Marriage Shouldn’t Work

I fell asleep last night praying for the marriages of my friends by name. I’m at that stage of my life where it seems like far too many friends’ marriages are falling apart. Maybe it’s the age, maybe it’s the busyness of life, maybe it’s the stress of children. But for some reason, I feel like it is happening with increasing frequency to those around me.

And it breaks my heart.

You may not know this, but I used to be a divorce attorney. I walked through that difficult journey with people on a daily basis. Each story was different. Each set of circumstances unique. But somewhere, somehow, marriage didn’t work for that couple anymore. And it was devastating.

Here’s the thing – marriage shouldn’t work.

There is nothing about the joining of two lives at (usually) a young age that makes sense. Two different people. Two sets of personalities. Two sets of needs. Two styles of upbringing. Two sets of goals, dreams and desires. To join those two very distinct beings together “for better or for worse” (and let’s be honest, none of us really likes thinking about the future “worse” when we get married) seems absurd. “To death do us part” seems unlikely. And the more we watch marriages around us fall apart, the more we start to see that demise as somehow “normal”.

That’s one of the reasons I wanted to leave the field of family law – I knew the escape route too well. I didn’t want to start thinking of divorce as “normal”.

Because when you really think about marriage, it seems like it shouldn’t work.

But it can. It has. And it does.

When I see the marriages that have survived and thrived for decades, I know that is the future I am aspiring to reach. But it doesn’t just “happen”. It takes work. It takes commitment – not just on that wedding day, but each and every day. So if marriage shouldn’t work – how DO we make it work?

1. Protect Your Marriage

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None of us likes boundaries. We like to do things our way. We like to live by the mantra “You Only Live Once” and throw caution to the wind. We like to live as if there are no consequences. But there are. Devastating consequences.

When I say “protect your marriage”, I mean to guard it with your life. Keep your eyes wide open to the things that threaten your relationship – and then FLEE from them. Don’t play with fire. Don’t cozy up to temptation. FLEE from it. Run the other way.

If it’s someone at your work that has caught your attention, if it’s someone at the gym who you look forward to flirting with, if it’s text messages sharing private, personal conversations with someone other than your spouse – STOP IT. NOW.

It may seem harmless and innocent, but it’s not. Sure, you may think your situation will never develop into anything else – but you’re opening that door, even if just a crack. Slam that door shut and run the other way. Protect your marriage.

2. Invest in Your Marriage

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It is so easy with all the demands and pressures of life and children to put marriage on the back burner. It’s easy to start to think of your spouse more like your roommate. The monotony of the chores, the routines of daily life – sometimes living with your spouse resembles living with your college roommate, without the fun nights out on the town.

That’s why it is so important to invest in your marriage. To take opportunities to demonstrate love to your spouse in sometimes even just small ways. (I’m totally preaching to the choir here, and would love some of your suggestions on how you invest in your marriage). It’s not easy with two working parents with two children under the age of 3. I get that. I’m living that. Remember, it shouldn’t work – but it can. It has. And it does. Invest in your marriage.

3. Have Faith in Your Marriage

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Don’t just believe in your spouse and your marital vows, keep your faith central to your marriage. When we start to look to our spouse to give us the security, love and understanding we need, they will inevitably fall short. They will have bad days. They will get distracted. They will mess up. And we will get frustrated. We will start to feel neglected. We will start to crave more – and far too often, I see people start to look outside their marriage to fill those gaps.

Don’t look for someone else to fill those gaps – look to God to fill those places. Allow Him to give you the security, love and understanding you need. Because when we allow those deep needs are filled by the One who created us, we aren’t looking to our spouse to be our everything. They can be who God has given them to us to be – our partner, our lover, our friend. Keep faith in your marriage.

Marriage can and should be one of the biggest blessings in our lives. It is worth our protection, investment and faith. Surround yourselves with people who are like-minded, people who will support you two as a couple, people who will encourage you to stick together through the tough times, people who will speak truth to you, even when you don’t want to hear it.

Marriage shouldn’t work. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Be patient with your spouse. Be gentle with your spouse. Look for opportunities to show random acts of kindness. Love selflessly. Love genuinely. Love humbly.

And may yours be the marriage that doesn’t just work – may it be one that overflows with joy, happiness and love beyond your wildest dreams.

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They Will Only Be Little Once

My running clothes have been laid out on the top of my dresser for a week. I looked at them tonight and sighed. I feel like such a slacker. I should be running. Right?

