Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Trial" Marriages

I was thinking about the Divorce Rates of Americans recently and asking myself  "WHY do 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce"? I realize this is a random thing to think about as a newlywed, but I want to make sure that I don't do whatever 50% of Americans are doing that causes their marriage to end in divorce....Then I started thinking about "Trial Marriages" -when a couple lives together before marriage. This has certainly become a growing trend in my generation. So many people justify them as a good way to see if they can "handle" living together, and if they really are compatible together. Some people just want to spend more time together, or to save money, and I'm sure a lot of people just enjoy being able to share their bed with someone every night! However, I recently heard on a radio program that couples who cohabitate before marriage actually have a higher divorce rate than couples who do not. 

I have to admit, I lived with my husband before we were married. Our main justification was financial. His Financial Aid adviser told us that if we did get married before/while he was in medical school, he would no longer qualify for the majority of the scholarships he was awarded because they were based on income. If we were married, my income would be counted as his income, where as if we stayed single, his income = $0, which qualified him for more scholarships. I should say that we were already in a "committed" relationship with every intention of getting married from the very beginning. And, thankfully we did... a week after he graduated!

While we were cohabitating, one thing that was in the back of my mind when things got "tough" was that "I don't have to put up with this... I can leave at any time... You're not my husband....It's my choice to stay or not". I think that most people who live together before marriage carry that same mentality with them into their marriage. This is certainly a dangerous attitude to have in a marriage. While breaking-up is always an option before marriage, Divorce should never be something that pops into your head when the going gets tough. 

I have several friends who are currently living with their fiances, and when they get into fights, their insecurities and doubts about their relationship always come to the surface, (this happened to me as well). After years of feeling this way after a fight, it seems only natural that your mind would be trained to have this reaction to future fights, even after you're married.

The average age of marriage has increased from 21 to 28 since the 1960's (Washington Post). As the age at which couples tend to marry continues to get higher, it seems un-likely that we are going to be able to persuade millions of future couples not to cohabitate before marriage. And with so many couples claiming that "nothing really changed" after going from cohabitation to marriage, how do we help people realize that EVERYTHING changes!!! The most important thing being: your mind & heart's way of dealing with the "tough times" and not letting yourself go there... to the D-word.....

I don't think that couples who live together before they are married are definitely going to get a divorce. For my sake, I pray that's not what it means at all.... However, I do think it's important that couples who live together before they get married realize all of the changes that are going to take place. When the ladies in my life ask me "Did your relationship change once you got married?", I shout it from the rooftops! YES!! So many things have changed, and all for the better I think. I no longer carry around the guilt of "living in sin". I know that as I strive to be a good wife, I am doing exactly what I was created to do.

The relationship between a husband and wife should be so much more than a relationship between a boyfriend/girlfriend. There's more responsibility and accountability involved. There's a greater sense of pride. A better understanding of unconditional love. A desire to be a better person for the sake of your spouse. The need to be selfless; To consider another's needs, wishes, desires before your own. One must switch their mentality from: "I don't have to take this" to "I need to do whatever it takes to make this work"!! 

Do I regret living with my husband before we were married? I'd have to say "no" because if I had not moved from Austin to Baltimore with him, our relationship would probably not have survived during his 4 years in Medical School. I do however, wish that circumstances could have been different so that we could have started our marriage earlier. I hate that I had so much Catholic "guilt" about being with my husband before we were married. I feel like the bad habits developed before marriage have a tendency to carry over after marriage. But, unless couples start marrying during their early college years again, it's likely that, in the future, they will need to learn how to take the good with the bad while transitioning from cohabitation to marriage.

What are your thoughts? Did you live with your husband before marriage? Do you regret it? Do you think it made your marriage better?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dinner Dilemma!

Sometimes the most difficult question I have to answer everyday is "What's for dinner?".... And although I am so thankful that this is the most "difficult" part of my day, it is still a dilemma! If you too are wondering what you're going to make for dinner tonight, I have an answer!! Homemade Tortillas are so yummy and versatile. Last night I decided to use them for Quesadillas!

