The bigger picture

“If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”
Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift

I think a lot of marital difficulties comes from immaturity and a lack of self-confidence–also a big part of our relationship issues is not being able to see the picture.

 

As Americans, most of us want everything N.O.W.  If we have to wait even 5 minutes for something it’s a chore. (No one can tell me different.)

Can you just imagine how this relates to relationships?

When things are difficult, or are heading that way, whether it be your finances, employment status, or even waiting for personal issues to resolve themselves….negativity sets in.  We become overwhelmed and fail to see the journey in it’s entirety and instead focus only on the problems (and not in a good way).

Nothing in this life is easy. Falling in love, having children, maintaining your health and family/friend relationships to taking care of your spousal needs….there will always be issues along the way.

When we fail to see the bigger picture, such as spending your life with someone you love, becoming a parent, having a great quality of life….we become lost in the details instead of realizing the blessings which will come our way.

I am at fault for not realizing the positive outcomes which come about from such things.

I also realize life isn’t easy and it certainly hasn’t been for me. But I do have one thing on my side and that is I am tenacious. I will not give up. I will fight tooth and nail for what I believe in. And, yes of course, common sense will undoubtedly kick in…and if something isn’t meant to be I let go.

“When things get too complicated, it sometimes makes sense to stop and wonder: Have I asked the right question?”
Enrico Bombieri

For someone like myself, I always try to give 110%.

Yes, there are times I want to give up. I think, why do I fight this hard for something so difficult?

Then I come to the realization: despite all the hardships…..in the end it’s all worth it.

I for one don’t wish to journey through life alone. Having a partner to ease some of the troubles that will inevitably come our way, is a great motivator. One, that I am willing to fight for, work hard for, and to make him and everyone else realize that I am a woman of means, of intellect and strength who is able to carry her own weight, who is able to see the bigger picture and push forward through hardships and crisis. Love isn’t easy. It’s trial by error and it’s accepting the fact that yes, sometimes we can’t fix things. As long as I believe in myself, in my marriage ultimately knowing I can conquer anything that comes my way.

Frustrations and other mumbo jumbo

“At the least, bear patiently, if thou canst not joyfully. And although thou be very unwilling to hear it, and feel indignation, yet check thyself, and suffer no unadvised word to come forth from thy lips, whereby the little ones may be offended. Soon the storm which hath been raised shall be stilled, and inward grief shall be sweetened by returning grace.”
― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Testaments to our characters is certainly illustrated when things don’t go our way. We can only control our reactions to our environment, to other people. As much as we try, we simply cannot control the actions of others…not really. And, if you think you can you really need to question yourself as to what kind of person you are—–if controlling others is your main life’s goal.

Marriage is not just a union between two people but it is also an emotional union. How we view life, perceived indifference, creates the foundation from which the marriage will grow. You can stifle each other with lack of communication, mistrust, and disrespect…or you can actually watch it flourish as both of you work together towards common goals.

If you cannot be happy about whatever is going on in your relationship (again, as long as there is nothing disrespectful going on) don’t “rain on your partner’s parade” instead find something to rejoice.  And as the old adage goes, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  If there are children, always remember, little ears are listening and we do emulate our parents in some part, though we would most likely try to deny it.

And arguments will most certainly occur.  No marriage is perfect and to strive for such ill-conceived perfection will only create unrealistic expectations.

GLOSSOPHOBIA

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Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general.[1] The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread. Many people only have this fear, while others may also have social phobia or social anxiety disorder. (source)

NEVER been a fan of this.  I can remember in 1st grade when I began competing in spelling bees (and doing quite well I might add) and the stage fright I would experience each and every time. Then it went on with our elementary Christmas plays, on to giving classes over soldier’s common task skills for the Army. Just not my thing.

Perhaps it has hampered my success considering I am more of a “behind the scenes” type of person. I would make the perfect researcher/scholar in that I love delving into facts….presenting them is another story. However, I also understand that in order to achieve certain goals in mind, I need to step out of my comfort zone and grab this bull by the horns.

There are many wonderful organizations out there for those of us who suffer this type of social anxiety. Here is a listing of just a few:

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is perhaps the most well-known public speaking organization in the world. TI boasts nearly 300,000 members in 116 countries around the globe. Their meetings, which occur at least monthly in every chapter, are not led by a teacher or trainer. Instead, members make presentations and evaluate one another on their speaking skills. Members are often asked to give short impromptu speeches. Exercises like this prepare speakers to field questions from audiences and potential clients. TI is a respected speaking organization and can provide great networking opportunities. TI does not base memberships on prior speaking qualification. Rather, TI is open to anyone who wishes to improve their public speaking skills and is willing to spend the time and effort to do so. It is an ideal organization for individuals new to public speaking. TI is also an excellent organization for business and community leaders who do not wish to speak professionally but must speak in the capacity of their jobs.