Then I nearly tripped over my 2 year old’s tricycle. And I remembered…they will only be little once.

There will be days for early morning runs when they are teenagers and I can’t drag them out of bed.

There will be days for working out when they are too busy hanging out with their friends and are “too cool” for hanging out with mom and dad.

There will be days for a clean house, when goldfish and graham cracker crumbs aren’t dropped with reckless abandon by two little ones under the age of 3.

There will be days for gourmet meals when I have more than 20 minutes between getting home from work and feeding two hungry children dinner.

There will be days for perfectly styled hair and makeup when I’m not joined in our tiny bathroom by my baby girl holding onto my skirt on one side and my son riding his tricycle (yes, IN the bathroom) as I try to do my hair.

There will be days that I’ll get ready for work and I’ll miss having to change outfits twice because of snotty noses that get rubbed on my sweater when they want to give me a big hug.

There will be days when they’ll no longer snuggle on my shoulder, toddle over to give me kisses, or curl up in my lap as they suck their thumb.

Those days will come.

It’s important to enjoy and cherish these days.

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Because…they will only be little once.

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Two Confessions

1) I’m failing at my #wannabechallenge. I haven’t cleaned in days. My laundry has piled up. I have kept to making my bed most days, but everything else has pretty much gone back to the way it was before the challenge. Ugh.

2) Despite the fact that I just posted that I have caught the running bug…I haven’t run since I posted that. I know I have no room to complain, but it’s much colder here than it usually is. I know I’m a wimp, but I just don’t like running if it’s colder than 60 degrees outside.

It’s only January 23 and I’m already feeling like I’m falling behind. Anyone else? Somebody please give me a swift kick in the rear end and get me moving again!

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The Running Bug Is Back!

I have had a terrible time finding motivation to run since…really, since I gave birth to Little Miss.

I have no more excuses. I registered for the 15k, made up a training schedule and have made myself run even on the days I don’t feel like it.

Guess what. I think it’s back. I think the running bug is finally back.

I took off on Saturday for five miles. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning – 63, sunny, and THIS view.

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I love Florida.

I finished the five miles in 56:03 (avg pace 11:13)- not too shabby!

I took Sunday off, and then laced up my running shoes early Monday morning. I had hoped to get in three miles, but the Mini Athlete woke up before I left delaying my start. I realized I needed to make it quick to get back in time to get ready for work so I decided to do my two mile route instead. And I decided I would try to do it quickly.

First mile? 9:18. WHOA.

Second mile? 10:12

That’s right – I ran 2 miles in 19:30!

And that actually included a few well-calculated walking breaks when I was running out of steam toward the end.

Yesterday showed me I CAN run fast. Or at least, fast-ER. :)

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I may be 30 years old. I may have two toddlers under the age of 3. But I can do this.

Don’t give up on yourself. I refuse to give up on me.

And I’m happy to report…the running bug is back!

Have you surprised yourself with a fitness accomplish lately? Brag about it! 

 

 

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We Are Dr. King’s Legacy

My family represents just a small part of Dr. King’s legacy…

 

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…and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day!

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I Love My Apera Bag

Just before Christmas, I got an email from Stacy at Apera Bags asking if I’d like to check out one of their bags. Actually, this is what her email said,

“I saw your blog and thought- with her healthy and active lifestyle she NEEDS an Apera bag!!  Apera’s cause is simple- to inspire all athletes. “

I knew things would be a little lean under our Christmas tree this year – I felt blessed to be getting such an awesome treat! She offered to send me a bag and asked me to let her know what I thought of it.

(Spoiler alert: One word – LOVE.)

I picked out the Performance Duffel (in fuchsia) partially because it looked like a great gym bag, and partially because it looked like it would be an awesome diaper bag. Because, let’s be honest – I spend a lot more time hauling around diapers than gym clothes these days.

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But I have to admit, when the bag arrived, I immediately started googling fitness classes and gym memberships because I wanted a place to take my new bag. No lie. It’s that amazing. As Stacy said in her first email to me,

Apera bags don’t stink. Literally. Groundbreaking antimicrobial product protection, inside and out, resists bacterial odor. Our innovative vented compartments allow your bag to breathe, while clever wipeable linings make for easy cleaning. How’s that for a refreshing approach to your bag? And Apera’s intelligent storage make our bags extremely functional. Your shoes, electronics, and wet or dry gear are kept separate and organized. And the amount of stuff you can carry is unbelievable. Really, you have to see it to believe it.

She wasn’t overselling this bag. It’s amazing.

