Category Archives: Marriage

Updates: Websites, Weddings, Work, Writing

Hi! Here are some updates of our life over the last few months.

Most of my blogging time these days goes to http://www.AverageAdvocate.com I have been excited because recently I have had people guest blog (finally)! I need the help, the other opinions/experiences, and the networks which other people have. So this is great. In addition, I was a contributor to the Human Trafficking Daily (a web news site) with my book review on Not For Sale. Score! In case you can’t tell, really getting this going has been important to me. Its the merger between some of my passions and a skill- my little small fish and loaves.

Of course, being mommy is still my main job (I hear this rumor I should expect this for at least the next eighteen years). Avi is now four and Josiah is now two. They are so much easier now, having grown a bit older.  We love them bunches! And it seems anyone else who meets them does too! As of yet, Avi is a drama queen and Josiah is a soft-spoken linguist.  They have had their fill of wedding this summer. My cousin Brett’s wedding in Wisconsin, Josh’s brother Ben’s wedding in New Jersey, and Josh’s dad’s wedding in Tennessee.  Annoyingly, none of these weddings were at a beach! Oh well. But, apparently, we discovered that getting down with sweet dance skills is my kids’ fave thing to do!

I have also been working for my church , J10 Church, as “connections chick” for coming up on a whole year now. I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and hopefully I have been a blessing there too. I wouldn’t say it has been easy at all in any way. But I think the job fits me; I feel content in it. Although I do confess, I also feel like I am about to screw something up at any moment! So, on a positive note, it draws me to God.

Because it is writing related, I can easily share with you the book review posts I randomly write for my friends’ website, Reading Teen. This is total fun and fluff for me. Here are some others posts beyond what I have shared to you before:

This is my most favorite review because I thought it was really funny, the author of the book asked me to write it, and a lot of people liked it 🙂

http://www.readingteen.net/2011/08/cascade-river-of-time-2-by-lisa-t.html

These are some other not-so-thrilling posts:

http://www.readingteen.net/2011/07/waterfall-river-of-time-1-by-lisa-t.html

http://www.readingteen.net/2011/07/choices-by-katrina-l-burchett.html

A buddy and I pretended we were the site’s typical authors, and did an IMM for them. They are on either side of us, coaching us on the books we were supposed to let their readers know about. To us, this was hilarious, but maybe its just because we are all friends. Here you go anyway!

Problem Solving: Scrabble, Relationships, and Cars

Yes, I realize the terms within this post are a little weird. I blame that on my applied psychology textbook. Yes, I know that its odd I am talking about a guy jumping out of a burning skyscraper. Really, it wasn’t my idea. This post is responding to a specific prompt; it is a discussion essay I wrote for my current class, focusing on business psychology. I was really bored writing it, so I tried to liven it up a little bit with some scenarios which made it somewhat more entertaining for me. Besides, my professor asked for some real-world examples : )

Problem solving is a basic skill that ideally would be carried out by everyone, yet making healthy decisions is not always the order of the day. Many only rely on intuition to solve problems, which can actually be a great thing, if the experiences we have had in the past have built up our intuition to make healthy decisions. If a man jumped out of a skyscraper which was on fire, later contributing his survival to what he learned in business school, what he would be referring to would be the set of decision making skills he obtained in school.  The way he responded in the crisis was by learning to view the need to make quick decisions as a catalyst, rather than resorting to emotions as the guiding factor. Responding to crisis, not considering the fire as a stressful situation, yet instead as an exciting opportunity to strategically think through is what he learned was most important. Possibly, after making good decisions in times past, he wired his intuition to act in a way which then saved his life.

The man who jumped out of the skyscraper learned a multi-step process to filter problems through. In our everyday life, beyond just in times of crisis, we can use the same set. For example, imagine you are playing

the game Scrabble. First, you recognize the problem scenario: you are challenged to put a seven letter word, beginning with the letter “z,” in a spot which gives you triple-word score, yet somehow connects to the word “bubble.” The second step is to analyze the cause or underlying factors of the problem:  you want to win the game so that you will not lose a $50 bet to your Uncle Bobby-Joe who does not believe you can win an English-language game after studying Japanese abroad for the past three years.  The next step in solving the problem is searching for creative alternatives. So, while your Uncle Bobby-Joe is guzzling down his coffee, you take your letter tiles, place them in front of you, and scramble them into every possible formation. You can make zroidbe, zoirlde, and zoudire (which you note, are not words). Then you discover you can connect to a “b” while arranging your letters just so.  You can make “zebroid,” which is a word (you remember a tour guide explaining that this is what you call the offspring of a zebra and a horse).  You choose this word, making a decision, and then implement it, by setting the tiles down on the board. After, you evaluate your decision, which you found agreeable, as it gave you enough points to win the game and get an addition $50 in pocket-cash.

