Welcome to Mellie's mind...

Where thoughts can be funny, can race at all hours of the day and night and can sometimes not make any sense!

Enjoy the ride!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Love Dare- Day Twelve

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse.  Tell them you are putting their preference first.

Love lets the other win-  If you were asked to name three areas where you and your spouse disagree, you'd likely be able to do with without thinking very hard.  Sadly, unless someone in your marriage starts doing some giving in, these same issues are going to keep popping up between you and your spouse.  Though these issues may not crop up every day, they keep resurfacing and don't really go away.  You never seem to get any closer to a resolution or compromise and generally one spouse ends up resenting the other.  Jesus gives us an example of how to deal with each other in areas of conflict, it's learning the word "willing." Jesus wants us to follow the progression of His selfless love.  He had every right to refuse becoming man but yielded and did- because He was willing.  He had the right to be served by all mankind but came to serve us instead.  He had the right to live in peace and safety but willingly laid down His life for our sins. He was even willing to endure the grueling torture of the cross.  In light of this amazing testimony, the Bible applies to us a one-sentence summary statement:  "Have the attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus."  The very moment one spouse can say to the other, "I'm willing to go your way on this one," the argument will be over.  It may cost you pride and discomfort but you have made a loving and lasting investment in your marriage.  You may fear looking foolish or be at a lost of control, but you've already looked foolish by being bullheaded and refusing to listen.  You lose control by making the issue at hand more important that your marriage. Instead of treating your wife or husband like your enemy or someone to be guarded against, start be treating them as your closest, most honored friend.  Give their words full weight.

I tell you, that last statement:  "Instead of treating your wife or husband like your enemy or someone to be guarded against, start be treating them as your closest, most honored friend.  Give their words full weight."  Those are some powerful words.

It has been a tough year for my hubby and I.  "They" say the first ten years of marriage is the hardest and I think I can finally say "they" are correct.  This week I have been lost in my own mind re-playing the last ten years of my marriage in my head.  I have been recalling past events that were great, good and hard.  I have been putting pieces together that have not made sense but are finally coming to light.  I have been connecting dots on events that have left me less than happy but most of all I have been thinking about the laughs, the adventures and the love that has grown.

Yesterday's chapter was about giving into an area of disagreement between my hubby and I to show him that I am putting his preference first.  I feel I have been doing this for quite some time in the last few months in an area that has been very difficult for me to come to terms with.  But as anyone who really knows me knows that I only want the best for my hubby, my family and to make them happy and be happy with them.

This year has been a learning year for me as a wife and a woman.  I have made some huge mistakes, I have done some things I am not proud of but I have also grew as a person and in my Faith.  My hubby knows deep down inside that even though I may "battle" him on certain things, I do put his preference in most areas first.   I think what we really learn in this chapter is not how to "give in" to show our love but how to "come together" to show our love.  His preference, my preference, neither one of us should be above the other.  Really we should be working on how to put ourselves on the same level as one another and show the other that their input is just as important as our own.  I do not think we should make decisions about our lives, our money, our future on our own... we should be making them together as a partnership.

I value my husband, I value his opinion, I value his contributions to every part of my life.  I care how my actions make him feel, I care how my decisions affect him and I care if he feels like my partner or not.  I strive to continue on this path and on the path of a stronger partnership.



I have often said, and I have tried to live by, the concept that there are is no "winner and loser" between my wife and I, in terms of arguments or disagreements. There is only US- we win when we are both able to freely express our emotions and opinions and ultimately come up with a solution that works for everyone.

Sure, this is sometimes easier said than done. There are times when I am so certain I am right, that I feel I need to do what I need to do "because I know it's right." The problem with is, it's not right if my wife feels overpowered or that she has little to no influence in the decision.

I can honestly say for this first time in more than a year, that I feel my wife and I are in a very good place, emotionally, relationship-wise, financially, etc. There are challenges. There are things that will come up that are not on my spreadsheet (I plan for everything!), but I have a sense of peace and calm that has been somewhat elusive over the past several months.

This sense of peace and calm allows me to slow down, and make sure my wife feels part of the process. I want her to know that I do value her opinion--she is incredibly intelligent, and is in a general just a "smart person" that I am lucky enough to be able to get her feelings/opinions.

At the end of the day, is about US. We have this one life...this one marriage. I want my wife to feel she has the partner she has always wanted. I want her to feel safe, secure, happy  and blessed. I know I can provide all of these things, sometimes with a simple look or a few seconds of my time to let her know I care.

