31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Marriage

Day 5: Marriage

Let me just start this by saying that this post in no way is meant to be used as marriage advice. There are thousands, maybe millions of books, articles, blog posts, research…anything you can imagine out there for advice on marriage. I am certainly not an authority on the Do’s and Don’ts of marriage, so if you’re looking for that, then you won’t find it here.

I can, however, speak to my thoughts and experience on marriage. I was married for nearly 10 years previous to being married to David. I don’t talk about it too often, but I don’t exactly keep it a secret, either. I can say, without a doubt, that I don’t regret being married to my first husband, and I don’t regret our divorce, either. Like everything in life, I learned so much in my first marriage that living with regret would make those entire 12 years we were together feel like they never happened. All of the experiences that I had made me who I am today, as well as making me the wife I am to David now.

One piece of advice often given for marriage is to make sure that you communicate. It really seems like an obvious piece of advice but so often it doesn’t happen. There are so many factors involved in keeping communication open that we neglect the importance. You know, things like, ‘If I ask him to take out the trash, he’ll think I’m nagging him.’ ‘If I tell her that I don’t want to go, she’ll be upset with me.’ Seriously, I could list dozens of these.

Why do we hold back those thoughts? I know for me that there are times that I have learned to pick my battles. Sometimes it’s just not worth the energy to take the chance of causing discourse. Does that mean that I lack communication skills with my husband? No, but I do need to  be sure to express to him the ones that ARE the most important to me, otherwise it could lead to me resenting him for not caring about my feelings when he didn’t even know how important it is to me.

I recently learned that a couple we know will call a “Time Out” if they get into a heated argument and they are getting nowhere with it. They pause the argument, set a time, perhaps an hour or later in the day to reconnect and start communicating again. The time away from whatever has caused the argument cools them both down and makes them not only re-think their thoughts but also the importance of their side. I love this idea!

David and I often take our arguments to email for similar reasons. Instead of waiting for the other person to stop speaking so that we can speak our side, by taking it to email we read the other’s thoughts, process the information, then we speak our side. This might not work for everyone, but as I wrote previously, this works for us because much of our relationship has been via IM, email or text. We’re one of those couples who rarely speak on the phone unless something is wrong or we can’t text/email. Weird, huh?

So take my advice…HA! No, really! Like I said, my intention is not to give advice but instead speak from my own experiences. What works for us might not work for you, but then again maybe this will make you think about your own marriage or relationship and how you can make it work well for you.

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche 

What’s something unique about your marriage or relationship? Do you have some unconventional advice that you would like to share? What works for you?

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days To a Happy Marriage @ Kristen Living the Sweet Life

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Motivation

Day 4: Motivation

Sometimes I feel like the least motivated person in the world. It’s easy to get into that rut, though, especially when what you want seems so far out of reach. My husband often reminds me that I am much more motivated than I give myself credit. He’s good like that. He’s what keeps me going some days.

Since my surgery, I have definitely been more motivated to eat healthier and kick my butt to exercise, but MAN there are days that I just don’t want to do it! When this happens, my inner two-year old is having a major meltdown temper tantrum. Luckily on the outside I am mostly under control and people don’t notice that I’m slightly crazy in the head. It’s so much easier to just not track my food and skip the exercise, but then I remind myself that behavior like that is what got me to where I needed the surgery. By the way, weight loss surgery is NOT always the answer and it is definitely not the easy way out. I still have to work at it to lose the weight, and it’s not just magically falling off over night.

I have been overweight all of my life or at least as far as my memory goes. I don’t know what it’s like being a normal-sized person. You would think that is reason enough to motivate me, but it’s also what scares me. What if I can’t do it? What if I can’t make it to that point? What if I do make it then slowly get back into old habits? When thoughts like this pop into my head, it just makes me want to take the easy way out and give up. I don’t want to work so hard for nothing.

But it IS something, and I HAVE to keep going! Lately what motivates me the most is that I have stopped concentrating on how far I have to go and started looking at how far I’ve come. I am one-fourth of the way to reaching my weight loss goal. When I look at it that way, I realize that it’s something in which to be proud. I am going to keep going!

“You have a masterpiece inside you, too, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. And remember: If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.” — Gordon MacKenzie

What motivates you? Does it take a little or a lot to get you going? 

