Tag Archives: Love

Intentionally May

4 Jun

Happy June everyone! May was a pretty good month for A and I; I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of the spirit of my one little word for 2012: intentional, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary, March, and April.

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I think I’m happiest with my progress on this one this month. The more work on my relationship with God, the more I realize hom unquantifiable this goal is. With other intentional goals I san say, “Yes, I had three friends over for dinner, two friends without food dates, four…” You can’t really do that with something as intangible as growing close to the Lord. All I know is that I feel closer to Him, I’m more actively aware of His presence in my life, and I’m feeling the quiet security that comes from being in the word more often. Thank God that He is always there when we decide we want to come back to Him.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

We’ve done a devotional almost every night for the last month and a half. This obviously helps our spiritual intimacy, but it’s also slowly but surely building our emotional intimacy. We’ve been using Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s Just the Two of Us, a small book that my mom bought us for an engagement present (I think). It’s sweet. A little cheesy at times, which is par for the corse for the Parrotts, but great stories that make us think and are eminently applicable for our marriage.

We also celebrated our six-year anniversary on the 28th. Yay, us!

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I’ve had some great girlfriend time this month. Lunch dates with my bff, champagne evenings with a purpose, lunch dates with former high school students, grabbing Jamba Juice after a Saturday morning workout with the girls. It’s been a great month for relationships.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

I don’t know about scaring me, but accomplishing #16, planting my container garden, has definitely been a process. Now that they’re in the ground I’m scared…scared that all my plants are going to die without producing. Especially since some of my tomatoes are getting white spots on their leaves. 😦 A tomato-savvy friend told me yesterday to let my tomatoes dry out a bit and not over-water, and it’s raining today! What are the odds? Rain in June in northern California. Arrrrgggghhhh!

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

My buddy Kedrick finally made it back over for dinner, and we had a couple over that we’ve grown to know and love as individuals and have decided we need to hang out more as couples. Considering that this month has been crazy for me, I think two hostess days is pretty good.

Buying locally as much as possible.

So much good produce out right now! It’s super easy to eat locally at this time of year in California. Done and done.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

I’ve read so many gardening books this month it’s not even funny. All of them are from You Grow Girl, and are wonderful.

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise

No problem. Even being crazy busy I made time for exercise. The only weeks I had trouble was when I was having another terrible bout of insomnia, and I had zero energy for two weeks. I still worked out, but not as much, and definitely not at my full potential.

After several months of trying I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like step class. I’ve given it the old college try, and the only thing I really like about it is doing it with my girlfriends. All in all I’ve decided that I’d really rather spend the hour running. Speaking of which, this month I’m going to be trying to get back into running. I’ve worked on strength training for months, and have been LOVING it, but I miss running. And my stamina isn’t there anymore for running, so I’d like to see that come back up.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

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Intentionally April

10 May

image from liferearranged.com

Wow! May just snuck in there, and before I know it I’ll be celebrating my anniversary! All that to say, I’m waaaaaay overdue for how my one little word went for April. March’s update on  is a bit overdue. If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary is here, March is right here. How did April go? Let’s see, shall we?

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

Better. I’m reading His word more, praying more, and as I mentioned yesterday, relying on the hope He has promised exclusively.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

We’re finally working on the spiritual intimacy part. We’ve started a nightly devotional, and A is the one taking the lead in making sure we do it every night. It’s been a nice change, reading together and praying together more. I’m hoping it sticks.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I’ve had to make some hard choices this month. Volunteering versus time with A, girls’ night out versus date night. For the most part, I’ve been pretty selfish in my choices. I’ve been having a rough time this month, so I’ve been choosing to have time with friends who fill me up, who have my back, who see me and love me. I like to think it’s not all one way, I’ve had a better emotional connection with some of my friends than I’ve had in months. So I’m happy with this one.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

Well, sunscreen is crossed off. Yay! Only 23 more to go.

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

We had a couple of old friends over, so I got my hostess in, while being able to feel very homey. Comfort with entertaining; love it.

Buying locally as much as possible.

