8/28/2016

Marriage Minus an Affair


Affair-proof marriages are possible. Affairs are also possible in marriages in any situation, whether you have been married only a few years, have a crazy life, many children or appear on  social media to have what epitomizes perfect marital bliss. It has more to do with the daily rituals of your life than the passion and love you share with your spouse.

Too often people make the assumption that pre-arranged marriages have a zero chance of being happy. How in the world can two people who never met, forced into marriage ever fall in love?   What allows that to happen?

In comparison, ask yourself how in the world marriages by choice can withstand the changes that occur when a child dies, a troubled teen in a blended family, one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease, both partners are forced to work and one hates their job as it becomes demanding, money becomes scarce, their neighborhood develops issues, school problems develop with their children? It is as much of a surprise a marriage can last even with a self-made choice!

Granted many pre-arranged marriages are in not ideal circumstances in underdeveloped backward countries.  Infact, 11% are under the age of 15 according to Statistic Brain’s website. But also listed is the overall whooping worldwide divorce rate, 6.3! Oh and arranged marriages are also done in America too. This compares with US non-arranged divorce rate of somewhere between 40-50%. Some say that rate is too high and could be as low as 3.7 out of 1,000 but keep in mind the number of marriages in the US is 2,118,000.

I am in no way advocating pre-arranged marriages but have to consider what is it that makes marriages work and not work. In reading about the reasons why affairs occur, observation and talking to people that have cheated a few things stand out. Top on the list is the regular needs for affection and attention were not being met.

When we date, we take time to communicate loving messages, give undivided attention, date, and foster a friendship.  We try to win each other over.  These are human needs. Most people want to marry the person that fulfills these needs the most, someone who will meet these needs for the rest of their life. Others will be drawn to eye candy, someone they see a fulfilling their fantasy mate and thinking this will satisfy all the other needs, and even if not, they can live without the other with this awesome looking spouse because no one has it all.

Somewhere between the I do’s and day to day living, life gets in the way.  Gone are some of the things you craved and loved the most about the person you married. We sense red flags, often subconsciously.

Do you know many are surprised to find their spouse is cheating with someone they consider beneath them, someone younger, less accomplished or someone less attractive?  See it usually isn’t about the person’s stature at all, it is about the need they fulfill, the need their spouse once filled. Gone is the spouse’s accountability or feel for responsibility to fill that need. There may be signs all over that the marriage is on the rocks and pushed aside for the kids, the job, the finances, but it is ignored as less important as the challenges in day to day life. And yet is it the glue that holds everything else together. 

Too often, divorce is not even considered at this point. No one really even usually thinks about cheating. They sort of fall into it, by chance.  Slowly someone starts sensing something missing in their life. And someone else starts slowly but surely fulfilling it, maybe without knowing and maybe by capitalizing on it.  Incidentally, of both sexes 66% believe you can cheat online. 

The need most attribute to cheating is quite similar. For men they characterize it by describing it, as I said about, being dissatisfied with their relationship in general and most likely sex.  Women feel emotionally deprived. Many statistics can be found on many websites but all concur that half of cheaters feel guilty but more than half don’t regret it.

Knowing the reasons is the first step towards having an affair proof marriage. The solution is within your marriage, your relationship. No one outside can tell you exactly how to fix it because each of us is unique thus our relationship is. However, fostering our initial relationship as a deep abiding friendship and dating scenario is always important.

In prearranged marriages, they must court a process of getting to know each other and continually work, if they are to create a bond and fall in love. Their goal is create a family that loves and cares for each other. It is very much possible by learning to respect each other and sharing things together, being attentive and meeting each other’s needs. Perhaps that is why, in developed countries their divorce rates are lower. I am not talking about countries where marriage are forced on children under-age!  

