Tag Archives: relationships

5 Ways to Encourage Your Husband to Dream (And Why)

9 Nov

Having dreams is what makes life tolerable. – ‘Pete’ on Rudy

Spouses often balance each other out.  One is a spender and the other is a saver.  One is a planner and the other is more of a free-spirit.  One is a dreamer and the other is a realist.  These differences can be good for providing an alternative perspective and they can also be challenging when making decisions.  One is not always right and the other is not always wrong.  Being able to acknowledge and submit to each others’ strengths can be powerful, and dreaming together can make your marriage unshakeable.

Here are my 5 ways to encourage your husband’s dreams and the benefits it will have on your marriage:

1. Listen.  This is simple and vital. It can be very discouraging when someone discounts what you have to say or acts like they don’t even want to hear it.  Imagine if you excitedly started telling your best friend a great idea, only to have her act with indifference or doubt – it would probably put you in a pretty bad mood and maybe deter you from sharing things in the future.  Our opinion means a lot to our husbands whether they say so or not.  Don’t give your husband a reason to shut down.  Giving him time to share his ideas and goals can inspire hope, and show that you truly care about what is important to him.

2. Pray.  This is obviously a very important step when discussing future plans.  A key part of determining whether or not dreams are worth pursuing is to evaluate if it is part of God’s will.  Lysa TerKeurst, founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, offers a great 5-question reference to use to figure out if God is prompting us to action.  Often times God will ask us to do things that may not make logical sense or are uncomfortable for us, but when both spouses seek to do what He asks, it builds a solid marriage and foundation for whatever lies ahead.

3. Support.  A wife’s encouragement (or lack of) can be powerful.  I once read in a book something like this, “Be your husband’s number one cheerleader or someone else will.”  When our husbands feel supported by us, they feel valued and have more confidence.  Also, when men can spend time and energy doing what they love, they are happier.  And *bonus* this translates into a more gratitude-filled home environment.  Your husband will probably return the favor to help make things a little easier on you!

4. Participate.  Personally, I never had much trouble with being supportive, but once I showed an interest in actually helping my husband achieve his dreams our relationship grew even stronger.  I guess this is an example that “actions speak louder than words.”  This teamwork mentality has carried over to helping each other out more around the house and with our daughters.  We don’t spend time comparing who did more or who is working harder, but strive to find ways to make life better for the other person (most of the time)!

5. Pursue your own dreams.  What would you like to accomplish or, rather, what is God putting on your heart?  When we discuss and pursue our own goals, we also motivate our husbands to do the same and we will be more open to encouraging their pursuits.  If a couple is looking to God to direct their steps then these dreams will be compatible.  (I discuss this idea more here.)  What’s more inspiring than two people hoping, praying, and working together?!  Your husband will thank you, your relationship with God will be deeper, and your marriage will grow stronger than ever!

I know that I’m in my late-twenties and I’ve only been married seven years, but the above points are just a little bit of what I have discovered, especially in the past year.  Our marriage is far from perfect and we are constantly learning and growing, but as long as we are evolving together and focused on God, then I know we will be alright!

Do you have a story to share about how you have seen the benefits of dreaming together in your own marriage?  Any challenges?


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Confessions of a Mommy

27 Jun

Alright, I admit it.  I had a breakdown yesterday.  Albeit, a relatively brief meltdown, it was not one of my proudest moments. 

I had no idea I was stressed out.  I had just read a great blog post the night before titled, The Power of Positivity by Erin Franco.  She discusses being thankful for the small blessings that come with raising young children/taking care of a family and having joy in the seemingly mundane chores and tasks that mothers do daily.  It felt good to relate to another young woman who seemed to be in a similar family situation and have similar values.  I felt refreshed in my mission to be a good wife and mother.

So Sunday morning rolls around, and I get myself and the girls ready to attend mass.  By the time I get both of them in their car seats and back out of the driveway, I realize that I’m going to be late.  I get to church and have to park a good distance away and lug a car seat, diaper bag, purse, and toddler across the parking lot by myself, since Adam is not back from his Nascar gig in Wisconsin yet.  (ETA was 5 a.m., but they did not arrive until late-morning.  Awesome, right?)  I will insert a positive comment right now, though: My two-year-old behaved amazingly well during an extended service.  The downside of this longer service was that she fell asleep in the car for a few minutes on the way home which ended up destroying her chance for her usual nap.  In the midst of giving up hope that she would get any sleep, Adam arrives home.  Being the helpful husband that he is, he had picked up another copy of the Sunday newspaper for me like I asked, so I could get some extra coupons.  As I am flipping through the paper and the ads, I realize that this newspaper has no coupons.  Somebody snatched them out of the paper!  Cue meltdown!