Easier than ever now that California is producing asparagus, and peppers, and tomatoes, and avocados, and broccoli, and oranges, and limes, and lemons, and beans, and peas, and corn. Oh my gosh, the corn!!! I was allergic, and now I’m not, and I am making up for more than nine years of being off of the cob and polenta and chips and salsa…it is a time of veggie plenty, my friends, and I intend to live it up.

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

Working out, going for a six-mile walk with girlfriends and lots and lots of dogs in Monterey, catch-up dates with former high school students…it’s been a full, blessed month.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

I started re-reading Animal Vagetible Miracle for the fourth time, bought and read the whole You Grow Girl book series in prep for planting my own veggie container garden, and am working my way through Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. Lots of non fiction, foodie goodness going on right now!

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Still averaging 3.4 times at the gym per week (according to my handy-dandy Club One tracker) and I’m doing Tone It Up workouts on my non-gym days. Still haven’t lost an ounce, but I have high hopes that when A and I get through this rough season that will change.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

Intentionally March

9 Apr

Happy Monday everyone! Little announcement before we get to the post: I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next two weeks. A is in his last week of tax season, which is always a stressful time for our family, and the week after I’ll be too busy enjoying my newly free husband to write. I’m not taking a break from life, so I’ll still be around online, just a brief break from the daily content. I’ll see you back here on Monday, March 23rd. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in two weeks!

image courtesy of intentional life on tumblr.

March’s update on the year of living intentionally is a bit overdue. If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary’s here. So, on to March!

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get on this one, but I feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I can’t say how exactly. Maybe it’s because I’ve been praying more when things are going right. Maybe it’s because I’m praying just to tell God how I love Him. Maybe it’s because I actually picked up my Bible recently because I wanted to re-read a passage I’d forgotten, and found that I really missed it. I hope to have more to report on this one next month.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

March was actually fairly rough for A and I. He’s been busy, and has had to spend quite a bit of time in the doctor’s office, and we’ve had more than our usual share of arguments. All this isn’t a great recipe for building intimacy. And yet….
Sometimes you find out things about yourself and your spouse that you never would have known if it weren’t for disagreements. You wouldn’t know how much the other person is in it with you, for better or worse, if it weren’t for adversity. I love A, and he loves me. And the fact that we can say that, choose it, live it, after the month we’ve had is a win. Any tough time where we come out closer together rather than further apart, I’ll take. And I’ll give thanks to God for.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I got to go to my ‘nephew’s’ baseball game this month, and he pitched for the first time. And he was awesome. The kid has a natural talent, and I’m super proud of him. I got to cuddle my ‘niece’ on the stands, braid her hair, and heat Lik-a-maids. I got to chat with my bff between her boy being at bat. All in all a great day.
A and I spent time with his work bff and his wife. We ran a 10k together, which was huge for us and gave us confidence in all the other races we have planned for this month. I had more than a few swirl dates with girlfriends, so it’s been a good month for relationships.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

Well, I crossed one off. That’s 1/15 for this year. A slow start, but I’ll take it!

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I left love notes for A. On our mirror, around our dog’s necks. They had written words, but went beyond just saying nice things. Cheesy, but effective.

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

A slow Friends Without Food month, but I did get a day with bestie Molly. We met after I got a pedicure and walked around Santana Row. We window shopped, tried in vain to find a Nike store, and ended up at the Irish pub for happy hour. Yes, it ended up involving food, but food wasn’t the point so it counts. So there. And it was one of the funnest days I’ve had in awhile.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

This month has been really weird, reading-wise. I’ve started several books, but none have really stuck. Sometimes I get like this, when I’ve read several amazing books in a row, if the next ones I read aren’t comparable I’m just not interested. If you have any good recommendations, let me know!

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Well, I spent the last week MIA from the gym due to a tenacious cold, but my average visits per week for March was still 3.1. Yes, my gym lets you track these things. Since the average person at my gym goes 1.3 days per week, and pre-Club One Christy averaged, oh, zero, I’m loving 3.1 average visits per week. Next month I’m shooting for 3.5!

