Archives for July 2012

North Dakota

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After a 29 hour road-trip the Keller family reached North Dakota.
All I can say is…traveling non-stop is a bonding opportunity. We talk, the kids watch movies and we inhale America rolling by. I notice the land and the people and the places. And I always think could I live here?
The thing I love about the people here is a work ethic bar none. Farmers work their butts off and it gives perspective to my groans and moans when I think I have reached my limit. I just think of my cousins getting up in the middle of the night to feed the animals after an 18 hour work day.
I love it here. The friendly people, the open sky and the beauty of endless hills of corn.
I can’t think of a better vacation.

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Husband Bashing

The second the words left the woman’s mouth, floating in the air like a little bomb on the cusp of detonation, I knew I had to chime in.  While her comment was probably not malicious–if left unchecked –the game of husband bashing could do irreversible damage to the Christian ladies gathering.

I’ve noticed this sport usually starts with a hefty dose of female empowerment masked in affirmations and coy compliments… “Ladies, I have been so blessed by this group and by these AMAZING female friendships to the point where I feel like I don’t even need a man around anymore.  Don’t you agree?”

Subtle wink…dainty pout …lips parted with just a hint of an invitation.

And then each woman, happily married, bitter and single, or somewhere in between… makes an instantaneous but crucial decision –do I jump on the bandwagon and annihilate my husband’s (or ex-husband’s) character or defend him and take a stand against the crowd?

Unfortunately, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.  I was the bitter chick for a few years after my divorce that turned tea parties into toxic parties and now I cringe at my past behavior. 

(Hurt people hurt people, right?)

Just as the first few lovelies dove onto the slippery slope of male abuse, I jumped in and loudly interrupted, “Look ladies…the beauty of healthy female friendships is how it enhances marriage –not replaces it.  When our uniquely feminine emotional needs are addressed by empathetic girlfriends who understand us then we don’t place false expectations on our man to decipher our complicated hearts.”

I paused and waved my arms around for emphasis.  “This allows our husband to operate as a real man who loves to fix and struggles to listen to chick-speak without the burden of fulfilling our every whim.  My husband is a tremendous man who both refines and compliments me.  And while I certainly love all of you, I am first and foremost my husband’s biggest fan and I refuse to act like he is big dolt or a Homer Simpson wannabe.”

The table went silent and tongues poised to launch a volley of verbal assault paused and retreated.  The claws went back in and then a chorus of agreement chimed in.  “Oh yes, we do need our men…they are so wonderful…I do love my husband.”

I sat back down in turmoil –glad I had spoken up but frustrated I even needed to.  Sadly, I see this happen all too often –women gossiping loudly about their husbands faults and complaining to whoever lends a willing ear.  I know if the shoe were on the other foot and I discovered my husband trash talked me in public I would be devastated.  So why do women act like we have a hall pass in this area?

In an ideal world there would be no double-standards in marriage.  And though I far from perfect in this area and still consider myself a recovering gossiper, I try to remember I can’t expect my husband or our children to act differently than the behavior I model.  So what am I teaching my son and two girls when they accidentally hear mommy dissing daddy on the phone to her BFF?

What if we –as wives –chose to affirm our husbands instead of nit-pick?  What if we saw the best and let go of the little irritants?  What about truly forgiving and FORGETING, instead of forgiving and then repeating the offense to the gals in Pilates to get a big laugh?

I want to be the type of woman who champions her husband at all costs.  I try to speak of him and about him in the highest regard.  And I’ve found, quite inadvertently, my words and actions are helping him become the man he wants to be because he feels supported–even when he makes mistakes and even when he struggles.  This allows him to take bigger risks and move towards the best in life because he knows I am his team-mate and not a passive aggressive opponent licking his face and simultaneously peeing on his leg.

Harold Macmillan –a British politician once said, “No man succeeds without a good woman behind him.”  I think Harold is on to something.  And I think starts by being an advocate of marriage and learning the art of keeping our mouth shut.

 

 

No Money, No Honey

I’ve never really understood how “visual” men are when it comes to being attracted to the opposite sex.  Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and my metrics for measuring up a dude are vastly different.  Sure, looks played a part in my overall decision-making process but it was never a deal-breaker if the guy had other stellar qualities.

(*note: my husband’s hotness was a bonus on top of his other attributes)

But when I saw a new study in the OC Register the other day, I had an epiphany.  The article, titled –Women aren’t looking for an unemployed man, online dating service’s survey discovers, suggests single men without a job are lonelier than the Maytag repairman as 73% of women refuse to consider dating an unemployed man.

(For those too young to remember, Maytag had an ad campaign showing a lonely repair man in his shop insinuating their washers and dryers rarely break…)

And then it hit me why men date hot chicks who have the brain cell capacity of a flea – it’s because men are wired to be visual in the exact same way women are wired to seek financial security from a mate.