This above example might seem silly, yet even when we play games we make decisions. On a more serious note, many people might go through the same process when trying to overcome a difficulty in an estranged relationship, whether it be a spouse, a parent, or a friend. In this case recognizing what the problem is can be much more challenging, as there are often multiple problems. Even after journaling or going to counseling to analyze the root causes of the problems you have been having with whomever, knowing what to do about it can be just as challenging, if not more so. There are many other factors that can influence your decision such as your value system (such as, you don’t believe in divorce), your knowledge (communication techniques), emotional intelligence (you feel so hurt or angry its hard to not be swayed by these feelings), personality, creativeness, and the politics surrounding the relationship.  Even after weighing the pros and cons, and making a choice to try to reconcile the relationship, then you have to take the step. This step can be the hardest, as implementing a decision can require a lot of strength, time, resources and energy, let alone sometimes it requires help. Lastly, once again, you can evaluate the decision, whether it was the best thing for to continue this relationship, even if it required a lot of sacrifice.

The important actions we must take in having a successful ability to make good decisions is the ability to analyze, whether it be really spending time discovering what the problem is, or really thinking through possible solutions. In another life scenario, a decision I have been questioning for awhile, is what car should we buy and how and when should we buy it. As I am a creative person, also known as a dreamer or visionary, thinking of creative alternatives is one of my strong points. Creative people tend to make the most of problems in which the sky is the limit, but in this case, the boundary for creative alternatives is more like the size of a small cottage, if not confining cage.  I cannot invent a new method of buying a car, let alone have the
skill to invent my own car. Also, another factor I struggle with is being easily influenced. I care a lot about being diplomatic and am always aware of inter-relational dynamics (political considerations). As I am a people-pleaser, I often don’t want to make a decisions that might influence another, wanting them to be as happy with me as possible. This can cause me to worry that making the ethnic dinner, involving a combination of new flavors, might not be everyone else’s favorite, and therefore I allow my level of emotional intelligence to hinder my decision to create. In the case of getting a car, I want my husband to be perfectly satisfied with whatever car we get, and I want it to be a good fit for our kids in addition just to the pros and cons I already am analyzing. I have been researching types of cars and their reviews from various sources, in addition to learning about how to get the best deal when buying a car new, used, down, or with a loan (and from where to get a loan). I often find myself overwhelmed by so much information that I experience analysis paralysis, in which I can’t make a decision because there is too much information to accurately process. Even so, I am sure I will be able to make a better decision than I would otherwise, without taking everything into consideration, even if I am not convinced that it is “perfect.” The one thing I learned from this section in our material was that I do not need to be indecisive as I am already well-equipped to make good decisions, thanks to my past experiences and the decision making process I already typically use. Instead of letting stresses, crises, time-constraints, emotions, too much information, or placing too much value on what everyone else might prefer affect my decisions, I should just enjoy the opportunities I have to solve problems, being energized as I let myself be creative in making decisions. Not surprisingly, this makes me feel a little more relaxed.

DuBrin, A. (2004). Applying psychology: Individual and organizational effectiveness (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson / Prentice Hall.

If I had Six Months to Live . . .


If I had six months to live what would I do? This was a discussion question I had to write an answer for after we studied the chapter about death and dying in my adult development psychology class. Its easy for me to write lists of goals to do throughout my life time. I try to make a new list yearly as its interesting for me to see what stays the same and what changes. But if my perceived life-time was shortened to just six months? That means I would be dying around my 25th birthday, in September. I guess as follows is what I would hope those six months to look like:

I think firstly, I would live out a spiritual purpose to a greater extent. I would try to know God more. I believe in the afterlife, and that I will go to heaven because I have trusted Jesus to cover over anything I’ve done wrong. I believe my hope during this six month time period would be based upon this faith I have. I would probably capitalize on it to try to know God more now if I will spend the afterlife with Him as well as to sustain me with as much peace as possible before I die.

I have always believed I am alive for a reason. I don’t think I would try to be consumed with the question “Have I fulfilled my purpose yet?” but I would hopefully try to be purposeful with my time, spending it in ways that could continue making an impact after I died. It would just be trying to have an overall attitude of investment.

Spending time with my family and trying to make it easier on them would be a major focus for me. I think I would try to leave something behind for my daughter and soon-to-be son to help them know who their mother was. I’d probably try to make a journal and/or scrapbooks for them, as well as leave them cards/videos for different ages of their lives. I would likely make something similar for my husband which I hope would help him remember me and let go of me at the same time. Of course, just trying to spend a lot of time and create memorable experience with them as well as my parents and other family members and friends would be my hope.