Each day, I try to improve on the day before. Because as I said, there is no right or wrong, he or she...there is only US.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is your message saying?

In my later years of life it became apparent to me that I had to learn to hold my tongue in certain situations rather than blurting out what was in my thoughts at any given moment.  This came to me one day when I was in the middle of a heated argument with my hubby.  The moment was so profound to me it has stuck with me all of these years, but not because he "broke me" but because I learned at that very second the way I was speaking to him was not honoring him, loving him or respecting him.  I was determined that at that moment to change how I reacted to people and how I reacted to him.

Fast forward ten years to today and I can honestly look back and say I have came along way.  I am not perfect by any means, there are many times over the past 10 years I have said things I wished I never would have said to him and to other people in my life.  But I feel that each day I do make a conscious effort to try and improve my communication and the message I'm sending. Yet one thing I failed to realize till just today, what is the message I am NOT saying?

We communicate in many ways on several different levels.  Our body language, movement of eyes, expressions on our faces, tones in our voices, even if we sigh someone can take that as an unspoken message.  But what really is on my mind today is the unspoken message of our actions.

What do my actions say to my hubby and my children? 

I have a friend who smokes, a nasty habit and one of the worse things you can do your body.  She and I have gone rounds over the reasons she should quit.  I have come to her from a point of a friendship, as an ex causal smoker, as a personal trainer, and even as an angry friend.  I have tried all the tricks in my book to try and get her to finally stop smoking.  Of course this is a decision she has to make and has to want to do but I am determined to be the angel on her shoulder bugging her till she finally quits.  My point to her yesterday when speaking to her about the habit was what was her unspoken message to her daughter and husband by continuing to smoke?

She had no idea what I was speaking of until I dove deeper into the conversation.  I told her that because she has chosen a terrible habit that brings nothing positive to her life and future she was telling her husband and daughter that her needs were more important than theirs.  By continuing to jeopardize her life she was telling her husband that it did not matter to her that he could be facing a future as being a single dad.  She was telling him he could face a future with a wife who has to use a voice box to speak.  She was telling him that she didn't care his future could possibly be in a cancer treatment center week after week trying to fight for her life.  She was telling him she didn't care that their income may be jeopardized or their savings may be dwindled because he would have to pay for her care.  All these things she was telling him because she was being selfish and choose to continue this horrific habit because "she enjoys smoking."  She was telling her daughter, "Do as I say, not as I do."  She was telling her daughter that her needs at this moment to smoke were more important to her than all her daughter's future needs as she grew up.  All these message to her family were unspoken by her actions.  This message in some deep way, regardless if we want to admit it or not tells the other party... "I don't really care what you think, I don't really respect you either because I am willing to put my own needs before yours."

These sort of actions hold true in other areas of our lives as well.  Take my other friend who is married.  Her husband works for a company that the majority of the employees are female.  He is a respectable man who is well liked and looked up to at his employment.  My friend will go to his office almost weekly to have lunch with her husband, it's a time for her to break away from their newborn son and a time for her and her husband to connect.

For the past few years there has been a woman at his employment that has treated my friend with nothing but rudeness and disregard.  My friend tells me she is friendly with all her husband's employees and goes out of her way to do nice things for them but this one woman, in particular, is flat out rude to her. My friend is very secure in her marriage and herself and knows that not everyone has to like her but what bothers her is her husband's unspoken message to her as his wife.

Her husband, of course being this woman's boss, is friendly with the woman.  They work side by side everyday together and as well all know we all want to get along with the people we work with.  However my friend's frustration comes from her husband going above and beyond to be friendly with this employee knowing the way she treats his wife.  He has seen the employee be dismissing to his wife, he has heard the comments the employee makes about his wife yet continues to go out of his way to be friendly with the employee at company events with the wife by his side.  There have been occasions where the husband has assisted the employee in personal matters to help resolve issues she was going through.  These unspoken words, his actions, tell my friend that her husband is not concerned with the fact that this employee disrespects his wife.  When her husband does things for this employee the message she gets is that the employees' needs are more important than the wife's feelings.  That is his unspoken message to his wife. And his unspoken message to this employee and his other employees is "You don't have to respect my wife, and I will still go above and beyond for you as friends." 