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions and your dinner dilemma is solved for tonight!! My recipe comes from my Joy of Cooking cookbook:

Gather your ingredients:
You will need:
2 cups of flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
1/4 cup shortening or lard
3/4 cup Hot water (105-115 degrees)

My MIL gave me this awesome Pampered Chef measuring cup several years ago and it is so useful for sticky/solid stuff like molasses, honey, shortening, etc. I highly recommend it for measuring your shortening!
I also highly recommend this Spectrum Organic All vegetable shortening. (available at Whole Foods) It is healthier than traditional shortening and gives my tortillas a much softer texture.

Next: add all of your ingredients to your mixer bowl.
Mix on low for about 1 minute or until the dough looks like this:
Mix on Medium for 4-6 minutes or until the dough looks like this:

Next: divide your dough into 8 equal pieces:

Cover the 8 balls with a paper towel and let "rest" for 20 minutes

Lightly flour your counter and roll out the ball until it is 6-8 inches. This one is rolled out to 8 inches exactly

Pre-heat your skillet to Med.

Add your tortilla and cook for about 30-45 seconds 
or until you see lots of bubbles:
After you see all of the bubbles, 
flip over and cook the other side for 15-20s. 
You want both sides to be lightly browned like this:
Once the first tortilla is finished, place it on a paper towel covered plate (this will prevent it from getting soggy from the condensation on the plate) and repeat until all 8 are finished!

Next: Start preparing ingredients for Quesadillas 

Shred cheese: 
Freshly grated cheese is much softer than packaged shredded cheese
 It also helps tone your arm muscles!

Cook chicken with a little taco seasoning sprinkled on both sides.

We were feeling tropical last night so we opted to go with a mango salsa instead of a traditional Pico de gallo (tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper) but both are delicious with quesadillas

Cut ingredients for Mango Salsa

You will need:
1 mango
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 large cucumber
1/4 med onion
a tbsn or 2 of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno
1 lime, freshly sqeezed
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all of your veggies and mix them together with the lime juice.

Start Making Quesadillas:
Heat non-stick skillet on Med heat and add a little olive oil or butter.
Add cheese and chicken to first tortilla and cook on Med heat for about 1 minute or until cheese is melted

Add a 2nd tortilla on top and press down into the melted cheese before flipping over to cook the other side.
 Cook the other side for 1 minute or 2. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the quesadillas.

Enjoy your homemade Quesadillas and Mango Salsa

Tortillas can also be used for fajita & taco night. For desert, drizzle a warm tortilla with honey and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. My Husband also loves to use them for breakfast tacos with sausage, egg and cheese . Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monster-In-Law? No! Mother-In-Love? Yes!!

My In-Laws were recently visiting us in Nashville from Texas. While they were here, my Mother-In-Law showed me her newest hobby, Embroidery! I had a couple of friends who recently had babies, so we went to work creating these adorable Burp Cloths!! I was amazed that she could start with a few raw materials and create these cute & functional baby gifts!!

It made me really excited for when my husband and I are able to start a family of our own. I know that my Mother-In-Law is going to be the BEST Grandma, Granny, MeMe, Nanny, Nana, etc.. in the world!! 

I was recently thinking about the term Mother-In-Law and how it has such a negative connotation; people have even coined the term Monster-In-Law and have created movies, books, blogs, etc about how horrible Mother-In-Laws can be.

Mother-IN-LAW.... makes me think of being married by THE law.... as when people legally get married in a courthouse. But, my husband and I weren't married in a courthouse by people of the Law, we were married in a church by God's Love..... So, I feel like a more appropriate term would be: Mother-In-Love.

Mother-In-Love is certainly a more applicable title to my MIL, whom I refer to simply as, Mom. She has been more of a mother to me in the past 7 years than my biological Mother. She is a wonderful role model for the kind of mother I (and my sister) want to be to our future children. I am constantly amazed at how she ALWAYS puts the needs of her children before her own.... Her children are now adults in their mid-20's.... But, to her, they will always be her babies, and I feel so BLESSED to be counted as one of her babies!!

