You and Your Mother-In-Law

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  This can be one of the most wonderful bed of roses relationships, 

   OR  one strewn with thorns and barbs,

   OR  one that is abandoned and completely ignored.

  Part 1 in the series of Mother-In-Law

This post is part of a series, and for now I will touch the surface of this very significant relationship with some tips of making it a two-way working connection.  Such as:

  • Is it important?
  • What do you call her?
  • Find something in common.
  • Do you know her?
  • Do you know her likes, her hobbies, her favorite foods?
  • Do you find ways to enjoy her?

Below is a picture of my husband Stan with my mom Connie.  He was trying to figure out my ‘Selfie Stick’ and she was photo bombing.  They tease and laugh with each other quite a bit.  Because they both have a terrific sense of humor, it has made a huge difference in how things have been handled over the years. They share a healthy relationship which is very open; meaning they both can speak freely, yet with consideration for the other person.  Of course there have been some bumpy spots over the years; yet the desire from both for a strong family bond  has prevailed through the trials. Learning and growing is a  natural growing pain -and joy – comes from joining families.  They are great friends as well as in-laws.

mother in lawMy mom is a fundamental part of my blog, and I am so grateful for her support. She has been incredibly generous to help with posts and other details when needed.mother in law 6This is Stan and his mom Meredith, my mother-in-law.  I have focused quite a bit on my mom while blogging and since this post is on mothers-in-law, Meredith is my topic. It IS important

Stan and I have been married for over thirty years now, so there is plenty of ‘water under the bridge’ as they say. I look back and am amazed at the progress and change in myself, actually, in all the relationships I have developed over my life time; with association with my mother-in-law as a vital and very important one.  You see, the relationship I have with my mother-in-law affects my marriage as well as the bond with my own children too; so it is definitely worth working at keeping alive and well fed the best I can.  That’s your best for your situation and circumstances.  I am grateful that she has overlooked my follies, insecurities and stupidities of youth, allowing me to evolve to become closer as friends and family.  We all come into a family from different backgrounds and with dissimilar outlooks on life.  It is best when both will allow the other to stumble, forgive, and help the along so they can become a better more mature person. That is an asset to the family. That’s what friends do.

We must show our children what we hope they will do in similar circumstances when they are later in our situation.  If it is not dangerous or destructive to the family, it is so much better to be open-hearted and believe the other person isn’t trying to harm or be of ill-will. Keep communication open, with kindness always at the forefront. Have as the central thought, that someday you will be the mother-in-law or father-in-law, and will hope that you will be allowed the same lea-way and kindness; with the outcome of open relationships and bonds with your adult children and grand-children.

What do you call her?

I do call call Meredith ‘Mom’.  Stan calls my mom ‘Mom’.  We discussed this when we first married and decided that for us it was right and showed respect.  I was joining Stan’s family.  Meredith was a good mother, a fine woman, and willing to allow me to marry her son.  Out of respect and because I felt she deserved the title and distinction from me, I call her mom, or mother.  Stan feels the same towards my mom.  As the kids came along, they saw that we honored and esteemed them as ‘Mom’.  It helped to solidify family relations also, in good as well as difficult times.

Of course this does not mean YOU need to call your mother-in-law ‘Mom’, but ALWAYS keep your language respectful, particularly in front of your children.  It sets the tone for how you will be treated in not that many years to come, when it is your turn to be the mother-in-law or father-in-law.

mother in law 7

 

Find something you like to do together

Stan and I would love to travel with either of our moms, or take them really nice places and do exciting things, but it is just not in our resources at this time.  So, instead of bemoaning what we can’t do, we figured out what we can do.  Meredith likes to watch movies. She is also a foodie like me, and  she is quite an excellent cook by the way.  So when we can get together, we go to her house and watch a movie.  As often as I am able, I make a dinner and dessert for us to eat together before the movie, giving us a chance to chat and catch up on what’s new.  Sometimes we do grab a pizza or salad when I’m in a time crunch; she is always a great sport about it either way, but I love how she compliments whatever I cook – that is the best! (Remember I said she is a fabulous cook, and she’s just plain nice.)  For a treat she likes good black licorice, popcorn, wonderful bread, a fabulous dessert, special flavored ice cream and fruit. She is a tremendously good sport and never gets offended when we watch a movie that Stan hates, which he is usually vocal about; such as ‘Life of Pi’.  He couldn’t stand it, and she just laughs when he brings it up.  She has set a marvelous example of letting those trivial matters slide off her back, and getting on to the next thing – or movie.

She also enjoys games and recently we had a game night.  We were played a few games, including ‘Reverse Charades’. The picture is fuzzy, but I wanted to share how she gets in and participates making memories for everyone.  One of her very best qualities, if I had to choose, which is difficult to single them out, would be that she can laugh at herself; which is a tremendous talent.Mom & Game NightGet to know her

You can’t appreciate someone you don’t know

Meredith, Mom to me, is quite amazingly skilled in so many areas.  She grew up in a very small town, yet never let that be an excuse for not attaining a higher education, nor making her children speak correctly aka use the English language properly, and strive to be their best.  She married George, a wonderful man and they together they had four children.  Very unexpectedly dad, George, died almost 25 years ago.  She has never remarried.  Though she misses him very much, she keeps herself very busy.  She worked until retirement. Afterwards she has taken yoga and other exercise classes to keep up her health.  She is a naturally shy person, but strives to go out and keep in touch with family and friends, attending plays, concerts, luncheons and other social events. I greatly admire that since I know what a struggle it is for her to reach out when she is naturally an introvert.

She absolutely loves jigsaw puzzles and is fabulous at them; mainly because she is incredibly smart. Really, I mean seriously, she can remember things I can barely recall the basic facts about, and she recounts meticulous details!!!  Anyway, she has a puzzle going most all the time.Mother in Law 8Her craft room is set up with fabric galore, puzzles waiting and other projects to keep her mind occupied, her spirits lifted and her hands busy. I want to be just like her this way the older I get.

Mother in Law 9Reading is another one of her passions, which she is amazingly fast at, going through countless books on her Kindle.

She learned crafts as a girl and is willing to pass them on.  I asked her to teach my girls, which she was happy to do. She taught my girls to cross stitch when they were young and in 4-H.

She also taught them to crochet, and tried to teach me, but I can only crochet one thing which is not her fault.  In fact, I applaud her patience for hanging in there with me until I finally conquered my one project.  She probably needed a bottle of Excedrin by the end of it, but didn’t even complain once.

Sewing for her kids and family was another accomplished skill, but quilting is her love.Mother in Law10She has made a quilt for all of her kids (that includes in-laws), grand kids, a special quilt is gifted when they are married, and she hopes to be able to complete one for each of the great-grandchildren.  They are absolutely stunning and each a unique masterpiece of art.  Through the quilts, we have our own tangible, embraceable piece of Meredith – mom – grandma.Mother in Law11

Mother in Law12These are the quilts Mom made for Stan and me!  They are so beautiful and I am very blessed to have the relationship I do with my Mom (mother-in-law), my Mom (birth mom) and that Stan does also. It truly makes our family a bit of heaven on earth. Mother in Law12I realize the Mother-In-Law relationship can be a precarious one in some situations, but it can also be sweet. It is one that does more often than not, require effort, time, determination, love, understanding, an open-heart and wanting what is best for the family, not just for the  moment.

