Posted in Being a Mom, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

World’s dumbest mother

TODAY’S FORECAST: Wet with a chance of awesomeness! 🙂

I’ve always thought of myself as a relatively intelligent person. I always did well in school, and had it not been for a disastrous first semester of college which I spent testing my newfound freedoms, I would have certainly graduated with honors instead of just shy of them. As an adult, I’ve made fairly prudent decisions as well. I mean, we all have our “duh” moments, but for the most part, I wouldn’t say I’ve done anything yet that would earn me the title of “village idiot.”

That was up until Meghan turned 10. During these last few months since her birthday, I have somehow managed to go from what I thought was a fairly sensible human being to completely brainless. It’s as if someone just flipped my “smart” switch off and I went completely daft. Everything I say and do is suddenly so foolish in her eyes. My little girl who needed my opinion for everything suddenly doesn’t want or need it for much of anything right now as a “tween.”

Just this past week, I suggested that she might want to brush the back of her hair before she left for school. She just looked at me as if this was the dumbest suggestion she had ever heard and rolled her eyes dramatically for full effect. When I told her it wasn’t an option, she rolled her eyes again and stormed off to get her hairbrush. Seriously, all that drama for hair?

After school when I asked her what new things she learned about that day, she said, “Well we worked on Kids-Scripts,” and launched into a lengthy discussion of three characters in a fifth dimension. I let her finish and told her quite genuinely, that it “sounded very cool.” Then I asked her, “Are you working on Kid-Scripts for class, is this a library project or what?”

Again, I got the infamous eye roll. “Mom, do you even know what Kids-Scripts is?”

I shook my head. “No, honey, I actually don’t, but I’m hoping that you’ll tell me.”

Well, she gave me that look again, the one that says “Mom, how dense can you be?” and started to tell me what Kid-Scripts are. After a few minutes of grand enlightenment, I learned that each of the fifth graders are writing a creative script and that they will be sent to a traveling theater company that will perform the top two chosen scripts for the whole school audience. A pretty cool school project, I thought, but I digress.

Just when I was beginning to feel a tad bit more knowledgeable, Bob came home from work that evening and asked Meghan how her day had been. She said, “Well, we worked on Kids-Scripts, which was really fun.”

Bob looked at me and said, “What’s Kids-Scripts?”

Meghan said, “Doesn’t anyone listen to me? I already told you what Kids-Scripts are.”

I jumped in, “Meghan, Daddy wasn’t here when we had the Kids-Scripts discussion today; he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Lose the attitude, please.”

She looked at me so pitiably, and you guessed it, the eye roll was back. “You mean you didn’t tell him, Mom? Sorry Dad, I thought she already told you.”

That’s what I’ve been reduced to, she.  I mean honestly, how thick could I be? What sensible mother who has dinner to make, homework to check, appointments to schedule and another child to rear would not have called her husband immediately at work to brief him on the ins and outs of their 10-year old daughter’s school project? Sigh. I’m telling you, it’s like some brain-sucking monster just came and stole my brain so that I have not an ounce of intelligence left in my head.

I was feeling especially void of all sense last evening again when I heard Meghan say, “Mom, can you help me with something on this?” Ironically, she was working on the Kids-Scripts project, furiously putting her creative thoughts on paper and had come to a roadblock in the process.

I approached cautiously, hoping not to step on any proverbial eggshells as I walked over to her.

“I can’t find a descriptive word for this,” she said. “Mr. Sherman said he has to be able to imagine it in his head when he’s reading it.”

I read a few sentences that she had typed and made a couple of suggestions she could use, hoping they wouldn’t elicit the dreaded “you are so dumb” look. Miraculously, they didn’t. In fact, she jumped up and hugged me and said, “Yesssss, that’s it. You are the awesomest Mom ever!”

Thank you, Lord, for small victories. Hey folks, I may not be smart, but I’m still awesome.  Maybe it’s not quite over yet.

Posted in Being a Mom, Family, Life with CF, Uncategorized

Masked crusader

TODAY’S FORECAST: Stormy

In accordance with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s (CFF’s) recommended guidelines for the prevention of cross-infection between CF patients, all patients at our local CF center are asked to put on a mask as soon as they enter the office. Every time I go for an appointment, I reach for the box of yellow surgical masks at the desk, grab one and put it on. Having done this for almost two decades now, I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s as much a part of my routine as tying my shoes or brushing my teeth.