I totally freaked out.  This, by itself, is only a minor annoyance, but being that I am trying to juggle a million balls in the air (okay, what feels like a million), not unlike most mommies in America, I was not happy about this snag in my plans for the day and the waste of $1.75.  I was trying to make a grocery list and prepare the house  for the arrival of Adam’s parents and brother who are staying the week with us, while getting ready to attend a baby shower for my cousin and his wife.  I am a person who maximizes every minute of the day since so many things need to be done.  There is a reason that women are good at multi-tasking, but  my mind couldn’t take all of the calculations, planning, and organizing any more!  The wheels are constantly turning in my head.  I am always trying to stay one step ahead so that I won’t make things harder on myself.  I hate proctrastinating!

If you can’t tell already by reading this, my personality type is considered to be “The Reformer/Perfectionist”, according to the Enneagram.  A type One personality, which I am, is one that values fairness, honesty, integrity, organization, personal responsibility, etc.  The negative aspects of my personality include being too critical, impatient, and quick to anger.  So for a person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, an injustice such as “coupon swiping,” tipped me over the edge of the scale that I try to keep balanced in my mind.  Seriously, though, I’m all about the whole coupon craze, but have some respect for other women who are trying to better their family’s financial situation, as well!

After a few minutes of being ridiculously upset, I finished my list, organized my coupons and we all got in the car to head to an amazing baby shower for two of my favorite people in the world!  I am so excited that my two girls will have another little girl relative to play with!  Adam’s family arrived safely and we had a nice evening.  I still found time to clip coupons while visiting with my mother-in-law after the kids went to sleep for the night. 

I am very thankful to God for my family!  I hope that I can be more like my mom, who never made it seem like doing laundry or making dinner was a chore that she didn’t want to do for us!  Every moment that I have with my husband and daughters is truly a blessing and it is my privilege to be able to care for them!

 

Our 6th Anniversary!

23 Jun

This coming Saturday marks six years that Adam and I have been married.  It’s

Our honeymoon 2005

fun to take this time and think about how our life has changed so much since we met.  We’ve experienced a three-year long-distance relationship, buying a house, and having two daughters.  I’m so excited to be going out on a dinner date tonight!  We haven’t been out together alone since probably December, because of bed rest and our youngest daughter’s recent birth.  Since we don’t make a big deal out of giving gifts to each other and we don’t have the money even if we wanted to, I decided to go old school and make a mixed tape, er, I mean, CD, of love songs!  Yeah, this is just like back in high school – total cheese ball, I know!  Anyway, here are the songs that I decided to include on my playlist:

1. “I’ll Be That” – Jimmy Wayne (A fun, upbeat love song!  Plus, I had to include Jimmy Wayne in my playlist!)

2. “Just Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Vassar (We have two kids, so this is totally our life now!)

3. “My Best Friend” – Tim McGraw (Corny? Maybe. True? Yes.)

4. “The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)” – Shania Twain (Love the first couple lines in the song.  I’m not always strong.  And sometimes I’m even wrong… I guess Adam would probably like these two lines, as well!  Plus we’ve been watching Shania’s reality show and it was in my head!)

5. “God Gave Me You” – Bryan White (This is the first of three Bryan White songs on the list.  “Why,” may you ask?  This is a CD that Adam introduced me to when we first started dating.  This whole CD is full of great love songs and is like the soundtrack to our relationship!)

6. “The Depths of My Love” – Anthony Smith (One of the most creative love songs ever!  He’s a genius songwriter!)

7. “Me and You” – Kenny Chesney (Great song before Kenny started singing about the beach and high school all the time!)

8. “Cherish” – Brian McKnight (It doesn’t hurt to throw in a little reminder to Cherish her love, does it?)

9. “Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion (This song is the theme from one of my favorite chick flicks, Up Close and Personal with Michelle Pfifer and Robert Redford!)

10. “How Lucky I Am” – Bryan White (Sweet song!)

11. “Ill Be” – Edwin McCain (Classic!)

12. “Gettin’ You Home” – Chris Young (I’ll leave that one alone!)

13. “I Still Believe In You” – Vince Gill (I’ve always loved this song.  Plus, Adam loves Vince Gill!)

14. “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx (Appropriate for being married to a musician!)

15. “That’s When I Love You” – Phil Vassar (Another upbeat love song from Phil’s early days!)

16. “Custom Made” – Andy Griggs (Cute song!  I’ve always felt that we  fit well together!)

17. “One on One” – Jimmy Wayne (Very rare, but needed, with two young daughters!)

18. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (Even though the premise of this song has to do with moving on, I had to include this mega hit.  Plus, I needed another song by a female artist on this playlist!)

19. “You’ll Always Be Loved (By Me)” -Bryan White (This is the first song we danced to at our wedding reception!  The lyrics are perfect for our life!)