I will dig deeper into this sometimes complicated relationship as this series continues and hopefully give some helps to bring healing, peace and joy to the mother-in-law and daughter relationship in future installments of this series.   For now, find the good, prayer for guidance if necessary and appreciate her.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a Blessing and Be a Blessing Today

 

 

My son's wedding and the details

I Met My Daughter-In-Law To Be For The First Time Over The Phone

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My son's wedding and the details

Wedding Details of my sons wedding

My head felt a little flush and my stomach got a bit tight. I was nervous, but at the same time I felt calm and happy for my son.  It was all so surreal as my son introduced us to our future daughter-in-law over face-time, a phone app, for the first time.  What would you do?

We chose colors, wedding details, and worked to get to know each other as much as possible over the phone that summer.  It’s been a year since then, and looking back, it was a wedding day of miracles, growing love and much joy.  

Let me share our story with you- it’s quite remarkable.

Dallin decided to leave Utah to attend law school at Creighton in Nebraska.  While he was there, he met Brooke.  

They dated;

Got to know each other;

Became very good friends;

They found they were beginning to love one another, and so they nurtured it with healthy dating.

Continuously working hard to lay a solid foundation of respect, trust and honor as the base; knowing that would make it last- happily.

It was becoming apparent, that both wanted this relationship to be a bond that would last forever.  

On a Sunday, as usual, Stan called to facetime Dallin.  Well, Brooke happened to be sitting next to Dallin. 

Stan, my handsome hubby, asked who the pretty gal was.

Well…. Dallin, who is more private in his social life than some of our other kids…kinda spilled the beans that he was seriously dating Brooke (very serious it turned out), and their love story for us began. 

Luckily for us, WE ADORE HER!!!  She is truly a blessing to our family and we couldn’t be happier to have her as a Groneman.

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO DALLIN AND BROOKE

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

For me, it was an interesting experience because Brooke was working very hard to finish her schooling, preparing for the Bar Exam in Omaha. and working a part time job.  So, as much as she wanted to be involved, she could only do so much!

Ok, a little mom-in-law brag here: Brooke has a Bachelors Degree in Phycology, an MBA, a Juris Doctorate (specializing in Patent Law), and currently finishing a Masters in Biology as I write this post.

Anyway, back to my story. During that time, Dallin had traveled to Colorado to clerk for a judge as part of his schooling.

Meanwhile, I’m back here in Utah figuring out the details for the wedding and reception, as they decided to have it in Utah, and her family would travel here to participate.

 

MY GIRLS SAVED MY SANITY 

I am so blessed to have two daughters and 2 daughters-in-law, Brooke now joining the clan to make three. 🙂

Ohhhh SO much to do from arranging from what everyone would wear to decorating the reception center, to what to serve for refreshments, to countless other minor details. Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed, particularly not knowing Brooke well and wanting it to be ‘perfect’ for her.

My girls stepped in, and were angels!!! 

For example, one particularly exhausting day, after running from store to store, we finally found blouses to match the skirts I had been made from discount cloth that I found at a local fabric store.

Tawni and Ashley stayed until the very last minute, so we went to grab a bite to eat. We visited, laughed, and it was so nice to just relax. They are so good to me.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

For the refreshments, I had a tight shoestring budget, but I also wanted it to be nice.  Danitra, one of my daughter’s, crunched numbers continually. 🙂 

We chased down donut trucks and other food trucks to try them out, to see if any of those would work— huge sacrifice I know—yummy:) (Isn’t my grand daughter adorable too!)  I look back on that time with fondness.  We always have such fun together. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

As a way to highlight Brookes colors, we settled on a sweet treat.We purchased the candy sticks at the Peppermint Place in American Fork. They have candy sticks in bulk in SO many colors and flavors! They really are the nicest people to work with too.

In American Fork at a candy store that is a dream of a kid – of any age – called The Peppermint Palace, they carry candy sticks in bulk in SO many colors and flavors! They really are the nicest people to work with too. And if you go during certain hours you can watch them decorate candy too!

Candy sticks were sweet additions to the centerpieces making it extra special. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

SHE CAME!

Brooke had been trying to find/make a wedding dress work for weeks back in Omaha.  With her heavy work and school schedule it was very frustrating for me to watch her go through that so far away.  That was one thing I couldn’t fix for her.  We lucked out (actually a miracle happened), and she was able to fly here for 2 1/2 days and boy did I cram in everything!

On our way to the airport, Stan, Delsi and I stopped at the Draper (Utah) Cold Stone Ice Cream Store. These wonderful store owners are who we had chosen to cater Dallin and Brooke’s wedding reception after Danitra and I had looked at all the choices.

Cheryl and Seth were AMAZING, and I would recommend them to everyone for any occasion you have!

We were able to taste so many of the ice creams, if not all off of them!  I mean they didn’t hold back, they were so kind and wanted to make sure we were happy with our choice.  We narrowed it down to 10, including a choice for those who have special dietary needs too! You’ve got to come the Draper store folks! 801-706-5867.  

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

We packed the containers of flavors we chose in dry ice and drove to the airport to pick up Brooke.

However, as the three of us stood there waiting for her, we watched others with their signs waiting for friends and relatives to arrive and realized we hadn’t brought anything to distinguish us.

Remember, she hadn’t met us in person before!  Sssooo, my ever resourceful handsome hubby Stan did this!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

We found each other easily and headed straight for Debbie’s place.

Debbie owns Dessert Edge Cakes, they are DELISH, and extremely affordable too!

You get to taste the cake, choose your design and she is FABULOUS to work with!  www.dessertedgecakes.com  801-485-0354.  Tell her I sent you:) I wish I had a reason to just order a cake to eat it right now!!!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

I ABOUT KILLED HER  IN THE DETAILS

The next day I was so excited to take Brooke to see the venue.  I had made an appointment for us at This Is The Place and we arrived in the morning.  What I didn’t realize is that Brooke hadn’t been to an elevation of 800 feet and we are at 5,500 feet.  So after showing her around some of the park after seeing the reception building, I get a call from my son asking me why I was trying to kill his fiance.  WHAT?  

She was too shy to tell me, but she was getting physically ill from the high altitude….oooppss….lesson learned.  

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

The next day was dress shopping.  We found her PERFECT dress at Petal’s & Promises Bridal in Logan 435-753-8022.  She looked just radiant and it was YES to the dress.

Picking out flower arrangements and many other details were worked out also.

It worked out so perfectly that Dallin was able to drive over from Colorado to join us.

Our family had the best time ‘helping’ pick out the final six flavors of ice cream – yummy!  All the siblings and grandkids sat around the table with spoons in hand as we tried each one of the flavors, some a few times, just to make sure we knew what it tasted like. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

THE BIG DAY ARRIVED

Dallin and Brooke chose to be married in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Brooke with her mom, family and maid of honor. We are SO grateful to have these wonderful people as a part of our family too! 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

I want to give a side note here to all those who have parents involved, namely mom’s who are unable to go into the temple to be with their daughters for the ceremony.  I found out, that day through miraculous events, that there is a special room at the Salt Lake Temple, in the visitor area on the south side. A room where guests wait for the wedding couple.

