Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and it’s a reminder to show our loved ones that we don’t take them for granted. Remember actions speak louder than words…
What small acts of love do you perform?
Yesterday, he tried out the new climbing tree stand my parents got him. He loves it. He didn’t get his deer yesterday, but my FIL did. Hubster helped his dad dress and process it. It was dark when Hubster realized that he lost his car keys somewhere in the woods. They went out to search his path with flashlights. No luck! He had to spend an unplanned night at the cabin. This morning, he went searching for the keys again. There were lost amidst the leaf litter, not wanting to be found.
I was getting ready to drive two hours to the cabin to bring him the spare set. UGH!! Hubster’s grandfather dug out his metal detector, and Hubster and our nephew went out “treasure hunting”. One last attempt to find his keys. This time, they were in luck! Now my Sunday is not wasted with 4 unplanned hours in the car, and Hubster is finally on his way home.
Now, if only deer season and football season didn’t coincide…
❤ Today is Hubster & my 7th wedding anniversary! ❤
and YW’s 600th post!
I’ve married my best friend, found my soul mate… I could use all these clichés. However, there is no combination of words that can express our love, our connection, our partnership. We’ve faced more obstacles than most do in their first 7 years, but our foundation is strong.
Hubster, here are 7 unusual things that I love about you…
❤ You don’t notice the 5 inches I get chopped off my hair since it’s so long. If I try a new shampoo, you notice that my hair smells different.
❤ You usually pick out terrible movies at Redbox that you think I’ll like. Once in a while, you get lucky and pick exactly the one I wanted to watch.
❤ Sometimes we can’t drive in the car for longer than 5 minutes without getting irritated with one another. Other times, we can drive in the car for two days straight in perfect harmony.
❤ At home you tease me and pick on me about my silly blog, but then I overhear you talking it up to others.
❤ We dislike the same silly movies that many of our friends find hilarious and recommended.
❤ When you have a cold or your back is out, you simultaneously want to be babied and left alone.
❤ No matter how difficult life can get; when you kiss my forehead, temples, and eyelids, everything feels right in the world.
Blake Shelton’s lyrics on our bedroom wall art continues to act as our daily reminder, “GOD gave me you for the ups and downs / GOD gave me you for the days of doubt / And for when I think I lost my way / There are no words here left to say / it’s true, GOD gave me you / Gave me you…”
This next guest post comes from a sweet young woman who knows a lot about love and loss. Her story is far too complex for a simple introduction so I’ll just let her share her journey.
Finding Love a 2nd time
I did not sign up for this. I was completely happy and lucky with having found love once. I liked my boring love story: High school sweethearts marry after college and start a life together. And they live happily ever after. The end. Case closed. Done and done. Easiest blog entry ever. But, that was just the beginning. And since Young Wifey asked me to write about finding love a 2nd time, that’s clearly not how my story ends.
Initially, I was very eager to write about my story. It can be a very powerful story and I thought it would be nice if even one person could get something good out of it. But, once I started sitting down and writing it, I realized how difficult it was actually going to be. I found myself reliving many of the repressed emotions from the painful circumstances that I have tried so hard to put past me. My story is not only about finding love a second time, but getting a second chance on life, love, and happiness. So buckle up, this is going to be a bumpy ride—you’ve been warned.
My journey began back in 1983 with two loving and caring parents and an older sister in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was your typical 80’s child—many lazy summer days spent playing with Barbies, Trolls, and Legos. When my younger sister came along when I was ten (planned, can you believe it?), I traded in the role of the baby of the family and reluctantly accepted the new role as middle child (and live-in babysitter). I was your typical all-American, goodie-two-shoes, well-behaved kid. I grew up going to a Christian church and it was there that I accepted Christ into my life. Church was a big part of my life. I was involved with the youth group, volunteered in the nursery, and went on mission trips. It was also there where I met my first love, Corky Dengler. He was funny, handsome, and very tall. I fell hard for him. I was fifteen and learned to throw the rule book away, relax and have fun. We went to proms, Yankees games, and each other’s graduations. We spent our summers poolside, beachside, and just side by side. We had such a strong connection. I felt complete with him.
Through our college years, we had our struggles. Not with each other, but with adapting into becoming adults. We both took full advantage of our newfound independence and minored in partying. Thankfully, I was still able to keep my grades up and actually graduated at the top of my nursing class in May of 2006. Very shortly after, we were married with all of our friends and family at our side.
From the outside, I had it all; a house, a great job, passionate love, and hopes of adding to our family (gotta include the pups!).
On the inside, we still struggled with balancing partying and the responsibilities of being an adult. Things started to get out of control yet we continued to deny there being a problem. Rock bottom happened in March of 2009. Corky was hospitalized with complications from a drug overdose. We spent nine months in the hospital; him battling infections and injury and me battling insurance companies and stress. It was hell. The fear of him not getting better and me being alone was too much to imagine. I was literally on my knees, begging God for a miracle. However, on December 1, 2009, Corky passed away.
