The Boy’s Club

So I go tomorrow afternoon to take the ASVAB test in Louisville! I’m really excited, and the excitement is only increasing the closer it gets. No nerves at all, just excitement. 😀 Which is a good thing, of course. I guess I am a little nervous, but it’a about little inconsequential things like having to drive to L-ville and back with some guys I don’t know and what are we going to talk about? Are they going to think the questions I ask are dumb? What are the current and official appearance requirements for girls? What are the Navy’s requirements for their pushups (form, etc.)? When do you get your signing bonus, if you get one? Just things like that, nothing to do with the major things. 🙂 I’ve spent so long deliberating over all the big things that I’m down to the nit-picky details now.

But one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve been spending my copious amounts of free time at work fake shopping online (adding things to your wish list but not actually buying anything), there isn’t much for the female soldier/sailor. In my searching I found shirts, necklaces, keychains, sweatshirts, rings, earrings, wristbands, headbands, phone cases, and pretty much anything else you can think of for the supportive family members. Here are some of the ones that I saw: Navy Mom, Navy Dad, Sexy Navy Mom, Navy girlfriend, Navy fiancé, Navy sister-in-law, Navy brother-in-law, I support my Navy cousin, I support my Navy nephew, Navy parent, I support my Navy husband, Navy sister, and Navy wife. I did see a Navy boyfriend and an I support my Navy granddaughter, but those were the only ones that I could find that were geared towards family of female sailors! Why isn’t there more available to show that I’m a female sailor and proud of it? Why aren’t there more Navy husband shirts out there? I know that the military, and especially the Navy, has usually been a boys club. In fact, the Navy SEALs still don’t even allow girls to apply. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still show support for our female soldiers!!! I was talking to my friend the other night who had looked into becoming a Marine. While the Marine Corp. does allow women to join, she was telling me that their weight requirements are highly unrealistic. She said that she would have had to basically become anorexic to get small enough to qualify, and then she wouldn’t have been able to perform up to their standards so she wouldn’t have been allowed to become a Marine anyways. While, yes, things like that bother me, I know why it’s done. That’s whatever. But I think it’s a huge job and an amazing thing to be a female soldier, no matter what branch you’re in, so why don’t we have more products out there to show that?

I think once I’m done with basic and all my training and stuff, I might try to start and Etsy shop with products just like all the other shops that support the military, but I will have shirts that say things like “Proud to be a female sailor” and “Navy husband” and “I support my wife” and stickers for your car that say “Navy” and “Navy sailor” and “Navy Diver” and “soldier” and things like that in pink and other girly colors. I want female soldiers to be able to show off what they’ve accomplished and be proud of what they’ve done! I want to be able to have cute T shirts to wear that say I’m a member of the US Navy! I want my anchor designs and jewelry to be more than just fashion! Female soldiers shouldn’t be limited in the kinds of cute shirts and keychains and bumper stickers and sweatshirts and jewelry they can find and wear just because there are more males in the military than women! It is an amazing thing to be a soldier, and even more amazing to be a female soldier, why aren’t more people supporting that? Yes, it’s great that every MILSO out there can show her support for her hubby or fiancé or boyfriend, but what about the MILSO’s that are waiting on their wives or girlfriends or fiancee to get home? And why aren’t there more products out there for the women who are in the military? Do people think that because they’re soldiers they don’t like cute things? Maybe thats the prevailing theory, that all women in the armed forces are dykes or something, but it’s not true. Just because we became soldiers instead of secretaries doesn’t mean we might not want to put a pink sticker on our car or wear a pink shirt with a sassy saying on it.

Just because the military is predominately a boys club doesn’t mean that we should ignore the fact that there ARE women in this boys club too! Where’s my shirt?!?