This dressing room has mirrors, and is really nice. And it CAN be used for brides to come to AFTER the ceremony, to get into her wedding dress, with the help of her mom, sisters, or whomever she would like to help her, so that they can also be apart of this very special occasion.  

The bride can then go out the south doors, or can be taken to where her groom is waiting at the traditional area to exit out the west doors facing the temple usual.  If you have this situation, call ahead and make arrangements for the comfort of all.  It made our day delightful to do this, as I was able to be Brooke’s escort in the temple, and then I was able to leave her with her mom, grandma, twin sister and friends to change into her wedding dress. This made everyone feel as included as possible. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

The couple with me, Stan and my beautiful mother-in-law Meredith.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

WHAT’S A FIRST LOOK?

Brooke wanted the photographer Steve (amazing by the way) and works for James Erick Photography (801-678-6240) to do a ‘First Look’.  Steve was terrific to do anything and everything he could for us and didn’t flinch at the curve ball I tossed at him. Steve took it in stride and made it happen.  He was professional, patient, approachable and just nice the entire day and evening. We loved our pictures like these!

My son's wedding and the details

etails of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Ok, sorry back to the wedding day.

Well, I hadn’t had a chance to explain the ‘First Look’ to Steve, but as I hinted he quickly put it together for us.  Brooke came out one door, she was with her mom, sister and friends at the south door which was convenient. While Dallin had his back to her when he came out the traditional door.  He had not seen her in her wedding dress, so this was the ‘First Time’ or ‘First Look’ – and his reaction was priceless. 

My son's wedding and the details

etails of wedding and reception fr bride and groom.

After family pictures were taken, they had the usual one taken areound Temple Square as a couple…..

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Stan, our kids, a few others and I ran to the reception place to get things ready.  We had chosen The Heritage Building at This Is The Place in Salt Lake City                801-582-1847 (you know how much I love that place if you follow my Instagram, lol).

 

THE RECEPTION

The Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Bar was a HIT!  Ice cream of the guests choice, from the six flavors Dallin and Brooke chose – from the ten that we chose (remember they were out of state so we selflessly tasted all the scrumptious ice creams and picked the ten out for them) and they were even labeled with ‘Groom’s’ and ‘Bride’s’ Favorites for fun! They guest could have their ice cream in a delicious waffle bowl with a choice of four syrups such as chocolate, caramel, strawberry, etc.  Then the toppings, and these aren’t all of them!  It really was the best bargain AND we got to take the extra home!!!  

Ice cream of the guests choice, from the six flavors Dallin and Brooke chose – from the ten that we chose (remember they were out of state so we sacrificed and tasted all the scrumptious ice creams and picked the ten for them) and they were even labeled with ‘Groom’s’ and ‘Bride’s’ Favorites for fun! The guest could have their ice cream served in a delicious waffle bowl with a choice of four syrups such as chocolate, caramel, strawberry, etc.  Then the toppings, and these aren’t all of them!  It really was the best bargain AND we got to take the extra home!!!  

What did we do with the extra ice cream and waffle bowls?  If you’ve read about our 2nd Sunday’s, it happened to be one that weekend, and you can read all about how that came together HERE

The Strawberry Mango Banana Sorbet was the Gluten-free, Vegan Free, Dairy Free and AMAZINGLY YUMMY!!!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

In Utah, it’s not unusual to have a traditional receiving line, which we did.  This means the parent(s) of the bride and groom, sometimes siblings and special friends; along with newlyweds, greet guests who come to see them, as they stand in a line for a specific time during the reception.  It’s a wonderful chance to thank those who took the time to come for their kindness, to spend a little time and share their special day.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

SHOW OFF:) 

Stan collected pictures of Brooke and gathered many of Dallin’s to put in a slide show along with music for the guests to watch so they could get to know them a little bit better as they enjoyed the reception. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

KIDS ARE WELCOME

Receptions that have a traditional line, or a dinner, or whatever the case maybe, and involve toddlers or kids can be difficult because they become bored.

We wanted the kids to have something to do, so the parents were comfortable to stay, visit, relax.   To enjoy their time with us, those they met there and each other. 

I LOVE having my grand kids a part of anything possible!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

My daughter-in-law Ashley made all the grand daughter’s girls dresses.  They were just adorable and as sweet as could be- Perfect for the day! She would love to make little girls dresses, and matching items for the boys for your special day.

You will find Ashley here: Aria’s Little Lovely Dresses 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE KIDS?

So to solve this issue we had a KIDS AREA!  

We had wonderful gals who agreed to stay the length of the reception in the Kids Area so I didn’t need to worry about that at all.  They were there to help them, get out the supplies, food and look after them as need, but the door STAYED OPEN and parents were gotten as children cried or needed anything.

We had a video showing:

Choose one that is very family friendly and that a wide age range would enjoy.

Toys such as:
Lincoln Logs

Cars & Floor Road

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

You gotta feed ’em Food: 

I LOVE these cups!  They have lids, a way to mark the kids names on them and it’s easier to keep from spills which is IMPORTANT for those of us who cannot risk a slip or fall for injury!  Check out these drinking cups for the kiddos HERE

Goldfish Crackers are always a hit with kids of any age.  You can easily find them HERE

Annies Organic Fruit Snacks are a healthy treat to have on hand, they are HERE

Granola Bars are good to have also, check these out HERE 

 

Keep ’em busy with Things to Do:

Clipboards solve the issue of what the kids have to color on for the coloring pages and whatever else. I have a link HERE

HERE is a coloring book for young kids to take out the pages for each child to color for an idea you can see.

Dot-to-dot is always a hit, and pages come out easily for passing out. You might like this one HERE.

HERE are word searches and more.

Oh don’t forget crayons HERE

And lastly for this activity it’s great to have colored pencils, especially if you have coloring pages for olders kids and even adults, I have a link HERE

Adjust for ages and you can have coloring pages for ages up through adult too:)

——————

Back to Dallin & Brooke

THE CAKE CUTTING

Always a fun part of the reception.  I’ll let you guess if they made a mess…:)

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

THE FLOWER TOSS *See more of the flowers below

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

THE GARTER TOSS

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

FIRST DANCE AS A COUPLE

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

And now it’s time to leave for the honeymoon.

I would suggest one thing that I learned from that night. 

I had purchased bubbles with HUGE ratings, ‘perfect’ 5-Star, all of that. Yet you can see here we are without any bubbles :/

May I recommend THIS for your event, in addition to the bottles of BUBBLES.  It’s good to have THIS as a backup to add to the pageantry…. you know….to look marvelous for the pictures.  THIS is what my grand kids love to play with and it really works! I definitely would have had it in addition to the BOTTLES OF BUBBLESif I would have know about it.  Better safe, then…well…without bubbles, lol. 

Regardless of the failing bubbles, the couple looked amazing, and off they went to Italy!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Stan and I can’t tell all the family and friends who helped in countless ways, how grateful we are for making Dallin and Brookes wedding remarkable.  We appreciate all the kindnesses and generosity that were shown in large and small ways; it all made such a difference. 

 

THE FLOWERS

We loved our flower lady who made the most incredible bouquets, Boutonniere’s, mother’s corsages, and all the other arrangements involving flowers.  Her name is Pat and she has a charming shop by her home called Berglund Floral.  You can reach her at (801) 444-2026.  Pat is extremely easy to work with and her prices are very affordable.  I hope you give her a call.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

SMELL THE ROSES, THEN SPREAD THE LOVE

I apologize for the terrible quality of this picture, but it was that important that I share this with you.

