Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tomorrow is the day!

I'm so excited!
I don't actually see Brian tomorrow, but I leave to see Brian. 
I'll be meeting him across the pond and seriously cannot wait. 
It feels like FOREVER!
Since I have had a vacation.

Oh and seen B :)

To keep with my promise of sharing more pictures than words for awhile, I am sending you over to my hubby's new blog that he started to capture his trip.

I think he wants to be just like me.

The pictures of the animals are beautiful and Brian has undeniably seen some incredible things.  But I've told him to avoid sharing stories of animals dying with me because I just want to picture the plains of Africa as a peace zone. 

It takes my breath away to imagine what it must have felt like to be so close to them in their natural element.  And probably pretty scary at times. 

I mean look at this fierce wild African creature...

Or maybe that's just the dog that lived at his hostel. 
Cute though, huh?

Enjoy seeing Africa through Brian's eyes :)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New York State of Mind: Home Sweet Home

Now that I've wrapped up my marriage series, I think I will recap the last month of our NYC lives in pictures -- our move out of the city, the apartment we loved, Brian's graduation and surprise party, family visits, weddings, etc.  Stresses me out just remembering it.  One evening at the beginning of May, I remember looking at Brian and laughing to hold back the tears when I wrote out my to-do list for the month.  I truly did not know how God was going to provide enough hours for all the things we needed to do, combined with the fact I was gone every week for work.  But He provided! Like He always does.  And May was undeniably the busiest month of my life thus far.  So busy I had to give up all my Real Housewives...a real travesty, I know.  Brian was just devastated.

In August 2010, Brian and I packed up our first home together in Charlotte and moved to the big city.  The new apartment was about half the size of the first place and less than half as nice.  But I loved it twice as much! It had character, was filled with a fresh start, and was located in the heart of Manhattan.  I would take it to every new city we move to if I could.  

A look back at the journey...

On a hot day at the end of July, we started packing up at 1206 Trademark.

Sorting through what we would leave and what we would take.  

Paisley made the cut.

So did all the pillows.

Brian begged me.  How could I say no?

The next day we moved out.  

And said hello to the highway!

Stopping along the way for a picnic and self timed pic.

And then I stole the keys to the moving truck...

And we made the journey into the city after an overnight stay at Aunt Meg's.

We pulled up to our building,

Went inside 5D,

And began sweating because we had no AC units.

But we fought through the heat and settled in.

The lobby of our building.

The bathroom greeted you when you walked in the door.

And if you took a left, you walked down the narrow hallway...

...into the living area.

And there was so much sunlight during the day!

And I ALWAYS kept it this clean.

Which is an absolute lie.

And I spent all my time in the kitchen.

Which is also a lie.

And then back down the hallway, past the bathroom... our room at the end.

We loved living here for the 2 years it was home.  

But as quickly as it began, it seemed to end...


And we packed everything back up...

And moved out the next day.


But not without a little Sara&Brian drama...

Because we didn't get a large enough truck and had to drive the Penske to Uhaul to pick up a trailer.

But all's well that ends well, and it was time to take one last picture and say a teary goodbye.

And bid our city farewell.

 Hello, Arizona!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Love Alone is Not Enough

In 2009, Brian and I were still trying to wrap our arms around what it meant to have a "good" marriage.  It seemed much harder than it looked to be for other newlyweds.  In early 2010, my dad was teaching a marriage class at church and he gave me a copy of the book he was using for the series.  I had low expectations for it and it sat on the nightstand for a few weeks before a page was cracked.  One afternoon, after a disagreement, I retreated to the bedroom and laid on the bed staring at the ceiling.  I didn't know what to do.  I reached for my cell phone ready to get lost in a text message conversation with my sister.  My eye just barely caught the edge of the book that had accumulated dust and taken up residence on the nightstand.  I reluctantly opened it to the Introduction, prepared to be unimpressed and uninterested, and I read the title:

"Love Alone is Not Enough"

My interest was peaked.  I knew enough from the 1+ year we had been married to know that there is more to making a marriage work than solely loving each other -- finances, family, children, etc.  But to see the words in writing just made it seem more real.  I read on, expecting a lesson like many I had heard before.

I almost think that you could read the Introduction and Chapters 1-4 and it could change the way you approach your marriage.  I think this because I didn't make it to chapter 5 until a few months later.  I read the first 23 pages that rainy afternoon and took a deep breath.  I walked out of the room and I sat beside Brian and I told him that I respect him and who he is.  He looked at me like I had lost it.  Who just sits down and says "I respect you"?  Those are random words to hear, especially out of the blue and after an argument.  He paused a moment and said an awkward "thank you."  That's it.  Nothing else was said, and I headed into the kitchen to pour a drink.  A few days passed and then one night Brian rolled over and said that it really meant a lot to hear me say that I respected him.  That he knew I did deep down but that he didn't feel like I always showed it and hearing the words meant more to him than anything I had said in a long time.  

Plain and simply put: Men need respect the way that women need love.  We can tell our husbands that we love them all day long until the cows come home, and it will not mean as much to them as hearing the words "I respect you."  

