30th Wedding Anniversary Secrets

2011-hawaii25th-78We are celebrating thirty years of marriage soon, and many acquaintances and friends have asked, “What’s your secret?”

There are probably many that we never even think about, from being aware of each others’ Myers-Briggs personality profile from the beginning, to recent decisions to live “an extraordinary life” together.

But I will share with you one piece of wisdom that my wonderful father-in-law shared with me on my wedding day.

He and Mom had been married for many decades even then, and when he passed away, they had been married more than fifty years. They never lost the romance, fun and regard for each other, and so as I danced with Dad on that wedding day dance floor, I asked him, “What is your secret to so many years of success in your relationship?”

He got very serious (which was unusual for this outgoing, incredibly charming, impish man) and said, “Don’t ever call each other names. You can’t ever take them back.”

That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?  One straightforward action you can take to increase your odds of a long-lasting, wonderful marriage. Who wouldn’t take that advice?

I took it in and thought about it, and decided to build on it. 

If you wouldn’t call your spouse names…that was a good start…but what if you actually flipped that and determined you would go further?  What if you got in the habit of actively saying good things about your spouse, both internally and externally? What positive ripples could occur over time in your relationship?

No guarantees, mind you, but three decades later I am still discovering and talking about the wonderful facets of my husband. I am still appreciating and cherishing his love, romance, intellect, humor, sense of fun, and willingness to keep our life together exciting. And I know he talks about me the same way. We are each other’s greatest treasure.

I think that is something worth striving for, don’t you? 

No matter whether you are contemplating marriage, are a newlywed, or are decades into your wedded relationship, please remember you have this amazing power.

The power to look for and at the positive; the power to choose to speak about the positive; and most importantly the power to choose to build instead of tearing down that person you love.

Your choice. Your power. 

Will this fix a relationship that is broken, lop-sided or abusive?

Most likely not, and that is something for a counselor to help with. But if you are in a fairly healthy, happy relationship already, this choice has the potential to pole vault you into a wonderful place where you cherish and are cherished. It isn’t a quick transformation, but it happens and when it happens, it becomes a part of your future and your happiness.

Hey, worth a try, right?

As for us, my friends, we are going for the GOLD!


Choosing An Extraordinary Life

Family Reunion 1993 - Disney WorldMy husband and I have been blessed with a life filled with adventures. We owe many of them to his incredibly generous parents who shared their riches of time and treasure with the whole family.

Each year, they whisked us off to a week’s vacation somewhere fun at no cost to us.

Christmas in July!

This started very organically as the family started to marry and begin families of their own, and getting together at Christmas became more and more difficult. (We still managed it a couple of times, but eventually the majority of trips moved to the summer.)

Dude Ranches, Disney World (a few different resorts and on site properties over the years), Lake Tahoe, Sedona, Atlantis, Sea Island, Hawaii, and Disney Cruises to the Bahamas and to Alaska were some of the highlights. Cousins and in-laws got to know each other and form lifelong bonds, and four families who were spread from California, to Arizona, to Texas, to Florida kept those connections alive over the miles.

Mom and Dad got it right.

They chose adventures, great family Family Reunion at Disney World 1993stories, and love over leaving more money to the children, and their family deeply appreciates that choice.

Now my husband and I are moving into that space in our personal family that Mom and Dad filled so beautifully, and we have been inspired them in many ways.

First, we have decided to keep the reunion tradition alive, and as long as we can make it happen, we will whisk our daughters and their husbands and children off for a week of rest, adventures, and re-connection. We may even help engineer an extended family reunion now and then! Continue reading

Good Grief, Good Governance!

canstockphoto6398851The political season has swallowed the current landscape of our lives, and will be a main source of conversation, debate, and even stress for months to come.

I am not talking about parties today, but rather politics. That process that is ideally supposed to winnow the wheat from the chaff and give us the best leaders possible at any given time.

I recently considered running for what is considered a bipartisan, down near the bottom of the ballot, elected position. It was to represent and work hard for a local community college that I personally attended, support, and feel strongly positive about.

I am not a politician.

I am an experienced public speaker, somewhat telegenic (or at least comfortable on camera), and have made many friends and acquaintances in my community through nonprofit work and volunteering. Continue reading

Blasting Brattiness

angry childI have been writing this blog for a long time, and over the years I have avoided the word “brat,” when referring to children.

I didn’t have a specific reason for that avoidance, other than the queasy feeling I get in my gut when unilaterally grouping a large number of misbehaving children into one label.

Lately, I have seen it popping up in articles and blogs for parents. The authors often have many good ideas and points, so let’s talk about brattiness for a minute.

You can read some of these yourself at these links.

Research has shown that there is a wide variety of reasons that children don’t follow rules, whine, act out, throw tantrums and display obstinacy. Hmm…sounds like a brat, doesn’t it? But those actions can cover an entire spectrum of conditions, disabilities, learning differences, and other barriers to what we consider good behavior.

Setting aside disabilities, the autism spectrum, and any other conditions that may be uncovered by testing…what is the main reason a child acts like a brat?

Could it be us?

We know that when a child lacks security, they are likely to be anxious or fearful. We know that when a child is anxious or fearful, a natural outcome can be anger and aggression. We also know that the basic need of security is most often expressed in a child’s life by structure, consistency, and trust.

Why then, do we fall down so often in providing that structure and consistency that leads to trust?  Continue reading

What Our Daughter REALLY Does…

Nurses presentationOur younger daughter just graduated from the only accredited Nursing Residency Program in the country.

It resides at Cook Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, and although we have always been proud of her for winning her slot (There are only 12 in her cohort), and we were incredibly impressed at the scope and influence of this hospital in our initial tour when she first started, I don’t think we really understood the intensity of what it is she does each day or night that she works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit until we visited this last weekend.

Touring the PICU before the graduation ceremony, after seeing an amazing presentation she and her teammates gave on intramuscular injections and how they can be improved, we got a peek into what she really does.

(PS: Their presentation will change the way IM injections are done at Cook, and her team will be presenting at two National Nursing Conferences, so their research may make IM injections safer for everyone!)

As we walked by amazing technology, machinery, and all of the advanced systems that save and maintain the lives of children, we saw a few of these small people in their beds, often with many tubes and machines attached to them.

We saw a few mothers and/or fathers who were attentively perched at the side of a bed where their child was recuperating or being sustained, and we saw the nurses on duty who operated their tools and talents with ultimate focus, all while smiling reassuringly at us.

It hit us with force that our daughter was one of those nurses. We realized concretely just what she was doing for up to 12 hours at a time. We saw examples of the commitment and brilliance that defines a great nurse and we heard from her mentors, teachers, and supervisors that our lovely, kind young woman was one of those great nurses. One of her mentors said, “She is my favorite and I know we will see great things from her.” Continue reading