Saturday, May 21, 2011

Family Life Studies: Forgiveness and Sacrifice in Marriage

Discussion Question: Why is Forgiveness and Sacrifice important within a marriage? Give examples.

I have a few examples of how sacrificial behavior has strengthened my marriage.

Soon after my husband and I were married, I realized that he was much more thoughtful and giving in our relationship then I was. This was frustrating at first because I felt guilty. But I quickly decided that I would just follow his example and steal some of his ideas if need be. I’ll give you a quick example of the differences between our behavior.

If I made a batch of cookies to eat during a movie, I would pour myself a glass of milk, grab a few cookies, and plop myself on the couch for the movie. Leif (my husband) on the other hand, loads up a plate filled with the best cookies on the pan, pours a nice glass of cold milk, and brings it directly to me before loading up a plate for himself.

Gradually I have learned how to apply the principle of sacrifice within our marriage along side my husband. Here are a few examples of how Leif and I use sacrificial behavior in our marriage on a daily basis:

  1. If Leif is taking classes, I consciously make the effort to try to lighten his load throughout his busy days or study hours. He will do the same for me when I am taking classes.
  2. Leif’s hobby is raising chickens. He has made the decision not to raise more chickens then what I feel comfortable with and he doesn’t try to push the limit.
  3. Leif enjoys playing computer games (old school games that he played as a kid). We have both made sacrifices in this regard. Because Leif knows my aversion to video games, he keeps my feelings in mind when he chooses the games that he plays and at what times he plays them, I feel respected and validated, which helps me keep his interests in mind and I try not to be fussy.
  4. My hobby is blogging. Leif never gives me a hard time for the time that I spend at the computer. He reads my blog (which is actually somewhat rare for some “mommy blogs.”) I am so grateful for his support! He never gets after me on the days that I’ve chosen to write a blog post instead of doing the dishes. I am so grateful for this!
  5. I talked to Leif about this subject and he gave a very good example that affects many marriages as the years go by, intimacy. He put it so well when he said, “it is important to allow yourself to be “turned on” even though you may be tired, trying to finish a book, or not feeling well when your partner is making advances towards you.” I would also add, that it is important to keep the other person’s needs and feelings in mind, and on occasion, make the sacrifice to not advance when you know your partner is not in the mood, without making them feel guilty.

I love what the book has to say about this subject, “forgiveness is about decreasing the negativity and increasing positive feelings and goodwill toward one’s partner.”

Keeping a tally of your spouse’s positive traits rather then a tally of their negative traits just might save your marriage! But that’s just my opinion. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weight Watchers and Wellness Update

I have been following the Weight Watchers Points Plus Plan for one month and 20 days. I have averaged a weight loss of 1.8 pounds per week and a total loss of 12.4 pounds and two pants sizes. So, needless to say, Weight Watchers really works for me!! I am not following it perfectly. I should track my points better. But I have tried really hard to keep within my points and it actually hasn't been very difficult.

In one way, I am lucky because my gluten and egg free diet restrictions cut out a huge amount of choices that I would otherwise need to make about what to eat every day. However, these restrictions have made it really difficult to eat healthy throughout my busy days. I have finally resorted to frozen meals and steamable bagged veggies. Still not a huge variety or ideal nutrition. But better then I was getting.

There is one more thing that has been a tremendous help for me with my weight loss and wellbeing, Cinnamon! I purchase cinnamon capsules at Wal-Mart (mine has chromium, which helps with sugar metabolism as well) and I take at least two with every meal and maybe more. I don't take any past dinner time. I have always been a bit hypoglycemic in the morning either way, so I don't need the Cinnamon until I eat. The cinnamon helps ease my sweet cravings, gives me energy, and metabolize carbohydrates. I know it helps for me! I have taken it for a couple of months and I clearly recognize when I don't take it for a day (bad cravings and less energy). It is likely that it has played a big role in my weight loss as well.

My wellness status as a whole is good. I feel good most days and I am VERY grateful for the improvement!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Personal Awareness Wheel

Assignment: Choose an "issue" and fill out the Awareness Wheel. Write up a narrative describing the issue up to the resolution. 

