Monday, July 15, 2013

Read it, Live it, Love it

“Love is a strange mix of opposites. It includes affection and anger, excitement and boredom, stability and change, restriction and freedom. Love’s ultimate paradox is two beings becoming one, yet remaining two.” Quoted from a book I really love and recommend to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, newly married or have been married for decades, I honestly believe this book is worth the read and will make such an impact on your view of life, your relationships, love and yourself.
The book is called ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts’. JD and I read it together while prepping for married life during our pre marital counseling. The book is written by a married couple, Les and Leslie Parrott, and is aimed at both men and women. ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts’ can be read alone, or, with the workbooks. We have both of the work books and I am so happy we decided to complete them, we learned a lot of things about ourselves and each other.
A few weeks ago I thought about the book, took it off the shelf and asked JD if we could re-read it. I thought it would be fun to read it again after two years of marriage. After reading it together this last week I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The topics, advice, examples, perspectives, information, insight and exercises are so impactful, helpful, interesting and awesome. I decided that I wanted to go back through the book and read it on my own and really take in some of the information I related to the most. I read the book in an afternoon and highlighted things that stood out for one reason or another.
I am sharing some of the passages, advice and quotes from the book below incase they connect with anyone else. From the title, ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts’, sounds like a book for engaged couples only, but I promise it isn’t. Like I said earlier, any relationship can benefit from this book and the perspective it gives. I really look forward to the Hubs and I reading it again every few years in all stages and phases of life!
I know this post is really long, but I think it’s worth the time to read all the way through. I am a girl who loves love, and who believes in the commitment and work of any relationship, especially marriage.

“The truth is, most engaged couples prepare more for their wedding than they do for their marriage”

“More than one million copies of bridal magazines are sold each month, focusing mainly on wedding ceremonies, honeymoons, and home furnishings- but not on marriage itself.”

“Planning the perfect wedding too often takes precedence over planning a successful marriage.”

“Before marriage, we don’t expect life to be all sunshine and roses, but we seem to expect life after marriage to be that way.”

 “Marriage is filled with both enjoyable and tedious trade-offs, but by far the most dramatic loss experienced in a new marriage is the idealized image you have of your partner.”

“In every marriage, mutual hope gives way to mutual disillusionment the moment you realize your partner is not the perfect person you thought you married. But then again, he can’t be. No human being can fulfill our idealized dreams. A letdown is inevitable. But there is sunshine behind the dark clouds of disappointment. Once you realize that your marriage is not a source of constant romance, you can appreciate the fleeting moments of romance for what they are- a very special experience.”

 “Fairytales usually end at the point with the simple phrase, ‘They lived happily ever after.’ This may be because fairytales regard marriage as an anticlimax after the romance of courtship. This is not the Christian view. Our faith sees the wedding day not as a place of arrival but the place where the adventure begins.”

“Living happily ever after only works when you make it work. When you take the raw material of marriage- the good and the bad that you’ve brought together as persons- to design, create, and build a lasting bond, the result is an enduring and meaningful sense of genuine fulfillment.”

“For too long marriage has been saddled with unrealistic expectations and misguided assumptions.”

“Everyone lives by a set of rules that is rarely spoken but always known. Needless to say, unspoken rules become more vocal when our spouse ‘breaks’ them.”

“Over a lifespan, love changes. But it becomes no less intimate, no less meaningful, no less important. For in the measure that young passion recedes, the vacancy is replaced with a deeper, more abiding sense of intimacy, care, and co-creativity. As the flame fades, deep-burning coals emerge.”

“Every successful marriage is the result of two people working diligently and skillfully to cultivate their love.”

“Spend time together. One of the great illusions of our age is that love is self-sustaining. It is not.”

“It’s no wonder that touch is known as the ‘mother of the senses.’ There is simply no better way to communicate the idea that ‘you are not alone,’ ‘you’re important,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘I love you.’”

“Nontalking is not a lack of communication but, a form of communication that sends a surplus of negative messages. Silence is a powerful communicator.”

“Nonverbal communication accounts for 58% of the total message. Tone of voice makes up 35% of the message. The actual words you say account for only 7% of the total message.”

“The Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, and that ratio ought to tell us something.”

“98% of good communication is listening. Hearing is passive, listening is active.”

“Self-pity is a luxury no happy marriage can afford.”

“A happy marriage cannot survive the cancer of resentment. Like self-pity and blame, it eats at the human spirit and kills the capacity for joy.”

“If you expect perfection from people, your whole life is a series of disappointments, grumbles, and complaints.”
“Happy couples decide to be happy. In spite of the troubles life deals them, they makes happiness a habit.”

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dinosaurs & Monsters (and the cutest little boy)

Little boys are made from snakes and snails and puppy dog tails… and dinosaurs and monsters, right? Well, at least one little boy is, and that is Callen, our godson. Callen was born in November of 2011 and we have been completely in love with him ever since. A few weeks ago we found out that Callen will be a big brother in January 2014, yay! We could not be more excited for his new little brother or sister, and we already know Callen will be the coolest kid to have as an older bro.
Callen happens to be so cool because he has awesome parents, Amanda and Nate, who are some of our best friends, and our family, and former co-workers. Our relationship is a little complicated, I'll do my best to describe it… JD and Amanda are cousins and grew up together like siblings (that is pretty easy to understand, but the following is where it gets tricky), I met Amanda at work, we became friends and we also started traveling for work and were sent all over the country. On one of my trips, in Oklahoma, I met Nate and we worked together for about a month. On a different trip Amanda and Nate met each other. So, the three of us all knew one another but worked together at separate times and in different states. Eventually, while in Florida together, Amanda and I discovered that I had gone to high school with her cousin, JD, and we were two years apart but had never met. Long story short, JD and I ended up dating because of Amanda, Amanda and Nate ended up dating later that same year. JD and Nate proposed to us girls within months of each other and we all got married in 2011. Now we are family, and as an added bonus we are all great friends! I left out a ton of details, but that is basically how we all became connected and how JD and I were blessed with being Callen’s Auntie and Uncle.
In all of the excitement of baby number two on the way I went through pictures of Callen’s baby shower and first birthday party. He is a very popular little man with the Poplins!
For his baby shower we had a ‘dinosaur’ theme complete with dinosaur cupcakes and baby dino egg cake pops. There was a station to “decorate a onesie”, games, treats and dinosaur egg centerpieces that were waiting to hatch just like Callen.
The theme of Callen’s first birthday was ‘cute little monsters’, very fitting for a one year old boy. We made snacks to fit the theme, had a felt monster for the “pin the eyeballs on the monster” game, and of course gave him a monster cake to smash into.
Both the shower and party were DIY. They were a lot of fun to plan, craft, create, decorate and enjoy. I am so proud to be this sweet little guy’s Auntie and I can’t wait to do all of the same things for the baby on the way. Congrats to Amanda and Nate on their little growing bean! Will the next one be snakes and snails or sugar and spice!?



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