Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Love You






















My heart is heavy today.

The time has come for me to shut down My Name is Jacy.

Unfortunately, unexpected personal circumstances have made it so.

No blog, no goal, and no mission is worth jeopardizing my family- even with something as seemingly minuscule as a blog- and so, it is with great sadness that I have decided to close it down completely.

But I do want to thank you all for your love and support these past 9 months (and even longer if you're from the old blog). You have changed my life in more ways than I could have ever comprehended. You have made me a better person. Thank you, thank you.

Because of this blog, I was not only able to grow in magnificent ways, but I also met some of the most incredible women... and I feel so fortunate to have been apart of something so authentic and real. I've said it a billion times.... but this is life... and sometimes the BEST choices are the hardest ones to make.

Hitting the publish button was hard today, but my Little Dude and my new-husband-to-be come first. And please know that this decision was not taken lightly or because of trivial reasons. I'm doing what I have to do.

With that, I am off to enjoy the new adventure ahead of me.

Happiness exists.

Love is real.

Circumstances may change really quickly, but there is always an opportunity to adapt, learn and grow.

This is where I find myself now.

I love you all.

May God bless you and watch over each and every one of you.

I can do hard things.

You can too.


All my love,

Jacy


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Bright-Side





























Last night over dinner, I asked Seth

"So, babe... what should I blog about tomorrow?"

He sat for a minute and said,

"Finding the brighter side in life!"

Perfect topic for today.

Here is something that I've slowly come to figure out in my life so far:

SO MUCH OF MY OWN HAPPINESS LIES WITHIN MY OWN HANDS.

If I am unhappy or feeling down, I don't have to change my entire life around to be happier or to find happiness. Actually, what it's really all about is changing the way you look at what you've got- viewing it with a more positive perspective.

Here's a few tips to remember when you're feeling blue and want to turn that frown upside down. They seem to work for me anyway :)

1) Change the words in your vocabulary.

Instead of always yaking about how bad it "sucks", or how it's the "worst day ever", or how "awful" your situation is, try rephrasing those words a little. Try saying (or thinking) things like "okay, this is really challenging...", or "alright, today has been tough but I can get through it...", or "this situation is unfortunate but I will use this to be more patient and kind and compassionate than in previous times..."

By changing the words we use on a daily basis out of habit, we can actually help to change how we feel.

Simple place to start- but more difficult than you'd think it would be :)

2) Try to view your life the way an outsider would.

You might think your life is crappy or mundane or too hard, but there are people out there who are dreaming to have a life as blessed and enriching as yours. Don't overlook all the wonderful things you do have... don't skip over the marvelous people, opportunities, and belongings that you have in your life right now.

There is always something... usually MANY things.... to be grateful for. Don't live your life totally used to what you've got. Look around... see the good... APPRECIATE your unique life.

3) Remember that whatever comes your way, you are going to be okay.

 I swear this is my new motto in life... and I say it all the time... but it is SO true. No matter what happens to you, what comes your way, what storms you have to face, what challenges are awaiting, you can adjust your sails, reroute your destination and find happiness anyway. It might not be the initial plan you had in mind... it might not be the exact location you expected to land... but you can ALWAYS keep a positive mental disposition about you and you can live a life full of goodness.

I don't think happiness just is. I think happiness takes effort.

**WHAT HELPS YOU TO FIND THE BRIGHT-SIDE OF LIFE?? Any other tips you'd like to add?


I love you guys. Lots and lots.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Seriously the BEST Gingersnap Cookie Ever!

Alright guys! Here it is...

The BEST Gingersnap recipe you'll find... and they are so, so, so easy! If I can make them, you can too. Check it out... I whipped these up yesterday for a family holiday shindig! YUMMO!























1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar
Vanilla Almond Bark

Mix brown sugar, butter, shortening, molasses and egg in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar and bark. Cover and refrigerate dough at least one hour but no longer than 24 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough in 1 1/4" balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or just until set.

After cookies have cooled, dip half of cookie into melted white chocolate (I have found that melting the almond bark in a bowl in the microwave is the easiest way. I bagged the white chocolate chip in a pan thing long ago- it was just too tricky and intense for me). Set on parchment paper.

These will BLOW your mind... they are soooooooooo yummy!  But here is a trick I learned... and this is the most crucial part...

If you like more chewy, flat cookies... stick with the 2 cups of flour. If you like thicker, more cake-like cookies (which I do- the thicker the better!)... add an additional 1/2 cup of flour- making it 2 1/2 cups of flour. This is the PERFECT fluffy-factor for me and they don't taste too floury.