I haven’t had a chance to take it to the gym yet since I currently don’t have a gym membership, but it’s been sitting on my floor just begging me to take it somewhere.

Last Friday, I decided to meet my best friends at the Mote Marine Aquarium. It looked like it might rain so I was trying to pack diapers, lunches, snacks and three rain coats in my regular diaper bag. Wasn’t going to happen. That’s when I remembered – my Apera bag!

I grabbed it and started stuffing things in, exclaiming the whole time – “I can’t believe how awesome this bag is!” My husband said he wishes he would have recorded my reaction on video. This isn’t quite as good, but you can probably hear my excitement as I show off my bag in the video I posted on my Facebook page.

I was seriously stoked.

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Oh and here’s something really cool about their company - Apera donates one custom bag to a Special Olympics athlete for every three bags they sell. So when you buy an Apera bag, you’re inspiring all athletes. Love it.

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Yes, the bag is a little big to use as an everyday diaper bag, but you better believe it will be used for any and all special event outings like our trip to the aquarium in the future. (If you have friends with twins or two babies close in age like mine, the bag fits perfectly on the back of a double stroller!)

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And hopefully it will make it to the gym one of these days. I mean, there’s nothing like some new fitness gear to inspire you to get in there, right? I really could have used this bag a few years ago when I was going swimming after work and had to pack a bathing suit, towel, change of clothes,etc in my bag. This would have been perfect!

Want to win your own Apera bag? You can!

Just sign up for their email newsletter by providing your email address at the bottom of the Apera website. Then, at the conclusion of each month, they will randomly draw a name from those subscribers in their email newsletter database to select a winner.  The bag that was chosen for January is the Active Pack (in whatever color you choose).

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Sign up and YOU will have a chance to win your own bag!

Do you have a new favorite fitness-related product? Tell me about it (and feel free to include a link to your blog if you’ve reviewed it!)

Apera sent me a bag with no strings attached – this post includes all my own opinions, and all my own gushing! 

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My Next Race is a Guaranteed PR

That’s right. I am guaranteed a PR at my next race.

How?

Because I’m running a distance I’ve never run before. No matter what happens, it will still be a PR! :)

My best friend and I have been toying around with the idea of registering for a race to motivate us to get out to run more often. Because, let’s face it. Two kids have a way of slowing you down, literally and figuratively.

My best friend lives in Tampa so we set our sights on the Gasparilla 15k. We’ve been talking about it for months and then the moment of truth came – the registration price would be increasing the next day. Here is a glimpse into our text conversation that night.

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So appropriate.

Shortly thereafter, we did it. We registered.

We’re committed.

On February 22, my best friend and I will be running 9.3 miles. Please note, I have not run more than 5 miles since my second baby was born 13 months ago. Gulp.

I’ve been running 3 miles here and there and ran my first “long” run this past Saturday – four miles. I was putting my shoes on and the Mini Athlete insisted he wanted to go running with me. Why not? I put him in the stroller and we set off down the road.

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Oof. He’s getting heavier. And about halfway through, he had enough. He kept yelling, “RUN FASTER MOMMY!” Sorry, kid. This is as fast as I go. Then he told me he wanted to run with me because, “Basketball players need to run, Mom!” I promised him he could run when we got home. I finally appeased him by handing over my phone and letting him watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. What in the world did moms do before smart phones??

We arrived back at home with a time of 46:50 – an average pace of 11:52 which isn’t too bad considering all the time I had to stop to re-start Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when he would accidently touch the screen (and subsequently freak out).

When we got home, he reminded me of my promise to let him run. We put his running shoes on and we headed out the door.

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This little guy amazed me. I figured he would make it to the mailbox, but he actually ran around the block – almost a half mile! And he smiled the whole time. He is definitely living up to his nickname!

I’ve got a lot of training to do over these next few weeks, but I’m looking forward to pushing myself to a new goal…and a new PR. :)

What’s the next race on your schedule? Have you ever run a 15k? 

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Cleaning Challenge Update

Whew. It has been a busy week.

I realized tonight that there has not been a single evening this week when my husband and I have been home together. Working full days and having something going on every night makes it really difficult to feel sane, let alone keep to a cleaning schedule.

But I will say, I’ve done better than I would have without it. I made my bed every morning, am almost on top of the laundry, and swept the kitchen floor just about every night. My husband did the dishes most days because, well, let’s face it. I hate doing the dishes.

Thankfully, I have a husband who considers himself an equal partner when it comes to housework and doesn’t mind doing the dishes for me.

