Marriage and Family

Childproofing our Marriage, Part 1

Catchy title, don’t you think? Well, actually, it’s a book I am currently reading, and the author is Dr. Debbie Cherry. She has given me some practical insights into the issues that create problems for a marriage, and she also describes the solutions that can help save a marriage.

Right now I am saddened by all the trashy news about marriages failing, especially in the recent tabloids surrounding the famous Gosselin family. I believe that it is heart breaking to hear the fateful words of the mom who believes that her children are more important than her relationship to her spouse.

Although I may seem out of place for commenting on the above, I have learned (and still learning) that a marriage will not survive if the relationship is based on putting the children first. A child-centered marriage is upside down, but our culture has deemed it the way to success. Focus on the kids, pay attention to the needs of the kids, let the kids decide… Of course, I need to focus on my kids, but if I put too much emphasis on them, and I neglect to focus on my spouse (who was there BEFORE the children arrived), then my marriage is nothing more than a job-sharing process.

So, where does the childproofing begin? In chapter one, Dr. Cherry says that it begins with my childhood foundation. UGH, did she have to bring this up? Yes! If I fail to see where I have come from, and fail to understand the values and experiences I have received from my upbringing, there will be many conflicts that will arise in the marriage. She points out (1) understanding your family tree, (2) looking at the past in a rear-view-mirrored-size view, (3) identifying the different color of glasses you view your life (rose, dark, or clear), (4) accepting that there’s no excuse for the good or bad past times, and (5) be determined to create a healthier future for the next generation.
Dr. Cherry’s words have been an immense support to my life. I am learning on how to recognize my shortcomings, to change my focus on the current status of my family, and to help improve the path toward the future.

Cherry, D. (2004). Childproofing Your Marriage: Keeping Your Marriage a Priority During the Parenting Years. Cook Communications. Orange: Yates & Yates.


Out of sorts…

Okay, I know this will post on FB, too, but I have been battling with an inner struggle lately. I hate to admit it, since I love to be surrounded by positive things and positive people. I am about to have another birthday, and I don’t like the fact that I am entering my late 30s. I’ll be 37, and it is starting to feel like an extra 5 pound dumbbell on a piece of gym equipment.
I know that I will pull through this, but in the meantime, I am devouring every book of interest from the library. I have been reading some mystery novels, and other forms of non-fiction that pertain to homemaking or being a better mom (and wife, and spouse, and person…) The only problem with all this reading is that I have been out of sorts with all the input, and I don’t have an outlet…
I guess what I am really aching for is… a good friend, female only, please, because I have a dear husband. I know I have some really great friends out there, but for some reason, I haven’t had the opportunity to connect with anyone in my current town. I need someone I can talk to, and listen to, and they won’t ignore me, or feel weird around me. I would like to find someone to meet for coffee, or browse the local bookstore, meet at the park, or whatever.
Sounds crazy, right? Well, wherever you are and whoever you are, I am praying that we’ll meet… or perhaps, meet again. Someone who is married, has kids, has a strong faith in God, who shares the same interests. You know… like a friend from childhood who has been there for years and years.
Enough said, and my prayers will continue…


One World Collision

“Stop the World I want to get off” was a quote I read from a poster that hung in my English high school class. I’ll never forget those words, but for some reason I cannot remember the picture behind it. Ever since then I have said those words in my mind when my “world” seemed to collide with itself. Whether I was dealing with issues at home, issues at work, or issues at school, I knew I could only handle so much of the world.

What is life like for you in your world? Do you live life at full speed, never catching your breath, or do you try to find some balance and serenity in your unobstructed view of life? As for me, I have found that my life resembles a roller coaster ride. There are days when I feel like I am climbing up to the heavens and waiting for the thrill of being on top of the world. Other days I feel like I am racing to the bottom, hoping that I don’t crash or fall off my path. Yet, there are days when I sit in the seat at the starting gate, all strapped in my seat, waiting for life to start.

There are no repeats in this life. Everyday is a new chance to make something better in my life than the previous day. I have to choose to wake up happy, smile at my surroundings, and face my world square in its eyes. If I choose to do the opposite, well, let’s just say, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” That’s another great quote I use from time to time, too.