Here’s Your Sign

I am now 100% convinced that the Navy is what I am supposed to be doing with my life, that this is the path that God has laid out for my life. Whenever you get set on the path that God has for you, expect opposition. So I went and talked to a recruiter on Friday and got quite a few answers to the questions that I had been wondering about and he was very straightforward with me, which I liked. So I went home with all my info and talked to the hubby about it off and on all weekend. I had pretty much decided by Friday night that I was going to do it, but I still have a few other questions and that sort of thing that I want to find out about before committing. So I get up at 6am this morning to go workout so I can start getting in shape to be able to pass the physical test to become an AIRR (Aviation Rescue Swimmer, I know the acronym doesn’t match the name, it’s annoying) because it requires push-ups and running, 2 things that I detest and am not very good at as a result. Surprisingly I had no trouble getting up and getting going (which is very rare for me, I hate mornings) and no trouble on the way to the gym besides hitting every other red light. As soon as I stepped foot out of my car to go into the gym, my hip started hurting. Like, the kind of hurt where you don’t want to walk or put weight on it, hurting. But I have had such peace about my decision and I was so looking forward to getting started on working towards my very high goals that I knew right away that this wasn’t natural. When you are headed in the direction that you are supposed to go and things suddenly start going wrong or things start happening that would normally stop you from following through, stop and take a minute to recognize that for what it is. You are under attack. The enemy is trying to prevent you from moving forward in the way that God has set for you, he is trying to discourage you, he is trying to cause you pain, he does not want to you move forward to accomplish your God given goals.

So now I am more than 100% confident that this is the way that I am supposed to be going, this is the route I am supposed to be taking. I have no more fear, no more reservations, no more worries. I talked them all out with my husband and he is confident that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I said that I don’t want to leave my job after being there for less than a year, a new pastor being here for barely a month, and the holidays coming up. He said that maybe I’m supposed to leave because there’s somebody else who needs that job the way that we did when I took it, but that there’s nothing wrong with waiting until the New Year if that’s what I would like to do. (The jury’s still out on that one, I’m waiting to hear back from the recruiter about how the timing would work) I said would feel bad because we just moved into a new house that we’re renting from his dad because his dad couldn’t sell it and I don’t want to screw his dad over because he’s planning on us buying it and thing alike that. He said that we’ll just sell the house, his dad will get his money one way or the other and that’s really all he cares about. It old him I don’t want to miss my cousin’s wedding in November, he said I can wait until the new year if that’s what I want to do. (Again, the jury’s still out. My cousin lives about an hour north of Chicago so we’re planning on spending a day in Chicago then going to the family weekend after that so I don’t want to mess up our fun vacation plans. It’ll be the first real vacation we’ve taken by ourselves EVER.)

So now that all the details are squared away for any fit ire issues, all that’s left to do is decide on the big things. While I am kind of bummed that I won’t be able to do things like have my tongue pierced or dye my hair fire engine red anymore and I’ll have to give up my horseback riding lessons that I’m starting next week, I’m more excited for what I can do and what I’ll get in return. I’m really excited that I’m doing this because I want to and not because of money. I’m really excited that I’ll have something to work hard for, that I’ll be doing something that my kids and family can be proud of, and I’ll be doing something that feels worthwhile and I’ll feel good about doing. I will be able to help provide a stable house for my kids to grow up in and I won’t have to worry about if they want to play an expensive sport. I’m not even upset that doing the military means that we won’t be able to foster kids like we had also been considering doing. My hubby pointed out an interesting thing that I hadn’t even noticed. Both times that we have seriously considered foster care, like gone and met with an agency and even started training, were the times that I was also seriously considering joining the Navy. That makes sense to me though, that’s my brain unconsciously putting both life paths in front of me and forcing me to choose. Fostering leads to the life that I always thought I would have, tons of kids and a family life that I could pretty easily predict how things were going to go. The Navy is a path that I have no idea what’s going to happen. I only know 3 people total who have been in the military and 1 of them was in the Air Force in the 60’s so I don’t think that counts as applicable in this situation. So I don’t know what to expect. It helped a lot to be able to talk to my hubby’s friend who has just finished his schooling in the Navy since he knows what I’ll go through, having just recently gone through it himself. But the fact that I don’t know what will happen down that path doesn’t scare me anymore. Ross may laugh and scoff and poke fun, but I’ve been mulling this over for years and have slowly been breaking down those walls and fears and apprehensions during that time so that once I finally decided to do it, I would be ready. And now I am.

