Monday, November 14, 2011

Do you struggle with the "It's not good enough" complex when trying to find a gift for your love? This might help.

I was recently delighted with a special surprise evening. For our 20-year wedding anniversary, my husband insisted on planning a "Johnny Walker Surprise" that was not revealed to me until we reached the destination. (Yes, my husband's name really is Johnny Walker).

"A surprise? But, I don't like surprises," I replied. I say that, often, yet I have never actually encountered a surprise of his that I didn't like.

So, why do I whine that I don't like them?

Maybe because he is far better at making special plans than I am? He is a prodigy when it comes to planning special evenings or presenting special gifts.

When I try to think of things to plan on my own, or gifts to buy or make him, everything I come up with in my head simply withers beneath the towering shadows of the awesomeness that is Johnny Walker.

Simply put, my brain says, "It's not good enough."

I have struggled with this dilemma for years. Some years, I may overcome this delusion I've somehow created for myself, but I still struggle somewhat. But, at times in the past, I'd become so overwhelmed by attempting to plan something special or trying to come up with a special gift that I wasn't even able to pick out a simple greeting card.

I had become cursed with the words that the "Misty mind" was insistent upon repeating, "It's not good enough. It's not good enough."

Don't get me wrong. It's not at all about trying to compete with his plans or his gifts. It's all about my head saying, "It's not good enough... for him."

The "Misty mind" complex began when our relationship did, 23 years ago. He is the world to me, and it's hard for me to come up with a surprise or a gift that can stand up to something so profound.

What's interesting is that for my friends, picking out a card or a gift is easy. Of course, they are special to me as well, but they are not my dear husband.

Devastation Through Paralysis

Without knowing the reasons behind the non-actions for special days, you can imagine the hurt that this can inflict on one's spouse; the husband watches his wife quickly and easily pick out special gifts for friends, and for him, there is nothing when it comes around to his special day.

Without communication, one spouse's internal complex can inadvertently subject the other spouse to their own internal complex. A lack of communication breeds assumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling and assumptions are, more often than not, incorrect.

If you have difficulty thinking of special surprises or gifts for your spouse, don't let yourself become overwhelmed with the decisions and just take it one step at a time. If you have issues with "Misty mind," as I do, allow yourself plenty of extra time to think about it. Putting it off until the last minute will only make it harder for you.

If your spouse is one that seldom buys things for themselves, but you often hear them say, "Oh, I like that!" You can simply keep a running list of things you've heard them comment on. By the time a special day rolls around, you'll have a whole list of things to choose from and can choose one that would be appropriate for the occasion at hand.

Some spouses may be quite hard to buy for simply because if they want something, they've already bought it for themselves by the time a special occasion comes around. So expand your options.

Your running list can also include places your spouse has mentioned they would like to go or maybe specific activities that they've expressed an interest in doing.

"Doing," rather than "buying" may also be an alternative option for you when you want to do something for your love on a special date or occasion such as anniversaries or birthdays.

The Big Reveal

For my special "Johnny Walker Surprise," I was only given a suggestion of appropriate attire for the evening. (Of course, that's one of the first things that I asked when I was told it was a surprise. "Well, what should I wear?")

Our first stop was dinner at a restaurant that I had been wanting to patronize. At the end of our meal, I was presented with a special anniversary cake for dessert. On top was a beautiful porcelain topper of a husband and wife that, together, formed the number 20, the number of years we've been married.

In secret, he had gotten the cake and topper separately and took them to the restaurant earlier that day. I also received a nice anniversary card.

Following dinner, we were off to our second destination of the evening and I was surprised with a special overnight getaway at the Hilton. Our room was adorned with rose petals on the bed, champagne, grapes, strawberries, and chocolates (as well as chips, salsa, and soda in case I wanted a snack later). He had even secretly packed an overnight bag for me.

When you put it all together, it could be seen as just dinner and a room at a hotel. I would have been happy with a picnic in the park and a trip to Target to grab rainbow socks for bowling. It's not the amount of money you spend or where you go, it's the effort, and it's the surprise.

Don't let the "Misty mind" fool you... it is good enough.

Article published by Hitched Magazine November 2011
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

What is my voice again, exactly?

I'm a big user of the "notes" app on my iPhone. I've had one on there for a good long while. 

The title?

 "Speaking Engagement (for real)"

And that's all that the note has held. Just a lonely title; nothing more.

Today,  I wrote three words. "Forgiveness and understanding." Yep. That's all.

I have believed that my doing stand-up comedy was a door for me. Well, yes, it was in fact a door for me, for a lot of things, but I believed it was a stepping stone to speaking engagements. 

I was comfortable in front of the audience. And I have a lot to share with people. Seems fitting.

It's still something that I would like to do. I've been asked a few times by different groups or organizations, but declined.

After the last offer that I declined, someone that I know told me a speaking engagement should be easy, when compared to doing stand-up.

Should it? I don't think I agree. Comedy seemed easy. Trying to figure out a "format" and what I'd actually want to say at a speaking engagement is proving to be alot more difficult. 

Maybe it's because the comedy was mainly for me? I didn't really care what the outcome was. I liked it. I enjoyed it. 

But this, it's not for me, it's for "them." It's for the audience. I have difficulty even beginning.

So, it makes me wonder now if I should just stick to writing.  Or maybe, I'm just giving up because it's too hard. 