As I look beyond my personal world, I see so many other things happening around me. My community is growing and changing each day; my state is growing and changing, too. And, yes, the country in which I live is changing at a rate faster than I’d like to accept. If we look at the Earth, the entire world that gives us life and abundant resources, it seems like an awfully big place. I cannot imagine trying to learn about all the countries, people, places, and history. My entire lifetime would be consumed with that quest of knowledge. If we look at the Earth from outer space, our planet is relatively small, just a tiny speck of dust that floats around in the universe. I suppose that the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who, is not such a distorted, misrepresentation of people living on “specks.”

As I reflect on the different views of my world, from a personal standpoint and expanding out to the vastness of the universe, I see that my life and my world is a brief speck of dust, yet it is so important. I am learning that I only get a few chances to make a difference in my world. So, “What composes your world?” you may ask. Like I said earlier, my world is small, concise, and so important. I have my family and my home. I have my friends and my church. I have my faith in God. That’s about it. But, hey, those few items I choose to call mine, they are special to me, and they complete the picture in which I exist.

So, the next time I consider listening to that quote, “Stop the world I want to get off,” I hope I will reconsider and finish the ride.


The Scope of Health

For those who are healthy it is easy to take our circumstances for granted. It is not apparent to realize the fragile state of our bodies until we, or someone we know, becomes ill – sometimes to the point of death. We are in a constant state of regeneration: our cells divide and multiply to replace the old and worn out cells. Our bodies require an adequate amount of sleep every 24 hours to help provide renewal to our bones, muscles, and minds!

But, what if you were to become stricken with an acute illness, or perhaps a newly diagnosed chronic disease? How would you react? What would you try to change about your current lifestyle? Would you start to see life differently? Would you slow down to listen to the birds sing outside, or admire a beautiful rose? Would you realize that you are here on Earth for a brief time, and you have a purpose to fulfill?

It has been a little over a year’s time, and I can clearly remember when I became very ill. My first thought was, “oh no, I am getting the flu.” I started to feel achy and fatigued all over my body. I noticed that my temperature began to rise up to 99 degrees. I crawled into bed that night, and hoped for a quick recovery. Little did I know, and what I was about to experience, would last for an excruciating two weeks.

The next day I drove my son to a doctor’s appointment, and I decided to bring my mom along in case I couldn’t make the drive. I was feeling so awful, and I had no idea that my illness was about to turn for the worse. Within the next day I had broken out in a rash on my back, and I thought it was shingles. I went to the ER, and they dismissed me with a diagnosis of “something viral.” They said to return if the symptoms became worse. Well, I became worse. The rash decided to spread all over my body, from my scalp to my top of my feet. The spots were increasing in size to the diameter of a quarter. I couldn’t lie down on a pillow without pain, and I couldn’t sit down on a chair. I also began to notice white sores in my mouth, lining my gums. Then my lower lip started to swell, and I couldn’t eat.

The second visit to the ER was excruciating, but at least the staff performed more tests on me, and sent me home with some strong antibiotics. They also gave me a shot of Demerol, which sent my mind and stomach into a roller coaster feeling. It was not a pleasant drug withdrawal.

For the next 11 days I endured the pain of the sores on my body, the sores in my mouth, the continual low grade fever, and the accompanying joint pain. The illness had spread into my blood, and the germs were invading every cell. If it wasn’t for the availability of that sulfa drug, I would probably be dead. Two days later, the result of the blood culture said I had MRSA, and it was systemic (meaning, throughout my whole body).

I still don’t know how I acquired MRSA, and for a long time I had wondered why I had acquired MRSA. But, through those two painful weeks of lying in bed, isolated from my family, I learned to listen to the still, small voice of God. I know that He was teaching me a bunch of lessons about life, and it took a serious illness to get my attention.

As I share my thoughts and feelings, I want you to know that I do not mean to offend anyone. I don’t want to wish any harm, and my hope is that I will encourage you through your “storm” you are going through right now. I pray that you will have the faith to understand my words.