I came across this funny Mother-In-Law "prayer" online:

“O, Lord, help me to be glad when my son (or daughter) picks a mate. If he brings home a girl with two heads, let me love both of them equally. And when my son says, ‘Mom, I want to get married,’ forbid that I should blurt out, ‘How far along is she?’
“And please, Lord, help me to get through the wedding preparations without a squabble with the ‘other side.’ And drive from my mind the belief that had my child waited a while, he or she could have done better.
“Dear Lord, remind me daily that when I become a grandmother, my children don’t want advice on how to raise their children any more than I did when I was raising mine.
“If you will help me to do these things, perhaps my children will find me a joy to be around, and maybe I won’t have to write a ‘Dear Abby’ letter complaining about my children neglecting me. Amen.”

I doubt that my MIL read this, but she is certainly the best MIL I could have asked for. And just in case "Pops" is reading this.... He is the BEST FIL I could ask for.... I will post all of his handy-work as soon as he finishes my Laundry Room!! :)

If you don't feel like you lucked out in the Mother-In-Law/Love department, please remember that at the very least, you owe her a cordial relationship for the simple fact that she is responsible for the man you fell in love with!!

Prayers for happy "In-Love" relationships!!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Today I am so happy because it is the first day of my Good Morning Girls bible study! GMG is a group of girls that hold each other accountable for studying God's word every day. We read the assigned Scripture for the day and then email or FB each other to check in and let everyone know:

  • That we read the bible that day
  • Our feelings about what we read
  • Any Prayers that we need
  • And to offer Encouragement to everyone in our group
GMG is definitely not something to be taken lightly; It's a 12 week commitment to read the bible and share with your group EVERY day!!! And yet, over 2500 ladies have enrolled! I joined a group with ~20 other ladies from all over the globe. I have never met any of these girls in person, but I already feel so close to them. We are already sharing intimate aspects of our lives with each other and are becoming true sisters in Christ. I think it's amazing that so many women from all walks of life are coming together because of our faith in Christ. It's a wonderful example of God's miraculous love working for us and through us!

I recently started this blog as another form of accountability....I want to be accountable to Father Time! I want to spend less time watching TV/stalking friends on FB and more time learning about God and all the ways to be a good Christian wife. I want to be Accountable to my husband. It's one thing to talk/write/read about being a good wife, but it's another thing all together to BE a good wife. 

Some days are more trying than others in our journey to be good wives, but when we feel like our husbands don't deserve all of the wonderful, selfless things we do for them, remember that there is another being that we are accountable to: God. We serve our husbands in order to Honor God. The marriage between a husband and wife mimic's the marriage between Christ and his church.

  • This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.....and the wife see that she reverence her husband, Eph. 5:32-33

We are called to be accountable to our husbands, our marriages, and most of all to our Lord. So, when times seem tough and you just don't feel like being nice, remember who you are really serving and honoring when you are being a good wife to your husband.

Prayers for accountability and for a meaningful Good Morning Girls Session!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed!

I've always been a pretty laid-back person, but these days it seems difficult to find something in our daily life that DOESN'T stress us out- Waiting in long lines at a grocery store that's equipped with 24 checkout counters but only has 3 open, sitting in traffic, soaring gas prices, reduced income, endless laundry piles etc. Everywhere we go we are surrounded by rude, grumpy, stressed out people who are trying to drag us down-those "Misery loves company" kind of people, and it's so tempting to join their pity parties....

A few weeks ago my 10 minute drive to work turned into 90 minutes because there was a fatal accident on the highway. All of the other people in the cars around me were obviously stressing out as we tried alternate routes, and still moved no faster than 10mph. I however, had just discovered a neat little Bible app on my phone that gave me free access to hundreds of podcasts of famous sermons. So, while I was stuck in traffic I had the opportunity to listen to 3 sermons on the topic of love and marriage, 2 of which were from Father Al Lauer and the 3rd from Joel Osteen. While everyone around me was huffing and puffing and honking their horns, I was listening to God's word and learning ways to make my marriage better. I felt so blessed in that moment that I was fortunate enough to be DRIVING to my JOB and reflecting on my MARRIAGE, while another person had died on their way into work. I was going to get to live that day, while the other person was not. While so many others on the road had let that one thing ruin their whole day, I was feeling more blessed than ever and made sure that I made the most of every second in that day.