 

Rotary International & Rotary Clubs

The Rotary Club is widely known as a philanthropic organization which brings together business people and community leaders. Members of the Club, known as Rotarians, usually hold weekly meetings. The meetings are social events and also provide a time to plan and implement the Club’s service goals. The Rotary Club also helps members hone their public speaking skills. Rotarians enjoy representing their Club in their communities and so practice short speeches to explain their goals, projects, and service ethic. Generally, a Rotary Club meeting features a speech by a member. The speeches often relate to events and issues in the community, service the member has performed in the community or abroad, or business issues. Rotarians engage in open dialogue after speeches, which helps speakers further hone their audience relation skills. Rotary Clubs are also a great place to network.

The National Speakers Association

Unlike Toastmasters International and the Rotary Club, The National Speakers Association is exclusively for individuals who make a fee for speaking publicly or individuals who aspire to speak publicly as a profession. In addition to offering support and advice to public speakers, the NSA also offers entrepreneurial coaching. Learning how to effectively manage the business side of a speaking career is very important. The Academy for Professional Speaking is a special NSA program which helps speakers with serious skill make the leap to speaking for pay. The Academy combines distance learning with face-to-face classes over the course of a year. Every Academy culminates in a one-day institute that also serves as the opening for the NSA’s yearly conference.

The American Motivational Speakers Bureau

Also known as the American Speakers Bureau, this organization is similar to the NSA in that it offers benefits and services for tested professional speakers. The AMSB maintains an extensive listing of motivational speakers and their areas of specialty. Many of the speakers they represent are celebrities with strong backgrounds in public speaking. They provide consultation services to clients seeking speakers, meaning that they match professional speakers with a variety of paid speaking opportunities. In order to become listed with the AMSB, you will have to send in an extensive application that includes a sample of your speech program, references, professional live recordings of your speeches, and other pertinent information. Though becoming listed as an AMSB speaker can be time consuming, it is certainly worthwhile in terms of engagement opportunities.

Joining Speaking Organizations to Increase Skill & Entrepreneurship

Both experienced public speakers and those who are just beginning to hone their skills benefit from joining speaking organizations. These organizations help all speakers improve their presentations and gain the business acumen and confidence to succeed in the world of public speaking. These groups also help speakers understand what they need to do in order to gain an audience. No matter what your speaking level, practicing your presentations will always help you improve and can help you identify new topics and areas of interest you may be able to speak about.

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American Marriages

http-www.dandelionandgreyblog.com201106beautiful-black-whites-from-ashleyhtmlThe notion of the “romantic” marriage is really a novel American concept. According to Stephanie Koontz, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage. in our not so distant past, we Americans  primarily married out of convenience, seeking positive traits in a partner such as fairness, kindliness, and good temper.

Of course today individuals come together out of love and not so much for romantic coupling and the divorce rate is still at around 50%. Why is that? Is it because we place far too many expectations on our partner? Sometimes unrealistic? Then there is the changing gender rolls. The economic downturn of our economy has seen more men unemployed as compared to women. Women are fast becoming the primary bread winner.  According to the NY Times, this trend is bound to continue:

Four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census and polling data released Wednesday. This share, the highest on record, has quadrupled since 1960.

The shift reflects evolving family dynamics.

For one, it has become more acceptable and expected for married women to join the work force. It is also more common for single women to raise children on their own. Most of the mothers who are chief breadwinners for their families — nearly two-thirds — are single parents.

The recession may have played a role in pushing women into primary earning roles, as men are disproportionately employed in industries like construction and manufacturing that bore the brunt of the layoffs during the downturn. Women, though, have benefited from a smaller share of the job gains during the recovery; the public sector, which employs a large number of women, is still laying off workers.

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Today’s couples are also faced with not just gender changing roles and financial hardships, but are also dealing with technological advances which have played havoc on some marriages. It’s that much easier to slip into an anonymous role behind a computer screen and become a voyeur exploring “uncharted seas.” Partners are reconnecting with old flames (i.e. via Facebook) or delving into the seedy side of porn and unwanted personal ads.

Making a “got at it” in today’s world means working that much harder to stay together.  The key is remembering that we are part of a team.  Keep the lines of communication open and respect your spouse’s feelings. Never go to bed angry. That doesn’t solve anything.