I HOPE YOU ENJOY AS MUCH AS I DO!!



Saturday, December 8, 2012

EVERLASTING





























Today is a very special day.

My parents are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary.

I am forever grateful for their incredible example of love, commitment, evolution and loyalty. They are the best of friends and I am honored beyond belief to be their daughter, and apart of such a wonderful family and union.

On a whim, they flew into town with my sister, braving the cold from sunny Arizona, and we are celebrating tonight at a romantic little restaurant downtown called Cucina Toscana. There is no other place I'd rather be.

Wishing you all a happy Saturday!

XOXO


Friday, December 7, 2012

Blessing

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Life has its challenges. We all know this.

Last night I asked for a blessing.

A dear friend of mine, dressed in a crisp white shirt, was able, willing and ready.

I haven't had a priesthood blessing in years. Years.

As I sat on the wooden chair, I felt like I normally do. It's just a blessing, I thought. No biggie. But as his hands laid upon my head and he began the prayer, a shock of the most calming and reassuring feeling came over my body. I could hear the words being spoken, but my mind was processing the unexpected wave of emotions even more. For those first few seconds, I felt as if I was a lightweight feather floating in the air. A surge of goose-pimples ran from the back of my neck, down to my toes.

I remember this feeling.

It was all coming back to me.

I then focused on the message being said.

The blessing is personal and I'd like to keep it that way... but I would like to share with you one thing that resounded within my heart and shot through my soul like a bolt of lightening:

Heavenly Father is near. Jesus Christ is near. He has felt every bit of our fears, our pains, our anxieties, our worries, our hurt, our tears, etc. He is aware. He knows. He has also been apart of every smile, laugh, happy moment, and loving feeling experienced. He is overjoyed when we are joyous and he grieves when we suffer- no matter how big or small.

I am not alone.

I have never been alone.

You are not alone.

You have never been alone.

Even in the times when we feel so very alone, like no one could possibly get how you feel, that is never ever ever ever the case. There is someone there who gets it precisely.

A small piece of my shaking faith was restored in magnificent ways last night and I'm not sure how to describe it better, other than to say that I felt something very real last night. I felt a love so great. I felt it race through my veins. Something bigger than me. Something so profound and gentle and real.

This blessing was a blessing- for many more reasons than one.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MARRIAGE ADVICE- Reader Style

I am so excited about today's post... it's totally fun!


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As I promised last week, here are some of the best relationship tips, from YOU, my dear readers. I'll start with the two lovely ladies who sent in pictures :) THANK YOU! I wish more of you had :)


*My advice is to always make your sweetheart your #1.  Don’t let your Little Brothers and/or Sisters who might join your family EVER undermine the relationship you have with your husband.  Don’t let him play you against each other.  Make sure that your child knows that your allegiance is to your husband and that you are a team.  It may seem like a really long time until your mommy-ing days are over, but believe me: you will blink, and it will be you and your husband, and ONLY you and your husband.  Do the things now to make sure that that season is as wonderful as this season is.

If your husband does or says something (especially to or in regard to your children), talk to him about it privately.  In other words, don’t you undermine him, either. 

Laugh as much as you can.  Try not to sweat the small stuff. ~ Aundrea















*A lot of young, new couples tend to kind of avoid the hard topics. I'd say don't be afraid to talk about things...especially money. I hear statistics about how many divorces are caused by money problems and can't help thinking that so much of that could be helped if couples are willing to just talk about it. Especially/even when one partner is the main source of income or main money manager, it's still important for the other partner to know what's going on, what the budget is, what the bills are, etc. so they feel involved, one doesn't end up resenting the other or overspending, etc. That's why we call it "partners" in marriage! :D I know it's not a fun or sexy piece of advice (like fight naked ;) but marriage and life come with enough problems without adding money problems to the list. ~Mrs. Lay (married 6.5 years)















*If you are starting to think negatively about your spouse or your marriage, start thinking about the positive instead. Change the attitude to positive thinking and gratitude for the things that are good about that person or marriage. Works for me every time!! ~Lacey

*Along with what Lacey said above (which I agree with 110%), I would have to say that maintaining an attitude of thankfulness has been something that has helped tremendously in our marriage. Reminding ourselves to be thankful for the blessings that we have been given through our marriage keeps up from taking each other for granted - which is something I would like to try never to do! ;) ~{Jessica}

*My advice would be to find something active that you both love and do it together often. It gives you something you both look forward to and it is healthy :) For us, it is rock climbing. ~Sarah Jane

*Never leave or hang up the phone without saying I love you. It sounds simple, but if you start getting complacent in the little things, it's easier to stop doing the bigger things. It's especially important if you've just had a disagreement, saying I love you won't fix everything, but it's just a good reminder.