When men don't feel respected by their wives, they react in unloving ways.  And when they react in unloving ways, women don't show their husbands respect.  And when women don't show their husbands respect, men react in unloving ways, continues and continues and continues.  And likely will spiral out of control at some point.  The author writes in the book that when he counsels couples, the wife will many times say, "I don't think my husband loves me as much as I love him."  When the husband is asked if he thinks his wife loves him, he says "of course...but I don't think she likes me."  In many cases the wife's dislike is interpreted by the husband as disrespect and often contempt.  She no longer admires him and looks at him with adoring eyes.  Instead he feels like she doesn't like who he is and wants to change him.

Ephesians 5.33:

The husband must love his wife as he loves himself, 
and the wife must respect her husband.  

This means that even if the husband isn't showing his wife love, she must respect him.  And even when she isn't showing him respect, he must love her.  It isn't a request, it is a command from God.  Whether you are an independent-free thinking-women's rights advocate, or an old school-southern baptist wife, you are called to show your husband unconditional respect, whether he has "earned it" in your eyes or not.  Because that is God's design for marriage.  And our primary needs as men and women are just different.

So there you have it.  I told you it was simple.  I want to take this opportunity to put a plug in for the book.  Maybe you aren't in a place where you think you need it.  Maybe you feel you already practice love and respect in your relationship the way it is meant to be expressed.  But in case you don't, take a few minutes to remind your husband that you respect him.  Don't stare at him after and expect a glowing response.  He will be caught off guard and he needs time to process it.  But watch and see how his actions towards you transform over time.  At his new confidence from knowing that in your eyes, he is great.  

And husbands, take the time to tell your wife tonight that you love her.  Not the usual "Love you, goodnight," but a heartfelt "I love you" and follow it up with a loving action.  Watch her heart open up to you and burst with respect for the wonderful husband you are.  

Over time, things will improve.  If they are terrible, they will become not as bad.  If they are bad, they will become better.  Better will become good.  And good will become great.  No matter what spectrum you fall on today, I can promise you, from experience, a better tomorrow.

Love & Respect
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Finally.

I am pretty excited it's Friday.  This week felt incredibly long, largely in part because missing Brian seemed to take root.  I am counting down the days until next Thursday when I will be able to wrap my arms around him and know he's safe.

On Wednesday night, I headed to Princeton, NJ, where we had a work event.  My very fun team and I then proceeded to bar hop to where all the smart kids hang at places like "Alchemist Barista" and "Ivy Inn".
Ivy Inn being Princeton's definition of a dive bar.  I imagine Princess Kate could relate to it...

It was by far the most impressive karaoke I have ever witnessed.  I believe the entire Princeton choir came out for the night and rehearsed beforehand -- Adele, Frank Sinatra, and a very intense rendition of one of my favorite songs, "Dream On".  The night got even better when a girl gave me her number.  And email address.  And work email address.  It was her birthday so I didn't break the news she probably wouldn't hear from me.  Instead I bought her friends a round of shots...their request? Patron.  Welcome to Princeton.

I tried to envision what my college life would have been like at a place like Princeton.  I imagine very different, but there is no way for me to say that for sure.  Students there seemed to do the same type of things they do anywhere -- drink, and umm drink, and maybe drink.  I tried to remove the ivy league stereotypes from my brain since I did go to the Princeton of NC -- Go Pack!  But it felt different...there is really no other way to describe it.  And maybe it's in part because I'm 75 years removed from college at this point? Either way, we didn't leave without breaking it down to Spice Girls in the parking lot on our way to run around the middle of Princeton's (stunning) campus.  I don't run so I watched while the guys left their mark on the university.

Just the usual work outing. 

I will be summing up my thoughts on the lesson I learned in marriage that made the light bulb flash bright for me.  I believe it single handedly changed the way I will approach it for the duration of my life.  It's so simple and yet so life changing if you apply it...

It will take me some time to write since I want to be concise yet not miss any of the important things.  I re-visited the book on my flight home yesterday and was filled with an immediate sense of gratitude for the way it affected my heart. 

Can't wait to share it this weekend :)  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Present Ideas (for those you love most)

I interrupt my marriage series to share with you some gift ideas for that special someone.  I always wait until the last minute take my time picking out the perfect presents.  On my flight this week, I decided I would get a head start on Christmas shopping, thanks to the little gems for sale in the airplane magazine, SkyMall.  I really want to give family and friends the one thing I know they need most. 
Maybe this will help you get some ideas as well?

For my girls:

So you can go on a 12 day trip with one outfit.

For my Sissy:

These just look like you. 
Now you can keep your signature style and be comfy at the same time.


For Michael:

Because every frat house needs one of these.  And dogs could use it too.

For Greg:

Pretty Practical. No explanation needed.

For Holly:

So Evie will grow up with a proper understanding of what a wizard looks like.


For my mom, who has turned our backyard into a little slice of heaven:

I can't decide which one of these says "I love you" more...

Probably the zombie.


For the jet-setters, Dad & Steve:

Because you can so easily travel with this.


For Mary's Mini:

Who doesn't want eyelashes on their car?


For my dedicated co-workers:

May peace and relaxation find you.


And a special something for the hubby...

You're all welcome.

photos courtesy of SkyMall