NEVER!

 

To learn more about building a happy marriage please click here

My inner-world is my oyster

“Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: “I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses.”
Jonathan Rauch

 

I have frequently been mistaken for being a snob or at worst…painfully shy.  I admit that I prefer my company over the company of others. It’s simply my basic wiring.  I do love socializing but only in spurts.  Afterwards I do need to recharge.

 

I find comfort among my thoughts and dreams.  I revel in my “alone-time.” Both of my jobs, being a civil servant working in a team environment, and a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserves mean constant interaction.  At the end of the day someone like myself needs time alone in order to recollect, reorganize. And yes, it IS as restorative as a good nights sleep!

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If you think you may be an introvert or that someone else might be, you can click here on this website for 23 signs of introversion

Getting yourself “out there”

Becoming a writer is no easy task because rejection is never quite that easy to swallow.  But you can learn from it. If you believe in yourself, in your work then continue marching forward. I plan to and I plan to submit my manuscript to Harlequin Romance.  Those of you interested in the Historical Romance genre can check out Harlequin’s website here for further details:

 

Harlequin Historical Key Elements

  • Strong and dynamic characters with believable, relatable conflicts, appropriate for the time in which they are set.
  • Central relationship as the driving force of the story.
  • Historical research and accuracy are essential to bring the world to life! But remember to focus on the romance.
  • All levels of sensuality are considered. From the tingling sensation you get when a wet-shirted Mr. Darcy rises from the lake, to the explicit bedroom romps of Tudor times, whatever the level of sensuality, chemistry and sexual tension are vital.
  • Variety is key in this line – we’re happy to publish stories from ancient Greece to the Wild West and all the way through to the mid-twentieth century.
  • Word length: 75,000

For explanations and tips about conflict, dialogue and emotion please click on How to Write the Perfect Romance

 

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When your spouse is your best friend

Out of billions of people in this world we choose one person in legal matrimony or civil union to enter our family fold.  They are the first-line witnesses to your good days and bad..riding along beside you on the roller coaster of life.
Shouldn’t it stand to reason that they too are also your best friend.  I mean separate from say your girlfriend or a husband’s best buddy….partners shouldn’t simply have a contractual union but a deep personal one as well.

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.

Barbara de Angelis
The catch-22 is not allowing your “friendship” to take over the life you had before getting married. It’s healthy to always have outside interests and friends.  For some of us developing long-lasting and meaningful friendships is difficult.  When you constantly move, like I have via the military and then college, you make strong connections only to lose them because of a geographical divide.
My husband and I are so different in so many ways that it’s incredible we even married. However, those same differences attracted me to him and add spice to our relationship. One thing I have tried not to do, (because this is an easy trap married couples can fall into), is to change my husband. I knew exactly what I was getting into when we married. The only thing I have ever asked is we adhere to having mutual respect for one another and keep an open line of communication. Marriage is hard work. Every day we have to consciously realize this person has made a commitment to us that isn’t through blood.  They chose us for a reason.
With that being said, there are things about my life that are better shared with very few close girlfriends I have known for many years.  They are able to give me the “woman’s perspective” on certain issues.  Women are great communicators and sometimes you simply need that “girl-time.”
Life is about balance.  Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Let your spouse have their hobbies and sometimes it’s good to actually participate in something that he or she may like.

Below are 25 ways you and your spouse can create a long-lasting loving relationship with friendship as a base:

25 Ways to be a Best Friend to Your Spouse

Loving your spouse for who they are

1. Enjoy your spouse for who they are.

2. Discover and foster mutual interests. Best friends find things they both like to do and continue to develop those mutual interests.

3. Prioritize your spouse.

4. Spend quality time with your spouse.

5. Remind your spouse of their best qualities, especially when they feel vulnerable.

6. Criticize (without being critical). Best friends challenge you to be the best person you can be.

7. Listen, don’t judge. Our friends want to know first and foremost that we understand them.

8. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt.

9.  Let it go a bit when your spouse is grumpy. We all have bad days and want our friends to give us wiggle room when we have them.

10. Take notice of your spouse’s favorites. If something is important to your spouse, recognize it, even if it is not important to you.

11. Don’t take advantage of your spouse’s weaknesses. Recognize that your spouse trusts you.

12. Only speak good things about your spouse, every time and to everyone.

13. Defend your spouse in front of others. If someone talks negatively of your spouse, defend them. That is what friends do.

