Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Blog Susbstitute--The One Call Resolution

So, I am guessing with Monica's awesome birthday entry, that she would take the day off from blogging. I could be wrong, but I'm going to go ahead and not ask her. Oh, that just happens to be what I am going to write about today.

I have observed the One Call Resolution lately. The One Call Resolution is a term I use to describe those things that you don't know, but could know by making one phone call. I guess you could also use email and face-to-face conversations as well. I think the fewer degrees of separation between you and your answer, the weaker your excuses are about why you don't have that answer.

For instance, we want a second car. I need to make one call to the local credit union to see how we can get a loan and for how much. I've known this for a long time, but continue to make excuses about not knowing if we can afford a car. Based on the Resolution principle, my excuses about not getting the answer are exceptionally week because there is only one degree of separation here.

Why do we keep putting off things we could know by making a simple call? If we apply this idea to the relational aspects of our lives, it seems to make more sense.  I mean how often have I assumed somebody thought or said something about me, but I never made a call to find out if it was true? How many times have I thought, "I wonder what so and so meant when they said such and such?"  Why is it harder to make a call than it is to complain about how I don't know know what is going on?

This seems like one of those things I should blame on Satan! He/she/it seem to get all the credit for emotion and anxiety these days!

And that, my friends, is what I call a blog comment squasher! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's in a Birthday?

Here I sit on my 30th (that's right, I admit it with pride) birthday treating myself to a bday bagel at Panera. Some might say that I make too big a deal out of my birthday and that it is a classic case of "oldest child" syndrome. I am one of the only people in our group of friends that still has a bday party year after year. It's like as we get older, we're supposed to feel less special on this day. I break all the rules and relish in feeling special and loved and able to do anything I want!
A good friend asked me last night, if I thought back when I turned 20, who I thought I would be and what I would be doing by the time I turned 30. In the summer of '00, I was about to be a junior in college and was preparing to go on a study abroad program that fall semester. Oh the things I learned on that trip and how it changed the course of my life! I had done very little traveling prior to that and then somehow by experiencing different cultures and realizing just how big this world is, it became a part of me. Since then I have continued to add stamps to my passport and have made it a priority.

At our families going away dinner for Pac Rim, the speaker told our parents to look around the room because he said it was very possible that their future son or daughter-in-law were there. That ended up being the case for us because it was that fall that Ben and I first met. About a week into the trip at the Summer Palace in Beijing, Ben and I went under a bridge together in a boat that we were told by our tour guide had a legend that whoever went under the bridge would be married someday. What an amazing man I have been blessed to share life with these past 10 yrs!

Finally, I think of how confused I was entering my junior year of college still not having declared a major. My degree and the knowledge I obtained during those years was great, but the life experiences and people I met helped shape who I am today to the core. I have had several careers since then and have learned things about myself in all of them. I don't know back then if I would have ever dreamed I would be 30 and own my own business, but here I am doing a job out of who I am and my gifts.

Throughout my story of travel, love and career I am feeling beyond blessed on this, my birth day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wanting a Better Marrriage Story, Take 1

In a turning point of our marriage, I had a forbidden thought for a married Christian man and summoned the courage to say it out loud:

“If this is how our marriage is going to be, then I'm not sure I want it.”

Expecting my wife to respond with the fury of God Almighty, she surprised me by thinking about it calmly on the outside, although I had offended her on the inside, she later told me. By the end of our walk, however, we decided to have the marriage we never wanted because we were too busy needing it. In other words, we wanted a better marriage story, because this script sucked.

Marriage is hard when it is about meeting each other's emotional needs and striving for an unrealistic compatibility--I've tried and I've just ended up losing myself trying to be someone I'm not. The result is always two needy people. If marriage is about meeting needs, then I will make sure I have needs my wife needs to meet. If all our previous efforts to be more fulfilled by the other failed, then we had a choice: we could either spend the rest of our lives in a story similar to that of a carousal horse, or we could live something that doesn't spend forever going in circles with the fear that a fat kid will sit on us.

In the next year, we plan to do two things. The first is to live our own separate lives creating stories that don't fully depend on the other. We are committed to supporting each other without functioning for each other because we found that getting over-involved with the other person's story always makes the over-involved one the conflict to overcome in that story.

I would rather not be the conflict that Monica needs to overcome to achieve her goals. It would be much nicer to be her husband.