I have no doubt that I would try to take care of arrangements after I die, such as for my children’s upbringing and funeral stuff. I’d also write down some ideas and plans I have which I would have love to spend my life doing. Maybe someone would catch those visions and take them on to use them as a positive impact in the world. I would also hope to record some of the music I have written, and finish some artwork I have never finished.

I’d love to spend some of my time traveling, maybe going away every few weeks to visit people I know in California and other places. I’d also love to travel some more internationally, going to locations I have never been but have always hoped I’d have a chance to go. I would hope that it could be fun and enjoyable traveling, yet also I would love to go places where I could help during the time I was visiting. I don’t think I would be so concerned with how I was helping, as much as just knowing I had a chance to get my mind off of myself and my condition, whether that would be distributing relief aid, teaching ESL, working in orphanages or spending time showing love to people forced into prostitution or slavery.

Randomly, I would also love to go parceling once. Mainly I just hope I could wrap up my life and relationships here, make a difference and prepare for moving on. I would love to be an example of living the shortness of life I have left as life to the fullest.

Marriage

I just found out another set of my friends is getting divorced. Sometimes I feel like I hear of a new dissolving marriage every week. These aren’t always people I just ‘hear of,’ but sometimes I am close to them. Of course, its an extreme exaggeration to say every week. Still, it is obvious marriages in America have a hard time surviving. Or its probably more accurate to say marriage between humans have a hard time surviving.

Anthropologists claim that marriage is really a human institution and should not be defined to one man and one woman, as that is not historically accurate. Not so much in the department of marriage being defined as being of the opposite sex, yet more so that a it doesn’t work with just one person for life. There is a term for the most common type of marriages (which I forget- serial marriages?), but it holds the same principle as polygamy, having more than one spouse. The only difference is that you hold one spouse at a time, rather than typical polygamy where you have multiple spouses at one time. Whether anthropologists are correct or not with their belief that most marriage is historically not acted out as one man and one woman for a lifetime, that doesn’t really bother me. It really might be true, from my vantage point of life right now it seems that it is true most have multiple spouses (or lovers at least) in their lifetimes. What gets me is that anthropologists take this to claim that therefore the current western definition of marriage is incorrect.

It is assumed that marriage must be a human institution which is fundamentally flawed as it doesn’t reflect reality. Today I was somewhat depressed that this does seem to be true, that marriage seems to be flawed. Its tempting to blame marriage problems on marriage being the problem. I started feeling worried about my own marriage, as generally is the case when I consider marriages splitting up. After all, Josh and I are rather human having our own issues and problems. It seems it would take a miracle for us to not someday end up as another statistic until all marriages are swallowed up by the ugly head of divorce.

In the midst of my depressed thinking I had a profound revelation. Anthropologists are wrong that Marriage is a human institution, let alone a flawed human institution. Of course, aspects of marriage are cultural, and maybe a part of it has the aspect of being a human institution. Yet, in reality, marriage is a God-given (and blessed) institution. It is not flawed in itself. Obviously, the people in each marriage are flawed. But its not the concept, the covenant, the promise of marriage itself which is flawed. It is divine, supernatural even. That was just so relieving. Therefore, I can conclude from that that if my marriage will survive and thrive, it will because God is involved. I am reminded of an old couple I met who was celebrating their fiftieth(?) anniversary. I asked them what made their marriage last so long. They responded “God is the only way any marriage works.” They didn’t know if I believed in God, or if I was an atheist. But they themselves had obviously experienced His miracles in their marriage. I can’t look in the future and say what will become of my own marriage. Obviously I hope it makes it, and that it is beyond “making it,” beyond even a “good” marriage. I hope to end my life with a great marriage, not just at the end but throughout. I can thankfully say that my marriage is dependent on God, the author of marriage. Humbly, we need Him to thrive. We need Him for our own humility, to not just cast blame, to tear down walls, to resist temptations, to forgive, to be bigger than the selfish monster within us. Marriage is not a two person act, it is fundamentally a three person act.

I know most people don’t consider marriage as spiritual (even if their sex life is heavenly), and if they do they think of it as freaky. Like how Mormons don’t take off their underwear and must all be polygamists and want to be eternally pregnant. Of course, those might be completely false assumptions anyways, but that proves my point. It sounds freaky, however you imagine it. But everything has an element of spiritual. Why wouldn’t marriage, along with the accepted aspects such as being emotional, sexual, physical and mental? When I consider marriage as being beyond Josh and I, beyond humanity, beyond this world, it seems more possible. If anthropologists, those who study what it means to be a human at the most fundamental levels, have concluded that marriage is flawed as a human institution, I think that means something. It IS flawed at a human level. Which is why its so nice to know it goes beyond that. There is hope yet for marriage in God.