Especially during cold and flu season, whenever I have to go to another part of the hospital, I keep my mask on too, to avoid getting new germs or spreading my bugs to someone else. Today, after my appointment, I needed to stop down at the lab to get some blood drawn. There were several other people in the lobby waiting to be checked in for testing, so I added my name to the list and had a seat. As I was sitting there waiting, a little girl, about 4 or 5, was sitting there with her mom, observing me closely. After several loud whispers and a couple of pointed fingers, I heard her say, “Mommy, why does that lady have a mask on when it’s not even Trick-or-Treat yet?”

I had to laugh. Her mom, on the other hand, was not laughing. She slunk down an inch or two in her chair, turned about five shades of red and apologized profusely. After telling her that it was perfectly fine and that I totally understood the curiosity having two kids of my own, she began to visibly relax.

I said to the little girl, “This is my special mask. It helps me not to get sick and it helps the other people here not to get sick either when I cough.” She took a few steps toward me, so I proceeded, “What should we do when we cough or sneeze?”

“Cover up” she said, using the appropriate elbow across the mouth.

“What a smart girl you are,”I said, smiling at her, then at her mom, then realizing that neither of them could see me smiling because my mouth was covered by the mask.

“Do you have a nose under there?”

Her mom and I both laughed at that. “Yep,” I said, lifting my mask to show her my mouth and nose, “I have a nose and a mouth just like you do.”

She giggled at that.

After that her name was called and her mom took her back into the lab. She smiled back at me and mouthed the words, “THANK YOU.”

After I finished getting my blood drawn I was walking down to the parking lot and saw the little girl and her mom again. When she turned around, the little girl had a pediatric mask on, one that the lab ladies undoubtedly got great pleasure from giving to her before she left.

The little girl looked at me and said, “Look, I got a ‘cover up’ just like you!”

I told her, “That’s good, you take care of it okay?” Her mom smiled at me and thanked me again.

She said, “You realize I am never going to get this thing off of her today, she’s already talking about wearing it for Halloween.”

I said, “See, I could have saved you a lot of money if you had only known. She could have been your little masked crusader.”

Posted in Being a Friend, Being a Mom, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Warm fuzzies

TODAY’S FORECAST: Sleepy

Last Friday the kids came home from school anxious to tell me about their school Halloween parties and the costume parade they had each participated in. Their first line of business was to beg for another piece of candy, and then they wanted to show me all the contents of their treat bags. As expected, they were full of candy and cookies, spooky plastic keepsakes like glow-in-the dark bats and creepy spider rings and a few Halloween pencils. In one of Meghan’s bags, we also found a little orange pom-pom with eyes, and I immediately said, “Oh look at the warm fuzzy!” I explained to her that years ago when someone would do something nice for someone else, they would give that person a “warm fuzzy” for their effort. She nodded her head and then went off to play with friends who were waiting.

Her little warm fuzzy got me thinking about a warm fuzzy story that I had been told as a little girl and so I went on the Web in search of it. I typed in the “The Warm Fuzzy Story” and found several versions of the story by Claude Steiner which was copyrighted in 1969. I think in light of the dreary, windy weather and the concern that is swirling in our minds over Hurricane Sandy, this is the perfect story to warm us up at the start of the coming week. Also, I want to ask you to share your own warm fuzzy stories (aka things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside), via the blog comments and/or on our Facebook Fan Page

Image via MarketingSelfStorageOnline.com

The Warm Fuzzy Tale © 1969 by Claude Steiner

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days.

You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.

In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, “I’d like to have a Warm Fuzzy.” You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person’s head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.

People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim and whispered in his ear,

 

“See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won’t be any left for you!”

Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, “Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?”

And the witch answered, “No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that’s it. You don’t have any more.” With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.

Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie’s Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.

Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.

The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give  Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.

Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing  their Warm Fuzzies.

People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn’t really seem to work.

Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn’t really want the people to die (since dead people couldn’t buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.

Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch’s bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples’ backs from shriveling up.

So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, “I can’t give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?”

Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.

The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.

This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.

Some people became “popular” and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back.  These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were “unpopular” and needed them to feel that life was worth living.

Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies–which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.

For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.

So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.

Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.

This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown- ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.