I think these two examples are very good starting points for the rest of us to reconsider how our unspoken messages are coming across to the ones we love.  Sitting back and thinking about these examples has helped me identify some areas in my life and marriage that I know I need to change right away.  I realize now the words that come out of my mouth to express how I feel towards my hubby, my children and my friends are not as important as my actions.  My actions need to ring louder than my words.  Today I am going to work on improving my unspoken messages.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Love Dare-Day Ten

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse-something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else.  Wash her car. Clean the kitchen.  Buy his favorite dessert.  Fold the laundry.  Demonstrate love for them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

Love is unconditional.  God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  If someone asks "Why do you love your wife?" - What would you say?  Most Men would mention their wife's beauty, her sense of humor, her kindness, her inner strength.  They might talk about her cooking, her knack for decorating, or what a good mother she is.  Women would probably say something about their husbands’ good looks, personality.  They’d commend him for his steadiness and constant character.  But what if over the years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of these things.  Would you still love them?  The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional.  The truth is this:  love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.  Both friendship and sex have an important role in your marriage as do other things.  But if your marriage totally depends on having common interests or enjoying a healthy sex life, then the foundation of your relationship is unstable.  Agape love is selfless and unconditional.  Agape love is "in sickness and health." "For richer or poorer" and "for better or worse." this is the only kind of true love there is because this is God's kind of love.  If a spouse says they have fallen out of love with you then they never really loved you unconditionally to begin with.  Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances.

Last night as my hubby and I were winding down in our room together, I thought of my dare for the day.  I tried to think of anything I had done that was out of the ordinary to show my love for my hubby.  I began to feel bad and shameful because even as much as I thought about it during the day I had not come up with anything that I could have done, any small gesture or extra action to show my love for him.  I shared my feelings with my hubby and told him I had failed at the challenge.  He was kind and pointed out to me all the things I do for him daily that show him love, even down to putting an extra plum in his lunch for him.  It made me realize I was looking at this challenge the wrong way.

It's not always black and white, just like marriage there are a lot of grey areas (and even pink if you are married to me!) So I told myself I would look outside of the box of the challenge and find what it was that I was to learn in this chapter.

Unconditional love.

The statement in the book that says "If a spouse says they have fallen out of love with you then they never really loved you unconditionally to begin with."  is a VERY powerful statement to me.  I have unconditional love for my hubby and always have.  It's not a love I have ever shared with anyone else because it has always been so easy for me to walk away from previous relationships and not look back.  This is not the case in my marriage with my hubby.

We are all selfish in some way or another, we all have our weak moments when we forget to think about the other person and how our actions may affect them.  I try and keep this in the forefront of my mind and my marriage..

In the past if I did not agree with something that was going on in our marriage I would fight it tooth and nail.  I would continue to bring it up and put pressure on my hubby in hopes to change the behavior that was occurring.  These past few weeks something spoke to me in my head, God, and showed me I was doing nothing to help my marriage acting like this.  That voice that spoke to me told me it was not changing the behavior, it was only upsetting me and it was pushing my hubby further from me.  So as I prayed  I finally came to realize my fits about the situation was not changing it one bit.  This was a decision my hubby had made and even though it hurts me it was NOT hurting me physically or my family it was only hurting my pride.  And what does the bible say about Pride?

Psalm 10:4 explains that the proud are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God: “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” This kind of haughty pride is the opposite of the spirit of humility that God seeks: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

So to show my unconditional love to my hubby I have refrained from asking questions about the situation.  I have refrained from putting myself into a position where I see the situation.  This is my hubby's thing to work out and to do what he feels that he needs to do and I have to let go of it and allow him to.  This behavior is the something out of the ordinary for me to prove to my hubby that my love is based on my choice and nothing elseI love my husband, not because of the life he provides, or because of the hard work he does.  Not because of the father he is to our kids, or because of the things he does for me... I love him because of HIM.  I CHOOSE to give my love to him, unconditionally.



My wife and I have this Facebook thing. It goes something like this, she alleges: I get upset at her for no good reason, and change my profile and cover photos (sans her).

Now, while not stipulating that this is fact, her consistent allegations of the same have begun to make me think that she, at least, believes it to be so. So, for this challenge, I did a little reverse Mexican brown magic...I posted a picture of just her, as my cover for all the world to see.

But not just any picture.

A picture of a young Michelle, new in our relationship, sitting in a kayak...something she never thought she would see...with a literal sea of water before her. She could go anywhere she wants. It was both somewhat dangerous, yet exciting and rewarding---like many of the worthwhile opportunities in our lives (there is risk).