As a result, on a career level, we are both starting new businesses that play to our God-given, life-developed strengths--Monica as a Professional Home Stager, and Ben as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. One tiny vow we've already made to each other is this: "I, insert name, will not tell you how to run your business or do your job."

The second thing we plan to do is to preach the good news of living a better marriage story. We don't know exactly what this looks like and don't want to tie ourselves down to a definite plan, but this message is beating in our hearts right now. All we know is that wanting our marriage is so much better than needing it! A story worth living is a story worth talking about, so our first goal is to live more fully by taking risks and seeing challenges in marriage where we used to just see roadblocks. We've filled up white erase boards with our story and our ideas to impact others with it. In Portland at Don Miller's seminar, we hope to experience new ideas and thoughts to impact our stories even more; plus, we also want to go to the Saturday market...

At this point I read the rules for the Don Miller "Living a Better Story Contest" and realized I needed to be a bit more specific and that it was way too long! However, I loved what I wrote so far and thought I would post it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

When you decide to be something, you can be it.

Just Call Us Roger Ebert
We have been movie watching fools lately! I would much rather be in the great outdoors walking our exercised deprived puppy, but the 100+ heat index temperatures will not allow that. Here's our tally from this past week: When in Rome (F-), Date Night (A), Bottle Rocket (A), The Bounty Hunter (F), Leap Year (B+), The Departed (A) and we plan to see Invictus, Inception and possibly Eclipse (A+) again this weekend!

The Biggest Loser - Thompson Style
Ok, so not really, but I did stick to my goal of doing Barry's Bootcamp three times this week and it feels great having a regular work out routine again (I don't think that's happened since the summer before Ben and I started dating - gasp!). Let's just say that my motivation is that we want to have a baby SOMEDAY and I would like to start with a healthy slate.

I'm getting into more of a regular schedule with only working two days a week and I am choosing to be productive rather than being an HGTV couch potato (oh HGTV how I love you, let me count the ways...).  I even began doing my first pro bono home staging job this week, so stay tuned for before/after pics! 

What's for Dinner for Dummies
After talking to several couples, I realize that we are not the only people on the planet that have trouble planning meals, going to the grocery store to buy ingredients for said meals and actually following through by making them. This issue spills over into  other areas of our lives as well such as our budget (since most of our money goes towards food) and communicating (when we're at our worst, which is usually at the end of the work day when we're both tired, hungry bears).

Our recent health kick has made this even harder since we're trying to buy healthier food. This week I had had enough! I made a list of 5 meals, went to the grocery store and we actually made dinner at home every night AND took our lunches several days - ahhh, sweet success! We are trying to take baby steps and hope to expand our pasta/pizza/soup and grilled cheese menu.

We Go Places
I had a co-worker ask me this week where I'm going. I was confused by the question thinking he was asking me if we were moving, but he just said that Ben and I seem to always be traveling somewhere. I took it as a compliment because I like to be someone who goes places. I confirmed by telling him that we have a weekend trip to Nashville planned in mid-August to see Tom Petty in concert and that we're headed to Portland at the end of September for our belated anniversary trip.

My previous post about arguing was meant to be thought-provoking, nothing more, nothing less. I got a different impression when my parents called to console me after reading it. No worries, Ben the hen and I are back to our fun and crazy life together! Anyone watched any must-see movies lately? What has motivated you to stick to a regular work-out routine? What do you eat for dinner? Happy weekend everyone!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. ~Barnett R. Brickner

This past week has been crazy town at the Thompson household to say the least! We were able to spend time with lots of friends over the holiday weekend and even caught some fireworks that weren't being illegally shot off on our street. Contrary to the smiles you see above, on Wednesday WWIII broke out in our home and it was NOT a pretty site my friends...

I know that some couples argue a lot and some couples rarely ever argue and I don't think one is better than the other (depending on your definition of arguing). We happen to be one of those couples that have lots of discussions about things and situations that we disagree on, but we only have knock-down, drag-out fights every once in a blue moon.

The best part was that Ben's parents were coming into town on Thursday for a few days. I'm 99% sure that Ben somehow planned the timing of this fight because it got him out of virtually ALL housework in preparation for their visit. We were speaking to each other when necessary and giving pity hugs goodbye (you know, just in case one of us died), but otherwise you could have cut the tension between us with a knife!