-Based on True Events-

Mama’s Issues = Our Issues

The morning started out better then most Monday mornings. Before going to bed the night before, Lena, a stay-at-home mother of three active little boys made sure that the family would wake up to a clean house the next morning.
This particular day happened to be the first day of the summer break from home school. Lena found herself scrambling to finalize and carry out some of the plans that she had previously made in order to keep the household routines stable and their good habits continued throughout the summer and into the upcoming school year. Behind the scenes, within Lena’s mind and the few moments of personal time she snatched, she found herself trying to outline her own homework schedule for the summer classes that she had just started. The problem was, she found that she couldn’t keep anything straight in her mind.  All she knew at that moment was that she had a quiz due and she had just discovered 21 more pages of reading to fit in when her husband, Leif, got home from work. The day had dawned with a blue skies and sunshine outlook; however, by mid afternoon Lena realized things were gradually declining into frenzy of storm clouds.
Leif walked in from work to find the two youngest boys asleep and Lena studying for the quiz that was due that evening. Jakob, their six-year-old son, was outside waiting to be taken to baseball practice. Leif took Jakob to practice and immediately came home to do a few more “honey-do’s” that Lena had for him. In the meantime, the two little ones had awakened from nap. After picking up Jakob from practice, Leif took care of the kids so Lena could take her quiz.
Lena sat down at her desk and tried not to listen to the family antics just outside the door. She reviewed all of her reading, notes, and the Power Point presentation that was supposed to prepare her for the quiz. She had 12 minutes to finish the quiz. At this thought, Lena found that her thoughts went fuzzy and her heart started to race. She felt self-doubt and ultimately, she felt nervous and unprepared. It was the first quiz of the class and she had no idea what to expect. With all of this swirling around her, she began the test.  The end score of 70% was a far cry from what Lena had wanted. She found herself sitting at her desk asking herself how in the world she had thought it possible to take two summer classes this summer… and then she heard the baby gag and throw up.
After hearing the baby, Lena’s first thought was “where is Leif, and why isn’t he taking care of the baby!” Added to that thought were her feelings of the fear and anger at her perceived inability to juggle all of her responsibilities.
Lena picked up the baby, cleaning him up as she burned a path to the front door to find Leif. She had a vague memory of Leif telling her that he was going out to feed the chickens. What happened next is one of those moments that finds itself deeply etched within the minds of those involved. Lena barely recognized herself as the sound came out of her mouth. She knew it was Leif’s name being called, but she almost didn’t recognize the voice. “What in the world is making me scream at Leif like this?” was the question that came and went in a flash within Lena’s thoughts as she found herself screaming Leif’s name again. This time she was reminded of her own mother’s voice screaming at her children. Then Leif answered her in his usual kind tone. With a look of concern and confusion written on his face, he climbed out of the chicken coop with Caleb, their three year old in toe. Then the all-consuming, self-disgust set in on Lena yet again. This is not the first time Lena has over reacted to the stress that she feels. However, she doesn’t let the guilt close her mouth with an apology. She continues.
Leif rushes up to the house to rescue Lena, but in reality, it was the baby whose ears and heart most likely needed rescuing. Leif lovingly and firmly reminds Lena that all she needed to do was calmly let him know that she was feeling overwhelmed by her schoolwork and she needed his undivided help with the household. At this very reasonable remark, Lena goes on the defensive and tells Leif not to “teach” her how to communicate. Throughout the conversation, Leif never backs down with Lena’s irrational behavior. However, he does somehow find the right words and a calming influence to bring Lena back to reality. Ending the confrontation, he apologizes for not being there for her when she needed him. Lena, sounding grudgingly sorrowful, says she is sorry as well. Though she sounds one way, she is feeling overwhelmed by the self-hatred that she feels for the abuse that she has spread throughout her home.
Lena retreats into the office to continue her studies. As she begins, she wonders once again what is wrong with her and how she might overcome her tendency to lash out in anger with no warning.
Leif gathers the children and takes them out of the house to run a few errands in town. While Leif’s out Lena and Leif talk on the phone and again repeat their regret and apologies for the confrontation. Lena expresses her apology with more humility this time. Upon Leif’s return, Leif sneaks a bag into his dresser drawer and with an endearing smile informs Lena that he picked up some medicine for her from the “Chocolate family”. Though Lena felt the love and encouragement that Leif was trying to convey and was profoundly grateful for it, she once again found herself wanting very much to be able to feel healthy emotionally and in control.
Leif’s gift stirred something within Lena’s memory.  It didn’t sink in however, until the next day as she was working on another school assignment. She remembered that a few months ago she stopped taking anti-depressant medication thinking that she could find a proper balance with her emotions using all natural supplements. She then concluded that with the added stress of home schooling Jakob and taking classes herself, it very well might be time to rethink her decision to stop taking anti-depressants. After counseling with Leif, Lena decided to take the medication with the hope that she will spare her family any more heartache brought on by a mother under stress and out of control. 