Tit for Tat.  Hot Chicks vs Cold Hard Cash.  Show me the Money vs DD Cup Size

Jokes aside, I have to believe it’s how God designed us.  Despite feminism and women’s rights, the truth is most women feel vulnerable when they are pregnant or raising small children and a husband  with an adequate income allows her to focus on nurturing and caring for her young without the burden of financial stress. 

I know this all too well because when I was single mom the financial stress was OVERWHELMING.  But once I got remarried, the burden lifted.  I still had to go to work and provide but it felt more manageable with a partner.  I don’t believe women are designed to carry the financial burden alone. We can do it (and some do it very well) but it doesn’t sit well on our frame just as most men struggle to get up at night with baby.  They can certainly do it but it mommy does it so much better with a smile and a song instead of bad words from a cranky and grumbling daddy.

The male focus on visual aesthetics is not just immaturity.  According to Dr. Phil McGraw, it’s a “psychosocial, biochemical and neurological gap—so trying to get a man to function according to female standards is like trying to get a pig to fly. It’s just not going to happen. That old but often accurate notion that men are hunters seems especially applicable here.”

 
Men need to be quick on their feet and act fast to bring home the bacon while women need to plan and store provisions for a long winter and hungry mouths to feed.
 
Terry – a reader from the Register article responded: ” A man is set up on a blind date, first question, what does she look like? A woman is set up on a blind date, first question is, how much money does he have?”
 
But here is the catch, although we are designed to operate in a certain manner, we, unlike our four legged friends, have a choice in the matter.  We don’t have to  take this”pre-wiring” to the extreme.  Not every woman needs to be a gold digger and not every man needs to be a skirt chaser. 

We let the world distort God’s standards of provision and beauty.  We let Cosmo and Maxim tell us what matters most and we tune out the simplicity and brilliance of God’s design for male/female relationships.

A man who can provide a roof over a woman’s head and put food on the table is a good catch.  A man who will take a job at Starbucks, or parking cars or get up every morning and apply for a hundred jobs in a bad economy is a treasure indeed. 

A woman who takes care of herself and others, has a sweet spirit and big smile (though she may not be a super-model) is still a beauty.  A woman who follows God, is faithful and true and loves without barriers is ravishing.  And a woman who is physically appealing on the outside but nasty on the inside is not worth the misery of a dreadful marriage, or worse yet, an expensive divorce.

I think it’s time we stop complaining how men only like hot chicks and women only want guys with a job and instead start redefining what real beauty and real provision actually are.

And maybe we need to fix our broken “pickers” so we spot the real jewels when we find them. 

Is your “picker” in need of some fine-tuning? 

 

 

Epic Firework Fail

Last year the 4th of July was miserable.  My husband accidentally launched our baby into a sand volleyball court from her stroller (oops) and then the fireworks scared the spit out of her. 

I spent thirty minutes crouched in a stranger’s open garage hiding behind a suburban cupping my hands over Kolby’s ears trying to block the booming cracks of the Ladera Ranch fireworks extravaganza as she wailed in big gulpy sobs.

But as much as last year’s 4th stunk Twinkies, it couldn’t be worse than the epic fail of the firework show in San Diego that went awry last night.

My family parked on a high hill this year above the Ladera show to: (a). maintain a safe distance from the scary noise for Kolby, and (b.) to have a car to stash our toddler if she went into freak out mode. 

The awesome part about our perched spot was being able to watch ten different firework shows from San Diego to Newport Beach. 

About 9:00pm we were watching a show in the San Clemente/San Diego direction when it looked like a bomb went off.  Flashes rocked the sky more intense than any choreographed show I’ve even seen.

I joked to the crowd we better pack up and head out because San Onofre was exploding.  Everyone laughed nervously, but we all scratched our heads as the most intense explosion we had ever seen went off for about fifteen seconds.

This morning I opened my computer to read in the news how a San Diego barge full of fireworks accidentally launched all at once.

That’s right…ALL AT ONCE! 

EPIC FAIL!!!

I generally struggle with the fact that Californians spend millions of dollars on fancy fireworks shows and yet continue to hose our schools, but this takes the cake. (and yes I know they come out of different budgets)

In fifteen seconds hundreds of thousands of dollars literally went up in smoke and probably scared the pants off the crowd in San Diego waiting for a glitzy show and getting Hiroshima instead, 

So, if you saw something weird in the sky last night you aren’t crazy and it wasn’t aliens, just good old California  blowing up our tax dollars.

Did you see the massive explosion? Thoughts?

Photo Credit: Travis Cass via Instagram

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