Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving to Remember

 Sometimes I think the really happy memories we have and remember...don't really start out so happy! Sometimes, it starts out stressful or tragically wrong and then all works out and you remember it as if looking through rose colored memory glasses. Then that awful moment becomes funny, amusing, and a treasured memory. Or, maybe that is a crazy coping mechanism that I have developed and if that is so...then I thank God in heaven on high that I possess that crazy gift!
My husband and I are what you may refer to as..."competitive holiday cooks" or  "bossy-get-the-hell-outta-my-kitchen" types! We literally have to take turns with our holiday cooking..."You may have Thanksgiving and I will have Christmas!" to which the other person will respond "And, I will watch you and critique your every move at Thanksgiving and you will micromanage the Christmas Spirit right out of me!" In the picture above it is my turn to cook but as you can see...HE is in my kitchen...and he can't decide whether to finish washing his hands or choke me!
The particular Thanksgiving I remember and am thankful for started out awful...the middle was awful but like a great three act play...had a great finish! 
My husband was being picky, bossy, and testy. At least that is how I remember it! I was having a difficult time...I was menopausal and the doctor thought a bit of Zoloft would help. It didn't unless my crying at the drop of a hat was an improvement over say...picky, bossy, and testy! The Hubby was hovering which was making me nervous...and I had 15 for dinner and a complicated menu. I wanted him out of the kitchen...and I wanted him to read my mind and take out the kitchen trash...without you know coming into the kitchen. He finally had had enough of my mood and snapped back...which I accepted all wounded warrior like.
When my guests including my Mother, Grandmother,and Father arrived. The tension in the air was significant and everyone felt it. I was holding onto my tears with a feather-like grip. My father took one look at both of us and said " Boy, is she giving you a hard time?" And.I.burst.into.tears! leaving all the guests, all 15 of them ...and running into my bedroom...crying hysterically! My father saying to anyone who would listen "What did I say?" What did I say?"
I cried for only a few minutes...when in walked my mother and grandmother who did not say anything...just hugged me. I kept saying that I didn't know what was wrong with me over and over...They both said it will be okay. I cried and cried. I finally called in my oldest son who conveniently had just turned 21. I handed him a $20 and said go get me a bottle of wine. "What kind?" he said helplessly. "Any kind. Just make it a white wine!" (And that day marked the first day that I drank wine with dinner at Thanksgiving...which now has become a lovely tradition.) But the memory I have that makes me so very thankful...was that at my worst...snotty nosed mother and grandmother showed me such love! That out of the awful "how do I get out of this bedroom with all my guests in the other room" feeling was resolved with my grandmother, mother and I walking in arm and arm and greeting everyone with...A Happy Thanksgiving!

Mama’s Losin’ It

There are Five Books That have Changed Me

  There are five books that have changed the course of my life at different pivotal  moments. They transformed my thinking and doing... three of then profoundly so, at least in my mind. Ask yourself what books have changed you, transformed your thinking...and moved you to action. These are my books, I was surprised by the list...but this is my list. 
My first book came to me by way of my husband, during a very difficult period...what I thought was the end of our love affair. While we were both really nice people who happened to be Christians...we were in fact two Christians who were not nice to one another and we were unhappy, desperately so unhappy. We were separated with the emphasis on separate. We no longer lived together and I was heartbroken. 

Out of the blue, I mean not expected at all... my very much "separate from me" husband appeared at my work with two bag lunches in hand. My co-workers were concerned that I was leaving to go with him...not because they thought he would harm me but because they did not want to see me hurt further. I am not sure why I agreed to go with him...there was a kindness in his eyes I hadn't seen in a long time.

We sat in silence for awhile, awkward silence... awkward, awkward silence! Finally, he spoke. He told me he had listened to an interview of Gary Chapman on the radio. He is an author who had written The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate.  I was stunned into silence. My two biggest complaints in our marriage were that he did not value our marriage and that he acted like he didn't love me. Not only had he made me lunch, he bought the book and suggested we have lunch together everyday and read this book together. And that is what we did.

He would show up each day, having made two bag lunches and wait while I finished up what I was doing...we would go to a park which was close to where I work and eat and discuss and read the book. There were a lot of hurt feelings on both our parts and discussing this wasn't easy...but we did it.

The premise of the book is that we all express love differently. This way of expressing love, our love language is learned from how our parents expressed love to us as a child. Obviously, couples are raised in different homes and many times we are "speaking" different love languages. We had different unspoken expectations of each other and we had failed to express love to each other in a way the other could recognize it.

The five love languages are: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, and Acts of Service. In reading this book together we discovered why when I would buy him something and he would criticize me for spending money...I would be wounded; why when he fixed something for a neighbor while my "broken whatever" remained broken...I became furious! We knew instantly that when I had made a joke in public at his expense why he became distant...AND when we stopped touching each other...why we had separated!

My love languages are Gifts and Acts of Service...that is how I give and receive love. And Bob tries daily to learn this new language. Bob's are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch...and I am getting really good at these! This book...Gary Chapman's written words changed the direction of my marriage and the course of my life! 
What Five Books changed your life? My next Book...Serendipity Bible for Small Groups!

Five "Ronda Changing" Books

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some(one) I Am Thankful For...

I could write for days about what I am thankful for..."My blessings" are many. I immediately think of my grandchildren but then I would need to start at my children...without children I wouldn't have grandchildren. When I think of children I think of my husband...without children. Well, for me that was how it worked! But...when I think of my husband...I think of my parents and how supportive they have been all my life. I didn't realize how supportive until I think of myself as a VERY young girl, ME wanting to marry equally young guy...back to husband! Husband it is.

My husband is kind, thoughtful, handsome, sensitive, loving, and hardworking...most of the time. Sometimes, he is a jerk. Even then he is my best friend. It has not been an easy marriage. We have worked hard at our marriage. While that is not romantic is the truth. And...that is what I am thankful for: That I have married someone who loves me in spite of knowing all the truth about me. He knows me and yet, still loves me.

Bob has seen me at my most awful. I mean God awful...and I don't mean "Woke up, Bad breath awful" although he has seen me that way! I mean broken. Sniveling and full of despair. Lost and without faith. He knows every secret. ( No...he is not Santa!) He knows every bad thing that I have ever done or said. ( I promise he is not Santa)
And...still he reaches for me in the night.

I have forgiven him of much and would forgive him of anything...because he has forgiven me. I will never take our messy, crazy love story for granted! We have worked for it and it is ours and ours alone.

I am most thankful for my husband, Bob.

Mama’s Losin’ It