There are many more I probably could have included, such as Journey’s, “Faithfully.”  Maybe I’ll make a “Part II” CD next year…

Adam surprising me with the song he wrote for our wedding, "Here's To Me and You"!

Anybody have a favorite love song and/or good story about a song that represents a particular relationship?

ADHD: A Gift and a Curse

13 Jun

Most people who know Adam already know that he has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Adam has always been open about this and the fact that he takes medication for it.  Granted, there are a lot of children who have had this diagnosis officially, or unofficially, slapped on them, when what they really need is some structure and discipline in the home.  At the community mental health center where I work, I’ve seen too many parents think that all their kid needs is some medication and then they will be a perfect angel.  Of course, there are some, like Adam, for whom medication has made a world of difference.

Adam started taking Adderall his sophomore year of high school.  He went from earning C’s and D’s  to making A’s and B’s in classes.  He graduated high school as one of the ten most improved students academically.  He is the “poster child” for a medicated person with ADHD.  When he takes his medication he has more motivation and focus.  He also has much better impulse control.  Trust me, we have quadruple the arguments when he does not take his meds consistently!  It is a much happier home when he thinks before he speaks (and can handle my occasional freak-outs more calmly)!  It also avoids some version of the following conversation (that we have had too many times to count):

Me: I didn’t know that you were going to (fill in the blank).

Adam: I thought I told you.

Me: No, I would have remembered that.

Adam: Oh, I must have forgotten.  Sorry.

Adam struggles sometimes, though, with whether or not he should take his medication based on what he needs to do/how he wants to be perceived.  Often, he is more quiet and withdrawn when he is on his medication.  He feels that he is not as funny or creative.  People can often tell when Adam has taken his medication vs. when he has not, based on his demeanor.  There are definitely pros and cons to both sides.  If he wants to come across to an audience as more outgoing and witty, he may not take his meds, but he may risk forgetting the words to a song.  He has tried a lower dosage but he does not feel it works as well, so it will probably always be something that he will have to deal with…

Whether it is labeled as ADHD, or not, this is what makes Adam creative and talented.  It is part of who he is and what he does.  Adam would not be Adam without this mixed blessing!

Class of 2001

10 Jun

Adam and Me - 2001

I just can’t wait til my 10 year reunion
I’m gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for
– “No Such Thing” by John Mayer

I’m sure these lyrics summarize what Adam secretly thought when he graduated high school.  And now it’s here – the Concord High School Class of 2001 Ten-Year Reunion… Adam won’t be attending, though, because he will be out on the road.  I know that part of him would like to be there, but the other part is not satisfied with where he is at in his music career.  (Don’t we all wish to be living our dreams when we attend our first reunion?)  Adam is definitely a proud husband and father, but I know that he would feel like he hasn’t been as successful as he thought that he would be at this point in his life.  He wants to be able to support his family doing what he loves – singing his own music!  Of course, everyone measures success differently.  The fact that Adam moved to another state by himself to pursue his dream at 19-years-old is pretty courageous.  Adam is able to play music and sing professionally.  He works off-and-on at a well-known rehearsal facility in Nashville.  He has written (what I and others believe to be) some radio-worthy songs.

Even if Adam were where he wanted to be right now, there would be no “Toby Keith ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ moment”.  The vast majority of people who have known Adam and have heard his voice have believed that he would be a star someday.  He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed In Music” in his senior class.  He performed original songs for two graduation ceremonies and a choir concert (which was extremely rare, if ever done before).  I know that a lot of people in the town of Elkhart, Indiana are rooting for him!  Please continue to support him!  I know that he appreciates any encouragement he receives!  It can be very frustrating and discouraging at times to feel like you have come so far, but have so long to go!  There is no sign of giving up, though.  There is no “plan b.”  The dream is still alive!

We have no idea what God has planned for him.  We are open to His will, but the difference now is that Adam has a focus and a mission to let God inspire and bring joy to others through his music and singing.  Adam’s confidence has grown so much in just the past month, because  as long as he is following what he believes is God’s path for him, then he knows that’s all that matters.  He cares about how God views what he’s doing more than what anybody else thinks.  How can a person go wrong with an attitude like that?!

Performing "Tell Me It's Real" by K-Ci and Jo Jo for Pops Concert (2000). That's Adam with the bleach blonde hair!

Idealistic Visions – A Good Laugh!