Also, my hairdresser's best advice for me before I got married was to fight naked. It's a lot harder to yell at someone whose vulnerable because he has no clothes on, and you will want to get the fight over with because its just plain awkward haha. I can't say that I've tried this, but according to her, it helps haha. ~McKae


*Don't make mountains out of mole hills. ~Amber

*I haven't been married long but we've weathered a few storms together and we're super happy! I'd say yes on the gratitude thing! Don't compare your spouse to someone else's be grateful for what s/he does every day and for the things that make your spouse unique. Whichever one of you walks through the door last should be welcomed with a hug/kiss...it makes my night when I'm the one and I race to the door when it's my husband. Kiss goodbye and good morning. Have something that is your thing...make it part of your routine. We have a nighttime routine(a board/card game or our Netflix show, brush teeth, prayers, cuddle/talk, fall asleep) and it keeps us close. Be verbal about your appreciation--including for the little things. Be verbal about your admiration/love. Say I love you as much as you can!! 

I work with a lot of women/go to church with a lot of women that like to talk openly about their husbands flaws. I was told by my mom that I shouldn't say bad things about my husband to others. It makes a difference. I know that because when I have started to join in with the "Oh, I know...it's so annoying when_________" conversations, it makes my heart feel less full and less full of that love that I feel constantly. I'd say that makes a big difference. I subscribe to a really fun blog it's www.happywivesclub.com. I love it because it's full of such positive outlooks on marriage/spouses. ~Sharlee

*Honestly, the best advice I got was to not take marriage advice from anyone. Let me explain :) Every marriage and every relationship is different. There is never one right way solve problems or make a marriage work. Phrases like "Make sure you do this..." or "Be sure to never..." is very subjective to individual relationships. I think the best way to make a marriage work is to know yourself completely and know your spouse completely. If you can do that, you will know what to say or what to do when problems arise because you know yourselves. It will be easier to pinpoint where you went wrong or what you did right. 


What works for others might not work for you, and then you'll be frustrated. Marriage is a journey and hard work. Work together to figure out how you two work together. ~Allie

*The best piece of advice I got before we were married was from my Stake President (church leader). He sat us both down as a couple during our temple interviews and told us that it was good (healthy even) to have arguments and disagree with one another. At first I thought he was nuts! I didn't think I would ever disagree with the man sitting next to me. But we soon came to realize after a few months of marriage how inspired that statement was for us as a couple. You come to realize after the dating and engagement is over that you are two completely different people, with two different backgrounds, different traditions, and different ways of doing things and it's HARD to try and mesh the two personalities together. You do not agree on everything 100% of the time like you try to do when you are in the beginning stages of a relationship. We've never had a screaming match but we have definitely had times when we do not agree. But in the end, those arguments have helped to strengthen our marriage more than anything else. During those arguments we end up thinking more about our spouse than ourselves because we have to think about their side and come up with a compromise/solution. It's in those moments that I realize just how much I love him and that I am willing to work through anything to stay in a loving marriage with him. Some people may disagree but I think it's ok to argue. It's ok to express what you are feeling and be able to let it go. We have found in our three years of marriage that sometimes we argue because we misunderstood what the other was saying. For that reason my husbands favorite quote is, "Miscommunication leads to argument." He repeats that to me ALL the time! ~Bree

*Remember why you married him! And... Date night. I didn't realize the importance if this advice until after our babe was born, but go on dates and celebrate things. We had been married almost 2.5 years, both cars were broke down, the baby was sick, school was overwhelming and my husband had just lost him job. I was crying to my mom and she came over with a cheesecake and bottle of sparkling cider, took home my sick babe and told me to celebrate that life sucked. So we did. That advice was the best i have ever gotten. We laughed so much that night and it made everything seem better. Life still sucked, but taking my moms advice to celebrate made everything seem ok, even for just a few hours. :) ~Jessica

*Best advice after more than 37 years of marriage? Remember that any job you do once will become 'your' job forever, so think carefully about what you want to take on. ;) It may seem overly simple, but makes a huge difference in the division of labor that occurs in a happy marriage. ~Sus

*I had a coworker I carpooled with that would trash talk her husband the whole 40 minutes to work and back. I usually remained silent the whole time because I didn't want my husband to be portrayed in a different light. My husband is great, but I realized it was really impacting how I felt the spirit and viewed our marriage (besides it gave me a really horrible way to start and end my day of teaching!). I found a way to get out of the carpooling situation, but it made me think a lot about how people talk about their spouses. ~Autumn

*And a dear reader, Kylie, shared this post she had written at an earlier time... check it out... I think you'll like it! 