As of now it’s hard to say what will happen. Will the grown-ups’ laws stop the recklessness of the children?

Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?

Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely ?

The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Dealing with Trials, Faith, Inspiration, Life with CF, Uncategorized

Dissolving the bitterness of life

TODAY’S FORECAST: Looking for the positive

Today was one of those days. I’ve been battling some stomach issues since late Wednesday afternoon and sat in the Emergency Room for 6 hours today while they tried to pinpoint what the problem was. They didn’t. Now it’s off to the GI doctor on Monday and Cystic Fibrosis clinic Tuesday still in pain, with nothing more to show than a CD with the results of my abdominal CT scan and a copy of my bloodwork. So let’s see, taking my own advice, let’s find some positives. 1). The ER staff was very nice. 2.) My very proficient nurse accessed my port with no trouble and got a beautiful blood return.  3.) Our wonderful neighbors took our kids so they didn’t have to sit with us in the ER all day. 4.) Warm blankets are the best! 🙂 5.) I finally got some solid catch-up sleep. 6). My patient  hubby sat with me all day (even if he did watch football on the hopsital TV set) 😉 7.) The Buckeyes won — WAHOO!  8.) I didn’t get admitted. 9.) My son came and kissed me so softly on the cheek when I was resting at home and he didn’t know I was awake. Awww. 10.) I found this story. While it’s not my own (I’ve seen it shared on multiple blogs), I think you will enjoy it because it absolutely changed my attitude this afternoon. Love you all!

Dissolving the Bitterness of Life

Once a young man came to a revered teacher, who was seated under a tree near a beautiful lake, and asked for the solution for his unhappiness. After some minutes of conversation the old master kindly instructed the visitor to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink a few mouthfuls.

“How does it taste?” the teacher asked. “Awful,” said the apprentice after he had spat out the revolting liquid a few paces away. The teacher chuckled and then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and when the youngster swirled his handful of salt into the lake, the old man told him, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked him again, “How does it taste?” “Good!” he replied. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the Master. “No,” said the young man. The Master sat beside the troubled youth, took his hands, and said,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the level of ‘pain we taste’ depends on the container we put it into. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.

And you can become a lake where you broaden your outlook; when you stop looking only at yourself and your own miseries. Look at life as a whole and the many things without which you would not be what you are today – your friends, family, hobbies, nature around you.

When you are confronted with a problem, you see only the problem and ruminate over it endlessly which only makes the situation more tragic. Think of previous instances when things were better. Look at all the blessings that God has filled your life with about which you never give a thought.

Never compare yourself negatively with others. You are a unique person and if you have the faith, God will provide what you need. When you have a pain in your life, put it in front of GOD – then it will surely lessen. Do not put it in front of yourself – as you cannot see beyond it.

God is Infinite. Tap this source, with confidence.

The young man left, and his viewpoint on his problems had totally changed. As the saying goes:

Tell your problems how big your God Is.

Posted in Dealing with Trials, Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Helen Keller

TODAY’S FORECAST: Appreciative

As long as I can remember, I have had an immense fascination with the story of Helen Keller. I remember as a little girl discovering the children’s edition of the story in our elementary school library and checking it out for the first time. I remember climbing up to my favorite reading spot in the tree out front of my childhood home and working my way through its chapters. I remember being intrigued by both the Braille and Manual alphabets that were printed at the back of the book, trying to imitate the raised bumps with a pencil on paper and learning the hand formations that represent each letter of the alphabet. I even remember the little pouch with the blue library check-out card where I had written my name repeatedly, indicating I’d renewed it over and over again.

For those of you who might not be familiar with her story, Helen Keller was an author, speaker and political activist. She was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880. An illness (believed now to be scarlet fever or meningitis) made her deaf and blind. The most famous adaptation of her story is the Miracle Worker, in which Helen’s dark and silent world is unlocked by her beloved teacher, Anne Sullivan.

I have read multiple adaptations of this story, seen multiple dramatic productions and watched multiple movies on TV. There is something about the story that is so engaging to me, though I’m not sure I could pinpoint just one item specifically. Maybe it is simply the story of her perseverance that grabs me. Imagine having no sight and sound in the world around you. Imagine the frustration of not being able to communicate because you have no concept of words or language. Even now, when I hear video clips of her speaking in her garbled, broken speech, I ironically find myself speechless (and in tears) when she begins addressing the cameras.