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts

Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days To Write Your Story @ Lisa-Jo Baker

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Habit

Day 3: Habit

How many can identify with being a creature of habit? I think most everyone is to some extent. We find comfort in repetition and knowing that what we do will generate the same results. Or maybe that’s just me.

My husband has the same pancakes for breakfast and the same sandwich for lunch every day during the week. I’ve been known to do this for several weeks or months at a time, too, then suddenly one day I want something different. I like that my husband is predictable in that way. It certainly makes it easier for me to plan meals when I know what he likes and doesn’t like. We do our grocery shopping together, but if I ever had to do it on my own, then I would know exactly what to get for him.

But what happens when that ritual is broken for some reason? Do we get bent out of shape? Can we handle the change?

The sandwich that my husband used to buy for lunch suddenly started dwindling from the freezer section of the grocery store. He talked to the grocery manager, and they said they weren’t ordering it any more. Something similar had happened to him once before with some chicken pot pies that he liked for dinner when he was still single, but he found out that the company stopped making them. This time, however, the store just stopped ordering it, but oddly enough they told him that they would go to the competitor store and buy theirs to sell to him. Seriously? It was a little (no, a lot) weird that they would offer that, so we declined. He was somewhat bent out of shape when this first happened, but he ended up finding another sandwich to start taking for his lunch. Let’s hope they don’t stop making this one!

Good habits to get into are making schedules so that you’re never at a loss of where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to be doing. I’ve been using Google Calendar since 2006, and it has saved me many times from missing out on something that I likely would forget. Making commitments to exercising on specific days has helped me, though I’m still working on it. I find that the less I dwell on making decisions and just doing things automatically, the better off I am at keeping with those good habits. If I know that every Thursday I am going to go to water aerobics, it makes it easier for me to not make other plans on Thursday evenings. I simply work better on a schedule and get more accomplished.

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson 

Are you more of a scheduled person or someone spontaneous? What habits have you formed that have been good for you? Do you have any bad habits that you need to change?

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts

Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of Good Books @ The Pentriloquist

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Balance

Day 2: Balance

Ah, balance. I’m not sure how balance ended up being the second on my list of journaling prompts. Perhaps it’s because my subconscious knew that I need to work on finding balance in my life. Lately I’ve not been content with some things in my life. It’s not that I’m unhappy but more along the lines of feeling like I need to get myself together. I’ve been reading and studying the Bible more lately, and I can honestly say that I feel like it is helping!  I’m finding God speaking to me through the words that I read and comforting me in the areas where I am not feeling content. It’s amazing how the answers seem to come when you’re open and ready to hear them.

Another balance that I’ve been working on is balancing my eating and exercising. As a compulsive overeater, I often turn to food for comfort. While weight loss surgery has helped this some, I will most likely always have this addiction. I find that if I recognize the problem that I am experiencing, I can sometimes find an alternative way of dealing with it that does not involve food. Journaling in my handwritten journal seems to be the best way to deal with it, but I don’t always turn to it. I’ve also found that keeping busy in the evenings will usually keep me from snacking. Watching tv and reading in bed is usually the worst time for me in regards to snacking, and those are two of my favorite things to do in the evening! When I exercise in the evening it usually helps curb my appetite, too. It’s win-win when I don’t find excuses not to exercise.

Balancing everything in life is a constant struggle that we all have to deal with. My tendency to take on too much at one time usually stems from boredom, and I overcompensate by looking for things to do and finding too much. Before I know it, I feel so overwhelmed that I can’t keep it all going, and I end up dropping everything. What comes next? Boredom…and the cycle begins again. I’m usually way into it before I realize that the cycle has restarted. Surely I’m not the only one who experiences this. We have to learn to prioritize our opportunities and learn to say, ‘No’ to the ones that don’t make the top of the list.

“Everyone spends their lives trying to balance their world between good and evil.” – Laurell K. Hamilton 

What do you do to keep in balance? Has there been a time in your life that you’ve taken on too much and just can’t keep going? 

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days To A Healthier Life @ Eclectic What Not

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Dreams

Day 1: Dreams

My dreams are incredibly important to me, and when I say, ‘dreams,’ I truly mean the stories that entertain me when I sleep. Wait, it’s not that dreams and goals of my future aren’t important to me or anything. I just wanted to clarify that my first post for 31 Days of Journaling Prompts is about the dreams that the sandman directs.