Happy older couples will tell you they can easily walk away from their kids and house chores and spend time with their spouse. It matters not what they do. They don’t need an anniversary, or an excuse to get out and away.  This is their marriage and they want to keep it alive and exciting.  We need to take a page from their book, from their history and let our history repeat theirs.  No matter what is going on in life, we need to be that co-worker that stops working to listen, that friend that will take our spouses hand and invite them in for a cup of coffee. If you aren’t willing to find the time, someone else will. You deserve it and so do they.  If a car needs a tune-up and you take time to care for it, certainly take time to do it with your relationship with your lifelong mate!

I believe in the institution of marriage but I also believe divorces are needed. Some make hasty decisions and aren’t ready for the commitment. Some marry, quite simply, the wrong person. But there are many that let the relationship fall by the wayside when it could have easily been fostered. It is like neglect, something not fostered doesn’t feel beautiful or appreciated.


If you can say I do, you must say I will, find the time to love the one I want to be with, and then do it!

8/19/2016

Florida Is Becoming Home


I found ice cream paradise and had to do, a few weeks back, without our usual weekly protocol the
dollar cone night at the local Tasty Cone stand. I kind of missed all the regulars and teens working there. It is a fun bunch, not to mention the best custard at the best price!  
   

But, much to my delight, in St. Pete’s city we found a quaint shop that has homemade fudge, candy, cotton candy and ice cream flavors that change weekly. Advertised as a special that day was Peanut Butter Pie ice cream calling my name. So in we went me without hesitation. Was it as good as it sounded? Hell yeah! I tried to get Jim to try Mackinaw Island Fudge & Vanilla Cream Ice Cream but he thought that was too rich. Too scared to go outside his comfort zone, that far anyways, he did get some bizarre mix.

Shopping in Florida in the summer minus air conditioning is insanity. Only vacationers do this. You can tell by the sweat streaming down their face as they pretend to enjoy this.  Now I am beginning to realize I am a Floridian and no longer have to pretend that part is fun. If I go in a store and it isn’t working my ass is out the door. They could be giving stuff away and I still leave.

Oh did I mention our community has a hot tub? Here is the real kicker, people use it! Yep, I have
gone in it one time, at night. But dang is that hot! I don’t know who sets the controls but I bet if you
didn’t have a suit on your underneath sections will be boiling red! My grandson came down for a visit
and if I didn’t know any better I would have thought his slight burn spots on his little torso area about his waistband were from that. He insisted on walking in there and just went down one step till I made him get out. That was his only portion that hit the water uncovered. Even that little tough guy said “Grandma that is too hot for me!”

 
Chihuly Gallery
Back to our trip to St. Petersburg area, it had beautiful beach!  The town is what I call artsy fartsy.  And pricey for sure. I would never stay in that area, too many other places to stay cheaper and you can simply drive up there for the day. But wow, so much art to see that is so unique. I am still am in awe of how many different directions we can go to experience so many varied things where we live. And people told us we would hate living in Florida. When does that happen?
St. Petersburg, FL


When our grandson Jake came down, his main fascination was the golf cart. Jim had to take it out several times a day and take scenic routes around the community. Even neighbors were taking Jake
on rides. He would flag them down and make them. He can be quite bossy and left them no choice.
How do you say no to a cute face that kinda looks like a big ole tear will trickle down his face if you say no. 


My granddaughter wanted to go to the ocean while she was here. However, going into the water was
not her top priority at all anymore.  She wanted me to insure her there were no sharks in the area we were in and that none would come near. And then, she would only go in for a second and tell me, while we were out there, she was certain they were going to come around us and encircle us in a big pool of blood and then eat us up by attacking us and eating off our limbs. Such a pleasant thought she had me following her inshore, rather quickly. 

Any of you that are Catholic and wondering where all the American priests are, come on down! We found them, they are all in Florida! No longer are Carole Robinson we listening to priests with foreign accents we can’t understand! Yep, we have three where we attend and every single one we can understand. What a blessing from God!

And we have found a wonderful place to shop I have mentioned before except one little tidbit that is so cool. Apparently turtles, we have learned,  are a sign of good luck. Why:  Because they can only go forward, never backward. Thus every time we shop there we are given one at this one chain. 