A few days after that happened, I was cooking dinner for my husband and listening to another Joel Osteen podcast. He was talking about how we should "display our joy", put a smile on our face, and be cheerful. No matter what are circumstances are, we should "smile by faith". We need to remember that everyday is a day the Lord has made, and we are so blessed to be a part of it. 

All of a sudden that song, "Whistle while you work" popped into my head, and I found myself singing and dancing around the kitchen as I finished preparing dinner and washing the dishes. My husband was wondering why I was so happy- I said, "Why shouldn't I be? I just prepared a lovely meal that I get to share with you in our happy little home". It immediately brought a smile to his face, and the tired, depleted face of a man who just finished a 16 hour shift was completely transformed.

Even when we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed we need to remember to be kind and smile; then the joy will follow. Our husbands, our children, and our friends will all benefit from a home that is full of joy, and that joy starts with us! My husband is often surrounded with sadness and despair at the hospital, & it's my job to remind him of all the reasons we have to be joyful and happy!

People often pray for the difficult things in their life to get better and then wait for good things to come, but that is backwards thinking. We need to first smile and be cheerful, and then God will grant us his Blessings and anoint us with the oil of Joy- Hebrew 1:9

This morning I heard a beautiful song "Blessings" that again made me feel "Too Blessed to be Stressed". One line said, "What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?". I think we are surrounded by stressors on Earth to remind us of all the blessings that come with the life of God. Whether things seem to be going perfect or you feel you're at your wit's end, remember to count your blessings in that moment, because we never know how many more moments in this life God will bless us with. 

Listen to this song:  and remember, we are Too Blessed to be Stressed!

Prayers for homes that are full of Joy & Laughter! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

News Flash: Bashing your husband is NOT cool!

I've had a few people approach me on this subject and it's something that I've seen a lot of myself...I'm new in town and looking for other married women to make friends with, but most of the wives I cross paths with only really talk about, and bond over 1 thing- Husband Bashing! I've only been a wife for a little over 3 months, but I've been my husband's best friend for ~ 7 years, and one thing I know for sure is that husband bashing is NOT cool!

Apparently women have nothing better to talk about, so the theme of morning coffee, afternoon tea, and wive's night out has become "This is how my husband is even worse than yours". Can you believe he did this? Can you believe he said that? He's such an idiot. He's so lazy. Ugh, he's so disgusting! I can't trust him to do anything right with the baby. Why can't he just...

And there are the more general and benign statements as well: "He doesn't appreciate me, He has such a bad temper, He hasn't been very nice lately, We're not really getting along right now, I don't like how he disciplined the children".... But these statements also have lasting effects, and long after you have kissed and made up, your friends will continue to use these statements against your husband.

I have been guilty of joining in on the "fun and games" in the past as well & believe me,  I get it! Our husbands aren't always the most generous, most considerate, most helpful, most handsome, most hygienic people we interact with, but neither are we! Plus, we must have some reason for marrying them in the first place. For me, I love that my husband is:

  • My Best friend
  • Intelligent
  • Hard-Working
  • Pursuing a difficult career so that he can provide a wonderful life for his family
  • My Sous Chef
  • My confidante- I'm sure he'd appreciate the same in me
  • My Fixer- He can solve any problem that I bring to him
  • My Biggest Fan!
  • Going to give me cute little, blonde haired, blue eyed children :) Haha!

I hate that I feel like I'm the rude one or don't fit in when I brag about my husband. "Who does she think she is- talking about her perfect husband all the time? For the record, my husband is not perfect, but he's perfect for me, and I am so proud of him! I think we should start having husband BRAGGING sessions in place of the typical Bashing sessions. I feel like the choice and tone of the words coming out of our mouths dictate our state of mind about whatever we are talking about. How can you possibly LOVE, CHERISH, HONOR & RESPECT your husband on the inside when you are bashing him on the outside? P.S. Do those Capitalized words sound familiar? They were probably part of your wedding vows!!

You made the CHOICE to marry your husband... Now you need to make the CHOICE to wake up every morning and LOVE him, in spite of his faults. Don't you expect him to love you in spite of your faults too?