8 Jun

Today, I was thinking about how naive and idealistic I have been in the past about some things in regards to Adam’s music career and my life as a mommy…

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who was able to stay at home with me since the time I was born.  So for most of my life, I pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom, as well.  When I graduated college and got married, I figured I’d work for a couple of years and then be able to stay home whenever our first child was born.  I thought,  “Of course, Adam will make it by then and be able to support us on all the money he will be getting from his record deal!”  Then, after our first daughter was born, I thought, “Well, by the time God decides we’re ready for a second child, Adam will probably be successful enough that I won’t have to work outside the home then!”  Here I am, two children later, and I still have a full-time job!  (I do enjoy my job as a supervisor at a community mental health agency, though.)  Sometimes I get discouraged, but I feel so strongly that God has given Adam his musical gifts for a reason, that I continue to have faith that we will both be able to pursue the dreams that we have for our lives.  I feel very blessed that God has provided a way for my daughters to be taken care of by my husband and parents when I am working.  Adam usually has a flexible schedule during the week, since he is gone several months out of the year on the weekends.  It is nearly a miracle that my parents live close to us.  My dad retired unexpectedly early and my parents moved down to Tennessee only four months after our two-year-old was born!

Another instance that makes me shake my head, is in regards to an interesting story about Rascal Flatts.  When I was in high school, several of us loved this group that was up-and-coming at the time.  Adam, a friend, and I found out that they were going to be playing at a 21-and-over club close by on the night of my 18th birthday.  My friend’s mom and one of her friends decided to go to the show, so we recorded a video for them to give to Rascal Flatts about how much we loved their music.  Adam sang an original song and we all wrote our phone numbers and addresses on the VHS tape, as if they would contact one of us immediately and get Adam a record deal!  Ha!  I think it is absolutely hilarious that we thought a new group would actually be able to/want to pull strings for a 19-year-old guy in Indiana based on our videotape!  Like they didn’t have enough to worry about with getting their own career started!

Anyway, to finish the story, the VHS tape was delivered to them that night and I received a birthday card signed by all three of the group members!  About a month later, we drove to a nearby state to see them do an acoustic performance/interview.  We stood in line so we could meet them after the show.  We asked them about the video and they said that they had watched it!  Later that year, after Adam had moved to Nashville, he actually ran into Joe Don Rooney at a music store.  They talked for a little bit and he told Adam that we were lucky he watched our video tape.  He also said that he remembered his voice.   Kinda cool, huh?!

Obviously, after living in Nashville for awhile, we have found out how things really work in this town.  If someone “makes it” soon after moving here, he or she is extremely blessed.  Adam has found that many people like his voice and think that he is talented, but they have not taken any further steps to help him get his career moving.  I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the music business in Nashville wonder why Adam still hasn’t “made it” after almost 9 years of being down here.  Adam has spent the last several years trying to find his way.  He has pursued different projects that did not develop into anything and he has improved his songwriting skills.  Just recently, he has learned to trust his talent for coming up with catchy melodies and writing good songs.  I feel that God has been molding Adam and teaching him different things to get him ready for a certain path.  Adam has admitted that he doesn’t know what direction to go and is putting total faith in God.  He is committed to working hard to better himself physically and prepare mentally and spiritually for this journey ahead.  I know that God will bring the right people along to fulfill whatever plan he has for Adam.  It’s all in God ‘s time.  Stay tuned…

Discerning God’s will

29 May

Overall, I guess my blog deals with the question of God’s purpose for my life and my family.  Today at mass the readings dealt with this specific topic, so I think it is the perfect time to discuss this a little more…

Adam and I have been focused on God’s will a lot lately, especially in regards to his career path.  He is starting to make decisions based on using his musical talents to bring others closer to God.  Adam wants to be a positive artist who writes/sings about the real life day-to-day struggles that we all have as human beings and show that there is hope even when things may be tough.  So I was definitely thinking about this when 1 Peter 3: 15-18 was read today, which says, “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your  conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

I’m usually not one to throw Bible verses around, but I feel that this really shows where Adam and I are at right now.  In Adam’s case, he is finally aligning his “artist image” with his “real life image.”  I feel excited about what God has in store for us, knowing that we are trying to keep our priorities in check and we are striving to be better individuals.

One author who talks a lot about being “the best version of ourselves” is Matthew Kelly.  A book that he has written, The Rhythm of Life, is focused on this topic and encourages us to have dreams and discover our talents.  Adam is currently listening to it, since he is not much of a reader.  I’d been encouraging him to read it for the past couple years and finally I broke down and got the audiobook.  It’s all in God’s timing! Matthew Kelly is a great motivator! He also encourages parents to frequently ask their children, “What do you think God is calling you to do with your life?”  In his book, Building Better Families, he states that as a society, we often ask kids, “What do you want to do when you get older?”  Many of us grow up to be unhappy with what we are doing.  Maybe asking a different question will bring more fulfillment and purpose.

For more about Matthew Kelly, you can check out his website:  www.matthewkelly.org.

Good night!  This mommy needs her sleep!