Thus, if you visit us, we are getting quite the collection. Be sure you leave with one of ours. If you don’t, know that in our hearts, we wish you a lifetime of only forward progress!

8/11/2016

Look Up and Sing Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday to you,
We know you’re not blue,
We celebrate your birth day,
But we still grieve for you too.

2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other times, it seems much too long. March 12th, there was that call, the one no parent should get. Standing next to my husband seemed surreal as I could tell he was getting unfathomable news on the line. His son was deceased. 

The law and order of life seems to be you die first and then your children go. We both have talked a lot since Dan’s death about all the things each of us would have said to Dan. It’s funny because the one thing that would have not passed our lips is good-bye.

We strongly believe in Heaven, in a spiritual life after death.  And saying good-bye has a finality to it that is just hard to do with your own children.  It would have been far easier to have let him know, at least one more time, our feelings for him, individually. Naturally as a step-parent who came into the picture much later, mine were quite different than my husband’s.  But the chance is gone. Just like his life, the merry-go-round of life stopped turning. We had no notice, no inkling he would no longer be here.

I suppose everyone that knows someone and loves them deeply wishes they knew ahead of time they were going to die. Then you could have that final closure in advance. Without it, the hell of recovering is trying.  Letting go and moving on we have done but some days, like tomorrow, Dan’s birthday, are exceptionally difficult ones.

Since starting a Memorial Fund in his name, writing the check each birthday gives both of us, in particular Jim, a feeling we are gifting other young men life, Dan’s life from heaven. We both feel certain he is smiling and proud. He knows our love for him is being passed on to others.  It helps but it is also a knot in our stomachs because we can’t do anything anymore for him, for his children who lost a father.

Birthdays are celebrations of life. They are reminders of the life you are living and remembering to cherish the life you are given and not to take it for granted. Your birthday and those you love may not be here next year. We found that out the hard way. Take time to tell those you care about how you feel. Assuming may lead to singing Happy Birthday to the sky…..                         

Look Up and Sing Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday to you,
We know you’re not blue,
We celebrate your birth day,
But we still grieve for you too.

2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other times, it seems much too long. March 12th, there was that call, the one no parent should get. Standing next to my husband seemed surreal as I could tell he was getting unfathomable news on the line. His son was deceased. 

The law and order of life seems to be you die first and then your children go. We both have talked a lot since Dan’s death about all the things each of us would have said to Dan. It’s funny because the one thing that would have not passed our lips is good-bye.

We strongly believe in Heaven, in a spiritual life after death.  And saying good-bye has a finality to it that is just hard to do with your own children.  It would have been far easier to have let him know, at least one more time, our feelings for him, individually. Naturally as a step-parent who came into the picture much later, mine were quite different than my husband’s.  But the chance is gone. Just like his life, the merry-go-round of life stopped turning. We had no notice, no inkling he would no longer be here.

I suppose everyone that knows someone and loves them deeply wishes they knew ahead of time they were going to die. Then you could have that final closure in advance. Without it, the hell of recovering is trying.  Letting go and moving on we have done but some days, like tomorrow, Dan’s birthday, are exceptionally difficult ones.

Since starting a Memorial Fund in his name, writing the check each birthday gives both of us, in particular Jim, a feeling we are gifting other young men life, Dan’s life from heaven. We both feel certain he is smiling and proud. He knows our love for him is being passed on to others.  It helps but it is also a knot in our stomachs because we can’t do anything anymore for him, for his children who lost a father.


Birthdays are celebrations of life. They are reminders of the life you are living and remembering to cherish the life you are given and not to take it for granted. Your birthday and those you love may not be here next year. We found that out the hard way. Take time to tell those you care about how you feel. Assuming may lead to singing Happy Birthday to the sky….. 
                            