A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING! I think there is some GREAT stuff here... some may or may not work for you personally, but we gotta start somewhere, right??

XOXOXO

Happy relationship building!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Life is Good






























The final countdown is on! This month I will become the Mrs. Man Friend! We are crazy busy right now... so this little update will have to do... but we are SO excited!

Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

YAY or NAY: Sequin Fashion?

I did it! I finally caved in and bought something with sequins on it. It's a charcoal gray and cream baseball tee with small triangle of sequins near the bust... and it is SO fantastic. It's casual, yet a little blingy... and let me tell you it looks fabulous with my olive green combat boots- unlaced- and skinnies.

I wish I had a picture of the described outfit... although, I'm not ashamed to admit that I wore it TWO days in a row over the weekend, hence it is in the washing machine as I type :)

But I'm interested to know if you're into the shimmery style this year? YAY or NAY on the sequin fashion? Is it in your closet? Your home? Or in you accessory box?

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Do you dig it? Or not so much?



Monday, December 3, 2012

The Spirit of Giving





























Some of my fondest holiday memories are delicately wrapped around the idea of giving.

I can remember feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I remember being a sophomore in high school and seeing a classmate I knew, there in line for the free meal.

I can remember so many times doing Angel Tree with my mom and sister. We'd spend hours and hours buying clothes, toys, and necessities for a little child, whom we'd only known by name written on a paper star with a sharpie.

I can remember doing countless service projects with my family, year after year.

But I have a few memories of giving that stand out amongst all the others.

I'm pretty sure I was in sixth grade. There were two  families in our neighborhood we knew were struggling to get by. It was Christmas Eve. We had a nice warm home, plenty of food in our fridge and lots of presents under the tree. But we didn't spend that night basking in our blessings- instead, we did something I will never ever forget.

Our family of 4 drove to Walmart Super Center and went totally banana's. Everything needed to prepare a nice Christmas meal, and then some, spilled over the top of the cart. When that was complete, we got another cart and headed over to the toy and clothing sections. Anything we could find that would brighten the eyes of parents and children alike, we bought.

I remember feeling overwhelmed with joy in my heart. I didn't care about my presents under the tree... I was too enthralled in making magic for someone else.

We crammed the car full of the goods and headed home.

Mom pulled out the gift wrap and bows.

Dad began organizing the food in big cardboard boxes.

Once every single item was wrapped and tied with a bow, it was time to go.

We all sat around the formal dining room table and smiled. Dad had holiday cards and signed them saying something like,

"Wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year!"

That was all.

I saw him reach into his wallet and pull out four $100 dollar bills. Even now a $100 bill seems like a lot, but back then, it was like hitting the jackpot. He folded the crisp bills and tucked them in the cards before sealing them up.

We loaded the boxes back in the car and went to make our delivery. I was nervous. The excitement of it all my made heart pump fast. I couldn't wait to drop it off!

Our car slowly drove up and down the neighborhood, passed the house a few times, ensuring that no one was outside.

"Careful John, don't let anyone see that it's our car." my mom whispered.

About a block away, we parked the car. Dad and mom hopped out, took the boxes, and made the final drop on the front door steps of two different homes.

My nerves could have killed me.

They both ran back, jumped in the car, gave each other a high five and we sped off. It was exhilarating!

This made our Christmas complete. We were all beaming. Mission accomplished.

The next week at church it was Testimony Meeting. My heart started to beat really fast when I saw one of the Dad's walk up to the pulpit. I had the worst poker face ever.

"Someone did something for our family on Christmas Eve" he said, starting to choke up a bit.

"The doorbell rang late. I opened our front door and to my surprise, I saw a Christmas that I didn't have for my children sitting right there."

Tears streamed from his cheeks.

"I was overjoyed. My wife was overjoyed. But I felt a little conflicted, too, because this meant that we were the 'needy family' on the block.  I was the guy who needed help. After we arranged the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree and stocked our fridge, I realized something. I realized that this wasn't because we were needy, but because someone else wanted to give something to us. This isn't about not having enough... this is about GIVING MORE. Whoever you are out there, thank you. Thank for not only giving us an amazing Christmas, thank you for teaching us such a valuable lesson. This is what it's all about. This is what Christmas is all about and I hope to do the same generous offering for other family's someday."