Nearly 10 years later, I am so happy that she chose to go with me. I love this woman. We have been through ups and downs, good times and bad times. I was with her when she nearly died in childbirth. I remember the doctor telling me they were going to put her in a coma, fly her to Seattle, and that I should prepare for the worse and notify all those that may want to see her. It still, to this day, shakes me to my core to know how close I cam to losing her.

Today, she could still go anywhere she wanted. There is a sea of choices before her, but she chooses me. For that reason, and many others, I try each day to do a little more than the day before to express my love for her.

In the picture, although not seen...I am right behind her in that kayak. To me, this is symbolic. In our relationship, Michelle is often at the forefront...often gets the spotlight. I am more than happy to have it this way. But, like the song I posted on her wall yesterday--when she looks around, I will always be there (I promise).

This is what I did yesterday to demonstrate my pure joy in being in our marriage.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Love Dare-Day Nine

Think of a special way you'd like to greet your spouse today.  Do it with a smith and with enthusiasm.  Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

Love makes good impressions- You can tell a lot about the state of a couple's relationship from the way they greet one another.  The bible speaks a lot about greeting others.  The apostle Paul took time to encourage his readers to greet one another warmly when they met.  It's probably something you don't think about often but how do you greet your spouse first thing in the morning, what is the look on your face when one returns from being gone to work or out?  What energy is in your voice when you speak to your spouse on the phone?  You probably never considered it-the difference it would make in your spouse's day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them.  It doesn't have to be bold and dramatic all the time.  But adding warmth and enthusiasm gives you the chance to touch your mate's heart in a subtle, unspoken way.

This was a really good chapter for me because what seems like such a little gesture can often make such a huge impact on a person we take for granted ~ the cause and affect we have on others sometimes escapes me.

There have been days where my "salutations" to my hubby have been less than desirable in his eyes, what seems like a perfectly fine hello to ME might be a brush off to him.  I had a manager once tell me  "someone's perception of me was 100% the truth to them and it was up to me to determine what perception they would have."  This rings true in my marriage too.

I might be tired, rushing around getting ready for the gym, have had five different kids bombard me with questions, needs or wants when my hubby is walking through the door home from his day.  I might shoot him a hello, smile and continue on with the path I am on or I may stop and hug him and kiss him hello and then continue on with my task.  Regardless neither of these ways shows him how truly happy I am he is home.

I have said it a thousand and one times, marriage is hard.  My hubby and I have been through the ringer and back with each other but none of that matters to me the moment he walks out the door and leaves for the day.  As soon as I hear the garage door closing in the morning and I hear his little car speed down the road of our neighborhood something changes in me.  Sometimes I will have a quick morbid thought, "what if this is the last time I see him?"  most times I just think "okay now it's time to get on with your day" but no matter what I am saying in my head in my heart I feel empty.

This emptiness does not have to do with insecurities or fears, it's simply when we are not together I do not feel complete.  I feel lost, not whole and sometimes alone.  Does this mean we have to be with each other every waking moment of everyday?  No, but it does mean that when we are not together I do not feel 100% of myself.  Some may say is this cosmic bond we have with each other, I simply say I love my husband and miss him when he is not with me.  This to me is love, a love I have never had nor will ever have again.

That all being said, this chapter was a GREAT reminder that when he does come home I do need to greet him better.  I do need to show him how much I missed him and exactly how happy I am that he is home.  This doesn't mean I need to smoother him when he gets home or become his shadow it simply means I should clear my mind, my thoughts and spend a few moments letting him know....

I am happy you are home and greet him with a kiss of love.



Taking people for granted--should be the 8th deadly sin, as far as I am concerned. Someday, hopefully not soon, my last hello or goodbye will be just that..my last. Sooner or later, sometimes unexpectedly, we are all going to die.

This chapter was a reminder, to me--the bigger picture if you will-- that I need to not take my wife for granted. To me, this is symbolized by the importance of a proper greeting-....taking the time to demonstrate to the love of your life that they are just that...while you still can.

Some times, especially when it comes to "self-improvement", I feel like we constantly work toward the future. I want to be become this...I am working toward....I will be a better...etc. etc. But you know what, that next day or year may not come. So, while I am all for working for a better tomorrow, as they say, I am cautious not to do it at the expense...the risk of forgetting...about today. For right now, this moment, is the only thing in life that is guaranteed to us.