At the venue, there was a HUGE fireplace with a ginormous mantle that would show in the pictures behind us.  I needed to do something with it, and since we were decorating, it needed to be on a shoestring budget, but also very attractive and nice.

I started looking for ideas and came across Sam’s Club and that they sold roses in bulk – who knew?  Right!

They were wonderful to work with and they delivered them on the exact day I needed them and they were GORGEOUS!!!!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Pat worked her magic and made a stunning display to put on the mantle using all the roses I purchased.  You can see how talented she is to incorporate inexpensive artificial greenery and flowers with the roses.  It was perfect.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

After the reception, I had dozens and dozens of roses left over—-what to do with them all?

Actually, I had a plan all along.  

See, I had been saving up bottles the few weeks prior to the reception as I emptied them when cooking.  Mayo jars, pickle bottles, fun salad dressing bottles; all sorts of things. I soaked them and cleaned off the labels, having them ready for this event I knew was coming. 

While cleaning up that night, I had everyone keep the longer ribbons attached to the square vases holding the candy sticks and other vases.

Arranging the roses, greenery, and ribbons it turned out like this. 

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

Can you guess what I did?

I took them to a local care center!  They loved them and enjoyed them more than we ever could have.  

If you have left over flowers, corsages, boutonniere’s or any decorations that would be appropriate to cheer someone else up with —PLEASE, don’t hesitate to drop them off. Or better yet, take the family, friends, or just you go on it say HELLO and make some’s day a little better.

 

LET’S BACK UP A LITTLE

The night before the wedding, Brookes family came into town and we were able to meet them and get together for a very casual dinner.  

Derek and Tawni (my son and daughter-in-law) were so gracious to host this event at their home. They made everyone feel very welcome and comfortable.

Because they have a wood burning brick oven on their deck, they chose to make homemade pizzas.  It was so delicious and really a nice evening.  Stan and I are very grateful to Derek, Tawni and everyone who helped make that night so yummy and fun.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

COOKIN

Tawni, and her helper, were prepping in the kitchen – don’t worry, we didn’t leave it all up to those two, we helped too:) Tawni made several flavors of scrumptious pizzas. 

Derek does a fantastic job baking up the works of art that Tawni makes, I mean they are AMAZING – we caught him taste testing.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

We brought salads and sides.

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

And PIZZA is Served!

My son's wedding and the details

Details of wedding and reception for bride and groom.

I hope you have enjoyed this wedding post.  Best wishes for many years of happiness and health to the happy couple.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Part 2 of Domestic Abuse or Violence

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National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness and Prevention

 Part 2 of Domestic Abuse or Violence is a perfect topic for October, because it  is National Domestic and Abuse Awareness Month.

However, this is a topic to be address all year long – Every. Single. Day.

Why?

Every minute a child, a woman, a man is affected by this horrible circumstance at the hand of another.  This is part 2 in my series.  Remember that men, women and children can all victims.  Be aware of what others may be trying to tell you with words or actions as a cry for help.

To begin, continuing with information from the Multi Faith Leaders Conference, it is important to understand HOW a person gains control or exercises dominion over another. This chart helps explain how this is possible and the ways it can be done slowly over time also.  The language here is for a woman being abused, but remember that men are also and it is never ok, nor acceptable, in any form or manner.

Recognizing Power & Control vs. Equality Domestic Violence Wheels

Created by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN

When Violence IS Used

 Abuse 6

This is how a healthy NON VIOLENT Relationship SHOULD Work

Abuse 7

    If you suspect abuse who do you report to:

  • Any Law Enforcement Agency
  • Any Peace Officer
  • Nearest Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) office

What do you report?:

  • Victim’s name
  • Victim’s age/date of birth (if known)
  • Victim’s current location
  • Victim’s home address (if known)
  • Allegation/concern

   ***It is very important to look after those who are vulnerable and cannot speak for them self; such as the very young, the elderly, etc. It is wise to use judgement when reporting an incident to have the facts and information so that the victim is not victimized more in the legal system or by the one(s) who are harming her in the first place. Some accusations or allegations generate cases that involve law enforcement, more than quickly than others might. These underlined types most often involve law enforcement.

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse/ Lewdness
  • Child Endangerment
  • Domestic Violence Related Child Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • All Types of Neglect: Physical, Environmental, Medical, and Dental.

SIGNS

What can you look for if you suspect someone is being abused?

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises or welts in the shape of an object (belt, stick, hand, etc.)
  • Bite marks
  • Anti-social behaviors
  • Won’t interact with others
  • Seems withdrawn
  • Problems in school
  • Displays fear of adults
  • Hyper-vigilance, shows characteristics of ADD/ADHD

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts.
  • Nightmares or Bedwetting
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Over-compliance (goes overboard in trying to please) or excessive aggression
  • Fear of a particular person or family member
  • Suddenly refuses to participate in physical activities
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts an STD (particularly under age 14)
  • Runs away
  • Seductive behaviors

 

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Apathetic or passive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Hostility or stress
  • Lack of concentration
  • Eating Disorders (severe weight loss or rapid weight gain)
  • Age inappropriate behaviors (parents other children or is extremely immature

 

Signs of Neglect

  • Unsuitable clothing for weather
  • Dirty or other hygiene issues
  • Extreme hunger
  • Apparent lack of supervision
  • Frequently misses school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care




Environmental Neglect & Child Endangerment Includes

  • An environment that poses a threat to the physical health or safety of a child
  • Cited DUIs with children in the vehicle.
  •  Homes where there are lab paraphernalia, chemicals for manufacturing of illegal drugs, access to illegal drugs, distribution of illegal drugs in the presence of a child, or loaded weapons in the reach of the child.
  •  Giving children illegal drugs or substances, alcohol, tobacco, or non prescribed/ not recommended medications for that child.
  • Involving a child in the commission of crimes, such as shoplifting.

  It is so important that we are aware and looking out for those that we live by, associate with, go to school with, work with and that our kids play with.  We may be the ones that can make all the difference in the life of another.  There is a site, Loveisrespect that is a fabulous resource for a wide range of questions and information regarding those who are being abused and want help, those who want to help someone who they suspect/know someone is being abused, as well as those who are the abuser and want to quit. At the LOVEISRESPECT.org site, there is a Chat line.  A Text line.  A Call line. 

In fact, an amazing amount of knowledge to help you and others all at the Loveisrespect.org site, click HERE for a direct link 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  



National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Is There Domestic Abuse or Violence In Your Life? Part 1

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National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness and Prevention

Is There Domestic Abuse or Violence In Your Life? 

Do you know someone who is trapped in this cycle as the perpetrator or the victim? 

Once a month the ladies in my church, as well as all women in the area who are invited and welcome, get together to learn, socialize – and eat of course.

At one of the meetings we were presented the same information given at a Multi Faith Leaders Conference which was centered on Domestic Violence Training.

I found it so informative and pertinent, that I asked for permission to pass it onto you. 

Adding to what I was given and heard that night, I have also included other information I found while doing some research on this important subject.