So I am still waiting to hear back from the recruiter about the questions I emailed him a little bit ago, hopefully he’ll get back to me either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. AIRR is listed as an available job on the Navy’s website so I am wondering now about how prudent it would be to wait versus just going ahead and going for it. We shall see! I am beyond excited to see where this next adventure that God has us on takes us!

Thank you Lord for giving me the clarity to see the attack this morning for what it was and for giving me the mental strength to push through it, and even though I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, I did it. Please continue to give me favor and the mental strength to be able to withstand any attack, just as You promised me. Thank you for your grace and your love and your forgiveness which are new every day Lord.

Future Navy life?

So I have gone back and forth debating about the Navy for over a year now. (yes, I know, I’m indecisive) But this is a huge life changing deal so I’m allowing myself the back and forth. One of my husband’s friends is in the Navy, he did the reserves for a few years and is now finished with his officer’s school and about to be finished with all his technical schooling to be a pilot! So I texted him yesterday because one of the main lingering concerns that I still had was about the recruiters. I am an emotional person and can easily get wrapped up in something if it sounds really good, so I wanted to talk to someone who had been through it so I could know if the recruiters would tell me mostly the truth or if they would try to feed me a line to get me to sign up and add to their numbers.

So I asked Brandon about the recruiters and we set up a time to talk on the phone later that evening. He seemed really excited that I was considering the Navy, which made me feel good. (Brandon is an amazing guy and he always makes you feel better about yourself) We talked on the phone for half an hour, and he told me all of his personal experiences. He said that if you go into the recruiters office and ask professional and say you would like the information, they are more likely to give you both sides of the coin than if you go in trying to be friendly and buddy-buddy with them, which makes sense. He also said (more than once) that nobody can MAKE you do anything, they can PRESSURE you all they want but they can’t MAKE you. They may tell you that there are spots open for the job that you want but to get them you would have to sign now and things like that, but you don’t have to. We talked about boot camp too, which I was also dreading and didn’t particularly want to do, but he said it will suck but you’ll get through it and that’s just how it is. I told him that I don’t particularly want to go someplace where I’m just going to be yelled at all the time, and he said that is part of it but they yell at you because that’s their job. That made me feel better (even though it’s not like that was new info, of course it’s their job!) because I tend to take things so personally (again, because I’m an emotional person) so that’ll be good to remember. He also said that it’s good, when you’re talking to the recruiters, to take some time and do your own research. Again, this made me feel better even though it isn’t new info or a new idea, I always want to double and triple check everything and make 1000% sure I’m ok with it, especially with as big of a decision as this. So talking to Brandon made me feel a lot better about everything and made me feel like I could actually do it.

So today, while I had nothing to do at work, I went on the Navy sight and looked at their jobs. I went through everything, thinking I would want something with photography or journalism or maybe even a little bit of medical because I have some phlebotomy experience and loved it, but I got really excited when I got to the Special Operations section. When I was debating this and looking into it last time (about 4 months ago) I briefly looked at the Coast Guard as well. The thing that turned me off from the Coast Guard was 1) their exclusivity, and 2)they have much higher test score requirements. (I know those are kinda the same thing, but still) The thing that drew me to the Coast Guard was the idea of doing search and rescue type of jobs. So when I got to the Spec Ops section and saw that they have AIRR, which is Aviation Rescue Swimmer, and Navy Divers I got really excited! So I printed out all the information from the Navy pages about the 2 jobs and I’m excited to talk to the hubster about them!