She was a prolific writer. To hear her tell her story in her own words in the first few chapters of her autobiography, The Story of My Life, is nothing short of profound. Despite having not seen or heard anything of the environment around her, she paints a picture so detailed that it leaves you awestruck. There are perfectly seeing and hearing authors that would give their right arm to write prose such as this. If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to check it out.

I guess you would probably call me a Helen Keller “junkie,” though “aficionado” or “enthusiast” would probably be preferred. Whatever you want to call it, this woman inspires me intensely. Recently, I came across a page on the Internet entitled Helen Keller Jokes.” None of them are new, they’ve been around for decades, but I just don’t find them funny. In fact, some I found downright repulsive. For someone who overcame such odds to become such an active humanitarian for our country, I just don’t understand the need to “poke fun.”

I’d like to share a YouTube clip of Helen with her friend Polly Thompson, addressing one of her greatest disappointments in life, “not being able to speak normally.” For what she could not speak independently, she says with overpowering grace. Hats off to you, Helen Keller. Thank you for inspiring us all.

Posted in Faith, Inspiration, Life with CF, Uncategorized

Symptom checker

TODAY’S FORECAST: Mindful

One of my secret talents that I take great pride in is being a “walking medical encyclopedia.” Friends and family alike often tell me that I missed my calling as a medical professional. New doctors and specialists have asked me if I work in the health industry because my knowledge of medical terminology and my ability to discuss related symptoms and/or treatments often surprises them. I don’t know what it is, I just like having information, I guess. It is not unusual to me find me on WebMD or some other online health sites trying to keep up-to-date with the latest treatments and procedures. I’m sure some of it probably stems from the fact that I have CF; when you live a life where medical care is a constant, it helps to be well-informed. The other part is just curiosity, I suppose. I just like learning about new things, especially ones that can help people.

Call me crazy, but one of my absolute favorite tools on the health sites right now is “Symptom Checker.” I’m sure a lot of you have seen it, multiple medical sites have them and they can be very helpful in “self-diagnosis.” Not that I’m recommending that, but sometimes if you have a question, it can help you pinpoint what the issues might be so you can discuss them with your doctor.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, you choose whether the person who you are checking symptoms for is a male or female and what the age of that person is, whether he/she is a child, adolescent, adult or senior. Once you have made those selections, it generates a virtual model and you can pinpoint areas of the body that are being impacted by these symptoms and it’ll prompt you with more specific questions to help narrow down the possibilities. It’s actually a pretty neat tool.

Too bad there is not this kind of tool for our spiritual health as well. Wouldn’t it be great if we could point to a reflection of ourselves and get a little prompt that tells us what we ought to be focusing on in bettering ourselves and improving our spiritual wellness? Can you imagine clicking on your eyes and having a little pop-up telling you are not seeing with kind eyes or that you’re coveting your neighbor’s spouse? Or what about clicking on your hands and being told that you are being selfish with your gifts and that you need to lend someone a helping hand? What if you clicked on the heart and it said, you need to show someone some love and kindness today or you need to forgive? Or maybe the mouth and it told you that you have a “potty” mouth and need to clean it up?

As handy as it seems, I have a funny feeling that unlike the “Symptom Checker” on WebMD, that “Spiritual Checker” would not be quite as popular a tool. It is hard for us to admit to the things we need to change in order to become more spiritually healthy. There are attitudes to adjust and unhealthy habits to break that plague our lives and our spiritual well-being. That being said, we are lucky to have the greatest physician and healer ever on our side, God. He has the cure for all our spiritual ailments and if we just put our trust in Him, He will assuredly lead us to the best of ourselves, because He wants that for each of us.

As much as I love medical information, I can’t help but think that if I died today, “walking medical encyclopedia” would not necessarily be one of the talents I’d want discussed in my epitaph. I’d much rather be credited with living my faith, sharing it and improving it, a “spiritual encyclopedia,” if you will.  As we approach the end of the week, let us take whatever ails us to the ultimate Healer, the great Physician and keep our symptoms “in check.”

Dear Lord, help me to identify the things in my life that are not pleasing to You.

Remind me that my spiritual well-being is even more important to you than my physical health.

Alleviate those “symptoms” that keep me from You. We ask this in Your name, Amen.