I hope you will read it and pass it on to anyone and everyone you can. 

You never know who is suffering in silence and just does not have the information of where to turn for help.  Possibly you, or someone you know is the abuser and wants to change, there is also help.  This is the first in this series.

Men can be abused as well as women, and it should be taken very seriously as well. Women never, ever have the right to mistreat men physically, emotionally or verbally. “Man-bashing” is terrible in all its forms and is to be shunned. For this post, I will focus on women for ease in writing and for my purpose here.

Years ago, I was able to help with a service project, again with ladies in my church and women in my area, as we remodeled a room at our local YWCA.  We took a little tour before beginning the job of cleaning, painting and such. 

An aspect that very much surprised me, was learning that there were Domestic Violence Shelters known as “safe-houses”.  These safe-houses were available in the area for women who were were in a life-threatening situation and running from their husband or boy-friend.  They and their children could stay at this safe-house for a time and get help from police and others.

It had not occurred to me before that, how complex the woman’s choices would be when trying to leave an abusive situation; here are a few scenarios:

  1. If the woman seeks shelter from family or friends the partner can easily track her down – meaning she puts them in danger and she realizes this gamble.
  2. Running to a ‘safe-house’,  there may not be room for her, which is a risk, and she may be turned away.
  3. If she were to move to her own place that would require her own money and independence, which is not common in an abusive situation.
  4. An abuser can keep the woman so isolated that she knows no one to go to for help, or has been isolated from family, or shut herself off from loved ones.
  5. Many run to the streets, and there be abused and violated, as much or more, as they were at home.

 To begin this series we will address understanding what abuse is and how to recognize it.

CRITICAL POINTS OF ABUSE

Domestic violence is never acceptable, it is a crime.

  • It is never deserved
  • Never ok
  • Never asked for
  • Never to be tolerated

Domestic violence is preventable.
If we will be involved and watch out for others and what is going on around us, we can be instrumental in reporting if necessary, or at least offering support and relief to others when we can see they need help.

Victims/survivors are not to blame.
It is NEVER the fault of the wounded. No matter what they said or did, it was never deserved.

Perpetrators are responsible for their own actions.
We all come to this earth with personalities, strengths, weaknesses and tests to overcome. However I believe that each person (that are able minded of course) has a conscience of right and wrong; which includes how to correctly treat others. A person can control their actions and words and has the responsibility to do so.

 

RECOGNIZING TYPES OF ABUSE

Physical Abuse:    Everything from shoving to hitting

Emotional Abuse:     Isolating, threatening, name-calling, demeaning

Sexual Abuse:     Forcing unwanted sex acts, forcing to watch pornography, use sex to demean or control

Spiritual Abuse:     Using scripture, doctrine, or dogma to justify abuse and control

 

CONTRIBUTING TRIGGERS TO ABUSE

Certain outside forces can promote anger and other emotions in an abuser, such as:

  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse (6 in 10 abuse cases are affected by these)
  • Apartment Dwellers (when it is a small, cramped, no privacy or yard is a large initiator)
  • Financial Problems
  • Infidelity
  • Holidays
  • Uncontrolled Anger/Rage
  • Unmarried Partners with Prior Relationships (70%)
  • Untreated Mental Illness

 

RECOGNIZING WARNING SIGNS

Offenders May:

  • Appear attentive and protective…when actually being jealous and controlling
  • Make the decisions about how and when the family worships
  • Have a history of violent and abusive acts, such as destroying property, harming pets, etc.
  • Use the premise of the patriarchal role within the family to rationalize abusive behavior

 

Victims May:

  • Seem quiet, devoted and dutiful…but may actually feel frightened, and isolated because of threats and abusive behavior
  • Have injuries and/or illnesses which may increase in frequency and/or severity
  • Tend to minimize the situation
  • Feel uncomfortable and make excuses if you approach them about the abuse

 

RECOGNIZE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE OR FUEL BARRIERS HINDERING A WOMAN IN LEAVING AN ABUSIVE SITUATION, OR EVEN REPORTING IT

Here are some of the reasons a woman (or man) may not leave a situation of abuse, even when their life is in danger.  Frustrating as it may be to an outsider, it makes sense to the abused:

  • Children
  • Money/financial dependency
  • Need for companionship
  • Hopes abuse will stop- that abuser will change”
  • Commitment to relationship
  • LOVE (or what is construed as love)
  • Doesn’t want to feel like a failure. Guilt.
  • Stigma of divorce
  • Fear of being alone, doesn’t want to start over
  • Low self-esteem
  • The cycle of violence is familiar
  • The unknown is scarier than the known
  • Threats of suicide/harm/harassment by abuser
  • Pressure from or lack of support from family, friends or church
  • Wants to preserve reputation
  • Single parenting an unattractive alternative
  • Sex/affection is good some of the time
  • Apologies/crying from abuser
  • Lack of awareness that it’s ok to leave
  • Victim doesn’t recognize behavior as abuse
  • No support system
  • Nowhere else to go




THERE ARE RED FLAGS TO WATCH FOR IN A RELATIONSHIP

From LoveIsRespect.org: It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusers may seem absolutely perfect on the surface — as if they are the dream partner — in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call The Hotline to talk about what’s going on:

  • Embarrassing or putting you down
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you  with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
  • Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
  • Threatening to hurt or kill you
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.  If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

 The National Domestic Violence site has many resources to help, click HERE for more information.

How can I help my Friend?  What if my friend is the Abuse and needs help? 

Click HERE for informationAbuse in all of its forms is hideous and does not have a place in a loving and caring home or relationship.

Too often a person may have grown up with the same treatment and thinks it is the way to act, or to be acted upon.  I will continue with this topic to give information and resources, in the hopes that suffering will stop, mistreatment and cruelty that has been perpetrated (even for generations) will cease, and coarse and harsh language and words in a relationship and family will stop all together.

Can you imagine the change if families only knew safety, love, righteous teachings and the path to true happiness?  We can find our way there, I know we can! Together, as we watch out to help others, then have the courage to do what is needed so peace, calm and joy can be in the life of every child, woman and man.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today




Stress RELIEF, Part 2

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I wrote about how we can have so much stress in our life, and much of it is due to a busy life style and how much we need/want to accomplish in a day.

However, there is also stress that is brought on by events and circumstances that others create which are completely out of our control.

What can be done to get relief? How can we feel we have power over our own life? What do we do to feel peace, God’s spirit and joy even through trials and times of hardships?

I have THREE simple daily rituals that will reduce our stress and change our entire attitude, even when hardships seem to smother and crush our very life breath.

Stress RELIEF, part 2

Pray and THANK, Tell and LIFT and Productive Relaxation.

Why of all the things I could have chosen to pick, when limiting myself to three, did I select these?

Good question!

I know myself, and figuring we are all pretty much the same in this regard, realizing that if I would have made a long laundry list of things to do to alleviate stress, we would never remember it, much less do it and consequently have MORE stress!  So, I thought about what three would be the most effective and productive while bringing the MOST successful and long lasting consequences and results.