I will never forget his testimony that day. I will never forget the way my chest burned with warmth and gratitude. It was like every lesson I had ever had on serving was concreted that day... it was all truth. My mom squeezed my hand... our family sat in the dead center of the pew... and I'm willing to bet that we were all crying. Whether we looked guilty or not, it didn't matter... we had done something kind for someone else, and in return we received a priceless message back:

The confirmation of what true love is, the power of what service can do, and the FACT that giving selflessly can make you a better and stronger human being.

I am so grateful for a wonderful family who cherished the idea of giving and gave me opportunities to be apart of so many cool experiences. I am also so grateful for the many times I have been the receiver of many kind and thoughtful deeds in my life. I hope to carry on this amazing tradition in the years that I can... whether it be on Christmas or just out of the blue because you can never go wrong when you give- ever.

**What are some of your Giving Traditions? Do you have any? Have you ever been the receiver of something like this? What special memories do you have? I'd love to hear!


Image Credit


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up


Happy December! I can't believe it's actually here!

Because our week was pretty uneventful, with nothing too super exciting to report, I thought I'd share a really great quote I saw the other day. It's a great reminder of one of life's greatest lessons!































Enjoy your weekend! 

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Talking Isn't Always Easy





























Of the many things I adore about Seth most, one is his ability to communicate with delicacy. He impresses me without fail, every single time a tough conversation comes up.

Yep, another toughie came up... and it just so happened to be the day after Thanksgiving... Boo.

But this is real life, right?

Tough conversations arise.

And as I've said a million bajillion times on here, this is life.

And as I said last week, which is a new motto that I LOVE, easy card is gone.

Got it.

***

I'm standing outside the door, uncomfortably reeling.

He sits in the room, unaware of the bomb that is about to drop.

Don't open the door and blow up, Jacy. Don't do it. Walk away. He's done nothing wrong. This is ALL on you right now. All of it. Your insecurities. Your expectations. 

The door opens.

Seth can tell I am visibly upset.

"Hey? You okay?"

"Um, yeah."

"Well, you don't look okay? What's up?"

"Never mind. Don't worry about it."

I turn to walk away.

"Wait. Don't go. Let's please talk. Something is wrong. Clearly you are not okay. Let's talk."

3 hours later.

3 HOURS LATER.

The skin under my nose was raw. My mascara was smeared. My voice was tired and sore.

I had spewed up everything I had ever thought before, was thinking right then and things I hadn't even conjured up yet and logically thought through. It was like a volcanic eruption- it just keep going and going and going. And it was all me. Sure it was spurred on by something Seth did (or didn't do) and sure, it was about serious stuff. I mean, we're about to get married.. blend a family... make a HUMONGOUS life changing commitment here. It IS a big deal.... but there my poor Seth sat, just an innocent bystander stuck in the crossfire between me and my own insecurities.

Believe me when I tell you, though, that his voice never rose. His eyes never rolled. He never had any sort of a jabbing comeback. He just patiently listened to the sounds of the war and then, once I had settled down and dropped my weapons to the floor, we proceeded to have a constructive, intelligent and meaningful conversation.

We hugged.

I bawled.

"I'm not going to leave you, Jacy. I am in this. But I understand where you are coming from and I will work on being more ________. "

And that sentence, his words, calmed the turbulence in my head. I was heard. He understood. He didn't blame or attack. My feelings were validated but my heart also hurt because of how I must have made him feel- for some of the selfish things I had said (or implied anyway).

There's always a strangely peaceful feeling after those types of conversations. You feel vulnerable. You feel sort of silly, but totally relieved at the same time. You feel loved. You feel better understood. You feel like you are in a very safe place.

I was safe.

***

Alright, so remember the last post I wrote about communication all because of a $7 wreath? And remember how I told you that Seth is going to collaborate with me in writing a fantastic post about communication given his experiences? Well, that is still on the horizon but because he is in finals week, it'll be on the back burner for another month or so... SHUX! But I did get a few insights from him that I just had to share with you!

I asked him point blank last night,

"Why are you SO good at having difficult conversations? I mean, what's your secret? How do you not freak out or react or shut down or blow up or get defensive like me?"

Here are two things that he said that stuck to me like butter (and I'll save the rest for him to share :)

1) You have to truly care about the person you are communicating with. Truly, deeply care. And then you have to consciously HEAR their words. You have to process what they are saying, what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way, without pushing YOUR agenda on them. This moment is not about you... this is about them and their feelings. You listen because what they are saying, no matter how hard it is to hear, is IMPORTANT to you.

