Thursday, April 29, 2010

Becoming the wife I really want to be

I have spent a lot of time lately pondering on several related themes. Happiness and unhappiness (in life, and specifically in marriage), selfishness/selflessness, dominance and submission (not in any kinky or sexual meaning*).

And how many of the commandments our loving Heavenly Father gives us feel wrong and backwards to us (in our mortal state).

“I don’t feel loving”
Do it anyway.

“He isn’t serving me—in fact, he is completely unworthy of my love”
Love him and honor him anyway.

“Nobody will know what websites I look at”
Be pure anyway.

“They started it!”
Pray for them anyway.

We as wives have to realize that while we may be “right”—the battle is not actually worth the price we will pay to “win”. It is NOT better to be right and alone than to set aside the issue and show your love to someone else. The opposite of “being right” is NOT always “being wrong”.

A prime analogy could be my friends’ fence. My good friends “Tim” and “Jane” live in a house with a shared driveway. The people they share it with (whom we will call “Bubba Joe” and “Loretta Sue” haven’t made many wise decisions in their lives. They frequently make choices that drive Tim and Jane CRAZY. (Actually I am waiting for them to show up on Jerry Springer—that is the level of wrong choices I am talking about!) These aren’t the next door neighbors you want.

A few years ago Bubba Joe and Loretta Sue decided they wanted to put up a fence and--without discussing it with Tim and Jane--sunk the fence posts. Unfortunately, they put them up on Tim & Jane’s property.

My first thought was to “accidentally” back the big 4 wheel drive pickup into the front fencepost, then make sure a loop of fence wire was firmly “caught” around the pickups hitch, and pull forward quickly, (incidentally yanking out the whole fence). Problem Solved!

Until Bubba Joe, (in his now fully justified wrath) retaliated. Then, in a matter of weeks we could go straight to the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Fortunately for everyone, cooler heads than mine prevailed, and Tim and Jane decided it was “just a fence” and not worth the battle. It isn’t a very good fence, and I am guessing (now that a few years have gone by)—that it won’t last for much longer.

Wives especially are bad about “scorekeeping”:—“well, HE didn’t take out the trash, so I am not going to do the dishes”. What a great way to make sure everybody LOSES. She is hostile and grouchy, and he is unloved and put upon. It is a choice that we make every day—do we focus on the good or the bad?

My sweet husband leaves for work at 4:00am on Monday morning. He is usually very good about hauling the dumpster out to the road for it’s Monday morning pickup, but he isn’t around to haul the (now empty) dumpster back in. I can choose to:

A) leave it out by the curb until “he does his job”—which will be Thursday evening at the very earliest—meaning I have been without it all week.

B) Put on my best martyr attitude and haul it in, muttering the whole time about how “I have to do EVERYTHING around here” (completely ignoring the fact that he just left for work—to support ME, at 4 freakin’ o’clock in the morning—and that he will continue to work his cute little butt off FOR ME.)

C) Cheerfully bring the dumpster back in, feeling grateful that I only have to bring it in when it is empty and light, and that I HAVE a nice, rolling trash dumpster (which I actually LOVE!), and feeling his love for me that he expressed by taking it out in the first place.

In the last little while I have watched several seemingly strong marriages (of good people) dissolve into seething messes of throbbing pain, recriminations and vitriolic spite. The one thing that all of them had in common was that one (or both) of them got caught up in the “selfishness vortex”. They cannot see how each selfish choice feeds the selfishness beast, and that instead of pacifying it, they make it stronger. Each choice of “me first”,"my wants", “my needs”, “but what about ME?” blinds them to the love they have been freely given, and the pain they cause to those around them.

I have been reading “Created to Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious” by Debi Pearl. She is a fundamentalist Christian, and, while I don't agree with all of her theology, and I really disagree with the way she phrases some of her points, I think the principles she teaches are sound, and I know for myself that they work.

This is not an easy book. It is easy to feel attacked and defensive while you read it. I think that means it is hitting home, and we need to carefully focus on doing the things we are most defensive about.

When I look around at our society, I see LOTS of unhappy people, in less than ideal relationships. Broken, dysfunctional families. Women who are hostile and nasty to their husbands, and who feel lonely and taken for granted. Men who feel disrespected and unloved. Children who don’t know the comfort of knowing that their parents love them and each other.

One of the best things my wise mother taught me about making decisions is to look at the end result. Ask yourself “ What would happen if everyone made this choice?” “ What would happen to them, to their relationships, to society as a whole?”

Maybe the things society teaches are wrong. Maybe, doing exactly the opposite of that we are told really is the way to happiness.

When my sweet LargeBoy was still a small boy, he went through a phase of not wanting to go to bed, and of waking up in the night, and not being able to go back to sleep. (He has always been a very light sleeper and easily awakened). Unfortunately, I was horrifically sleep deprived and exhausted, and having him come get me to put him back to bed did not go down well. The nightly battles escalated to included shrieking and kicking walls (him), threats and spankings (me) and crying and screaming (both of us).

When my pride finally allowed me to pray and ask for help, the simple answer was "a soft answer turneth away wrath". The more I nagged, bossed and bullied, the more stubbornly he dug in. When I finally gave up on "winning" and instead focused on talking to him about how I loved him, what he had done that day, and interesting things he had seen, sleep came quickly and he learned how to put himself back to sleep.

