We’re Married; We’re Working

As MrH and I round the corner towards our office building each morning, we briefly kiss mid-walk.  “Have a nice day!”  I sometimes imagine the confused stare of an observer, surprised that we keep walking next to each other; we enter the same building. 

We get off the elevator, greet our receptionist, and go our separate ways without another glance.  You see, when we’re in the office, we go by our first names and our titles.  The words “husbad,” “wife,” “honey,” and any looks that go along with them do not happen within the workday.  This arrangement works pretty well.  It’s not that we’re a secret or a scandal, but we have found that it works best when we don’t have these personal interactions during the work day (just like we try not to talk about work when we’re on datenight!). 

Recently, someone was showing a new staff member around.  “Oh and this is MrH’s wife!”  “Uhm, [awkward laughter], and I work here, too!”  We’ve also both been getting a lot more of the “where’s your husband/wife at today?”  It’s not like we have GPS chips implanted with little locators beeping all day long!  Especially in the office, one rarely has any idea where the other is.  And why didn’t he get introduced as my husband???  That in itself says something about the way that marriages “work,”at least in some folks’ minds. 

We’ve pulled our “work-mode” boundary back a bit.  Now we kiss as soon as we get up to ground level after our train-ride in.  I figure I can handle the five-minute loss each day.  Maybe it’ll get us ready for the day when we won’t be able to ride in together anymore… now that’ll be different! 

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Centering

I needed a few days to find myself.  In all the hustle and bustle of uploading pictures and celebrating the beauty of hour new home, I forgot about who I am.  I started picking out curtains in my head, and chairs through the online shopping websites; I decided on what color dish towels, and forgot to write, pray, or work out. 

Funny thing is, I didn’t realize any of this until now, at the start of my second day off.  I had noticed I was fighting with MrH, and with each fight, I ended it in thinking: “this isn’t about you or me, this is about the fact that I’m exhausted and can’t keep going on.”  Then it finally clicked and I scheduled two days to get out of work, out of working on the house, and instead do the things I love. 

It feels luxurious and completely undeserved, but yesterday I got to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up all my favorite snacks; I was able to go to the bead store and make a sexy the earringspair of new earrings; I was even able to use my giftcard for a second set of gym clothes.  When MrH came home, I wasn’t ready for him yet so I watched The Notebook.  Have you ever seen that movie?  It’s beautiful!  The love between a husband and his wife, wow!  I may need to write a whole separate post about that one, it’s good!   

So now I still have an entire day to go, and I might actually spend some time cleaning here, or painting at the new place.  Either way, the plan is to keep taking time for myself when I need it.  The plan is to do some writing, or get in a workout, make some earrings or whatever, every day!  Those are the times for me to center myself.  And to remember that the house isn’t about how gorgeous it’ll be; the house is about becoming a home to anyone who needs it.

The Power of Women Being Women

My whole life (it seems), I have yearned for women friendships.  Reading novels, I always drifted towards the ones in which a group of women bonded together to overcome life’s trials.  The power of such a group is immense, and I’m finally experiencing what it feels like to be a part of that.

Within a group of women who see one another regularly, something develops that can’t be found anywhere else.  I believe that with each other’s love, care, and trust, we each become more of the women we were meant to be.  We each begin to more fully express who we truly are and as women, become more fully so.  Some things we walk through together have always been considered traditional steps that all women go through: relational issues with significant others, marriage, babies, etc.  But we also walk through our individual pains and sorrows together; arms linked, warding off all enemies. 

To be a part of such a group inspires me.  Every time we spend an evening together I come out in complete awe: of the women themselves, their truths, and of God.  As a result, I am empowered to be more fully who I am.  And when that happens, nothing is too big! 

arms linked - kind of like this

Painting a HOUSE

They say that paint is a “fast and economical way to update a room.”  Yeah right!  Try painting every room in the house – at $26.99+ per gallon, that adds up quick.  I will say the reward is awesome:   yucky cold kitchen    pretty red kitchen

So far, we’ve painted (ok, are in the process of painting) three rooms. 

  1. Our kitchen went from a grey-cabineted, blue-walled space to a crisp and warmly inviting living space.  The pictures show the difference!  (for those who care: the red is BM Moroccan Red, and the white is BM Simply White).
  2. Our living room is now Golden Straw – it’s warm and inviting without being too yellow.  My friends were able to get that up there beautifully in seemingly no time at all!
  3. The poor dining room isn’t in as friendly shape.  It has a deeper color (BM Princeton Gold) that did not cover well.  At all.  The white primer shows through all over the place, and the color varies from a yellow-ish green to another gross color, to something else.  It’s truly indescribable.  My friends worked on that one too – it was less rewarding.  MrH and I spent another hour today doing a second coat (that’s truly all it needs, my friends did a great job!).  Then we ran out of paint.  And the heat died.  Again. 

The second-funnest part of painting is the feeling that this is ours and we’ll live here for a long time to come.  The most-fun part of painting is the surprising opportunity to bring together friends in a completely different setting than we would otherwise be.  It was great to serve them lunch, and it was great to get to connect with them each differently.  I’m working to keep my focus on the fun and the friends, as I do believe that that’s why we were blessed with the house in the first place.  Now if only the heat would come back on…

“Healed to Lead”

I ran across this blog entry the other day, which is a response to an article about a person whom God healed from some pretty painful stuff, to then go on and become a leader in her church/faith community.  I think that’s a pretty intriguing concept.