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

It Made All the Difference

21 Mar

image from jungyunjae on wordpress.com

Where is he? Where is he where is he? It’s two thirty and she’s coming at three and he’s not picking up his phone which means he hasn’t left yet which means he won’t be on time and, dear God, where is he? Whereishewhereishewhereishe?

Me: “Honey? Where are you? Why weren’t you picking up your phone?”

A: “I’m leaving now. I’ll be home in a bit. What’s wrong?”

Me: (Said in increasing tones of agitation and desperation) “You’re leaving now? It’s two-thirty. We’re not going to have any time before she gets here. We need to talk, we need to plan. We need to pray. What were you thinking? You set up the times, for your appointment and with her, why aren’t you here? This isn’t ok, I’m not ok. I need you here now.”

A: “I was planning on calling you on my way home so we could talk about things. This is important to me too, I want to plan this out, I want to pray with you. I’m with you…I’m sorry, I didn’t know I had to be home now. I’m heading out the door, I’ll call you when I’m on my way. Love you.”

Me: “……(sullen silence)……”

*click*

Not often, but every now and then I have to have a Very Important Conversation with someone. By this I mean a conversation that I anticipate will be difficult, emotionally taxing, with high risk if it doesn’t go well. I never embark on having that kind of talk without a lot of prayer and outside wisdom to make sure I’m not overstepping or overreacting. In short, a conversation that creates a perfect storm for one Christy A. being seriously stressed out. Usually I’m on my own as far as the stakes go, but in this case A was in it as well. In this case, we were both hurt, both feeling misunderstood, and both far more invested in making sure both parties came out of this talk maintaining a strong relationship with each other than in being right.

It’s taken me a long time to get there.

I grew up in a family who would scream at each other at the slightest offense. The offended party would come at the offending family member with both barrels blazing. Guilt, blame, hurt, anything but vulnerability were used to try to make the person feel badly that they’d hurt them. In turn, the offending party would look for any reason that the offended deserved what they got, had earned their hurt, and would endeavor to beat the other down with words and emotional blackmail. Nothing is my fault, everything is yours. We would yell until we were hoarse, no one hearing the other, and break apart at an opportune time hoping that the other would change and actually hear us and care about our point of view. Needless to say, it never happened.

The way I was brought up to fight was broken, dysfunctional, and poison to healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. Thank the Lord that A, avoider of conflict though he is, called me on my crap early in our dating relationship and told me that the way I fought made me a bully. I was a broken person. He was too. Neither of us came from families that equipped us to handle real-world relationships in a way that put our marriage before the self. But we are called to be better, to be less ‘me’ and more ‘we’, and we learned.

Here’s how our conversation went when A called me back,while on his way home:

A: “Hey, Baby.”

Me: “…..Hi…..”

A: “Before you say anything, I called and asked if she would come over at three-thirty. I’m sorry that my appointment ran long. I want to be there for you, and I’m sorry we mis-communicated about when you needed me to be home. We’ve got time now, and I’m happy to talk to you now, or when I’m home in a bit.”

Me: “………………………….”

In one simple swoop, he completely disarmed me. Took the wind of indignation out of my sails.

I was already stressed about the upcoming Very Important Conversation, and when he wasn’t home when I needed him I freaked out. But instead of hearing my anger, he heard my hurt. Instead of hearing my frustration, he heard my need. Instead of hearing my bitterness, he heard my fear. And that made all the difference.

Emmerson Eggerichs once said (I’m paraphrasing, it’s been awhile) that all the marriage advice he offered in his study Love and Respect is assuming that you have a good-intentioned spouse in your home, who wants better for you than they want for themselves. I chose well, and as far as our marriage is concerned, this is generally true for us. We (mostly) want better for the other than we do for ourselves, and we definitely work to put the heath and viability of our marriage above being right, above feeling self-righteous, above the illusion of being infallible.

And that’s what A showed me when he called me and said, “Before you say anything, I wanted to let you know that I called her and asked if she would come over at three-thirty.” That he heard me, he loved me, and he put me first. He knew that he would be dealing with a pissed off and defensive wife when he called me back, so he preempted me with love. He knew that I was hurting and needed him, even though I came at him with pain and disappointment.