I think the reason I keep coming back to joining the Navy is that I want what I do to matter. I had a guy from the church tell me that I was important yesterday, which felt good, but it also didn’t feel like enough. Yes, I do all the office stuff for the church and if I didn’t do it then the church would not run. Yes, I do lots of things for lots of people and keep it all well organized. Yes, I deal with lots of difficult people and snotty people and opinionated people and I do it all with a smile on my face so that everyone has good opinions about the church. And I know all these things are important. But they aren’t very fulfilling for me. Something that has kept me from moving forward with the Navy in the past couple years though, has been that I like our life here in LExington and I don’t know that I want to give up the things that have come into my life. Ross and I just moved into a gorgeous new house. I finally found a barn that offers not only Western riding, but Western versatility lessons, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Ross and I are meeting with someone from a Christian foster agency tonight to talk about the possibility of fostering children. These are all things that I am really happy and excited about, so I don’t want to do anything that will change those things. But at the same time, I cannot shake the feeling of excitement and…longing almost…when I think about joining the Navy. I had a serious talk with God yesterday and asked Him to keep the Navy and the armed forces in the forefront if that was where He wanted me to go, to keep putting it in front of me so I couldn’t escape it. Since then I’ve seen innumerable Navy bumper stickers and license plate holders, Brandon’s wife posted about where they’re going and what they’re doing next on Facebook, and there were uniforms for all the branches of the military at Build-A-Bear. So I’m guessing that God is keeping it in front of me so I won’t forget and I won’t pass it up.

When my husband first started looking into joining the Army, I had a lot of fear. All I could think of was me sitting in a cemetery being handed a folded flag. (Thankfully he didn’t join, due to various surgeries that he’s had) But since he decided not to join, I’ve been battling with the idea of joining myself. I no longer feel the fear that I had before, I’m not scared to deploy (I still don’t WANT to, but that’s not fear) or scared to leave Lexington, or scared to leave family. (I am still a little apprehensive to tell my family, because they are all pretty anti-government at the moment and don’t particularly have nice things to say about the military or law enforcement either) It does make me nervous that I would be going into a situation that I know next to nothing about and don’t have anyone that I can talk to that will tell men how it’s going to be. The only people I know that have been in the military are Brandon and my cousin Nick who was a Marine. So while I can talk to them, and I will, 2 people does not a whole picture make. Especially because neither of them have done what I’m thinking I would like to do. But I’m still excited about the idea of doing it, and honestly as much as I don’t want to give up the great things in our life now, I don’t feel like I would be distraught to leave them behind. There are other foster agencies and other barns (even though I probably wouldn’t be able to do either of those things with a military lifestyle of moving so much), Ross’ job can go wherever he does (a perk of working for a national company) and he loves to move, my family doesn’t want to stay in Lexington so they were eventually going to leave anyways, Ross’ family is always going to stay in Lexington but if we live near a beach then his parents will come visit as often as they can so that would be fun. Ross thinks I should have gone and talked to a recruiter a year ago, he thinks the Navy would be a perfect fit for me and he wants me to be happy and feel fulfilled too. I know my in-laws would be thrilled, Ross said his dad was really excited when he told him the last time that I was thinking about it. I honestly don’t know how my parents would react, but the fear of their reaction is based on childhood habits that are so instilled in me that I have a hard time getting around them, I know that it’s my life and that these choices are between Ross and I now and we need to decide based on what’s best for us and our family.

All in all, I think that it would be a very good path for me to follow and a path that would be very exciting and very fulfilling. Now I need to start running and doing pushups (since I don’t think I even know how to do one correctly) and swimming so I can get into the best shape ever so I can pass training and be accepted for the job I want!

And I need to decide if I would be able to jump out of a helicopter…and learn how to fly aircrafts…or if I would rather do diving…

I am honestly really excited now. 🙂 I can’t wait to talk to Ross on my lunch break or tonight! I’m going to go talk to a recruiter tomorrow! (See what I mean about being emotional and getting excited and getting swept up in the idea of things??? This is why I need to be strong and not let them pressure me. As long as I go by myself that should be easy, I’m not going to make this decision without talking to Ross first so there’s a built in excuse not to sign right there!)