The next time you're with your friends and they start talking badly about their husbands, chime in with something positive about yours, and remind them how bad they would feel if their husbands were saying the same things about them to their group of guys.

We all have difficulties in our marriages, but we need to bring our concerns to the source-our husbands. If there is something that he's doing that's driving you CRAZY, talk to him about it. Chances are he has no idea that you are so annoyed by him, and he's probably willing to change whatever it is that he's doing to make you happier! I'm sure he'd really respect the fact that you kept your criticism in the home, and didn't make it public.

 If, for some reason he's not willing to talk about it, put it into God's hands. Pray to God to help your husband change his bad habits and pray that God give you a patient, understanding, forgiving heart. We aren't expected to be perfect, all-forgiving souls. But, we are expected to try and to ask God for help when we need it. That's why, in Christian marriages, there are 3 parties involved: You, your husband, and God. If, after trying both of these routes you still feel the need to talk to someone about whatever is bothering you, pick one person whom you trust to not gossip, (a pastor, therapist, sister, etc.) and approach them in a way that says "I need help", not "I hate my husband".

I encourage you to make your own Brag List of the things you love about your husbands. And, the next time he puts the empty milk jug back in the fridge or forgets to take the trash out, think about your BRAG list, not your BASH list and remember why you married him in the first place!

If we SPEAK happy thoughts, we will THINK happy thoughts, and if we think them, we will LIVE them!

Read through this slowly, and absorb every word!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13:4-

Prayers for forgiveness and acceptance,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Girl's Night In!

Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday my husband had to work the night shift in the ER. Since I didn't want to be alone every night all weekend I asked one of my new neighbors if she wanted to get together. She immediately responded with "I'd love to, where should we go". 

"Where should we go?" has become the normal response when anyone suggests getting together, but why do we always have to go somewhere?

The weather had been bad, and after having 2 car accidents in the rain, I'm not really supposed to drive when it's raining anymore ;) So, I suggested she come over to my place... My justification being that we can avoid the bad weather and not have to worry about drinking and driving.... I don't drink very often, so even 1 glass of wine makes me feel like I shouldn't be driving.

Back to my story: She accepted! So, I went about planning our menu and preparing my house for a guest! For those of you who aren't familiar with this, it's called HOSPITALITY! & where I come from, Southern Hospitality!
1 Peter 4:9 suggests we "Show hospitality to one another without grumbling".

Since my new neighbor friend is a vegetarian, I made sure to prepare a meat-free meal, and since it was so cold & wet outside I decided to go with comfort food: Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I also prepared a lovely Bruschetta appetizer that was presented on a beautiful platter and waiting for her when she arrived at my home. I lit some candles, turned on some Big Band music in the background, and made sure my home felt warm, welcoming, and peaceful. She showed up with a bottle of wine, and the fun began. 

We talked and ate! She helped me clean the dinner dishes, and then I showed her how to make my signature desert: Puff Pastry, raspberries, chocolate, etc.... Yuumy! We were baking, and talking, and dancing to the Big Band Music in the background, and before we knew it, 5 hours had passed! We had the most wonderful time, much better than if we had to "go somewhere", and I'm sure I saved a lot of money as well! My dinner was simple & inexpensive.... but our conversation & surroundings were beautiful & rich in hospitality! 

Next time someone suggests that you go "somewhere", step up to the plate and make that "somewhere" your home! Hospitality is a wonderful thing, and one God commands us to practice! Do it, and you won't be sorry that you did!

Prayers for a hospitable weekend!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Favorite Cleaning Products!

My friends & family would definitely describe me as a neat freak! Perhaps even a little OCD about keeping my home clean... But, I always tell my guests to make themselves at home, and I mean that! I don't ever want people to feel uncomfortable or afraid to touch anything in my home. I always remind them that the cleaning thing is my problem, not theirs!! 