The man I was married to a year ago wouldn’t have realized that. But the man I’m married to today does.

In my house growing up, you never said, “I’m sorry.” It was an admission of weakness, an admission of failure, and our home was not a safe place to be fallible. What we never realized, church-going family that we were, is that we all fall short of the glory of God. Which means that we are fallible. Learning to say, “I’m sorry, I messed up,” was the most grown-up thing I’ve ever learned to do. And, as I often say to my high school kids, if I hadn’t learned to admit to my fallibility and married a man who would do the same, our marriage wouldn’t have made it a month. Really. If I’d had a recorder and could replay our arguments from our honeymoon and that first month you’d know what I mean. But we learned, together. Which brings me back to my story…

A year ago A would have had a very different response to me in that second phone call after the way I’d talked to him in the first. Then he would have heard my hurt, the implied failure on his part, the accusatory tone. Though I’m sure he still heard all that, this time – to my amazed surprise – he heard the panic, the worry, the hurt at feeling like I was facing a Very Important Conversation alone. And he took care of it without me asking. Throughout our relationship, I’ve been the one to instigate change. I’m always looking for the next great marriage book we should read, to seek out the next small group, to suggest prayer topics and call us to look at the bigger picture. But the man I married is willing to grow. He’s willing to not be right if it means keeping us close. He knows how to say, “I’m sorry.” And it makes all the difference.

“Before you say anything, I called her and asked if she would come over at three thirty…”

No, he didn’t understand my need from the beginning. But with those words he showed me that he heard me through my fear, through my accusations. He heard me, and he fixed the problem. Without me asking. Because I would have found a way to make it work, even though I was stressed, even though I was scared. But he made it all go away, because he heard me.

It’s moments like this that show me that despite the dysfunction we are born into, despite the human tendency to never admit when you’re wrong, when we love each other (and I’m talking sacrificial love, the kind that puts the other’s daily well-being above your own,) we can choose to put your needs second when our partner is hurting. A could have been defensive, self-righteous even, given how I reacted. Instead he chose to act in love. And it was beautiful.

You have many choices in marriage. The greatest choice you can make is to put the health of the marriage above yourself. Even with both of our backgrounds working against us, we’ve learned to choose marriage. And I believe that if we can learn, anyone can. Which will make the world a more beautiful place.

Marriage Letters: I Know You Love Me When…

27 Feb

Every Monday, Amber and her husband Seth and others, write Marriage Letters.  It is an effort to encourage others to fight the good fight, to do the hard work, to bless other marriages as we write to bless our own. And I love the idea. So I’m joining in on this week’s topic: I know you love me when…

photo from smitten kitchen

Dear A,

I learned early on not to expect you to stop at the store on your way home when I forgot to buy an onion. Do you remember the fight we had? One more example of how expecting your marriage to have the same dynamics you grew up in doesn’t work. That’s why I smile now, as we head into our sixth year and you offer to pick up dinner on your way home if I can’t make it to the store. You say you’d rather avoid stopping for bread, but if I need it you won’t mind. If an onion is essential and we have company coming, you’ll pick it up and chop it for me. You know I cry a river chopping onion.

I could have written about any number of things you do that let me know you love me, but this one’s on my mind because coming off a week of being under the weather and you taking care of me. Even though you could probably go straight to bed by the time you get home.

More often than not, I end up making it work; I don’t want to add more onto your packed day.  More than anything it’s the change in your heart, your willingness that shows me how much you’ve grown and makes me feel so loved. You can pack a lot of love points into a $3.89 baguette.

I know you love me when you stop on the way home, just to bring me flowers. I love when you bring me flowers. You always look for the most unique bouquet, because you know roses and baby’s breath won’t work for your sideways-wife. When you stop to pick up a few posies it packs a double whammy on my heart, because not only did you stop on your way home, you did it just to see me smile. Usually it’s on the days I need a reason to smile the most. You’re so good at that.

Love,

Wife

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