Love Your Neighbor

So I feel like God is trying to teach me something. These last few months have been very stressful and very difficult at our house. Our neighbors have been causing lots of problems, to the extreme extent of suing us and physically removing parts of our fence. Now for the most part, Ross and I have handled ourselves in what we consider to be a very good, adult manner. We haven’t engaged the neighbor, we haven’t been trying to ‘get her back’ or cause other problems for her, we have tried to keep our dogs off her side of the property line, we’ve been model neighbors. But we haven’t been as good of neighbors as we should have been. We talk about her behind her back (because we won’t talk to her face at all) and call her crazy bitch and other nasty names, we talk about how we think she’s being a horrible example for her daughter, we have been obsessing over what she’s doing and how it’s going to affect us. None of those things is particularly Christian behavior, even if it is behind closed doors where the only people who know about it are family and close friends.

So this week, I feel like God has pulled out the big guns to hammer His point home to me. (I bet He was trying to get me to see it since all of this started months ago but I was too distracted and overwhelmed by all my emotions that I didn’t get it at ALL) Last week, our pastor started a sermon series all about letting go and his sermon was focusing on letting go of old hurts and of things that other people have done to you. Danielle Butler posted on her blog about letting go of anger because it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. She also pointed out that the Greek word for forgiveness means letting go. (That is now on my list of future tattoos) This Sunday, the pastor is going to preach on letting go of anger, which I have a lot of over this situation with the neighbor. And then to top it all off, I open an email to work on the bulletin for our satellite church and what is their service going to be about? Loving your neighbor, with Matthew 5:44 as the theme verse. (Matthew 5:44 – Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.) When I opened that email and saw a huge picture with that verse on it, I just started laughing.

Alright God, I get it. This is what I am supposed to be working on right now. I need to be loving this woman and praying for her, no matter how I feel about her and how she’s acting. While I am praying for peace in my own home and for a way out of this situation, I need to be praying that she has peace in her house as well. While I am praying for my husband’s health and well being, I need to be praying for the health and well being of her and her daughter. while I am praying that my dogs will soon be able to enjoy being outside again and that their health and happiness will not be negatively affected by this situation, I need to be praying that her little dog stays happy and healthy as well.

Now, no. This is not something that I particularly want to do. It’s human nature to want someone who has harmed or upset you to have to suffer too. But that is not what we as Christians are supposed to look for. We are supposed to love everyone the way that Jesus does, we are supposed to pray for them, and live at peace with them to the best of our abilities. (Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.) god knows that this is not easy for us, but He expects us to try and to trust in Him to help us to achieve it through Him. (Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) It is our job as Christians to follow Christ’s example to the best of our ability and to trust that God will do the rest through us if we put our faith and trust in Him.

So Lord, this is me putting my trust in You that You will help me remember to pray for my neighbor and to love her with a pure Christian love. I got Your message loud and clear (finally) and I am working toward a more Christ-like attitude in this situation. I know that You never leave us, so I will never have to deal with a situation without Your help, so Lord please help me to do this. Help me to let go of my anger and my hurt. Help me to pray for my neighbors, not in a ‘Lord release your vengeance on them’ kind of way but for them to have peace and health and happiness. Help me to show Your love to everyone I come in contact with, no matter the situation or the behavior of the people around me. Help me as I strive to be more like You.

3 Long Short Years

Today is my 3 year anniversary! I’m pretty excited. We aren’t going to do much today because Ross works 9am-8pm today, but he’s off tomorrow and apparently has secret anniversary plans for tomorrow night that he won’t tell me what we’re doing! I can’t wait to find out what we’re doing! I’m hoping there’s going to be a good dinner in there somewhere, and knowing Ross there will be. 🙂 He likes to eat even more than I do.

So in honor of my anniversary, I have decided to do a post about the things that I’ve learned in my first 3 years of marriage. Most of these things will apply to more than just married people (I’m sure) but it’s just what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown through my relationship with Ross.