Amazingly, several things happened that made me completely flip-flop the stance I was digging my heals into the sand on and we were able to kiss and make up (not because I was in any way wrong of course). Most of our super-size fights all stem from the same basic issue: one of us is trying to force the other one to change in some way.

So what do you guys think about arguing in marriage? Is it healthy or should people that love each other never argue? How do you balance focusing on yourself and your stuff while also living with your spouse and their stuff? Stay tuned for a new book coming out on 2.1.11 called ScreamFree Marriage by Hal Runkel for a very different and insightful approach to marriage.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Walgreen's Phenomenon

Have you heard of the Walgreen's Phenomenon? I hope not, because that means I didn't make it up and I am not as original as I thought. The phenomenon shows up at other stores, but is most pronounced at a Walgreens-type establishment (you know, places that unashamedly sell two liters of Soda for $4).

Here's how it works: You're doing your shopping for some item you just have to have and are willing to pay too much for, and you find it. At this point you decide it is time to go to the front of the 360-degree mirrored store and pay.

What happens next?

Apparently everybody else in the store gets the same idea at the same time--it's time to pay. By the time you get to the front of the store, if you are not first in line, you are now behind 8 people, 6 of whom must have spontaneously regenerated themselves there because you know they weren't in the store a few seconds ago. How in the world is everybody always ready to check out at the same time at Walgreens? And, this is a separate but maybe connected question, why is there always only one checker available at that time?

I have been reading a good deal about different quantum theories lately and actually believe there is more than meets the eye to the Walgreen's Phenomenon. I believe there needs to be some studies done to look for a change in the zero-point field that resonates in every person in the store and then that affects their collective consciousness--as if they are all becoming one.

This is different than the Walgreen's Conundrum which tries to discern why people buy food items at outrageously marked up prices when they could just walk across the street to a real grocery store.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Yeah, but ain't it a blessin to do what you wanna do..." ~Shawn Mullins (Twin Rocks, Oregon)

What a crazy past couple of weeks! It's been SO crazy in fact that I am blogging on a Saturday instead of my traditional Friday blog. Cali had a date with the vet yesterday due to a skin infection and after I had a meltdown (tears and all) while they were shaving big chunks of fur off her, I just wasn't feeling it.

Campy Camp
Last week at camp was a hot one! We had an amazing week out in nature with campers, staff and my entire family! The theme was "Take Heart" and focused on five scriptures where Jesus says those words to people he heals and forgives of their sins. Ben survived being around people for an entire week straight and enjoyed a break from work - he claims he even had some fun <gasp>.  

I ♥ Twilight
Tuesday night I was sitting in a theater a little before midnight hearing people chanting "Team Edward", "Team Jacob" back and forth. A part of me wondered how I had gotten there and how I couldn't remember the last time I was up until 2:30 in the morning. Eclipse was fantastic and it was a lot of fun being there at the premiere with all the die hard fans! This was my favorite out of the three films so far - lots of action and lots more Edward/Bella oooey gooey scenes. I'm heading back to see it for the second time today while Ben watches World Cup games - ahhh, the beauty of compromise.
First Staging Gig
Bright and early this Saturday morning (6A) I had my first official event staging job. I know, I know, you didn't realize that home stagers can actually "stage" anything. A good friend of ours was in charge of hosting a Republican Club breakfast and he gave me the opportunity to stage the event.

I definitely learned a few things such as... ALWAYS wear your hair up in a ponytail when staging because you will get sweaty and DON'T accidentally light an American flag on fire at a political event in your flower arrangement while you are lighting candles (that didn't happen, but I was nervous). I also had to correct a man who kept referring to me as the "table decorator" and explain that I am a professional stager, not a housewife who does this in my free time.

Mostly though, I learned how amazing it feels to wake up in the morning (no matter how early) excited to do what you want to do. The thought of doing that every day is intoxicating.
In case anyone forgot to put it in their iPhone calendars, July 1st marked the first day of my birth month and as Ben revealed to the world in his previous post, this one is a biggie! We're trying to have fun with it instead of freaking out.

I do have one crazy idea about my birthday present I want from Ben - I'll give you a hint, it starts with a "tat" and ends with a "too". One benefit of being friends with people from high school on Facebook and being the youngest person in my grade is that I get to see all of them turn the big 3-0 before I do.

That's all I have for your reading pleasure for now. Stay tuned for more exciting "Not Yet 30 Nights" to report! Happy 4th of July everyone!