I struggled with rationalizing that God has a perfect plan for everything. Corky was such a great guy and had so much to offer; why did He allow him to die? Couldn’t He have found a better way? Was this really necessary? I may not see the entire picture now. I may never see the entire picture or have the answers to my questions. And that’s tough for me. I want to know why I had to go through all this pain, anger, depression, loneliness and confusion. The only way I’ve found peace is by focusing on the eternal picture. I must trust that God will use my problem to fulfill His purposes. I have found that I need to focus on God’s plan—not my pain or problem. I need to remember that God paints on a large canvas and sometime I can only see a small portion of the painting. I take comfort in knowing that Christ loves me SO much and He is still working in my life for His glory. So, I try and focus my energies on the important issues. I cherish the good time Corky and I have shared and the important lessons he has taught me. I can still hear his voice telling me to slow down and appreciate all the good things I have. Like, my loving family and friends who supported me during this difficult time. Corky will always share a part of my heart. He has molded me into the person I am today. I miss him so much.
Deep breath….it gets better, I promise.
At Corky’s memorial service, Corky’s best friend, Ryan promised to take care of me. That meant so much. Knowing that I was not alone in all of this was so comforting. Despite him living 3000 miles away in California, we stayed in touch. We relied on each other when going through difficult times. He had lost his best friend and I of course lost my husband; this common bond made our friendship stronger. As the months passed, we started to communicate more frequently. He helped me as I re-entered the dating world. And, my-oh-my, things were a lot different as a 26 year old widow (btw, an awful word; can’t we come up with something more comforting than a killer spider??). He consoled me during my first traumatic break up. Ryan and I would meet up whenever he came back to Harrisburg to visit his family. It was hard to deny our friendship was changing. But holy-moly, we couldn’t admit it. That would just be too weird! Could it be that I was having feelings for my late husband’s best friend?
Ryan and I had talked for a while about me coming out to Los Angeles to visit him and see the city. We finalized plans for December of 2011 for me to come and visit. This made me scared and excited at the same time. Would we confront these feelings? If he didn’t feel the same way, would we still be able to be friends? What would my parents think? Or his parents? Or Corky’s parents? When I was on the plane to go visit him, I had decided I was going into the weekend just hoping to have a fun time; to explore the city, to spend time with a good friend….and, if anything else might happen, it would be a nice bonus. No expectations = no disappointment. Luckily, Ryan went into the weekend with different expectations. He navigated through the awkward conversations of “I can’t help but notice our friendship seems to be changing.” When I agreed to going on a date with him the following day, we both breathed a sigh of relief and at the same time worried how things would go. Luckily, the next day was magical. Best. First. Date. Ever. We hiked a popular trail overlooking the Hollywood sign, followed by dinner at sunset. We finished the romantic evening with a stroll on the beach and a Ferris wheel ride.
More importantly, we had a connection. When I came home after that first weekend, I was giddy. He came back to Harrisburg three weeks later for Christmas where we admitted to our friends, our family, and Corky’s family our feelings for each other. We were surprised how willingly everyone accepted our confession. My mom said Ryan put the sparkle back in my eyes. We admitted to ourselves and each other that we were in love, on Christmas Day. The next few months were a whirlwind of excitement and hope for the future. In February of 2012, I began the process of acquiring my California nursing license and finding a job. By June, I had packed my bags and dog, rented out my house, and moved to sunny California.
Two months later, Ryan asked me to marry him and the following April we were married in a small ceremony on the beach.
It has been a crazy few years…full of the most extreme highs and lows. I still struggle with guilt. It’s hard sometimes for me to admit that I’m happy. That it’s okay to be happy. To realize that moving on does not mean forgetting. I will never forget Corky. He was my first true love. I still have tough days and it’s so comforting to have Ryan’s support on those days. To be able to talk with him openly and for him to understand my loss and pain means so much. It was our shared love for Corky that laid the seeds for our own love to blossom. In my heart, I know Corky supports this relationship. And that gives me peace. It turns out that next to the darkest corner of my canvas, God painted a bright, shining ray of hope.
How did I get so lucky in love twice?
The next guest post is written by a friend of mine and former co-worker, Katie Makatche. She is a charming, witty, and beautiful young woman. Within the first year (first week) of marriage, she had several major transitions in her life. I apologize to her for the delay in getting her post scheduled! Here is her story…
When Young Wifey asked me to write this post about the start of a new phase of my life, I had to pause for a moment before agreeing to do it. I didn’t know what I really had to share; the story of the last year of my life is not full of tips or ideas or wisdom… it is simply a story; a story that took me three months longer to write than I told Young Wifey it would.