-Always Talk
Communication is key! I know, I know, that’s a very overused cliche. But it’s true. Sometimes you might not be able to talk right away, but make sure you always talk. Ross isn’t a big sharer, so it has taken a lot of pushing and prodding and poking from me to get him to open up sometimes. But we’ve found a system that works and we’re (I’m) getting better at saying how we really feel and what our real opinions are. For us, it’s hanging out while we shower. (And no, that does not mean doing it in the shower! That doesn’t count as communication!) We both like to unwind by sitting in a nice hot shower after a long day, so while one of us takes a shower the other person just sits in the bathroom too and we talk about all kinds of things. We have talked about more serious things and shared more hard things sitting in the bathroom together than anywhere else. The key is just to learn what works for you, as well as how the other person communicates. When we first got married, I used to have to follow Ross around the house because he kept trying to leave the room and stop talking to me when we were arguing but I wouldn’t let him. And I had to learn to watch certain things that I said too, I am in no way a perfect communicator either. It’s really hard at first, I won’t sugar coat it, it’s really really hard. But it gets easier the more you work at it. Just continually express how much you want to know what the other person is thinking and feeling and what their opinions are. And try to not freak out if what they say doesn’t match what you think because if they feel like you’re going to attack them for having a different opinion, they won’t speak up anymore.

-Never Be Afraid Of A Fight
Yes, fighting sucks. But it isn’t always a bad thing. (Unless you guys get physical and hurt each other, that’s always bad) sometimes fighting can be a catalyst for conversation, and people will often say things in the midst of a fight that they wouldn’t normally say but they think. Always make sure that when you fight, you don’t do things to manipulate or purposefully hurt the other person though. Those things will cause so much more damage and pain than you need to and than can be repaired. Especially if you’re saying these things on purpose, the other person will remember that and it will make them reluctant to tell you things in the future. I’m guilty of that in the past, and of comparing Ross to my last ex (who was a horrible horrible person) and it took me a long time to break those habits but our relationship is so much better off now that I have! I have said things that I know would set Ross off just to keep him talking, I have said thing scampering him to my ex and comparing me to his mom (who went through a similar situation to what I did), I have thrown things at him, I have screamed, I have cried, but we have both learned how to fight better now. Once you get to a point where you can fight and stay on topic and actually get things accomplished, then you’ll be golden.

-Life Comes In Seasons
It’s like a giant pendulum, up to down to back up again. Just make sure that you continue to love each other no matter what season of life you’re in. Sometimes it’s hard because some seasons make you an angry horrible person, but there will be an end eventually, just keep on loving.

-Hold On To Your Cute Little Habits
Every night (well, most nights) Ross kisses me before we go to sleep. First he gives me a kiss, then he kisses my nose, then he kisses me again. We’ve been doing that since before we were married even, and it’s just a cute little thing that we do. I love it when he does that and he loves how much I love it. Keep those little things that make you smile alive and you will always be in love.

-Pay Attention
Pay attention to the little things. Ross mentioned, before we were even engaged, how he thinks it’s weird when girls put their wedding band on first and then their engagement ring. “The engagement ring came first, then the wedding band. Why would you wear it backwards?” So I make sure that I always wear mine in that order. I don’t think it’s anything that he’s ever noticed and I’ve never said anything, but it makes me feel good to know that I’m wearing my rings the way he likes. Now it’s not always little things, sometimes it’s really big things, like whether to work after kids or be a stay at home mom. This is something that Ross and I are at opposite ends about, but I have listened to his opinion and I am doing my best to be agreeable to it. But it’s the little things that make the difference, like keeping his favorite kind of cinnamon cake mix in the cabinet so I can randomly make it for him (which I might do tonight as a surprise!), or wearing my rings the way he likes, or making sure I don’t accidentally kick his shoes under the bed when I’m putting laundry away. When you pay attention to things like that, you stay in tune to the person you married.

-You WILL Change
People are constantly changing, and they will continue to change as long as they’re alive. (Well, hopefully. Otherwise you turn into the crotchety stick in the mud old person that nobody wants to be around!) The key to staying happy in your relationship is to know that you’ll change and to be aware of changes in your partner. Ross isn’t the same person that I married 3 years ago (I think he’s changed for the better in a lot of ways!) but I still know him. It bothers me when people say that they “just grew apart” because to me, that’s just a cop out. They didn’t put the effort into staying attached to the other person, they didn’t try to know that person as they changed. A marriage takes constant upkeep. You need to constantly be working towards knowing your partner to make it work.