2) You also have to be very humble as you listen. It's about looking far within yourself and realizing and then admitting that "I am not perfect, therefor I can be wrong.... and if I am wrong in this instance... what does that mean? What can I be doing differently? " Swallowing that jagged pill can hurt, but it's about something so much deeper than not reacting to what's being said; it's about true humility."

As he told me these few pointers last night (which I paraphrased), I had chills as he was telling me his thoughts and I couldn't help but smirk. Why? Because when I am with him, I want to be a better person.

But, may I remind you that our relationship is not a perfect fantasy either. I've always envisioned that my life would be some fairy-tale... but it's not... and when this reality slaps me in the face, it has me spinning at times. I've been talking to Maurice about this very thing a lot the last few months, and this very 'idea' is the reason for the difficult conversations Seth and I have been having. I plan to talk more about this in other posts because I have learned some really great things about it all... but today I'll cap it with:

I've got my stuff. He has his. Together, we are figuring out how to be better communicators, listeners and life companions.


Wishing you all a LOVELY FRIDAY!!

p.s. don't you love the picture above? Talk about a perfect fit for today's post. Image Credit

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Best Marriage Advice You've Got!

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This is a really important post... perhaps the most important post ever... but I don't have the text for it!

I need you!

I thought it'd be WAY cool to compile a list of ALL of the best relationship tips and advice from YOU and then make a post out of it.

SO! In the comment section below give me what you've got... what you've heard...  and what has worked for you in regards to a really GREAT relationship!

And if you'd like to get really fun and daring, you could pull out your picture box, dust it off and email in a wedding picture (or a photo of you and your man if you're not married, or just YOU if your rockin' the single life right now :) along with your tips. How FUN would that be?? I really hope some of you will do this because I would LOVE TO SEE your pictures! And I'd love to know how long you've bee together, too.

In the mean time, I'll come up with my best tips and post them next week with the rest of yours :)

Pretty please participate! I think this will be a super enlightening and FUN guide for all of us!

XOXO

**Email to jacyleeclemons@gmail.com


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When You Get Hit by a Truck



















I had a friend call me last week to tell me that she had just experienced her own personal "Discovery Day." Her husband had a painful secret- one that ran deep.

You'd think I'd know the best thing to say to her, because I had been in her shoes... but I didn't. I found myself blubbering and crying with her; bouncing all over from one extreme to the next. I'm wasn't sure if I helped her or made things worse. 

I hung up the phone feeling a little numb. Did I say too much? Did I freak her out? Did I offer the right sort of advice?  What if I didn't point her in a healthy direction? And then I remembered a perfect piece of writing that came from my therapist a few years ago so I hurriedly sat down at my computer and started sending this friend link after link.

Today, I want to share one of the most important links that I sent to her. It's called:


How should a wife respond to discovering
her husband has been viewing pornography?
What should she be allowed to expect?

By Maurice Harker

When discovering your husband has been using pornography... (Otherwise known as "When you get hit by a truck...")

- Scream! - When an individual is hit by a truck, initially, it does not really matter why the driver hit you with the truck, pain is pain! Before you have time to figure out how much damage has been done, before you have time to figure out why the truck hit you, you have the right to have a strong emotional reaction. I do not expect someone who has been hit by a truck to control their expressions of pain, just to make it easier on the driver of the truck. And if the driver of the truck says, "You shouldn't scream so loud because it was an accident. The only reason I hit you with the truck is because of my addiction to alcohol. So, I need you to not 'react', but be supportive instead." I don't think I need to explain why that is crazy talk.

Some pornography users and addicts justify not telling their spouses because, "It has nothing to do with her." Sure, an alcohol drinker can hide it from his spouse and believe that, "what she doesn't know won't hurt her", but is that really true? Does the drinker think that the time and money spent on the drinking and not with the family is unnoticeable? Does he think there are no changes in the way he thinks, feels and behaves?

-Withdraw a safe distance - Get out of the road and into a hospital. Get some distance between you and the person who has hurt you. Contact someone who might be able to help you. Hopefully, you have a constructive relationship with your parents and/or church leader. These people can help you get to the help you need (they are like an ambulance). Ask them to help you get into a well trained doctor who will know how to accurately diagnose your injuries and help you begin healing correctly. Unfortunately, some people just walk home after being hit by a truck and just try to recover/heal on their own. I understand why you don't want to get professional help...the embarrassment, the cost.... Unfortunately, broken bones often heal incorrectly when professional help is not involved, leading to long lasting discomfort. Please, get a professional involved, even if it is for just one visit!