Pray and Thank Then Write

This is actually a two part:

1a- PRAY and thank God for what you are grateful for that day

1b- WRITE down at least one a day in a gratitude journal what you are grateful for to God that He did for YOU, your family, etc. to BLESS.

a)Praying is such an important practice and truly life changing. It helps us remember that we DO have something to be happy about, whatever it is, even in the middle of a crisis or whirlwind of trouble and chaos as we look to our Lord, and confess that there was at lease ONE blessing from Him that day. By looking to our creator and recognizing His hand in our life, it eases our burden.

b)Have a little notebook that each night you write down ONE thing (more if you’d like!) that you were grateful for that day.  Some days, I can totally relate too, the only thing possibly you can jot down is that you had the strength to hold the pen to scribble…  Again, I promise that by doing this, crediting and valuing God’s love for you in even the simplest of ways, your life will change.  I guarantee it!  Your circumstances may not; however, your ability to carry the weight or responsibility will be alleviated and you will feel His love in ways you never, ever expected.  Plus, your Heavenly Father will give you blessings so much quicker because you thank Him and praise Him.

Consider when your own family members thank you, you are quicker to do much more; well wouldn’t it be the same with our Heavenly Father!?

I have a post on Gratitude Journals, click HERE to read more

Compliment, Thank and Encourage

2- TELL by emailing, texting or hand writing a note DAILY to someone, by praising or thanking them. Do not forget to family members too.

Commit to spend 5 minutes, it’s be to do this each morning first thing at work, to send an email, text or write a hand written note to just one person.  Tell them how much you appreciate them, or thank them for a kindness, or send a word of encouragement.  In this ever increasing competitive world that grows smaller each day, particularly with social media where everything and everyone can be easily shared ‘at its best’, we all feel insecure and vulnerable in one sense or another.  It does not take one bit away from us to lift another person spirits, remind them of their strengths and how much you appreciate the good you see in them.

By building another person, you are reducing your own stress and incredibly INCREASE YOUR OWN JOY!

Productive Relaxation

3- We have SO many ‘things’ and people battling for our time and attention that we rarely have time – NO, rarely do we make time to be quiet and still.

The inspired and significant  thoughts and impressions that come to our minds do NOT come when music, shows or games are blaring. Nor when we are constantly preoccupied mentally with electronic devices that can go anywhere with us – never leaving a moment of silence unless we make that choice. 

The great minds of long ago had quiet, alone time to ponder the deep aspects of eternity and life. We must make the effort to have at least five DAILY minutes of quiet. It is an interesting technique of an enemy who would not want us to have communication with deity by occupying our mind constantly (24/7) with shallow, simple-minded and trivial noise.

 

a. Make TIME to relax and PONDER the truly important things in life.  What is truly important to you? What are you doing to leave behind a praiseworthy and commendable legacy (nothing to do with monetary, all to do with uprightness and honor)?

 

b. Practice breathing techniques. Slow down your breathing and actively concentrate on it.

Imagine a personal paradise. Close your eyes and envision a different setting. What do you see around you? Is there a breeze? What do you hear – birds or water? Imagine the calming sound of ocean waves reaching the shore. Enjoy a moment in your special place.

  • Do belly breathing: where you put your hands on you stomach and when you breath in: you try to push away your hands, and when you breath out you make your hands go towards you
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Inhale deeply as you count to five, hold your breath for five seconds, then exhale slowly, counting to five. Do this ten times to relax your muscles and nerves. As you breathe out, visualize the stress and tension leaving your body through your breath.  (WIKI.com)

Conclusion

 I like you, struggle with stress and all the troubles life brings.  Yet, I sincerely believe that these THREE approaches, easily a 15 minute daily routine, can solve so much of our fears, anxieties and even health issues. 

  1. Pray daily and thank God above for your blessings that day and write down ONE thing you are grateful for
  2. Send a text, email or note telling someone else how much you appreciate them, thank them or encourage them
  3. Relax for at least 5 minutes by deep breathing or whatever method to have the mindset and way to ponder and receive inspiration

Our life will be incredibly more JOYFUL, calm and that is how we can then make it better for those we love. Most importantly, these simple steps can bring us closer to God, making communication more easily to hear His will, thus making our life richer and more HAPPY!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

 

 




Do YOU Have STRESS? part 1

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I attended a class on stress and the ways of increasing personal effectiveness and how to live a happier life. Mr. Miller brought up some very interesting points that I had never thought of, and which have consequently sunk deep in my soul; and maybe this will resonate with you. When you have stress, what causes it?  What do you do to get relief? What is the Savior’s way?


Are you going through some difficulties that have you harried? Are there events in your life that may be a bit of a challenge for whatever reason, and have you unsettled or agitated? Is your family a trial of sorts that cause apprehension and worry? I hope to pass on a few of the ideas I took away from the class, as well as much of my own, that I can share, which I hope will help us know how to:

  • Relax
  • Reduce our work load to accomplish more
  • Feel more joy
  • Have peace in our heart
  • Calm in our soul
  • Feel God’s presence so we can hear His voice
  • It shouldn’t surprise any of us that 90% of people polled say they feel stress. We have so many options and ways to keep us busy; that’s a given to feel tension.

What is our natural reaction to being stressed and having too much on our plate? Why, it’s to run faster of course!

Let’s tweak a scripture to be what many of us are doing in our life: John 14:27 My stress I leave with you, my rush and busyness I give unto you. Let your heart be worried and anxious.

Wouldn’t that be the most awful thing ever!?!? If I read my scriptures and Christ said that to me, I would have no hope for direction, for a way for peace, joy and help! I’d hide under the covers and not want to come out!

“Absolutely nothing in scriptural records allows us to imagine Jesus as a sad, gloomy, fatigued, depressed and overburdened person. It is equally impossible to picture Jesus with his robes flying as he rushes thither and yon, helter-skelter, trying to accomplish twenty things at once. Although we see many who look disheveled as they rush through their daily agendas, such was NOT the strong, calm, and steady example set by the Man from Galilee.” (Mr. Miller quoted Mr. Pace from a leadership seminar on following Chris’s example to leadership)

John 14:27 (King James Version) correctly reads: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. So how do we do as our Savior has directed us to do? He wants us to have His PEACE. NOT to have a troubled nor fearful heart. Let’s begin by looking at what we usually do. We allow stress to:

  • Affect our relationships
  • Affect our sleep – reduce and upset our sleep
  • Affect our relationships
  • Cause us to be irritable or angry
  • Unable to think clearly or stay on task
  • Not keep priorities straight and in proper order
  • Make us feel anxious or even depressed
  • Not take care of our health and well-being




We need to use a bit of care when we address stress. It isn’t always a bad thing. It can be a motivator and encourage us to perform. It is making sure we do not get used to, or need stress as an everyday, every minute stimulus, because it is not healthy and does not allow the Spirit to work in us when that is our constant state.

First off, to decrease stress do we HOPE it will go away?

Hope is NOT a Strategy! 

It takes a plan to decrees stress. I will address three in this post:

1- We MUST set boundaries

2- I’ll Chose NOT to _____

3- I will only spend this much:_____ time on ______

We MUST set boundaries We only have so much time in a day and that is all = 24 hours – no more, no less.

To protect our health we MUST set aside 9 (+) hours to sleep. ONE to get ready, settle down, get things in order and EIGHT to sleep, or MORE depending on the person.

This is so difficult, but to have the Spirit with us, regular sleep (yes, occasional late nights happen, but should not be the rule) truly makes a huge impact on our spiritual health.