Find activities you can enjoy together

14. Do things for your spouse. You do not need a reason and you should no expect anything in return.

15. Tell your spouse the truth. Sometimes you need to level with your friends in a kind, respectful way.

16. Discuss your hurt or anger with your spouse during disagreements without belittling them.

17. Share in your spouses happiness. It is always more fun to be happy together!

18. Celebrate in your spouses success. If your spouse has accomplished something (even a small something) congratulate and cheer.

19. Share your interests, your thoughts and opinions. It is important to show your spouse you are willing to trust him or her with your thoughts and opinions as well.

20. Communicate clearly. You should not expect your spouse to read your mind. Be clear when expressing your thoughts.

20. Keep your spouses secrets. Your spouse needs to trust that emotions and thoughts shared with you are for your ears only.

21. Accept your spouse’s silence. Respect that sometimes your spouse is not yet ready to talk about something and be patient.

22. Laugh with your spouse.

23. Treat your spouse as your equal. Friendships are a give and take that balances out over your friendship.

24. Support your spouse’s decisions. You may sometimes disagree but in the end do your best to support your spouse in their decision.

25. Be reliable for your spouse. Sometimes we may bail on our spouse because “they will understand”. You should also make every effort to come through with what you said you would do.

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Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.

Zig Ziglar

Comforting friend….

“It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.”
Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

Dominance

Not sure what is up with the male species, or at least in this case, my cat Simba. He is a neutered 10 year old Himalayan and has taken to “marking” the foyer by the front door.  The mailman used to slip my mail through the door slot. However, once I had Wendy, who would incessantly barked every time the mailman did this, I bought an outdoor mailbox to help curb the problem. It broke her barking however Simba took to pissing on the mail and he pretty much did this once I bought Wendy, and she would alert the household that the mail “was here.”

Now that’s she’s passed, and it’s been almost 5 months (and no I still cannot bear to look at her pictures or videos), Simba is still marking.

I am taking him to the vet today and pray a solution can be found. I DON’T want to give him up.  I’ve had this little guy since he was 2 months old.  All he knows is my family and Luna, our American long hair cat.  She is 13.  I think it’s cruel to transfer a pet to another household after they have adapted to a single one pretty much their entire life.  I don’t care what others say.  Animals WILL fall into a depression when separated from their families. There is documented evidence of dogs and cats trying to return to their former families because they cannot adjust to a new household.

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So, I’ll do whatever it takes to cease this behavior.  There are already 2 litter boxes, one for each cat. My house is not a loud boisterous one. I will also buy him some toys to play with and maybe the vet can give me some anti-anxiety pills to curb his stress.

When my husband was in Afghanistan that little cat was my constant companion, slept with me almost the entire time he was gone. He follows me everywhere pretty much like a dog.  I would sorely miss the furball if my hand is forced to give him up. If I do of course it would be with a Himalayan rescue group but I pray it doesn’t come to that. In the meantime, I am pinning all my hopes on this vet who might have a saving answer:

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Here is some useful info regarding marking behavior from the Humane Society:

More tips

  • Clean soiled areas thoroughly with a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate urine odor. Read more about removing pet odors and stains »
  • Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive.If this isn’t possible, try to change the significance of those areas to your pet. Feed, treat, and play with your pet in the areas where he marks.
  • Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach.Items such as guests’ belongings and new purchases should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
  • Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. If you’ve added a new cat or new dogto your family, follow our tip sheets to help them live in harmony.
  • Restrict your dog’s access to doors and windowsso he can’t observe animals outside. If this isn’t possible, discourage the presence of other animals near your house.
  • Make friends.If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (such as a roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming, and playing with your pet. If you have a new baby, make sure good things happen to your pet when the baby is around.
  • Watch your dog when he is indoorsfor signs that he is thinking about urinating. When he begins to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside. If he urinates outside, praise him and give him a treat.
  • When you’re unable to watch him, confine your dog (a crateor small room where he has never marked) or tether him to you with a leash.
  • Have your dog obey at least one command(such as “sit”) before you give him dinner, put on his leash to go for a walk, or throw him a toy.
  • If your dog is marking out of anxiety, talk to your vet about medicating him with a short course of anti-anxiety medication.  This will calm him down and make behavior modification more effective.
  • Consult an animal behaviorist for help with resolving the marking issues.

What not to do

Don’t punish your pet after the fact. Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pet won’t understand why he is being punished.

If you come home and find that your dog has urinated on all kinds of things, just clean up the mess. Don’t take him over to the spots and yell and rub his nose in them. He won’t associate the punishment with something he may have done hours ago, leading to confusion and possibly fear.

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