I have always been fascinated with dreams, especially the meaning behind why my subconscious might be telling me a story. I know there’s all sorts of research and opinions about why we dream what we dream, and they’re probably all right in some way or another. For me, I feel that different dreams are in my subconscious for different reasons. Keep in mind, my list is my opinion and nothing else. You know opinions? Everyone has them.

  1. I firmly believe that when I dream of someone specific that it means that I need to check on that person to make sure that he or she is okay. Weird, I know. I don’t think I am psychic, have premonitions or anything like that. I don’t believe that my dream is some forecast of that person’s future. It’s simple. I feel like that the person popped into my dreams because it’s someone I might not have connected directly with recently, and my brain is saying that I need to do that. Only a few times have I contacted the person and specifically told the person that I had a dream about him or her. I mean, I don’t want to look like a freak! Thankfully with social media, I can now discreetly check up on that person through Facebook, perhaps send them a message or comment on something that he or she has said recently.And just so we’re clear, I only do this with people I know personally. I don’t track down the President or some big celebrity and contact them directly. I’m not THAT weird!
  2. I believe that dreams can also be a way for our minds to deal with problems that we might be experiencing when we’re awake. I hadn’t really thought about this one much until I spoke with a psychologist about the meaning of dreams last year. It really makes sense to me. Our entire days are stored in our brains, and often times we have conflicts or tasks that don’t come to completion or ever experience closure. I believe our minds can only store so much incompleteness that it begins to work those things out on it’s own. Hey, I consider this one a blessing! Dealing with my problems in my sleep is like multitasking!
  3. Finally, I believe that some dreams have no real meaning at all. Maybe they’re just there for entertainment or for the mind to take a mini vacation. These are usually those dreams that don’t make much sense when we’re awake and make us stop to say, “What the heck was that?”

I love it when I can remember dreams and feel like I “got something” out of the experience. When I was growing up, my mom told us not to tell our dreams before breakfast unless we wanted them to come true. My husband had never heard that, so he thinks it’s silly. I know it’s a superstition, but still to this day I keep my dreams to myself until after breakfast unless I want it to come true. Of course, I’ve usually forgotten about it by the time I’ve had breakfast, so maybe that’s the point. If it was a bad dream, and you tell someone then you’re more likely to remember, but if you wait then you’ll probably forget about it.

“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.” – Sigmund Freud 

What are your thoughts on dreams? Can you usually remember what you dreamt the night before?

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Random Acts of Kindness @ Life Faith and God

Five Minute Friday: Grasp

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or over thinking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Grasp

START

I grasp for ideas on what to write. Why is it so difficult, sometimes, for me to make decisions? I often think that I see too many sides of something to pick between multiple options. I want to participate and become a better writer, but I fear that there is no one topic that I know well enough. I fear that I am not good enough or that my topic won’t be of any interest to anyone else…or even myself.

So I grasp some more. I look through several ideas, thinking that I’ll know when it’s right. Right? I finally come up with a couple of ideas but none really feel right. That’s when I remember how much I enjoy Five Minute Fridays and have even blogged in a similar manner when it’s not a Friday. I pick just one word and write about it. I can do that for 31 days!

Oh, gosh! Can I come up with 31 words for the month in which to blog? It was easier than I expected. It was in my grasp before I even knew it, and I have a few other words on standby in case I’m just not feeling my voice flow into my writing with one or two of my choices.

Won’t you join me in a 31 Day Challenge the month of October to write about a topic every day? If you can’t think of a topic, I’ll be glad to share mine with you. I’ll be writing 31 Days of Journaling Prompts. I have chosen a single word for each day of the month, and at 12:01am Central Time, I will post what the word is and write about that topic. It’s like every day in October will be a Friday…at least as far as blogging goes 🙂

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” – Hugh Sidey

STOP

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Five Minute Friday: Focus

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or over thinking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Focus

START

Oh, Focus. You and I are but distant acquaintances, not close friends like we should be. I am easily distracted and tend to let my mind wander when I should be focusing.

Just like now.