Anyways, I have recently stumbled upon some great cleaning products that have simplified my routine:
1) Bathroom: 

  • Shower: To clean my glass shower I only need 2 things: A Mr. Clean Bath Scrubber Magic Eraser and a squeegee. I LOVE the magic eraser because it has eliminated my need for harsh chemical cleaners and fumes! I just wipe down the entire shower every few days with the Magic Eraser (it smells great too), and squeegee after every shower. My shower always looks PERFECT!! I also use the magic eraser in our bath tub when needed, but we don't use that on a regular basis.
  • Sink/vanity: I LOVE Mrs. Myers Clean Day all purpose cleaner in Lavender scent. I just pour a little into a plugged sink and fill it up with Hot water, and use that as my cleaning bucket to wipe down the vanity, toilet, and sinks. It smells WONDERFUL, and actually makes me look forward to cleaning!
  • Toilet: I love these  Clorox toilet tablets  because each tablet keeps my toilet bowl spotless for ~ 2 months, and has nearly eliminated the need for a toilet brush!
  • Floors: I use my vacuum to suck up all the hair and dust, and then wipe down the floor with the Mrs. Myers cleaning solution! It seriously smells so good.
2) Kitchen:

  • Granite Counters: I keep them clean with Mrs. Myers (I have a spray bottle that I keep filled with diluted all purpose cleaner), and every evening I polish them with Method Granite Polish to keep them sealed and shiny!
  • Glass Cook Top: Every evening after dinner I scrub the stove with Weiman scrubbers and cleaner. They just came out with an Extra Strength cleaner that works even better than their original formula on burnt on stuff! Just sqeeze it on, scrub it down, and buff it off with a paper towel... Good As New cook top every time!
  • Stainless Steel Appliances: Again, I go to Weiman for their Stainless Steel cleaner.... Just spray it on and buff off with a paper towel to stay finger print free!
  • Cabinets (and other wood furniture): Swiffer Dust & Shine in Lavender! It works great and smells wonderful as well! I've also noticed it's less greasy than Pledge, or Old English and doesn't leave a residue. 
  • Floors: If you have wood floors, than you know there is a process to keeping them clean. 
    • First, sweep or vacuum
    • 2nd, mainly because I have pets, I go over the floors with a dry Swiffer Sweeper to get all of the stray hair!
    • 3rd, Mop with a Swiffer Wet Jet and their Wood Floor solution. It dries quickly and leaves a nice smell as well.
    • I'm thinking about getting this new Shark Steam Vac so that I can eliminate all of the waste that Swiffer creates :( but I'd like to hear some opinions from real people before I invest in it
3) Laundry: I used to create all kinds of concoctions from several different brands to ensure clean, and most importantly :) great smelling laundry! But then I stumbled upon these while I was staying at a friends house. I was so impressed I started buying them myself! 

  • These 3 in 1 sheets are fabulous and eliminate the need for all of those bottles that leak all over the laundry room! They are dry and kept in a nice little box!
  • To add a little extra, and to increase the smell factor, I've also started using these Lavender Crystals, especially for sheets, towels, and other laundry items that are stored for a while before use. Ladies: Please change your bedding EVERY WEEK! Your husband will love you for it..... there is nothing better than laying in a nice smelling and soft bed at the end of a long day!
  • And they are HE approved! Just drop a sheet, a cap of crystals and your laundry in the machine and hit go.... a little while longer you will have clean, great smelling laundry, without all the mess of liquid detergents and softeners!

Those are all that come to mind at the moment, but if you have any other cleaning questions, please feel free to ask!

And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Luke 11:25

Thank You Notes!

It's sad to me that our society has really lost the use of etiquette in our every day lives. Sometimes I hear "please, and thanks!" and every once in a while I see people holding doors for the strangers walking behind them.... But I never recieve Thank-you notes! I feel like weddings are the only time people make the effort to write out thank you notes, and even these are being substituted with electronic thank you notes or generic pre-printed cards in place of a hand written thank you note. I must admit, I'm one of THOSE people who always sends Birthday, Anniversary, Wedding, Baby etc. cards/gifts, and I can count on one hand the number of Thank You cards I have received. Even worse, I rarely even get a "Thanks" on facebook, in a text or in an email.... I don't think my friends are purposely trying to be rude- I just think that Thank-You Etiquette has been lost.