- Discover the extent of the damage. - Unfortunately, it is going to take time to get the full extent of the disloyalty. Alcohol, drug and porn users are not known for open and honest full disclosure on first visit. Unfortunately, this is part of the addiction. As an addiction develops, the ability to distort truth and reality increases. During the early stages of recovery, the addict is usually still more concerned about avoiding the pain of watching you be in pain. I often hear them say, "I should never have told her. It only made things worse (for me)." 

Almost universally, the truth comes out in layers. As the user/addict gains more courage and integrity, he will gradually reveal more. It has been my experience that women are capable of getting a signal from God when they have heard all they need to hear. Until you feel this way, keep some distance, especially emotional distance, from the man until you get the signal from God that you have heard all you need to hear, otherwise, he could very well (accidentally) run you over again.

Scientifically speaking, in order to help a woman heal, I (and the wife) will need to know what types of behaviors have gone on as well as the frequency and duration. I (and the wife) do not need graphic details. These tend to cause the most, unnecessary, trauma. 

The man involved (user or addict) often unknowingly insults his wife during this process by deciding what information she can and cannot handle. Usually, unknowingly, the man adds insult to injury when he communicates, "I can't run you over at all without you screaming out in pain about it, so I am going to do both of us a favor by not telling you about it."

I should comment here on a concept I have previously discussed called "The Creepy Guy Detector". You know that game that little toddlers play where they put their hands over their eyes and declare, "You can't see me!" I observe situations where the man misbehaves significantly and then hopes that the woman cannot tell. I am convinced that in many cases women are blessed with a "sense" that something is wrong. Rarely are they told (by God) what is wrong, but this instinct is tends to be very accurate. (You can read more about this in a previous blog post.)

Boiling it down to application: It is always my goal to help families and marriages stay together whenever possible, so this intervention is designed to allow for the possibility of the family staying together but at the same time allowing the offended spouse a chance to have some degree of intolerance for the misbehavior's.

Simply, whenever the offending spouse has a lost battle, the offender must sleep outside the marital bed; on first offense, this is one night. On second offense, this is two nights. On third, three and so forth. Offender sleeps on the floor of the bedroom, on the couch in the other room or where ever the offended decides. This decision about where to sleep should be made in advance so that it is not based on emotion.

If held to firmly, the addict part of the offender's brain will have to calculate in advance if time on the floor will be "worth it. I know, it seems remedial, but it cannot be ignored that when an individual behaves in an addictive way, her or she is functioning on a less-than-adult level of maturity and is best interacted with on a less-than-adult level of interaction. I do not think the offended spouse should behave without dignity, nor be disrespectful, but the offended party should be allowed to have some safety space for increasing amounts of time if the offender is not able to get it under control.

Yes, one of two things will happen. Either the person with the addiction will get sick of not being able to sleep in his or her own bed and will start to do whatever it takes to correct the addictive behavior. Or, if the addict behavior persists, the offended party is granted more and more safety. Eventually, if the couple is spending as many as 30 days in a row apart, then the condition of the marriage is more easily observed, and the long term condition of the marriage should be re-evaluated seriously.

So, what should a wife be allowed to expect from her husband in the area of sexuality? She should be able to expect him to gain complete mastery over his sexual urges. She should be able to expect him to not use her to get his "fix". She should be allowed to expect to not be emotionally abused no matter how much discomfort he feels when he must "go without", especially if he is in recovery. "Helping a guy out" by providing him with a sexual experience right after he is emotionally unpleasant with his wife is like buying a candy bar for a child after he throws a tantrum in the grocery store check out line. She should be allowed to experience sexuality as an edifying experience, an activity that brings a sense of peace, joy and closeness to both her and her spouse. For more detail on this read, "And the Man Knew His Wife".

In my experience, woman do not require perfection from their men, but almost all of them are drawn to a man who is making valiant efforts to improve himself while at the same time are being kind to her no matter how difficult life experiences get.

I could go on and on on this subject. Let me know which pieces you would like elaboration or clarification on.

Sincerely,

Maurice W. Harker, LPC



**As always, please share this with anyone and everyone you think might benefit from it. If you are reading this and it unfortunately applies to you, remember that you are not alone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Q & A: Happiness

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A few weeks ago I received a very sweet email from my new friend in Montreal. We connected instantly, I'd say... and she asked this very thought provoking question. 