The more I think about what to write, the less the words come to my head, and then…

Oh, look at that shiny thing over there! I have new mail! There’s a Facebook Notification! I need to check that person’s blog! Oops, I need to pay that bill! When is my next appointment? What should I cook for dinner? I should start on my grocery list!

Yeah, that’s me.

I’m working on it, though. Starting this week, I am following an online Bible study on Contentment that will likely contribute to better Focus. I’m eating better, exercising and living a healthier lifestyle. That’s got to count for something, too! Next I’m going to see about getting more rested sleep or find out what might be causing my restless sleep.

But yes, Focus. See? I almost got off the subject again. It’s a challenge for me!

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” – Marianne Williamson

STOP

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Five Minute Friday: Graceful

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or over thinking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Graceful

START

Graceful is a word that no one has ever (or should) use to describe me. I have never been a dainty, balanced, graceful person. I played rough as a small child and ended up in the hospital to get stitches more times than my mother was willing to admit. I vaguely remember trying ballet or dance when I was around 5, but I truly only remember going once or twice. I’m not exactly sure why, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with my lack of being graceful. I should ask my mom.

I played soccer when I was in elementary school when it wasn’t cool for girls to play. Several seasons I was the only girl on the team or one of two. I wasn’t necessarily a tom boy or anything, as I loved playing with Barbies, too. I guess it was just a way for me to do something that didn’t require me to be too terribly girlie.

In college, every morning I tripped over the same broken area of tiling in the main building. It happened so often that my college roommate and another friend who would walk to class with us would warn me before getting to that part of the building, and I would STILL trip over it. I’m still that person today who trips over imaginary things on the floor.

But I’m okay with all of this now. Sure, I used to dream of some day being a graceful and elegant woman, but a long time ago I stopped trying to be someone I’m not and decided that I could live a much happier life if I just embraced who I am. It works!

“Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty, or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves.” – Henri Frederic Amiel 

STOP

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Five Minute Friday: Change

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or over thinking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Change

START

We all want things to get better, to be better to live better, everything must be better, but we don’t like Change AT.ALL!  It’s more that we’re reluctant to change because we fear the unfamiliar. We know how things are working right now, so let’s not rock the boat. Change also means learning something new or forming a new habit. No, thank you! I’m not signing up for that!

How do things get better if there’s no change? It’s simple. They don’t. Isn’t there a cliche or quote or something that someone said once, and it’s been repeated a bazillion times? It goes something like, ‘You can’t expect to get the same results if you always do the same thing.’ I’d research it, but this is a 5 minute post 🙂

So we’ve got to get over it and accept that unless we’re complacent with how things are now, then things are going to have to change. Complacency isn’t always bad, of course. If you’re happy and you know it (clap your hands), then maybe change isn’t necessary. However, if you’re only complacent because of fear, then you’ve got to step out of your shell and go for it! Here’s one quote I’ll look up, only because I know exactly where to find it quickly:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

STOP

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Clarity

Wow! The topic of Expectation is just what I needed to write about this morning, despite being a few days late in participating. I had been feeling slightly guilty for not posting more regularly here, but now I realize that it was the high expectations I place on myself that was churning up the guilt monster. One thing I can say for sure is that I blog for my own pleasure…to get the words out of my head. I know most bloggers blog so that someone will read their words or pleasing their sponsors or get more followers….and that’s cool! That’s what they hope to achieve from their blog. For me, it’s for the clarity of my mind. I love receiving comments and knowing people are reading my thoughts, but I don’t feel like a failure if I don’t.

I’m still battling headaches. I saw my doctor last week, and she thinks it’s from my severe TMJ. So as of Wednesday, I am taking muscle relaxers at bed time and haven’t had a single OTC pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. I’m still having headaches, but I’m hoping that it’s from the rebound headaches that come when you have taken NSAIDs on a regular basis….for years. My doctor said that it could take a month for them to get out of my system, so I’m just trying to take it easy lately when I have headaches instead of turning to the pill bottle.

The GoodReads daily quote this morning also spoke to me and my questioning of faith.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” — Anne Frank

That is an amazing combination of words (which is all quotes REALLY are) that mean so much to me lately and from an amazingly strong young woman! I hope to keep that in mind today and the next time my faith, morals or beliefs are questioned by someone else or even myself.

Have a good day, my friends! It’s so much better than the alternative!