Our body is a temple and as such needs to be taken care of, and this is a critical area. I read that the hours of sleep BEFORE midnight have double the beneficial effect on the body as those after midnight.

And that the old adage ‘early to bed, early to rise’ really is the healthiest for a body. This is one of the most difficult areas I struggle with. I definitely try to burn the candle from both ends and because of it, I do not function as well as I could. The nights I do follow this counsel, I can’t believe how much more productive, better equipped to emotionally deal with people and situations, and clear headed I am. Do you battle the sleep demon too? Thinking ‘just one more__ then I’ll go to bed’ and before you know it, it’s late. Is this an issue you can work on too? If so, join me in saying NO, it’s time for BED!!!

I’ll chose NOT to ___________ It’s ok to say I CANNOT this time, but possibly another; so ask me again please.

I think I struggle with this as much as anyone of you might also. I don’t want to disappoint, or put someone else out, or not ‘do my part’. But then I take on too much and bite off more than I can chew usually, which then I cause myself more stress. Whether it’s well intended or not, it’s still something added to my schedule that really did not need to be there – and I could have, and should have said no.

How about you? Do you ever do this? Is this an area that you can work on too?

I will spend THIS ______much time on _____ Oh, this is hard, whether it’s scrolling through Facebook, watching another episode of a tv show (making the hour later and depriving sleep), spending too much time on a project or hobbies, which we find then hinder other areas that need our attention.

I think this is a topic we ALL find our-self wasting vast amounts of useless time in some way or another. It is so important to relax, HOWEVER, wasting is not relaxing. I am going to calendar  and see where my time is going and how I honestly – HONESTLY spend it.

By seeing where I spend my time, I can reduce my stress by figuring out where I am wisely using time, where I am sensibly consuming relaxing time, and where I am throwing time way in ways that are actually adding stress to my life. Are you with me?

Let’s see how we can stop running to and fro like crazy people, and become more able to accomplish all we are here to do, while more fully having Christ’s PEACE and JOY. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Me & Stan at musem

34 Years!

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Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Despite telling Stan no twice when he asked me to marry him…even after watching the second half of ‘Gone With the Wind’ with another guy on tv, today is our 34th anniversary and we still REALLY, REALLY like each other, and deeply LOVE each other too.  See, back 34 years ago when a tv show played; particularly one as long as that, it was broken into two nights.  I watched the first half with Stan, and the second half on a date with another guy the next night – which Stan called my house several times during the show, I might add…



So, how did we meet?

We both worked in a small shopping center.  Stan worked in a shoe store next to the ice cream shop I worked in. My Grandma Shirley purchased shoes from him and kept telling me I should give him a chance and say yes when he would ask me out.  I had other guys I was interested in, along my own future plans for a career, travel, etc.  Grandma won, so after Stan had asked me out – again – I said yes.   As we began to date, we saw each other ever day at work, after college classes and whenever possible.  

We were married in the Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) LDS Temple (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) on a Monday morning.  So that began, our now history, and our future.

Together we have three sons, two daughters (all start with a ‘D’ so we can really sound da, dah, da when frustrated), two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and six grand-kids.

Like every marriage, we had to learn (and daily continue) to work as a partnership.   There have been hard times financially, health problems, difficulties working with loved ones, and a myriad of aspects that life brings.  Over the years we have had countless joy filled experiences, such as fun times camping, traveling a bit, working together in church and community positions, and have always kept God and family as the focus and foundation of our marriage.

anniversary pic 6A few funny stories for you –

When we were married ten years, Stan had traveled to New York for business and had enough travel miles for me to join him.  It would be the very first time I had the opportunity to leave the kids and be with just Stan.  My mom, our angel, any time we had the chance to go on a trip like that, used her personal vacation time from her work to come and stay with the grand-kids so I could go, as that was our only option.  Huge shout-out to my mom Connie everyone!!!  Anyway, back to my story.  I was positive the plane would crash and we would both die leaving our kids as orphans.  It incredibly cool to see a place vastly contrast as New York City compared to Utah, yet the whole time, I kept thinking, “I’ll never see my kids” convinced we would die in a fiery plane crash on the way home, then get teary eyed.  After arriving home safe and sound; probably a week or so later, when ‘one-of-those-tough-mom-moments came along, I thought, “I can go happy now – now is good!!!”

Many years ago Stan had business in Florida and I was able to go with him on that trip. When arriving I saw a few raccoon in the garbage cans scrounging for food.  I told Stan how funny it was to which he replied, “I lived here as a boy and there are NO raccoon’s in Florida.”  (yea, whatever)  Later we went to the beach.  I am not much of a swimmer so after playing in the water for a bit, I sat so that the water came in and out, always coming to about my waist while Stan swam in the surf.  That night as we walked to dinner, I became very uncomfortable. I told Stan I hurt and we realized that the water which had seemed so soothing going up and over me (also in and out of my swimming suit) contained not only ocean water, but tiny bits of coral from the reef not far off the shore, had obviously made teeny weeny cuts.  Oh, I wanted Desitin (baby diaper rash ointment) and in the worst way.  Being a mom, and this was a few decades ago, it was the only solution I could think of.  So as we now started to look for a convenience store, knowing there was no way I could sit on a plane the next day for several hours, we walked over this little bridge in a park hoping to find a store, suddenly countless glowing eyes came out of no where and towards us!  There was enough of a street light, that as they came closer we were able to see that we were being surrounded by a gaze of raccoon!  I punched Stan in the arm and shouted, “I told you there were raccoon’s in Florida!”  A policeman came right about then, probably thinking I was nuts, and told us they were very friendly because people fed them like you would ducks in the park, and asked us please not to do the same.  I gritted my teeth in pain, assured him we wouldn’t and asked him very nicely where we would find a store as we nervously went through the raccoon.  Geez…..and yes, we did find the Desitin….

anniversary pic 8We had the wonderful opportunity to go with a company Stan worked for to Cabo.  One night we decided to walk along the beach and it just so happened that a wedding ceremony was being preformed. They had it beautifully set up with torches, a backdrop that fit the scene perfectly and the bride and groom looked amazing.  We watched from afar, so as not to be in their way, thinking how romantic it all way.  It was a very dark night, not a star was shining, but you could hear the waves lightly crashing onto the beach and the rocks on the shore.  All of the sudden a huge wave engulfed Stan and me with such force, it pushed us all the way to where the wedding was happening! As the water hit, it shoved us down and we rolled right into the guests!  We stood up and realizing we were now standing in the middle of the wedding guests and the ceremony mid progress, we apologized and burst out laughing.  We couldn’t stop laughing, as we made out exit – as quick as possible.

anniversary pic 5

Here is our advice for a lasting marriage: not in order of importance, except last 5 are critical.  These do not take into account situations of abuse, etc., which please seek professional help.



  • We agree on the important things – religion is number one, politics helps, and so on.
  • We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  Life is just easier that way.
  • Pick our battles – always ask yourself before beginning a fight or tossing the first angry word:

                  1- Is this going to matter in a week?  If you answer yes, then –

                  2- Ask, is this going to matter in a month?  If you answer yes, then –

                  3- Ask yourself, is this going to matter in 6 months?  If you answer yes, then –

                  4 – Will it matter in a year?  If you answer yes, you’d better make sure you are being honest with yourself and not            —————prideful or selfish and handle with caution.