7/29/2016

The Greatest Healer, Our Lord


Looking in the mirror she saw a tear. It was rolling down that wrinkle next to her eye. She
use to think with age came no sorrow. That perhaps there is a quota of pain. With time, comes experience to laugh off disparaging events, disappointments and hurts.  Don’t old women learn that life always brings challenges and with them, hope begins anew?

As she stared at the reflection, for a few moments, she barely recognized the image. She saw someone who, for a few moments looked slightly broken, as if a piece of her heart had been torn, once again from her chest. She remembered various hurts she had endured during her lifetime.  A flashback occurred of monumental sacrifices she had made for others. Standing there she was hit by the realization that they did not matter as much as she had thought they would to the receivers of her gifts of love.

As she pondered this thought, she also realized the true purpose of a gift is not what was returned lovingly back into her life but what she selfishly gave. That would indeed be her legacy, her blessings God wanted her to return to this world in the time He had given her.  This was her given time to show her love for others, His love for her in action and deeds and not so much in words.

Gripping the sink with all her might, the tears began to flow. With knowledge she realized with growth can often come tears. With tears come doors being closed. When the door is closed, she knew it was time once again to hit her knees and pray. She must once again pray to the one who always opens a new window to faith.  This has happened before in her lifetime and more than likely will happen again, will create another wrinkle, another slow tear to form, another visit to the mirror.

As the tears flowed, rolling down her face, she bowed her head in deep sadness.  She let it overtake her. She let her body be filled with body-raking sobs to experience the full brunt of her emotions bottled within.  Then, ever so slowly she raised her head. She regained her composure, her inner strength, her pride knowing she had done the right thing, what needed to be done.  She knew in her heart what God had whispered in her ear, everyone deserves peace and acceptance and to live free from judgement. If respect and loyalty is absent in a relationship, there is no relationship.  So letting go is releasing a sought after dream that was never coming true.

As she now looked herself squarely eye to eye at that reflection, she once again viewed
her image. Now her reflection looked brighter. She saw what she had become through all the pains, sorrows and disappointments, laughter, successes and growth over the years. Now with a head lifted high she saw a loving sacrificing loyal mother and a fun grandmother with a deep abiding love that would always remain and watch over her grandchildren even from a perch in heaven. She relished the fact she was a giving supportive wife, a blessed friend, and a successful woman with joy and optimism always.  Most of all, this old woman was a devoted servant of God.

Oh yes, make no mistake the tears continued to flow with no rhyme or reason, free abandonment now.   She wore that wrinkle proud and the new one that would form quickly from her new hurt, that new pain she would wear now.  But instead, there was a smile on her face, ever so small. There was a twinkle in her eye. If the truth be known, it was indeed none other but the Holy Spirit mending once again a broken heart.


May you be like this older woman, find comfort in God.  In your moments of the lowest of lows, when and if a door closes, I pray you feel the love of the one that loves you the most, our Savior, the Lord. 

7/24/2016

Respect Your Elders is Not Passe

One thing my parents did teach me was to respect my elders. It is important to recognize that people older than you have lived here a lot longer than you and have life experiences you have yet to live through. As such, they are entitled to a degree of respect and debt as they have helped pave the way to your being here, in some small or large way.

I always tried to instill in my children an understanding of this attitude. Whether it was an adult in the neighborhood, a coach, a grandparent or me, have the proper attitude towards them always.  This concept is taught in the home, first and foremost. It needs to extend into school, even those years if and when your child lands up as my children sometimes did, with a teacher who is not kind, not necessarily respectful to all the students they teach and you are not fond of. I taught them to rise up and set your standards not based on other’s standards or how others treat you but on your own value system.  Why lower yourself to someone else’s modest levels? If you are a model of high standards and expectations others tend to follow your lead and if they don’t, it is their loss in the end.

Thus, with my son, in particular, respect was a hallmark of his growing up years. He seldom spoke back to me or his teachers. He could not lie to me very well at all and I think that is because he respected me too much to be dishonest.  He knew I entrusted him enough to give it to me straight. I gave him lead way if he was honest, and so he was.