-Embrace The Stress
This may sound really counter-intuitive, but stress is a good way to tell what kind of person you’re with. Ross and I have had a lot of stress in our 4 year relationship, from lots of different places. As we’ve gotten older and been together longer, the way we respond to these stresses has changed (I think we’ve gotten better at responding to stressful situations) and we’re able to weather them better in our relationship. Stress puts a lot of strain on your relationship! But after our last round with our crazy neighbor, Ross and I were talking and I expressed how frustrated I was that he had wanted me to stay inside so I was having to find out what had happened second hand because he wouldn’t let me be involved. So Ross told me that he had asked me to stay inside because he knew that if they said something that sounded like an attack against me, or if I got upset (which would have happened, 100% positive), or if he felt they were threatening me in any way, he would have completely flipped out because he loves me so much and he wants to protect me. He didn’t want me anywhere near what could turn into danger and he wanted to try and keep me as far removed from the stressful situation as possible. (That’s just a little snippet of what he said, it was really sweet and totally melted my heart. I love my husband!) But the point is that a stressful situation helped to strengthen our relationship because we were able to talk through it and lean on each other when we were stressed out and it helped Ross express to me how he feels. Embrace the stress.

-Have Fun
Yes, I know, another cliche. But seriously, do it. Ross and I joke so much, we play around and poke fun and just enjoy ourselves. Ross grabs my butt, I poke him, he grabs my boob, I make funny faces at the dogs, we try to figure out what other shows actors have played in, he laughs at me when I snap chat my friends, I show him funny things from Pinterest, he fights with the dogs, he tackles me on the couch, we just have fun and enjoy being around each other. When you like being around each other, it makes everything else a million times easier.

-Have Other Friends
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people call their significant other their best friend. Ross is not my best friend. (Shocker, I know!) I have other friends that I talk to about everything. Ross is my friend, but he is my husband too. He is the love of my life, he is going to be the father of my children, he is the man I am going to grow old with, but he isn’t my best friend. I think it is very important to have friendships and other relationships outside of your marriage. Sometimes you just need a break or somebody different to bounce things off of. If you only have your spouse in your life then things are going to get boring. You need to have a few things of your own too.

-Don’t Let Other People Tell You How To Do You
Feminists tell woman that they need to have careers. Your in-laws are already asking when you’re going to have kids. Your parents are telling you that they are more than happy to wait for grandkids. His grandma is telling him that he never comes around anymore. Your cousin is telling you not to buy a house until you’ve been married for 5 years. His aunt is telling you not to have any pets. Everyone has an opinion on your relationship but the key is to not let them influence or control it. It’s YOUR relationship after all. You can take advice from people but you don’t have to do what they say. Find what’s best for you and your relationship. I put a lot of pressure on myself the first couple years we were together because I felt like I was being judged very harshly by Ross’ family and I was trying to be a ‘perfect’ wife but once I finally got it through my head that I can be perfect to Ross without being what his family thinks is perfect I was able to loosen up a lot and actually become a better wife. Your relationship is just between the two of you, so make sure you keep it that way. Things get muddled if you have too many people in a relationship.

-Don’t Give Up The Things You Love
Ross doesn’t like to read. I don’t let that stop me from reading. Ross doesn’t sing (at all!) but I don’t let that stop me from singing in the praise team at church. I don’t play basketball but Ross still plays at least once a week. You can have a happy relationship and still do the things you love, even if the other person doesn’t like them. It just gives you more things to talk about when you see him afterwards.

-Always Forgive
This is one that I’ve struggled with but it is soooo worth it to learn the lesson. Don’t keep track of the things that he’s done that made you mad or the things that he didn’t do the way you do it. It is not worth the damage that will do to your relationship. If it’s over, then it’s over. Don’t hang onto it, don’t rehash it. It’s over, it’s done, let it go. (cue Frozen music) But seriously. Let it go. It’s not worth it.

