our marriage we had a scuff about something and a friend asked me "Does he still make your heart smile?" The answer--Yes, yes he did, and he still does.  That has been my measuring stick for many a thing.  But  as I perused shops looking for the thing, I came across this...
from Appalachian Primitive on Etsy.  That scripture pretty much sums it up.  Accompanied with the family motto, and the smile question, it is all the affirmation of our marriage I need.

Needless to say, my gift was loved equally and will be with us for many, many decades to come, at least 5 more.  




Marriage is absolutely important to me, and I'm making the sustaining of it a major part of platform this year.  Expect to see more on love and marriage and how to keep it strong and together.  


I'll post more pics soon.  


Until Next Time, 
Be Blessed