A true example of "surrendering to win".

Maybe, just maybe, the promises the Lord made is true and “So the last shall be first, and the first last," and that the real way to win and find true happiness is in loving surrender and putting other people’s happiness before your own.

He hasn’t lied yet.

*You DO NOT want to get me started on my rant about words that have been hijacked—besides “dominance” and “submission”, I really miss the old meaning of the word “gay”—“happy” and “cheerful” ARE NOT the same.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Precious Gift

Yesterday, I was given a special gift. A prayer shawl, made of gorgeous silk sari-yarn, which blesses the lives of the women who make it. Spun by women in Nepal from the waste silk left over from weaving the material for Saris, it is made by women's cooperatives and gives them a fair wage and a chance to change their lives and the world around them. When you look at it under indoor light it seems to be quite conservative, even drab--mostly autumn reds and browns. However, if you have a chance to see it in sunlight, it explodes into vibrant reds, greens and purples. Rather like a casual glance at the lives of the quiet women around the world, who, when you get to know them and their stories, explode into brilliance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote of the Day:

Every night Satan checks under his bed to make sure Elder Holland isn't hiding underneath it!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I am really terrible at anniversaries. My hundredth posting--nothing. My one year anniversary, also Nada. However, I just noticed that sometime during my nighttime, this little blog crossed over, and has now had over a thousand visitors. Whoa! Now, I know that probably a lot of those have stumbled across it, and went on their way unchanged, but some of you stayed.

Thank You!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Have just been attacked by a crazy chicken. Note to self: Never let the cat follow me into the barn again.

The best way to recover self possession: Spend some time reading some really awful prose over at the Bulwer-Lytton Contest. Truly.

Here is a little sample, just to whet your funny bone (to truly mix some metaphors!)

The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically peddling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by Nature's maxim, "Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work," and at last I knew Pittsburgh.

--Sheila B. Richter, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1987 Winner)

The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarous tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong, clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, "Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you'll feel my steel through your last meal."

--Steven Garman, Pensacola, Florida (1984 Winner)

2009 Dishonorable Mention (In Romance)

As she slowly drove up the long, winding driveway, Lady Alicia peeked out the window of her shiny blue Mercedes and spied Rodrigo the new gardener standing on a grassy mound with his long black hair flowing in the wind, his brown eyes piercing into her very soul, and his white shirt open to the waist, revealing his beautifully rippling muscular chest, and she thought to herself, "I must tell that lazy idiot to trim the hedges by the gate."

Kathryn Minicozzi
Bronx, NY

Enjoy Yourself!

Spring Awesomeness!

I forgot to blog about another bit of exciting news: BigGirl got her ears pierced! They look very cute, and she is quite stunningly stylish.

Last night my big children went to the annual banquet that the Kiwanis put on to honor all of the 4-H'ers who got "A" Grades on their projects. I am really proud of them.

In what seems to be a continuing theme--that of how cool my siblings are, and how they help my musical tastes be "fresh" instead of "incredibly uncool and fuddy-duddy", here is a link to my new FAV! (Don't be put off by the Dutch DJ at the beginning, watch the whole song.) Check out all of her other songs on YouTube as well. Caro Emerald is going places.

Lady Gaga either is or has a great arranger and has extremely catchy songs (and I prefer non-whiney alto voices for female singers), BUT Caro Emerald has a better voice, better clothes, more style, an EXTREMELY talented band AND Brass Instruments! WIN!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


LOTS of fun has been going on at my house. For weeks now. And we have loved it ALL!

However, that also means I am even more sleep deprived than usual (which, for those who know my semi-permanent, walking zombie-ness are quite surprised to find is even possible!) and my house is even more piled up than usual.

This week I am slowly digging out of both. Baby Steps. Little bits at a time.

I am not sure what to do about the multiple places where SmallDaughter poured entire bottles of food coloring on the carpet--and a Large bottle of Methylene Blue, also. Sigh.

I promised pictures of chicks--here they are!

This year, we have Rhode Island Red chicks.

Two cute chicks!

Here are the Turkey Chicks

The chicks are growing well--the chicks have doubled in size, and the turkeys have quadrupled.

In other EXCITING NEWS!: My youngest brother R--the one who makes me feel both very old (every time he hits a !@#$%^ milestone in his life) and very young (when I hang out with him, and enjoy his random hilariosity!) just won an $8000.00 Presidential Scholarship to the local House of Higher Learning! Way to go, dude! And, I am happy to continue proof reading your essays (I particularly like the random Captain America and Aquabats references!).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Update

SmallDaughter begged and begged for me to open a package of marshmallow Peeps. When I gave her one, she refused to eat it—she just wanted to pet the little yellow chick!

LargeBoy ate the ears and top of the head off of his hollow chocolate bunny, then gave it a Cool Whip “brain” and did some disgusting zombie things. He is creative. Also, definitely a boy.

Everybody enjoyed the traditional egg hunt, where Grandma P hides the eggs—which I will be finding in the yard for the rest of the year.

I will post pictures of the chicks soon—I promise!