Either way. 

Here I am.

Writing about it. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Consideration when choosing a family pet

You and your spouse have been discussing it, and have come to the conclusion that you are both ready to take the plunge. It’s time to bring an addition into your family—a pet!

Whether it’s just you and your spouse or if you have children, getting a pet should not be a decision that’s made on the spur of the moment. Putting great thought into it, before making any final decisions, will be seriously beneficial to everyone in the long run.

How do I know this, you might ask? Experience. My family and I have brought in numerous pets over the years without putting appropriate thought into it beforehand. We’ve made mistakes. But, perhaps sharing our mistakes will help you to find your perfect family pet.

Some may say, "If it’s in a cage or a bowl, there’s not really anything to think about. I mean, how much trouble could a pet of this nature possibly be?"

For one, if you have small children it may be more challenging than you think. About 13 years ago, my husband and I along with our son, Chance, returned with a small gold fish we had won by tossing ping pong balls into fishbowls. Simple enough, right? A little fish food, a bowl—which we didn’t even have—and presto! Perfect caretakers. Chance, at first, wanted to take the fish out of the "fish mug," which we were keeping it in so he could play with it. He didn’t understand that it had to stay in water. "Bath?" he’d ask, assuming the fish had to stay in the water. So, we obliged the young tot and confirmed to him that, yes, the fish was taking a bath.

After having the fish about a week, I came through the living room one evening and noticed a bath towel up on one of the shelves in the living room. I picked up the towel and let out a gasp. The bath towel had soaked up all of the water in the fish’s mug. I can only assume that Chance had decided the fish was done taking a bath. What did Mommy do when it was time for Chance to get out of his bath? I dried him off with a bath towel. I’m sure to him it made perfect sense.

Services were held later that evening over the toilet bowl, just before bath time.

Our first mistake and one that you and your spouse need to discuss as soon as a new pet is introduced into the family is: Do we have the proper resources to care for this new family addition? And, are we ready to educate ourselves and our children on how to properly care for the new pet? The first thing you should do is look up the animal on the internet and do some reading. Go down to your local pet shop and ask questions. All life should be loved and nurtured, no matter how small and it’s going to require some effort from everyone in the house. If you have any doubt then it’s probably going to be a negative experience and one that will have you and your spouse sitting in your child’s room "explaining" some things.

With that said, here are a couple more do’s and don’ts that will help you along the way.

Don’t become the town breeder.Back when I was in high school, I purchased a female and a male hamster. I quickly became the hamster breeder for the local pet shop. My female hamster had 10-15 babies at a time, and since the gestation period is very short, we had a lot of baby hamsters over a two-year period. I traded the hamster babies at the pet shop in town for more food and bedding for the next brood of babies. Looking back, why I didn’t simply separate the male and female is very perplexing.

The lesson here is that although it’s a nice thought to be able to provide a companion for your caged pet, be sure you don’t inadvertently become the town breeder. Also, keep in mind that with a cage comes cage cleaning. If you are unable to maintain the needed upkeep, consider other options that may better suite your family.

Do educate yourself and your family on the types of illnesses the animal may be prone to and what the symptoms are.When the boys were young, we had a pet rabbit, briefly. It was a dwarf rabbit and was very sweet. Unfortunately, the rabbit was sick when we got it and passed on shortly after. Because we had not educated ourselves on this animal before we brought it home, including the types of illnesses that they are prone to, and what the symptoms of these illnesses were, we did not even realize that the rabbit was ill. We simply thought it was very "friendly, gentle and calm," as we were told.

Owning and caring for a pet is a lot of responsibility and it's important for the entire family to understand and feel that responsibility. When you, your spouse and kid(s) are all aware of the care and needs of your pet, that animal will return the favor by supplying you with years of happiness—or chewed up furniture.

Published by Hitched Magazine October 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 25th - A greater significance than I knew

John and I will have been married 20 years in a few weeks on October 25, 2011.

We were "official" on this same date in high school, so that is why we chose this date to be married three years later. We were fresh out of high school. Even so, October 25, 1991 was the date the "Walker Family" began, with just he and I. Jeffrey came along not too long after in 1993, and then Chance in 1996.

The significance of October 25th at that time was only that it had been our "we are officially a couple" date. Until today, I had no idea that this date held a great significance in my life, that had actually begun 15 years before we got married.

During our recent visit back home to Evansville, Indiana, my Mom (my grandmother who raised me) sent me home with some boxes of things. She's moved from her house in Posey County to an apartment in town and the boxes of things she gave me had been found in one of the storage areas when it was cleaned out. 

There was a photo album in one of the boxes that I don't recall every seeing before. It had belonged to my parents. It didn't have many photos in it, but some of them I had never seen before.

"Deb and Jeff 1971"

In the front of the photo album was an envelope that Mom had put in there for me. Inside the envelope was a copy of my father's accident report from when he was killed on September 25, 1976. It contained additional information that I hadn't seen previously. I also found a paper that took me a minute to realize what it was. It was the guardianship papers that granted legal guardianship over my sister and I to my Mom

The date that my family changed back then, was on the same date that my family had changed when 
John and I got married... October 25th. 

I had no idea the date of our wedding was so significant, and before I even knew it.


My Mom and I at my book signing in Evansville, Indiana
September 2011

Misty and John October 2011

I love my families... all of them.