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As far as the daily chores go…they didn’t go so well. Monday night was the BCS National Championship, so there’s no way I was going to spend that evening cleaning bathrooms. (GO NOLES!)

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On Tuesday, I vacuumed…then remembered I was supposed to be dusting. Oops. But because my kids were already in bed, their rooms didn’t get vacuumed. And I only got about half of the dusting done.

On Wednesday…I don’t know what happened, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any cleaning.

I finally got around to cleaning the bathrooms on Thursday and I’m SO glad I did. I love when my bathrooms are clean.

It’s now Saturday night, and I haven’t even started my “Swing Day” chore which is “Wipe down baseboards and doors”, but I KNOW they need it. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow…

But like I said, overall, I’m feeling much more on top of cleaning. I like knowing what I’m supposed to do and when (even if I don’t actually get to it on that day.) In a crazy, chaotic life, it’s nice to at least have a plan when it comes to cleaning!

How do you clean? On a schedule or as needed?

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When a Wannabe Housekeeper Deep Cleans Her Kitchen Appliances

As you know, I’ve been keeping this cleaning schedule for the month of January…all 6 days of it so far.

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It’s going pretty well so far! Definitely not perfect, but I’m enjoying the structure of knowing what I’m supposed to be doing every day. I was really looking forward to the FREE days on Friday and Sunday – but then I saw the “Swing Day” chore for Saturday – clean oven, microwave AND fridge.

Confession: I don’t think I have cleaned my oven or my fridge since we moved into our house in August 2012.

It was time.

I started on Friday with the fridge. I don’t work on Fridays so I was home with the two kiddos. I did the fridge during naptime and it turned into a MUCH bigger project than I anticipated!

I filled a bucket with warm water and added baking soda. I took a rag and wiped down ALL the surfaces in the fridge – some of them needed a lot of work. Part of me wishes I had a “before” picture, but then I’m worried none of you would ever want to eat at my house again. So instead, let me show you the pretty “after” photo.

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Oooh…ahhhh…

I worked Saturday and had a pretty busy day, so I put off cleaning the oven until Sunday.

I know there’s an “Auto Clean” button, but I wasn’t so sure about trying it out. So I decided to go the old fashioned way – put the two year old to work!

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Just kidding.

I mixed up some baking soda and water (my new favorite cleaning mixture – obviously) and put it in a spray bottle and let the Mini Athlete go to town.

(BTW, did you notice his big boy haircut!??!?!)

After he had thoroughly soaked the oven, I pulled on some rubber gloves and went to work.

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Let me tell you, that was HARD work! I used a brush for most of it, but had the best luck scraping up the yucky stuff with a cheap plastic putty knife of all things. (I wouldn’t recommend using a metal one since you would probably scrape up your oven.)

By the way, for my northern friends, I HIGHLY recommend this as a snow day activity when you can’t make it to the gym. This was one of the best arm workouts I’ve gotten in a long time. My arms were shaking when I was done!

I just kept brushing, spraying and scraping over and over again and finally, it looked like THIS!

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Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but a BIG improvement.

I also did the freezer and the microwave which were tiny tasks in comparison.

Honestly, I’m not looking forward doing this chore once a month – but I’m thinking if I did it that often, it wouldn’t be so overwhelming…right? 

How often do you clean your appliances?

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A New Watch for My Husband

When my husband and I got married four years ago, I gave him a watch as a wedding day present.

I don’t know if I have a very good photo of it, but you can see it in this picture of him holding the Mini Athlete as a newborn.

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Unfortunately, his watch went missing sometime last year. We have some speculations about what might have happened to it, but the bottom line is that is gone.

I have wanted to get him a new watch, so when I recently got this watch from WatchCo, I was so excited to wrap it up for him to open on Christmas Day. Finances have been tight, so it felt extra special to be able to “spoil him” with a new watch.

I picked out one of their Bulova watches that is very similar to the one I gave him on our wedding day. (And please note this is a photo of his watch that I took on our kitchen counter – I’m pretty impressed with how professional it looks! Haha.)

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My husband always says that it’s important to wear a watch because it shows people that your time is valuable.

Confession: I never wear a watch.

I love how they look, but I just always seem to have a dead watch battery that never gets fixed. I’m one of those people who relies on their phone for the time. Not very professional I know…maybe a new watch is somewhere in my future.

Do you wear a watch? Everyday, just for fashion, or just when you’re working out? 

Disclosure: WatchCo provided me with a free watch for my husband; all opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

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