Couple and Family Map Discussion Question

Class Discussion #1:1. Before answering this question you need to be familiar enough with Chapter 3 and Appendix A to give a meaningful response to this question. It is recommended that you complete assignment #1 before answering this question. Based on the assessment you just completed, discuss what it was (or is) like to live in the type of family system you identified on the Couple and Family Map (from assignment #1). Discuss what is/was the most enjoyable and the most frustrating aspects of living in this type of family system.

I found this assignment to be helpful to me personally. I actually applied this mapping to my Family of Creation as well as my Family of Origin to help me determine the differences. I did this because I knew that I am living in a very different family now then the one I grew up in. My Family of Creation is a Flexibly Cohesive family. My Family of Origin is a Chaotically Cohesive family. 

Living in a Flexibly Cohesive family allows me to heal (from a lifetime of chaos) and flourish as an adult. Our home is truly a safe haven. My good friend told me once that her four year old son told her that he wanted to come to play with my son because our home "felt good." This was a precious compliment to my husband and I.

We have a Family Motto that tells us in a few words where we stand as a family, including what role we each play. Our motto is, "We're All on the Same Team!" This gradually came into play as my first son grew and started to learn how to play games (particularly T-Ball.) Our three boys have come to understand that as a team Mom and Dad are the team captains and we are all working toward the same goals. Life is not a game of Parent's vs. Kid's. We all have to remind each other about this fact on occasion. But for the most part we are thriving as a family. 

Respect within our family is very important. I'm not talking about an authoritarian respect where someone is usually bringing them self up at the expense of another. I mean a respectful example. One where we as parents show our children how to treat each other by giving them a good example to follow. It is then expected that the children gradually apply this same example with their younger siblings as they grow. 

There is no such thing as a perfect family. I will never claim that our family is perfect. Perhaps I am just a bit more blissful about it because I have experienced a far from blissful family life. 

This actually leads into the frustration that often shows itself within our family. It is the bad habits and character traits that were formed within both (mine and my husband's) Families of Origin. I bring anger and anxiety. My husband brings jumbled communication skills. Gratefully we understand that change is possible and love endures!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

School Papers a Comin' !

This blog plays many roles within my life. Some of which are my Sounding Board, my Idea Sorter, my List Maker and Keeper, and my File Box.

With that said I am sending out a notice to all of you, my readers. Beware:) I have started my classes with Utah State University. This means that I will be posting the papers that I write as thought provoking For the Record posts. So, when you see them, you can dive in, or move on. Either way, I hope you Enjoy the Ride!

The classes I am taking are:
Marriage and Family Relationships
Balancing Work and Family in the Real World

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Congratulations Graduate!

Leif graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration on 
May 14, 2011. He graduated with Honors with a GPA of 3.84. I am so proud of him! 
Congratulations Love!

Foto Friday May Week 2

This week was full of sunshine, important school days, fun, and friends! Leif and Jakob both finished up their schooling this week. Leif finished up his four classes with a 4.0 GPA for the semester and a 3.84 for his Bachelors Degree. Amazing!!! Jakob ended Kindergarten right on target in math and ahead of the game in reading. Keep it up Buddy!! My summer classes started this week as well. Jakob's baseball team is having a great season, and Jakob really likes to WIN! This weekend we had a surprise visit from our good friends the Jensen's. We all had a great time visiting and playing, just like the good ol' days when they lived near by. Saturday was a day of shopping. Sunday (today) we've spent time together using the Family Home Evening Packets that Grandma Hunt gave us (the same ones she used during my growing up years.) Thanks Mom!!! We also spent some time flying a kite.  JJ: is growing up, holding his bottle, scooting and occasionally crawling everywhere, wanting very much to be able to talk and run with his brothers.  Caleb: is finally finding his words. He seems to be talking clearly more and more every day. 

Enjoy the Photos! 
Caleb and Jakob playing "Knights"
Behold the "Castle"
And the battle scene!
Sunny Days Ahead!
Precious Smiles!
Jakob up to bat
He swings, and HITS!
Turkey Dinner's Hungry
A pretty bunch of Ladies!
Show Quality?
Lead Mister of the bunch
"It's all good girls, back to work!"
A cat killed a bird, and my men lovingly buried it. 
Good Times with the Jensen's!
Magical Moments with Magic Tree House Books
Caleb taking a ride in our new chair
"Silly Rabbits!"
Beautiful Kite, Beautiful Weather
Grandma's Turn
Caleb's Turn
Candid Joys!
Jakob's Turn
For the Record: I flew the kite!
JJ's first real crawling!
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