We keep romance alive and this is very important (this is from Stan and insists I must put it, but I’m blushing: “We still have fun in the dark”).  The physical aspect is important.  All who know us will recognize the picture of us standing at the Grand Canyon can see that I am trying to get Stan to quit patting my backside as he is always doing. Annoying sometimes, but mostly I know he is still attracted to me.  Make sure to keep the sexual bond strong and healthy between the two of you; take the time, go to a hotel, whatever you have to do.

  • Don’t let the kids get between you.  They will to make their situation easier.
  • It took two of you to bring a child into this world, it take two of you to raise them.
  • Be unified with your spouse in front of the kids.  Discuss later and change direction/course later if necessary.  Do not talk this out in front of them. 
  • Both must let go of selfishness and turn ‘me’ to ‘we’. A good marriage NEVER revolves around one of the spouses.
  • The BEST gift you can give your children is to LOVE your wife/husband.
  • Never criticize or put down your spouse to others.  It is demeaning and serves no purpose. When you have an issue, take it to them in private and have a constructive conversation.  That builds trust and respect.
  • Do not allow, extended family, friends, coworker, not ANYONE to come between you and your spouse in a way that would detract from a wholesome and thriving marriage.
  • Serve the other regularly, meaning daily.  Not including the regular stuff like dishes, etc.  Do something such as a small treat, wash their car, etc.
  • Date regularly.  Try to have a date once a week to keep the relationship strong, even if it’s after the kids are in bed at home.  While on the date NO talking about kids, bills, etc.!!!  That’s a rule!!!
  • BE HAPPY AND FUNNY with each other.  It’s OK to relax, be spontaneous and impulsive.  Sometimes even in a ‘discussion’ it can help temper down the level of frustration.
  • Tease and let the other laugh.  Make it a point to laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY with your sweetie.
  • Be loyal and worthy of trust.  There is nothing of more value and of higher importance than knowing your spouse can trust you with their emotions, their secrets, their love, their life.  If their is a breach in this relationship, please seek help immediately, both the offender and the victim.
  • Allow the other space for hobbies and outside interests, however DO NOT ABUSE THIS KINDNESS.  A bit of time to be an individual, developing with your own talents, apart from the family strengthens the relationship and helps rejuvenate the husband/wife.  With this being said, it should NEVER so much time or money that it is at the expense of the spouse or the family which is selfless and righteous part of the marital equation.
  • Enjoy the hard times as much as possible and REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES! Write them down and read them when the going is tough to help pull you through.  Do not forget!!!
  • PRAY TOGETHER every single day. 
  • Pray FOR each other and how you can best help your sweetheart and how you can be a better spouse.
  • LOVE your sweetheart and treat them as they CAN be and they will become that.  Remember, to lose yourself, and love as God loves are the greatest gifts YOU can give.
  • Keep God and His commandments as the foundation of your marriage, for the highest success. He wants you triumph, be married for your life, be HAPPY and be a treasure to each other.  There is NOTHING more important than family, and it begins with husband and wife.  anniversary pic 7

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

How Do You Choose A Spouse

Wedding couple

 

A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman

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Wedding couple

How Do You Choose A Spouse?

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Wedding couple

For this post, I am suggesting ideas of how to choose a spouse:

  • What do you look for?
  • What qualities should there be?
  • What traits should you have?




To begin, NO one – NOT me, nor you, nor any potential spouse is going to be perfect, it’s just not humanly possible.  HOWEVER, there are definite characteristics and attributes to look for when seriously dating someone. 

It is critical above all, be an honest person yourself.  You know, ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’.  ‘Do what you preach’, that type of thing.  You want to find a person who is honest, yet it begins at home.  It’s difficult to have what you’re not.*

  • Marrying a person who lifts, edifies and makes you want to be a better person provides the highest level of success.  *You must be giving the same back.

Let’s look at these attributes a little –

Lift:  To be there to boost, revitalize, restore strength.  To be compassionate and loving enough to let go of any selfishness and ego. Willing to do that for their companion, would be truly respected and held even more dear by the other.  It must come from both partners of course.

Helps you be a better person:  How a person spends their time is a HUGE indicator of what they are inside.  Do they look for ways to serve?  Do they want to learn to better them-self?  Do they take on hobbies to improve the quality of life for others?  How they are bettering them-self, will in almost all situations, help you to stretch to improve yourself also.  Again, you can nudge each other to get off the couch, turn off TV, or look to help others in small and simple ways.

  • I heard once, many years ago, and the longer I have been married and watched other couples, the more I completely agree with this statement:  Marry someone who loves God above all else and everything will fall into place.  If God is first, all righteous desires and actions outweigh any bad choices that could be the downfall of the marriage and family.




Edify:  This means to teach in moral religious knowledge.  Does the person you are looking at to marry hold religion sacred and important as you do?  Do they read the scriptures?  Pray?  Continue to learn so they can discuss, ask questions and grow in understanding?  Do you?  Putting God as the main component in your personal life and in your relationship as a couple will be the strongest foundation you can possibly have.

 Is he or she made of  GOLD or DIAMONDS?

 GOLD is beautiful and highly valued the world over.  However, did you know that pure gold alone is too soft to use for anything practical or useful?

When considering a husband, or wife, are they able to stand on their own when challenges come their way that confront their beliefs?  Would they crumble and be soft like pure gold?

 

DIAMONDS are recognized for their strength as well as their beauty.  In fact their durability is undisputed.  Did you know that a diamond rates the highest on the scale of hardness, surpassing even the finest high-carbon steel?  Why?  How come they are so stable and strong?

It begins with how they are made.  Diamonds come from deep in the earth’s crust and are formed through incredible pressure over prolonged time. 


That is what we want to be and what we want in a spouse.  Someone who demonstrates strength of character to DO the RIGHT thing, ACT MORALLY, HOLD to VALUES time and time again.  Even when it is not convenient, awkward, embarrassing or not popular.  We must do that and look for someone who lives that way also

 

  • Ask God if the person you are looking to marry is a right one for you.  He knows every single person’s heart and true intent.  He loves you, He loves them.  He wants what is best for both of you.
  • If you are looking for a spouse, do not be consumed in finding Mr. Right or Mrs. Perfect.  Enjoy life!  Continue your education.  Go on to do great things and it will happen in it’s own time.  Life is good. Life is Beautiful. Life is Rich. Life is to be LIVED. LIVE and BECOME BETTER. Then when a right person comes along, it will be glorious!

 

Now, with all that said, what if a husband or wife acts in an unethical or immoral way, whether we have chosen as wisely as possible, or not.  Is there hope?  Every single living person has their God-given agency to do as they wish; that is part of the plan.  You can ONLY control yourself.  You cannot force, coerce or manipulate another person.  The beautiful and merciful part is though, that you can do so much though.  Reach out to God first and ask Him what His plan is for you.  Then go to work to make yourself better, as good as you can be.  That you can do! The miracles and blessings will flow like a river towards you and your family; that I can promise.  You will be amazed at the direction of wonder and delight that you never expected, all because YOU love God above all else.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

For More Posts On This Topic:

A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman

Butterflies & Marriage

Eye To Eye In Marriage

Happily Every After