"Do you feel that you have reached a stage where your attitude towards life is almost always positive and where your reflex is almost always to "choose happiness" in the face of a trial? If yes, how long did it take you to get there? If not, is it something you are aiming for? Everyone's journey is different of course. Some people seem to be able to turn their life or attitude around within days or weeks, and for other it takes more time. I'm just curious as to how you perceive this."

Being that this is such a great question, I thought I'd answer it here and share my thoughts with all of you...

Is my attitude towards life almost always positive, almost always choosing happiness in the face of trial?

Hmph.

This is tough.

I wish I could just write "YES and here's why my life is so put together!"

But I can't.

What I can say is "That's definitely the goal!".

Just last night Seth and I were having an in-depth chat about exactly this.

You see, one of my main problems is that I find myself to be talking about "it" ("it" being my past experiences that have to do with 'what happened' and my divorce) way more than I should. I'm not talking about "it" in a nostalgic way...  but I'm talking about it in frustrated and upset way.

I didn't realize just how much I was talking about "it" until Seth politely made mention of it. Obviously I am still healing, and as such, I will need to talk about "it" sometimes but to talk about it just to talk about "it"? Why am I doing that?

First, it made me think of my Letting Go post. I reread that a few times last night on my phone.

Then, I laid in bed thinking that maybe I talk about it because "IT" is just so overwhelming at times... my new life is complex... sharing a son with someone is a dynamic that you just can't explain... and I am still finding myself to be quite wounded from many aspects of 'what happened'. "It" changed everything in my life, very quickly. "It" is still very fresh at times, even now.

Suddenly, I remembered what Seth and I had talked about just a few hours before- HAPPINESS.

Talking about "it" doesn't mean that I am not happy where I am now... or that I'm not over my previous life/ marriage.... rather, talking about "it" is probably a bad habit... and the inability to let "it" go is impairing my potential happiness right NOW.

Does that make sense?

I am happy now. I am choosing to be happy now. BUT, I am also dwelling on the past TOO MUCH and am, at times, feeling strangled by its negative hold.

So, in a weird and round about way, I am trying to answer the above question.

Yes, I am trying to choose happiness in the face of trial every single day... but it can be very very very very very very hard sometimes. And actually I think choosing happiness is the easy part. It's easy to say that you're going to 'choose' to do anything... but what is really the most time consuming, self disciplined and HARD part is DOING IT! Being happy.

I think this is why the question above was so tough for me to grasp... because I am a happy person... and I have overcome some really hard things... my recovery skills are proving to be good... BUT... BUT... BUT...

Choosing to be happy and actually LIVING a happy life are two different things in my opinion.

Sometimes I think that when I try to be TOO HAPPY (when bad things happen, when people bug me, when confrontation is necessary, when my feelings are hurt) I am just masking how I really feel. It is human nature to feel other emotions besides happiness.... and if people are too happy, gung-ho, chipper as a whip, every single minute of every single day, ALL THE TIME, I'm not sure how genuinely happy they are because it seems that they are doing anything they can to avoid admitting to themselves and the world that their life might have imperfections.

So while I am trying to choose happiness everyday, I won't lie and tell you that I am genuinely as happy as I could be every single minute of very single day that I wake up (especially in the face of trial). That is unrealistic and I think the idea of that (being happy all the time- which I am SO guilty of) can be very very destructive. 

My life has its hardships. 

My definition of happiness has changed.

Happiness means finding joy in holiday's with my son, as well as when he's not around.

Happiness means embracing his tender hugs and kisses on some days, as well as trying to hold back the tears when he tells me he loves his other parent more because of  X, Y and Z.

Happiness means getting married to my best friend and starting our life together, as well as dealing with a lot of deep residue that comes with my own insecurities (emotionally, sexually, etc) and the dynamic of blending a family.

Happiness means having really wonderful heart felt conversations full of good, as well as having really hard and painful ones to clear some stuff up.

Happiness means loving who you are as a person, as well as becoming aware of your faults and trying to be better.

Happiness means that you find the will to keep moving forward with a grateful heart, loving those around you, even when it just really sucks sometimes! 

Some people are happier than others. No doubt. Some people recover quicker than others. No doubt. Some people find being happy to be easy. Some people, not so much. 

If you ask me, HAPPINESS a life-long goal... a daily process... maybe even an hourly or minute process... because no matter how good your life is in this very moment... life moves on... things happen... things change... and you must be able to adapt. And sometimes, apart of that adaptation is being willing to redefine what happiness means to you and how you will be happy, anyway.

THOUGHTS are welcome... As you can tell, I am just rambling here... :)


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