I love my wife. I miss her when she is gone. I am always sooo happy to see her. I will take the time to make sure she feels the way I feel inside.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Love Dare-Day Eight

Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy.  To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it.  Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

Love is not jealous-  Jealousy is one of the strongest drives known to man.  It comes from the root word for zeal and means "to burn with an intense fire"  The scriptures pointedly says, "Wrath is a fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?"  (Proverbs 27:4)
There are two forms of jealousy: legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy.  Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love turns their heart away from and replaces you with someone else in the mind, body or both.  Illegitimate is in the opposition to love-one rooted in selfishness. This is jealousy of someone or of someone being more popular and can lead to feeling of hatred towards that person.  When you were married, you were given the role of becoming your spouse's biggest cheerleader and the captain of his or her fan club. Both of you became one and were to share the enjoyment of the other.  Because love is not selfish and puts others first, it refuses to let jealousy in.  It is time to let love, humility and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart.  It is time to let your mate's success draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love.

I didn't burn my list but I did "dispose" of it.  I do not have a hard time with disposing of a list of "negative things" about my hubby.  These are not the things I focus on from day to day when I think of him.  Each day my intention is to try and make his life a little easier and try and find a way for us to get closer.  Some days I achieve this goal and some days I fail miserably at it.

We all have faults, we all have things we want to change about ourselves.   Just because I am a child of God does not mean that I am perfect nor do I expect my hubby to be perfect.  We are born of free will and with that comes learning and mistakes along the way.  I admit when I first got married I thought I could "change" my hubby and it was a long time till I realized the only thing I have control over and have the ability to change is myself.  I no longer spend my time wishing he would change.  If there is something I wish he would not do anymore, I ask him not to do it.  If that does not work then I try and turn it over to God and let it be between Him and my hubby.  Really, there is nothing more I can do to help change things, he will have to want to change or it will never happen.

This chapter asked me how hard it was to burn the list, it really wasn't hard for me at all.  I love my hubby, I KNOW he is the man for me and I KNOW he can be all that he wants to be in this marriage and in his life.  I KNOW these negative attributes are not the only things that make him up and I know that he tries to overcome them.  My hubby is a good man, he has a big heart and he loves his wife and family.  He just has his own things he needs to work on and realize they do not define him and he does not have to let them rule his life or his choices.  This list was easy to dispose of, because I know this is not the man my hubby is meant to be, this is not the man God meant for him to be.  He will overcome, I will overcome my negative attributes so we can live the life we were meant to live...... together.

I am my hubby's biggest fan, I always have been and I always will.  I made sure to do what the chapter told me and go out of my way to share with my hubby something I was proud about in his accomplishments.  I never find it hard to praise my hubby because I know he is a good man and he works hard.  It easy to be number two of his fan club and it always will be.  (Number one of course is himself-smile)


I am a gem. I say this often (along with "I'm golden", "I'm awesome" and other related affirmations). Why? Well, in part because I am proud of myself--the day-to-day work I put in to benefit my family and those that count on me. I know I am both respected and liked (by most) of my employees. Today, out of the blue, an employee extended his hand to me and said he wanted to thank me for making him better at his job. He had a great month, and thought to thank me for working with him. This reminds me of why I do what I do.

But, I have faults. I have fears. I have insecurities. And, when I am not careful, they can bleed over into my family life. It is important that I continue to establish boundaries between my professional life, and family life. As I often tell my wife, I can't fire my kids so I need to continue to work with and develop them....but if I could....I kid the children.

My wife is incredible. Anyone that knows Michelle  knows that she is honest, passionate, devoted to her God and family; she works and plays hard. She is the most amazing woman I have ever known. I married her because I knew she was "the one." I remain married to her because I am in love with her more than the day I married her, and she is my constant motivation to be a better man...continue to make better choices.

My wife said something to me a few weeks ago, and she may have had one too many turkey burgers, but it was something to the effect of: People often think that I make you a better person; really, you make me a better woman, a better Michelle.

It's hard to explain how much these words mean to me, because as she said it to me, I can say the same thing to her. I think this is rare.

We have our disagreements. We have our issues. Most, we work through. Some, we continue to work through. We don't always agree on how we raise our kids, or decisions that each other makes. But, I know we respect each other. And, overall, vastly overall--we have common values that guide us. Most of all- we have love. Even in our darkest moment, or in the emotion of a....conversation...I respect her, I believe in her, and want to be with her. There is no where else I would rather be and no one else I would rather be with, than my wife.

Yes, we all have faults. But I truly had a difficult time creating a list of "negatives" because to me, she is who she is, and I love her for it. Her negatives, to me, are who she is. And, I love her...all of her, even the things I wish (and will continue to try!) I could change. 

For this reason, I sing her praises.