Everyone has events and decisions that serve as a hinge, opening the door to a new stage of life. Some of the more common turning points would be getting married, moving to a new location, starting a new job, having a child, or a death of a loved one. Last July, life decided that I was going to knock out three in the matter of a few weeks: I got married, moved to a new city, and began a new job within a two-week time span. Here is my whirlwind story.
I moved to Selinsgrove, PA in August of 2005 thinking I would not be staying for more than two or three years. Seven years later I was still there, having fallen in love with the town.
When I met my now husband, Tim, in October of 2010, I knew that if he happened to be “the one”, my ideal small-town life may need to come to an end. Tim was living in Brooklyn and worked as a homeless outreach specialist in lower Manhattan, but ultimately planned to attend law school. Central PA couldn’t offer the same plethora of law schools to choose from or the availability of internships and jobs aplenty, so I knew that is where we would ultimately need to be.
Married life has been the easiest transition of the three for me. It is hard for me to believe that Tim and I have only been married one year as of July 28th. There are, of course, lessons I have learned as a new wife:
Where’s the meat? I now ask myself that question when meal-planning
My definition of “neat and clean” is definitely not the same as is his
I don’t miss taking out the trash or washing the dishes every night
The only decision that had been planned months in advance was getting married. We couldn’t nail down New York as our location until we knew whether or not I would be able to get a job in NYC. I started the job hunt in April and found out quickly that school librarian jobs were just not to be found.
Finally, around the beginning of July I got an interview at an Dreyfus Investments for a senior administrative assistant position and was also interviewing for a technology integrator position. The job offer for the administrative assistant position came first and I took it – a textbook “bird in hand” decision 16 days before I was getting married. So, on a moments notice we packed up both of our apartments, found a new place, moved, and I began a new job.
The best way for me to explain my experience at this new job is to contrast it to my years teaching.
Money is not an issue.
The moment that I knew I wasn’t in education anymore was when I walked into a large room designated as the “supply closet” – an endless supply of post-its, notebooks, pens, folders, white-out, etc. It was such an entirely foreign experience from my years in education where I had to decide a year in advance how many supplies I might use and then meticulously filling out the order form for 12 pens, 3 folders, and 1 bottle of white-out.
Change is embraced quickly.
This past year Dreyfus has rebranded, restructured itself, and implemented 3 intense campaigns with different focuses. People at Dreyfus expect change and run with it. I was thinking about this in light of education and wondering why educators as a group (myself included) are much more resistant to change and I think I have stumbled upon part of the answer. At Dreyfus, whenever a major change occurs or a campaign is started it is always accompanied by a compensation plan. If teachers were paid major bonuses for re-writing their lesson plans in a new format or for creating new curriculum you might have teachers feel like their time and efforts were being adequately rewarded instead of feeling like they are being asked to do something that they feel is a waste of their very precious time.
People really do get fired.
In my seven years as a teacher; nobody I worked with was fired. Within one year of working at Dreyfus, six people have been fired.
When people ask me how I like my new job the best way I have found to answer that question is, “It is a very good job in many ways. I don’t dread going into work and it has been perfect for this year, but … to me, it is a job, not a profession.” One thing I do have to say, though, is the location is great – it is in the building attached to Grand Central Station so I get to walk under its painted constellations everyday!
Happily, I will actually be starting a new job in a few days. I was offered a job as a technology integrator/teacher at an private school on the Upper West Side. So excited!!!
The transition to NYC cannot be compared to moving to a new suburb or small town; it is like moving to a new country; life is completely different. Of the three changes, this was my biggest adjustment … and these three examples jump to mind:
I thought I was going to hate the laundry situation in the city – apartments don’t have washers/dryers unless you can pay megabucks. I was dreading the weekly trek to the laundromat, a chore that I have thankfully never had to do since I’ve always had a washer and dryer in my apartments. As it turns out, I love the laundry situation in the city. Tim lugs our laundry in a big, blue Ikea bag to the laundromat, the ladies there wash and fold everything, Tim lugs the folded laundry up to our apartment, and I put it all away. I am telling you, this laundry looks like it was folded by a machine – it is perfect – I could spend hours folding one towel and it would never be so nice and neat, and it only costs a fraction more than doing it all myself.
How could I survive without a car?! In the end I have mixed feelings on this one. I love not driving to work. Spending my 45 minute commute reading a book, napping, or people watching makes for a much more relaxing, not to mention interesting, commute. Running errands here is a much bigger chore because I need to walk everywhere regardless of cold, heat, rain, etc and I need to carry everything that I buy. I definitely miss the days of running errands in the car – driving to Target, popping into the mall, and ending with an epic grocery trip.