It’s been a roller coaster life so far and I can’t wait to see what I’m going learn over the next 100 years with my amazing husband! I thank God every day for putting this amazing man in my path and making sure that I couldn’t ignore him. (He’s really not what my type was at all, it’s truly a God thing that we’re together.) Ross is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so blessed to have him as my husband and to get to spend every day talking to him and every night sleeping next to him. I know our future together is going to be amazing!

Growing Apart

So I had a time in my childhood when several of my friends parents were getting divorced. I was old enough to know what was going on, but not quite old enough to understand it. My parents have always had an extremely unconventional marriage, they haven’t shared a bed since we moved into our house in Lexington,which was almost 15 years ago (unless they had to like in hotels or things like that)! I used to think that my mom was the one in charge of everything, just because she has a much stronger personality and is much more vocal and opinionated than my dad. (I voiced that opinion once and was told, by my mom, how very very wrong I was so I never brought it up again) But my parents still love each other very much (even though sometimes I;m not sure why/how) and I never doubted that once growing up. So I asked my mom, as I was surrounded by kids who’s families were splitting up, how come she and dad didn’t get a divorce? How come they swill love each other even though they’ve been together for so long? You see, to the child me, parents were getting divorced because they had been together for too long, and I had heard the phrase ‘We just grew apart’ so I associated that phrase with getting divorced as well. My mom answered my question with something that I will never forget. She told me that people end up getting divorced because they quit trying, and that’s how they grew apart. “Your dad is not the same man that I married 15 years ago,” she told me, “And I still love him. The key is to always talk to each other and include each other in your lives. You grow apart when you stop talking to each other and telling each other things like how your day was and new things you’ve learned and interesting thing you saw.” I doubt I remember it exactly how she said it, but that’s my take away from it.

And that answer has stuck with me all these years and it’s a principle that I apply to my marriage on a daily basis. People are constantly changing and evolving. When I married my husband, I was a quiet girl with very little self confidence. Now, 3 years later, I am a woman who is pushing herself to be more outgoing and who is working every day to improve her self confidence. 3 years ago I didn’t want to work, now I love working. 3 years ago I couldn’t imagine a life without the shadows of the awful relationship and abuse lurking in my mind, and now I can go days without even the slightest hint of a shadow! 3 years ago I was mildly concerned about health and how my choices now affect my future, but now I am working very hard to make sure that I make the best choices for the health of present and future Cindy.

The point is that your spouse will be a different person on your 25th anniversary, and so will you. The key is to make sure that you stay connected to them through all the changes and make sure that they know who you are too, whatever changes you’re going through. You don’t get married so you can stay exactly the same with someone, you get married so you can grow old together! To do that you have to GROW!

You will never grow apart if you grow and change together, that is what true love is all about. True love isn’t found, it’s made through love and hard work.

Peace and Trials

So. we have had more problems with our neighbors. We are now going to be moving by the end of the month. But as I was telling my mom about everything else that has gone on in the last couple days, she asked if we had been praying about all of this. I told her that I have been, mostly because I was too embarrassed to tell her no. I am working on making that the first place I turn to, but it’s still a work in progress. Then she started talking about having peace, in spite of your trials. Peace is something that I know about, but I don’t know a whole LOT about. So I have decided that I am going to start doing some research on peace, how to get peace, and how to maintain peace. Whether I have peace or not isn’t going to affect if we move or not, we are going to move purely for our physical health, mostly my husband’s health, because this is such a stressful situation and has fast become a situation that we cannot live in. But that will not affect my ability to find peace.

I know that God has promised us His peace every day and that’s what I want. So I am going to find out how to get it and keep it. And I am going to make a more concentrated effort to make prayer my first resource to talk things out, rather than my last.

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

The mind of a sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were clued to peace and thankfulness. Colossians 3:15

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the pear of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7