March 26, 2012

1000 Gifts: 181-200

                                                         -The Tenth Installment of 1000 Gifts-

181.  A run in the rain
182.  Long, hot showers
183.  Coupons
184.  Girl Scout Cookies
185.  Positive reinforcement
186.  The healing power of a heating pad
187.  Sundae date nights
188.  Spring cleaning
189.  Hashbrowns with breakfast
190.  "I'm so proud of you." - my man
191.  That moment when my running shoes call, no, scream my name.
192.  Conversation that bonds the hearts
193.  A 55 degree day in March
194.  When he joins me for a run "just to spend time together"
195.  Spontaneous double dates
196.  Dinner with Tyson
197.  A quiet night reading
198.  A warm home
199.  The smell of bread baking
200.  A late night talk with my mom

March 21, 2012

Sister Weekend 2012

You know those relationships that just fit? Those relationships where, when you are together - regardless of the amount of time spent apart - everything fits.  Those relationships that you slip into like an old, favorite college sweatshirt. Those relationships where you sit in the same room for two hours and need not utter a word... and still connect.  Those relationships where you don't have to dust or vacuum or shower before they come.

Well, folks, such is the life of sisters.  (At least these ones)
This last weekend, Sister and I reunited for our Second Annual Sister Weekend, after nearly 3 months apart. I convinced her that if you do something two years in a row, it's a tradition. Meaning, she is now, forever, locked in to coming to visit me in March to celebrate her birthday. Every March for the rest of her life. Phew, I'm glad that's settled.

We had a wonderful time doing absolutely nothing.  I picked her up at the airport on Saturday afternoon; and, by the time we got home (40 minutes later), we had already covered pretty much everything.  And I mean everything.  Sister don't no waste time.

Such is how the weekend was.  Careening from topics as important as Extreme Days to the root of our pride and how to overcome it.  From faith to food, we just talked and talked.  Three solid days of talking, cooking, eating, Friends-watching, game-playing, and laughing.  Sister knows how to have a good time. (And, let the record show: I cleaned her clock in both Phase 10 and UpWords. There's no such thing as hospitality when games are involved.)
And, even though I mercilessly dominated in our game-marathon, I spent the entirety of the weekend marveling at God's grace in putting this woman in my life. She may be three years younger, but - man alive - is she wise!  Sister has a unique insight into people (myself included); and she is not afraid to stand for what she believes in - even if it means standing alone.  Every moment with her is an encouragement and a challenge to decrease that He may increase.

On the drive back to the airport to drop her off, I commented on how there truly is no relationship quite like that of sisters.

What an immeasurable blessing it is to consider mine a friend.

March 16, 2012

Things that make me cry...

A few months ago, I happened to be in a conversation with a coworker about the silly things that make us cry.  Surprisingly, it was not hard for me to think of quite the handful.  The crazy thing?  These are things that will make me cry EVERY. TIME.  Now, there are things about which I will cry occasionally: funerals, goodbyes, etc.  But, even then, those are normal things and it's inconsistent.  So, I've made a list of the odd things that will, like clockwork, bring on the waterworks, the ugly cry:  (Because I just know you care so much)
            1. Presidential inaugurations
      2. Veteran’s Day
      3. High school graduations
      4. Father-daughter dances
      5. Military homecomings
      6.  Nights away from the Mr.
      7. “Day by Day”
      8. The end of "The Parent Trap."  The new one.
      9. The "Friends" Finale
     10. "You've Got Mail" -  "I wanted it to be you.  I wanted it to be you so badly."
     11. When the underdog wins - thank you, March Madness.
     12. Superbowl/World Series Winners' Speeches.
     13. Any movie where the sister or husband dies.

So there you have it.  Judge away. Or, just roll your eyes over the fact that I made this list in the first place.  It's my blog, and I'll cry if I want to.

March 13, 2012

How to Survive Grad School: A Spouse's Guide

Here I sit. Alone, again, on a Tuesday night.  The Mr. is back at school preparing for his next big exam, after stopping home briefly for a quick dinner. And I am so extremely proud of him.
If there is one thing I've learned over the past two years, it’s that graduate school is difficult.  I have watched my husband stay up late, rise early, and study until he is cross-eyed.   He works so diligently and so hard; and, frankly, his hard work is paying off.  But it is still not easy.

I always believed people when they said that grad school was hard – but I just figured that people were referring to the student. Here’s a secret: it’s no cakewalk for the spouses either.  So, if your significant other is preparing to begin, or has already begun, the insanity that is graduate school, allow me to provide you with a few ways that I’ve learned how to survive – and thrive – through the adventure.

1.  Find a Hobby – While I know that I am fortunate that the Mr. does most of his studying at home, I have also found that I can be his biggest distraction.  The best way to remedy my desire to try to convince him to play this game with me or watch that movie is to keep myself occupied.   Whether it’s fitting in time for a long run or finally reading that book that I’ve been meaning to read, I’ve learned that I need to keep myself busy.

2. Pursue Other Relationships – This is an area where I could use improvement.  You know those quiet, and sometimes lonely, nights spent alone while he studies?  Well, what better use of my time than developing relationships with ladies around me or keeping in touch with old friends.  While no one can replace the sweet fellowship that I have with Cole, it can ease the pressure that he may feel if I am not looking to him to be the sole source of connecting conversationally.

3. Keep a Sense of Humor – Remember, school is difficult. And, you can be sure that he is not choosing studying over spending time with you because he wants to.  He chooses to study, rather than spend time with me, out of pure necessity. And, at the end of the day, I am so thankful for his incredible discipline.

4. Be His Biggest Cheerleader – All day long, he may not necessarily be receiving the most positive or encouraging feedback.  The last thing he needs is to come home to a bitter, frustrated wife.  Be the safe place to which he can run where he knows that he is still the hero.  And, as for my heart? Well, it’s harder to throw myself a pity party if I’m too busy throwing a celebratory party for him…. Which leads me to…

5. Be Selfless – This is not about me. This is the cornerstone upon which all the other ideas are built. I am here to help and support him through, well, his whole life, but especially through this time. Graduate school is hard enough; I need not make it any more difficult by being needy.  If there is a way that I can lighten his load – taking care of things at home, making his lunches, or sitting for endless eye exams – then I should joyfully do it.  I should - in all areas - be dying to self on a daily basis, setting aside my own agenda for another's. I joyfully kiss him as he heads back to school for a long night of studying, knowing that he is working for our future, for our best, for His glory.

Grad school is hard; but, I must say, I have a wonderful husband who does not shirk his duties at home when duties at school scream louder.  When he has any free time, he works to lighten my load. Such is the beautiful dance called ‘marriage.’

I'm sure there are a million other ways to survive and support your spouse through grad school, but I figured you didn't stop by to read a novel.  So, these are just a few things that I've learned in our journey.  Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am incredibly amazed at the discipline, balance, and prowess with which Cole handles everything.  I couldn’t be more proud to be the one standing on the sidelines, cheering him on in this important adventure.  Cole is a man among men; and I am, among women, most blessed.

ALL is grace.

PS - How many of you have survived grad school?  Any tips??  :)

Just Us

We will also remind you that this is just a BLOG…just the highlights. We don’t sit around happily smiling for pictures all day long. Our life is far from perfect: we are imperfect people serving a perfect God. We do strive to glorify God, but we fail miserably and find comfort in knowing that our debts have been paid and we have been set free.

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