Posted in Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Rules of wedded bliss

TODAY’S FORECAST: Giddy

First of all, I’d just like to take a minute to tell all of you who have recently just started following my blog how excited I am to have you here. I hope that you will continue to keep reading and that you will find posts that inspire you and keep you coming back for more. Thanks for reading! To those of you who have been faithful followers since Day 1, I continue to be humbled and amazed that you are still with me. Thank you for supporting me day in and day out, my love to you all.

Today Bob and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary, so in honor of the event, I’m going to just share a few brief lessons that I wish my “younger” self had known back in the day. If only I could have looked into a crystal ball and foreseen this moment in time, I could have probably saved myself (and Bob!) a lot of frustration and grief knowing what I know now. I think I’d like to package up this list and be able to give it as a present to myself on my wedding day. Among the stacks of wonderful presents that we received, it would still be a worthy adversary. Hopefully for those of you that are younger and are just starting a relationship with your significant other, this list will serve as a cushion for a few hard bumps along the way. For those of you who are older and have already “been there done that,” hopefully it’ll stir up a few nostalgic, maybe even laughable memories. For those of you who are exactly in my same boat, hope you’re still enjoying the ride and don’t signal the lifeboats just yet!

  1. Pick your battles, Rocky. I’m learning this quickly with our kids, but I’ve also learned that it applies for spouses/significant others as well. Which battle would you rather win? The one where he consults you about how to spend your money or where he’ll dispose of his toenail clippings? The one where she squeezes the toothpaste from the middle or where she says “I’m fine,” even when she’s clearly not? I know this for sure, you won’t win them all. Figure out which ones you’re willing to lose and take the Rocky gloves off. “I will break you,” is not a mantra for successful relationships.
  2. Model yourself after Dory from Finding Nemo. You all remember Dory don’t you? The little blue fish who accompanies Marlin (Nemo’s dad) on his journey to find his son? Dory is a great model for all of us. She has short-term amnesia so she forgets everything that’s not important. She never dwells on her companion’s faults and she constantly encourages, “Keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In turn, when it counts, she remembers.  There’s a lot to be said about doing the same as a spouse or as a significant other. A lot.
  3. Sorry Charlie. Some of you will remember the old Star-Kist tuna commercials featuring Charlie the Tuna that made a national catch phrase of “Sorry Charlie.” For those of you who are stumped, I’ve included the YouTube link for your viewing pleasure. http://youtu.be/AooImsHwFDs  One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned in the last 14 years is how important it is to say you’re sorry when you’re wrong, and mean it. So many times I could have saved Bob and I another round of argument, if only I would have just admitted I was wrong and said I was sorry. Those of you out there that are stubborn like me, take note, you will have a harder time with this rule than any other. Keep working at it. I am. 
  4. Baby, What a Big Surprise! So well said, Peter Cetera and Chicago! One of the things Bob and that I have found to be vital in our marriage is keeping the surprises coming, not just at milestone birthdays either. Guys surprise your lady with flowers, a cup of coffee, a love note on her pillow. Girls, tell your guy to go ahead and meet his friends for a drink after work, dust off the lawnmower or buy his favorite snack. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just a little something to keep everyone on their toes. Recently Bob celebrated his 40th birthday. One of his presents was a “big surprise.” Bob loves Normal Rockwell prints. I think they’re… well… kinda creepy. (No offense to you Rockwell lovers out there.) For years since we’ve been married, Bob has been asking me when his Rockwell prints will make it outside the basement. When we moved into the new house I decided those paintings were going to find a place in our living room. I had them re-framed and matted for his 40th. A couple of nights ago, we hung them in our living room. Let’s just say he’s still smiling from that surprise. 🙂
  5. Commit to “Living on a Prayer.” I’m not sure how Bob and I would have come out of the other side of these 14 years still married had it not been for the power of prayer. We’ve been through enough emotional trials to break up any 20 couples and still we love each other despite it all. I think Bon Jovi said it best in their hit song, Living on a Prayer. “Ohhh, we’re half way there, ohhhh, living on a prayer. Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear, ohhhh living on a prayer.” Regardless of who you are, life will have its share of bumps and bruises and God is essential. Pray. For each other, together, separately. My Mom and Dad had their wedding rings inscribed with the phrase, “We 3 are one.” Now that is a good mantra.