I recall when his friends would come over in high school, if anyone would tell an off-color joke and I was in the room he would be annoyed. He would let them know that when I was in the vicinity nothing was to be said like that, no cussing, etc. He felt respect was critical around me without me saying a word..”  He was mindful and extremely protective of me and would not let any of his friends, or anyone else for that matter, be disrespectful of me.  If he had to intervene in situations and it was within his power to do so, e.g. an argument with someone, he would.

I knew his transition into the military, whether or not he liked the service, would be seamless because he totally understood the idea of respecting others which is critical there. He always had a sense of personal space and did not invade others without clear nonverbal cues.  He did not betray others trust and maintained others confidentiality. Never would my son break a promise, lie or do something horribly dishonest. If you were a friend, he would support you even if it meant he was going to take some heat.

As his mom, he could care less if it looked unusual to his friends, he was supportive of me. He was a boy and then a man of principle who believed in respecting elders as far back as I can remember. My son was willing to stand up for what was right and just no matter what the consequences were. My daughter believed that too, more so as she aged, crossing the tees.  She realized the world is a far better place to live if we do the right thing.   Perhaps that is why both went into the healthcare profession. They do indeed touch many lives and make those lives better by the work that they both do. I think they respect each and every patient’s lives and in that sense, model behavior that should be followed by others much as they did when they were under my care, my roof.  


In today’s world it is easy to lose the ability to respect others, even those close to you. Priorities change, we age, and we form new relationships over time. But, one thing should always remain at the core of who we are, our commitment to those who made us who we became and those around us who make us better people. If we lose that, we lose a vital part of ourselves.  We lose our self-respect.  Always look in the mirror and be sure you don’t lose yours. With it you have the undying respect of others and without it you run the risk of losing other’s respect you worked hard to create. 

7/19/2016

Summertime Moments


Summer flies by but certain times will always stand out like the moments with grandkids. 
This past week was one of those moments for my husband and I. No matter how old you get, children bring out the child in you, the love of life and the nurturing and parenting skills you long forgot.

After having moved to Florida in April, one of the hardest parts of the move was being away from our three grandchildren in Nashville.  We vowed to make certain to stay in touch and knew a piece of them is always with us, no matter where we are, where we go and even in our death, they will remain within our spiritual journey.

But it was with great joy we had the opportunity to have them in our new home, one of them for a week and the other one, for a brief stay.  Funny how the bond is so strong with
them that, once together, it is as if there is no passage of time when we are together. So our time together was full of the usual hubbub, laughter, singing, fighting when the two were together, mischief, calls home when something seemed array, sunburn with one when two spots on the back apparently didn’t get enough suntan coverage even with him only being out in the sun an hour! 

But it goes without saying, with children there is never a dull moment! Even Charley ventured more than ever outside of the walk-in closet. Most of the time they were here, he was everywhere they were. Trains had to be put in rooms with doors closed so his 99 lbs. wasn’t stepping on tracks. The golf cart was on the road more than the entire time we have lived here and the pool was used more by my granddaughter than by us.

One night my grandson popped in our room in the middle of the night and poked me. I asked him what was wrong and he said nothing. I asked what he wanted and he simply said I love you, can I sleep with you. How does a grandma say no?  In he slipped. So naturally on the last night here, when my granddaughter asked if she could sleep with me and grandpa elsewhere I informed, not asked grandpa, your pillows have to go to another room in the house.  And she snuggled in.
4


Well, it is hard to do justice to a visit full of love and show that the circle of love is complete. The entire time my granddaughter was here she seldom referred to her dad as daddy but instead “your son’ but a video follows with an attempt to show the highlights.


May it resonate with you the importance of grabbing little moments with young people. May it show you that it is not what you do with kids that matter but that you do something. Attention is prized time to children and let’s be honest; it is the only legacy we can truly leave behind, the memories.    CLICK HERE