Last weekend, The Good Dr. and I were invited to an end of summer party with everyone in his department. I made an effort to bring a hostess gift ( a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, or a house plant) are all nice things to bring, especially if it's the first time you have been invited to their home. We had a wonderful time, and as we prepared to leave I made sure to seek out our hosts and personally thank them for inviting and hosting us- sadly, I noticed the majority of guests there did not do this. The next day, I sat down to write out a thank-you note and got it into the mail ASAP.

I'm pretty sure that:
A) people don't even think to do this any more
B) Some people may think about it, but don't know how to write a Thank You Note,

So, without further ado, here is an example:

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Smith, 
Thank you so much for the great party this weekend! We had such fun seeing everyone and getting to know you two better as well. The hot-air balloon and pony rides were over the top! What a great way to end the summer!

Thanks again!

Dr. and Mrs. Jones

It took less than 5 minutes to write this out, address an envelope and walk it out to the mail box, but I know it will let our hosts know how much we appreciated all the trouble they went through. We're also much more likely to be invited again!

So ladies, next time you're at Target, pick out some cute Thank-you notes and start writing them!
At the very least, even an informal thank-you email, text, or FB wall post would be appreciated, but nothing beats getting something pretty in the mail that's NOT a bill!!

Striving to be, 
The Good Doctor's Wife

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Good Wife's Guide

Some of you may have received The Good Wife's Guide in an email chain that's been circulating for years. The first time I saw it was at my old job. Some of my co-workers were reading it over and laughing hysterically. While some of the points may seem a little degrading towards women, overall I would have to say, "Why shouldn't we do these things for our husbands"? 

Lets start with the first one: "Have dinner ready"-My husband certainly appreciates when I have dinner ready for him when he walks through the door after a 16 hour shift at the hospital. I recall one night during the first week of our marriage when he said "Wow Honey, this is such a great meal, considering you just threw it together.". I had to stop him right there. I asked him what he meant by "just threw it together" and he replied, "you know, you took a little of this and a little of that, and it all tastes great". First, I thanked him for the complement of saying the meal I prepared tasted great, but then I explained to him what goes on to ensure that he has a great meal prepared for him when he walks through the door. I showed him my dinner protocols! 

First, I come up with 7 dinners for the week. Check out the Time Warp Wife blog for some awesome Meal Planner Print-outs.  Next, I go over all of the recipes for those meals and make a grocery list of all of the items I will need for the week. ( I love this Grocery List Pad by Real Simple available at Target). Then, I gather any coupons I may have and head to the store. I can't lie, I'm admittedly a Whole Foods snob ( Mental note to write another blog soon about how I have actually started saving money since I switched from a traditional grocery store to Whole Foods). Each morning, I refer to my meal planner and make sure that I have thawed out any frozen items that I'll need for that night and do any prep work like chopping vegetables if time allows. After I get home from work that day I double check with my husband to see what time he thinks he'll be home and I "just throw it all together". haha!

Needless to say, my husband certainly appreciates each meal for more than just it's taste these days!

On to #2: Prepare yourself-  I used to come home, take off my lab clothes (usually jeans and a polo-all clothes worn in a lab will be ruined, so my work clothes are not too glamorous) and then put on some of my husbands scrubs. I have recently started to put guideline # 2 into practice. I came to the realization that The Good Dr is surrounded by nurses wearing scrubs all day. I don't want to be another one of those Dr's wives who loses their husband to a nurse (not that my husband would ever do such a thing). He doesn't want to come home to another girl in scrubs. He'd much rather come home to a woman who's a little easier on the eyes. So, I have started to slip into a little house dress, freshen up my make-up and take my hair out of a pony tail. I have to admit, He noticed and approved of these changes immediately. As a result, I feel more desired by Him and have come to  feel better about myself as well.

#3, 8, & 9 all kind of go together: Be interesting, be Happy, and smile when he comes through the door. I always stop what I am doing, and go to greet him with a hug and a kiss as soon as I hear him at the door. Then, I follow # 10 and ask him how his day was, and really listen to what he says. He sort of does # 15 on his own and makes himself comfortable, but I add to it by having a cold drink and some advil & an appetizer ready for him. While I put the finishing touches on dinner, we usually go over any errands he needs me to do and discuss any other concerns that he may have. 