My friend and I have been talking about starting a small group (a church-based group that meets weekly – kind of like a Bible study but with a few more elements) since last summer.  Somehow, we haven’t been able to get it off the ground yet, neither of us feeling quite ready to get it started.  For the past few days I’ve been wondering: do I need to be healed to lead? 

This raises an interesting question about church leadership: do we become leaders once we’ve reached a certain level of “healing,” or a certain measurable level of Godliness?  Or do we become leaders once we truly start leaning on God to carry us through whatever needs carrying through, wheathering the storms even while in leadership positions?  In my heart, I truly believe that I know how to lead a small group – even though I haven’t yet figured out a couple of elements that I would need to sign in the leadership covenant.  The reason for this is that when questions come up, my role is not (and will never be) to have the answer; rather, my role is to encourage the person to pray about it, to see what God’s Word says about that topic, and to encourage questioning and exploration.  If topics come up that I know are important to church leadership, I will always have the option to say “look, this is something I’m struggling with as well.  Let’s find some resources, some people who can help us discern God’s will in this.”  My friend and I plan to talk with church leadership about this idea, and further pursue the idea of starting our own small group. 

Which leads me back to: “do I need to be healed to lead?”  Or, conversely, “in what ways have I been healed to lead?”  How would you answer those questions?  For me, I think I’ll need to spend some time with my journal before publicizing the thoughts. 

Dealing with it

When MrH and I purchased our house, we divided up the different duties that come along with it.  Whether fair or not, I wound up with “contractors.”  So I’m in charge of our roofing guy, electrician, plumber, heat technician… oh, and the burner technician.  Last week I found out that the guy who fixes the heat, doesn’t actually fix the burner.  Here I thought that the burner was part of the heat.  Go figure.

This division of labor creates some awkward moments though.  Sometimes there’s a definite element of “why aren’t you talking to me, man?”  MrH has been awesome really letting me own it, even when it’s awkward for him or me.  For this weekend though, I had to ask him to join me to meet the electrician.  That’s the other weird part: that some of these men are used to interacting with women who maybe aren’t married.  My response is to flirt right back, to enjoy the playful interaction, but as a new wife that doesn’t seem like quite the right thing to do.  It feels wrong to respond in that way (for me at least), and so I asked MrH to join me this weekend when my electrician-man shows up.  I suppose that might make things more uncomfortable for both of us, but I feel better to at least be together in it, awkwardness and all. 

The Toolbelts

Our toolbelts were slung carelessly to the side, soaking up sun on the small, muddy patio. Only minutes before they’d been vital in getting the job done; each belt carrying the essential tools for measuring, cutting, and drilling drywall. They had slapped against thighs, twisted around waists, and stretched to the max holding extra screws, tape measures, chalk. Their insides were blue with excess chalk from the over-filling of snaplines, and their outsides were covered in the fine dust only created by drywall and rotozips.

But now they were done. The people were having their shrimp po’boy lunches, generously provided by the homeowner. Relaxing in the sun, tanning faces, stretching limbs; completely unaware of the toolbelts’ hard work.

More Thoughts?

I’m still soliciting thoughts on this post, and would love to hear what you have to say about it! In the meantime, I’ll work on getting some other posts out. However, I’m still thinking about some of the hard questions, spurred by our trip to the Gulf Coast. Seriously – read the post and write your comments!

Becoming a Wife – the Wedding Dress

Today I helped my friend find her wedding dress.  Just two married gals with an engaged one.  We had a blast! 

The dress is symbolic of so many pieces of the wedding.  For some it’s the realization of a fairy tale she’s dreamed for all all her life; for others, a unique expression of herself as she unites with another.  When my friend looked in the mirror and said “this is the one, can I call my mom?” I almost started crying.  I wonder how her mother experienced the phonecall.  She lives too far away to have come shopping with her daughter, and yet her immediate request for pictures and a description spoke of her longing to be there with us.  The moment seemed almost too intimate to be a part of.  But I’m so thankful we were.

Being Sick

This isn’t one of those self-pitying posts (“I’m sick and I hate my life and nobody cares and please leave me a comment because then I’ll know you care!”)  But there are some very real things that happen when you’re sick, that strongly play into being a wife. 

As MrH’s wife, even after all this thought about what it could, should, or might mean to be that, I still have this deep desire to be a “good” wife.  Maybe I’m trying to redefine that, or perhaps I’m actually still just totally stereotypical; that’s not the point.  I still want to be that fun, smart, beautiful woman that MrH saw when he married me.  Being sick, anxious, tired, or cranky don’t fall into that category, and so I resent it when I am. 

There’s a real danger that can happen when you let your guard down all the time: without consciously trying, you do loose some of that spark that you saw in each other to begin with.  As I get more tired, more stressed, or more sick, I just want to come home and vegetate.  Not the most attractive state.  Sometimes, it just takes some effort to be that cool, strong, spunky woman you both like so much.

I’m NOT saying we should be all dolled up a la 50s for our husbands all the time.  But when I don’t do that any time, I do think it affects how we view each other.  Yes, he loves me all the time, in sickness and in health – and MrH is fantastic at truly living that.  And yet, when I’m sick for a couple of days, I wish to feel better at least partially so I can go back to being the fun and cute wife I want to be.