The first lesson that I learned was that I needed to give up my life. I am not saying that I needed to die physically, but I need to die to my desires so I can be used purposefully for God’s will.

The second lesson that I learned was that I needed to slow down my pace in order to be healthy. I had all four burners going at high speed, and that’s a great setup for a mental breakdown, an emotional breakdown, a spiritual breakdown, and yes, a physical breakdown.

The third lesson I learned is that the span of my life is very short, and my days are numbered. I only get so many days to live purposefully, live to help others, and live to love the God who created me.

Another lesson I learned is that my health will never be the same. My diagnosis with MRSA was a pivotal moment in my life. I will always be susceptible to the slightest illness lurking on the handle of the grocery cart, and I have to become stronger physically to overcome these potential threats. My immune system was compromised; I cannot let my guard down again. I may not survive another systemic attack.

So, my pursuit of reading literature and health-related information consumes my free time. I have to become self-educated in the knowledge that abounds the post-modern society. I cannot rely on a doctor’s suggestion, or the latest fad. I need to find out the cues that my body gives me in order to help regain and retain my health.

I encourage those who read this to listen to your body. Create an initial assessment of your current circumstances. If you are unhappy with your findings, find the energy to start making small changes. You can be successful in your quest for health. You will have to ask questions; you will probably have to surf the internet; you will definitely need to have your blood checked and be evaluated by a doctor. But, take charge of your future by taking care of your body now.


The Mystery of History

I used to think it was boring. I used to think it had nothing to do with my life. I used to think it was the reason for my low GPA in school. Oh was I wrong about the subject of history. I need to apologize to all the people out there who have made history an icon, a legend, and the all-time blog of human existence!

When I learned to take the “mystery” out of history my imagination began to soar! I wanted to learn as much as I could about the stories of the past. I discovered that there were actually some important people and events that existed back then so I could exist today! How ignorant I was about the past! However, each new day brings a chance for me to glance briefly in the “rear-view mirror” of these documents that cradle the treasure of the past.

There are many great sources of literature that encompass the lives of the past. Of course, I wasn’t encouraged to read biographies or stories of those events that made the spotlight of history. I only remember learning about history through the dry, boring, and superficial textbooks provided by the less-than-mediocre educational system.

During my elementary years the school I attended did not have the funds for elaborate resources. I can remember that our school had acquired a handful of computers in my seventh grade year, but those computers were very expensive and off-limits on most occasions. So, if the school could barely afford a handful of computers, I can imagine that they didn’t spend much on extra-curricular books for history.

I have been determined to learn as much as I can consume with my mind. I even discovered a book called, “The Well Educated Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer, who helps the adult reader re-discover a love for learning through the journey of great works of literature. Oh, if only I had been exposed to such great forms of learning at a younger age. But, would I have appreciated the dedication and generosity of the teacher? Would I have taken the time to really read and understand the stories of the heroes among the pages of the past?

Where is a good place to start in the study of history? In my opinion, I believe that the beginning is a good place to start. Learn about the history of Egypt and the Sumerians. Read the Old Testament in the Bible to get a time line of the events that took place in the modern-day Middle East. Challenge yourself to read “The Well Educated Mind” and begin with the novel Don Quixote. Take the steps of re-learning slow and easy. Make history come to life in your mind.

As much as I try to steer clear of the ‘Hollywood’ versions of stories, I do have to say that my children have discovered various interests in history because of certain movies they have watched. For example, they began to research different themes of history after they watched Night at the Museum. They wanted to learn more about the mysterious statues on Easter Island, and the life of Attila the Hun (what is a “hun” mommy?). They discovered a fascination for mummies and Egyptian artifacts after watching The Mummy movies.

Although there are millions of books out there that hold the tune of history, I don’t think there are enough books to completely write every scenario. We need to appreciate each day as it arrives. We need to live each day as though it is our last day. We need to be mindful of things we participate in, the experiences we share, and the legacy we will leave behind. We are writing our own history as we live. It may not seem important to us now, but someday our lives may have an impact on someone else… and that may change the course of history forever.