During dinner, He says grace, and we keep the conversation light and fun, which for us means talking about history, science, etc. (we're nerds!) If I have any concerns to discuss with him I always wait until after dinner. He's always happier when his belly is full! After dinner he usually retires to his office and reads or works on his research while I clean the kitchen, prepare lunches and his breakfast for the next morning. 

I may sneak in a little TV if time allows after I am finished preparing for the next day but I try to shower and be ready for bed the same time as my husband (early). If I am not sleepy yet, I read & have my quiet time with God but He definitely appreciates having me next to him as opposed to staying up late watching TV in the living room.

#12-I believe our role as wives is to make sure our husbands come home to an inviting place where they feel comfortable and safe. Home should be their escape from "the office". We want them to want to come home, not making up excuses for having to work late because they "can't handle" coming home and want to avoid it as we see portrayed in countless movies. We should be their best friend and confidants. One day when we start a family I will do my best to follow # 7 as well, and make sure that my husband is excited to see his children at the end of the day, not weary about it. I am sure there will be times that chaos and anxiety are unavoidable, especially with children in the mix, but I do think it's in our best interest to minimize the strain and stress in our home and in our husband's lives.

You are in my prayers, 

The Good Doctor's Wife

Friday, September 2, 2011

A New Feminine Mystique

Fifty years ago this month, Good Housekeeping published a groundbreaking article, "Women Are People, Too!" by Betty Friedan, which described how many wives and mothers felt depressed and frustrated by their roles.

Read more: Women Are People Too by Betty Friedan - The Feminine Mystique - Good Housekeeping 

While I was in college, I had the privilege of reading Ms. Friedan's book about how women in the 50's felt repressed and wanted more to their life than cooking and cleaning. As I continued reading, I kept thinking to myself, "I wish I could JUST be a wife and mother"!

The original feminist movement of the 50's was about CHOICES.... Women wanted more.... They wanted a chance to achieve higher education.... to join the workforce and add monetary value to their existence,  they wanted the chance to HAVE IT ALL. However, young women today feel more stressed about their roles in society than they ever have. 

Somehow over the years, the CHOICE part of the feminist movement got dropped from the equation. All of a sudden it was no longer a choice to go to college and have an amazing career OR get married and start a family, it was expected that all women should do both. Women are at constant battle with themselves. They are in a race to achieve it ALL before their biological clock runs out. We must be at the top of our class in college, climb the corporate ladder, land a husband, and create babies all before we're 35. Instead of women wishing they "HAVE IT ALL", I think they are now saying "I CAN'T DO IT ALL". Why can't I JUST be a mom/housewife? Why does our society look down on women who choose to take the job they were CREATED for seriously? Why did it become such a bad thing to put all of our love and energy into being help meets for our husbands and the best mother possible to our children?

I met my husband during our freshman year of college, and shortly after I realized this was the man I was going to marry, I knew I had to make a CHOICE. I could continue on my path to becoming an MD, or I could as they say, obtain my MRS degree (as well as my B.S.). For me, I knew that I would not feel comfortable being both a doctor and a mother. My whole life I have felt a calling to be a REAL mom, not one who goes to work every day while some other woman raises my children. As my husband was pursuing his medical career, I knew our family would be delayed for several years, and I would have plenty of time to become a Doctor. However, I couldn't see the point of putting in all of that effort, and taking out all of those student loans to become a Doctor when I would never be able to practice. I knew that as soon as we started our family I would want to be home with my children where God created me to be. So, I decided to support my husband as he went to medical school. I worked 60+ hours a week in a cancer research lab, and babysat every weekend to provide for us. I have certainly received a lot of pressure to go back to school and to accept the views of modern society, but I continue to pray to God, and remind myself that the path I have chosen is the one that my Lord chose for me. I feel so blessed that I have helped my husband obtain a career that will allow me to stay at home full time with our children, (when they come). :)

In recent years, I have noticed more and more women are seeking a return to biblical womanhood, and the traditional roles we were created for. I love all things related to traditional homemaking: Baking, making the perfect dinner, keeping a clean and organized house, doing the special things to keep my husband happy and grateful that he married me, etc. It is my intention to share with you my journey to becoming the wife and mother God created me to be; A help meet to the Good Doctor!