Beginning

Beginning
Current mood: groggy

I started school this past week. I have been so consumed for the past month of sheer busy-ness that it is nice to know I am finely going to be put into a routine. Though it is not any calmer or less busy : )

So far it has been odd. I am married. I am at a different stage of life than most undergrad students. Most are younger than me, though by not much. Still there is a noticable gap in maturity, more so in the thinking. I have yet to continue analizing what makes a married college student different from a single one. But I do know that sometimes I am so relieved to have a ring on my finger, knowing I have someone I belong to, a home, and a church family. It is such a great reasurance in the midst of thousands of young people swirling around, hoping to attract someone. Its like a world of magnetics. Some attact, some push away. But most people are lonely. You can tell. We are a lonely people. Other times, honeslty, I will turn my ring under, seeing how it is also seems to magically work like mace. I don’t want to lie; I don’t want to deny my commitment, either. I just hope the person next to me will be willing to have a conversation with me, not ignoring the possiblity of friendship just because I am married. Its been so hard to meet people, and that ones I have, I wonder if there is any point to why I did. I don’t really feel like being part of chess club, debate team, or the gay rights activist group. There are apparently multiple Christian clubs on campus, but they all meet at night. I got a brochure from one of them and I realized why people think Christians are stupid. It was a classic christian girl, very modest with no style, and a smile plastered on her face. I couldn’t help but wonder how often I have looked like that. All to say, no offense to them, but I went to find a different one. There was a fraternity of them. Firstly, I make fun of frats/sororities, so that didn’t seem a good match, along with the fact I was skeptical that they were “christians.” The InterVaristy group doesn’t seem like it is really up and running there, and the Campus Crusades seemed cool, but once again, are all at night time events. They actually seem like they might be making an impact there. I did find one other group, and actually talked with some of the people from it. I might try to hook up with them sometime, but I can’t go to any of their meetings. So, someday I hope to make a group of friends on campus. Maybe that will end up waiting until next semester, though. I do know one girl who is was josh’s co-worker who we are good friends with. She is going to school full time for one year, so its nice to see her every once in awhile when our classes permit.

It has been hard trying to switch life around. I quickly realized I won’t get to work at the PCC (The Pregnancy crisis center I am a volunteer counselor at) on a regular basis, I already feel behind on P4N (Passion for the Nations) assignments, and I miss my girls that I nanny for. This weekend I went crazy having a dirty house, and no grocieries because I feel like I have to do all this stuff that josh says I don’t (though I don’t really believe it) and school at the same time. I get to read, though. Good thing I like to read more often than not. I have not just 1, but 2, no, 3, more, 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17 books/texts to read in the next three months alone. along with presentations, papers, and tests. One of the books I am reading right now is about the genocide in Rwanda. It blows my mind that the hundreds of thousands of people were brutally murdered with clubs with nails, and machettes…..not just that but the corruption that went behind it, and how the ‘Christians’ were the ones who played such a huge role for these deaths. I have so much to say already on all the books and class discussions we’ve been having, but they must wait for a later time.

Happily, this new beginning in my life has been good. Luckly, I am already really liking it, energized by the new ideas, trying learn, while deciphering issues, and discerning truth from lies, and applying things from a spiritural mindset. I think I can feel my brain expanding a 1/8th of an inch daily. Don’t worry, I also go to a humble compressing machine everynight so I don’t get a big Head. I hope. Anyways, Its been cool. I like it. I am so incredibly blessed to have this oppurtunity. I think most younger people who go to school don’t know what its like to think that you’d never be able to do that. For so many years I would have never dreamed I would actually go to a university to study what I want to. I mean, I don’t have to be concerned with studying something that will bring in the bacon. I don’t have to worry about debt. I am so blessed. I could be focused on surviving. When getting married, I didn’t really believe I would go back to school, though I wanted to. Its just hard. I could get pregnant. Then there is trying to live, and the time, and the cost of school, as well as the consideration that this might not profit us in the future. I sure hope what I learn is an investment in the kingdom of God, though. That’s what I pray. I am so blessed that josh is excited with me, and is supporting me. He has so much to do with this, and I am so thankful I have such an awesome guy who understands this! As well as encouragement from others. But mostly, I am so thankful to God that He is giving me this oppurtunity. I am so hyped. Anyways, this is a little bit of my life of late.

Currently reading :
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
By Philip Gourevitch
Release date: 01 September, 1999