Teensy-Tinsy Living Space
I got rid of all my furniture, except my bed, well over half of my clothing, and a dumpster worth of other things. It took me seven years to accumulate everything that fit in my large two-bedroom place; and fill it I did … which I definitely regretted when it came time to purge everything in the move. I do miss having a closet and an attic/basement that I could just keep things in that I barely used. I also miss having room for two couches. Our single loveseat (not even enough room for a couch) is now priceless real estate when Tim and I both want to nap. I do love our little apartment though, and I honestly don’t miss anything I got rid of. I’m enjoying living light 🙂
I will leave you with a few suggestions (not on the typical tourist to-do list) when visiting:
Visit the Cloisters and have lunch on location, at New Leaf, or at Cachapas y Mas
Enjoy a picnic in Central Park, go row-boating, and finish with a Mr. Softee ice cream cone
During the summer, take a night and experience SummerStage at Central Park
Spend some time at The Strand bookstore then find a seat in Union Square Park and people watch
Experience the famous Brooklyn Flea Market
Venture to Jackson Heights in Queens (most diverse neighborhood in the nation) and have an eating extravaganza
Happy New Year!!!! Welcome 2012!
I want to get a start on this year by spending time working on our house, since we kind of ran out of steam.
I had these curtains rods in our bedroom at our old house and knew I didn’t want to leave them behind. So I switched them out before we started to show our house. Fast forward a year and we’re in our new home. 6 months after moving in and they still weren’t up in the master. I’ve decided that it’s time for that to change.
However I did have one problem, I wanted matching holdbacks for our new Master Suite, and couldn’t find them anywhere. I was lucky to have purchased an extra matching curtain rod for the Master Bath… but decided the finals should be used to make matching holdbacks.
screw gun, set of holdbacks, mounting hardware, 2 finials from curtain rod, hot glue gun and sticks (Hubster vetoed my Expoy idea)
Directions: (Feel free to skip steps 3-6)
Step 1: Unscrew finials from curtain rod and holdbacks
Step 2: Realize that the screw in the finials are not compatible with the hole in the holdbacks
Step 3: Using the hot glue gun, glue the finials into the hold backs and allow to set
Step 4: Have Hubster attempt to screw holdbacks into the wall, tell you he cannot since the finials are in the way, but insist that he must figure out a way because you absolutely cannot glue finials into position after the fact. 🙂
Step 5: Watch Hubster get really upset.
Step 6: Pick at the glue and pry finials free.
Step 7: Watch Hubster easily mount the holdbacks onto the wall
Step 8: Glue finials into holdbacks.
Step 9: Enjoy your new custom holdbacks…
I’ll show a pic of the mounted once I finish our Master Suite and am ready to reveal it all!
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?
Between prepping my lessons for teaching and completing my lessons for my intensive course, I have not spent much time in the kitchen. Or anywhere else but in front of my computer, and unfortunately not on my blog. When I have made it into the kitchen, it hasn’t been to cook the delicious foods I like to prepare (and consume). It has all been boring, basic and quick.
Hubster does not cook… ever. Okay, he’ll cook his own venison… he’ll make a very occasional grilled cheese (I think I last had one over a year ago) and recently he’s mastered the art of brewing a cup of coffee (which I do not drink). Now in all fairness, he does work many late nights and is exhausted when he gets home, so I don’t really expected him to do any of the cooking.
Then one magical night (last week), we were driving home from school together (Hubster actually had an early week!!!) and Hubster asked me what I was making for dinner. I responded that I had defrosted some chicken and that I’d probably heat up some frozen veggies and cook some potatoes. Quick, easy and boring. After we were home and took care of our fur children, I busied myself with my homework. I wanted to complete a major assignment before I started dinner. I heard the tea kettle whistle and Hubster asked if I wanted tea. He is pretty sweet & considerate and will make me a cup of tea now and again…
Then I heard the magical words, “How do you make this chicken?” I said I had planned on coating it and baking it. “How do you do that?” I jumped up and lined 4 bowls on the counter. I scooped flour (salt, pepper and paprika) into the second one and breadcrumbs in the last. I told him to use milk and eggs, as I pointed to the remaining bowls. And I just as quickly sat down. He questioned me like crazy (which meant that even though he was being thoughtful, I wasn’t getting any work done in this time), so I was careful to give him very clear precise directions, but remained at my laptop.
Hubster managed to bake breaded chicken tenders, steam a vegetable medley and slice & pan fry some potatoes. Even though the chicken was a bit dry (shhh, don’t tell him) and the potatoes were extremely peppery, it the most special meal I had in a long time. Hubster was quite proud of himself too. Afterwards, I asked Hubster if he would be making chicken any time again soon. He was quick to tell me, probably not. Another reason I love Hubster? He never ceases to surprise me.
How has your partner surprised you recently?