Spicing It Up

 

 

I recently came across an article stressing the idea that foods are not healthy. Some foods are nutritious and therefore improve our health but a food on its own is not healthy. The idea of adding foods into the diet as a way to stay healthy isn’t new to me. But I realized that many times I make the dietary changes solely to lose weight, not to become healthier.  Only in the last 5 years have I began to adjust my diet to improve my health. There are quite a few contradictory ideas out there which also adds to the confusion. I like coffee. Is it nutritious? Some say yes and some say no. I often use medicine to alleviate pain. Is this good? Many studies are now saying maybe it’s not. While I was reading these articles I stumbled upon an article about turmeric and was amazed at all the positive health benefits it provided. Turmeric is the root of the Cucurma longa plant. It is known for its strong peppery fragrance and bright orange/yellow color. It is best known as the spice in curry, a traditional Indian food. Throughout history turmeric has been used as a powerful medicine in China and India as an anti-inflammatory agent used to relieve arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, jaundice, liver problems, headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, depression, and cancer (just to name a few). To be honest I was quite impressed with the quick research I did into this colorful spice. My thinking was if I could use this spice in my diet and replace a pill that might cause me to have a heart attack, I would be willing to give it a try.

Within a day I once again heard reference to this little gem in the form of the turmeric shot. While my computer was being fixed, I had a little time on my hands and caught the Today show. There was a clip discussing the use of turmeric shots as a health regimen of Rachel Hunter.  Honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention to the clip but the idea of drinking turmeric was interesting. I then began to research this. I found that turmeric shots are sort of the new rage with some juice bars charging $3 to $8 for a shot. A quick search on Google led me to sites that give basic instructions to create your own shot quite easy. I was able to mostly find the ingredients I needed, although I still haven’t found turmeric root and have been forced to use dried. Here’s a link to one that’s very similar to what I make.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 t dried turmeric
  • 1 t dried ginger (or 2 inches of ginger root juiced)
  • a dash of cracked pepper
  • (opt) a dash of cayenne pepper

I stir this all together and then drink up! Since turmeric is fat soluble I eat this with my breakfast which is almost always 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado and 1/2 a roma tomato. One recipe used coconut water and sweetened it with organic honey. I am trying to also cut back on sugar/carbs so I did not add any sweetener.

This will not taste great. I repeat, this WILL NOT taste great. However, I began to have positive effects within a day of trying. I am now on my third day. I have slept through the night every night, my everyday suffering of headaches has disappeared, I have lost 4.6 pounds in 2 days (turmeric is a diuretic so that could be why), my need for pain meds has vanished and I have an incredible amount of energy. As much as I am not a fan of the taste, I think I could continue these elixirs for some time.

Just to note, I am not a doctor. Please speak to your doctor about any dietary changes you are thinking of trying. This information is only for your information and not medical advice. 

 

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The Simple Dish

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I don’t always use recipes to create my healthy meals. Sometimes it’s so much easier to put together the foods I enjoy into a dish. Sometimes I have eaten out and really liked that meal. One of my all time favorites is the Tequila Lime Chicken from Applebees. We would sub out the rice for broccoli and ask for no chips on top. This meal also became a staple to make at home. There is no recipe. In general we would grill up a chicken breast then  melt cheddar cheese on top. We would create a pico de gallo with tomatoes, onions and cilantro and a squeeze of lime and a mixture of salsa & sour cream for the sauce.  On top of the grilled chicken melt the cheese, top with the salsa mix and scoop on the pico. The side was of course steamed broccoli. It’s so simple and easy and usually pretty inexpensive.

Now since I had quite a lot of the cilantro left over from this meal, I was trying to come up with another dish that would use that herb. I decided on shrimp tacos. At Meijer salad shrimp were $4.99. I cooked those up in some butter and garlic. I splurged with 2 corn shells. I cooked the shells on a skillet, melted some cheese on top of that, scooped out the shrimp then I added pico de gallo, sour cream, salsa, and a squeeze of lime. These were so good we made them again tonight for dinner. This time I used romaine lettuce shells instead of the corn shells, saving about 12 carbohydrates. It was still delicious.

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It doesn’t always take an extravagant meal to eat healthy. Pick out the foods you like, sub out the no-no foods with healthier choices and enjoy!

 

Too Soon

Last year when my husband and I decided to delve into eating as healthy as possible, we assumed we would have at least 3 months until we would need to have a get together with family. As it turns out we have family that love to proclaim the healthy life style but when they all get together their love for each other is often expressed with food. Unfortunately my family often is the ones left taking any unwanted food home. We’ve put our foot down before and insisted that we also don’t want all the left over pies, but many times the fight isn’t worth it. One would think we could just toss those calorie ridden, carby crappers right into the trash, but as it turns out my husband and I both hate throwing good things away. We often joke that we were somehow born in the depression era as we find value in things others would toss out. It is both a blessing and a curse.

When once again we began this healthy journey after taking the summer off, which rolled into fall and a little winter, we thought, again, we would have until Easter before a family gathering would be required. We were wrong. Yesterday we were invited once again to Holland to have a gathering with my husband’s immediate family (just like Christmas) but this time grandma’s twin sister’s family came too. It was a cousins gathering. As much as we love seeing the cousins I knew this would be a dieting nightmare.

The first thing I did to prepare for this day was make sure the dishes I brought were something I could eat. I chose spinach artichoke dip with cut up celery and sausage stuffed mushrooms. My husband and I love these dishes and they are on our low carb yes list.

The second thing I did, or at least wanted to do was make sure I didn’t go there hungry. I failed at this. That morning I also had to work and make a trip to see my aunts. Time was tight. I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. Not good. So right before we left to travel to Holland I threw a handful of known okay foods into a dish to munch on the way. IMG_1190This was exactly what I needed!

And I was right. When we got there my sister in law had created these brilliant masterpiece cake balls. Like these:

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only her’s were twice this size and pink and chocolate and covered in sprinkles. I love eating colorful food. I love cake balls. Sprinkles are for winners, right? I think I found myself staring at these things at least 20 times throughout the day. I even had to help serve them to the kids, meaning I had to touch them! However, I was good. Not one sweet thing was consumed by me the entire time. I stuck with my foods, some vegetables and a few things that didn’t have high carb counts. The only thing outside of my desired food was homemade cabbage rolls and my husband and I split one.

It was really nice being able to avoid tempting foods, literally right in my face. It was even better waking up this morning and finding that I had lost 3.2 pounds since yesterday morning! This takes my seven day total weight loss to 4.2. This makes me very happy. I hope my second week is just as fulfilling.

 

Great Start

On Monday I officially went back to consciously watching what I eat. I had been disappointed that by throwing all caution away I gained 8 pounds from Christmas day to January 4. I didn’t even think that was possible! I kept thinking when I wake up one of these days I’ll have lost 6 pounds in water weight and be much closer to my goal. That didn’t happen though. But after watching what I ate and even adding in some exercise, including a 40 minute kettle bell work out I have already lost 2.8 pounds in 4 days. I feel really good! Thankfully I had no cravings and it was really easy to get back to healthy eating again. I think my body was just really done with junk food.

Firstly, I want to go back to that first dinner I made on Monday, which was all really delicious. You can find the recipe here. One of the parts to it was cauliflower rice. I have been wanting to work with cauliflower for a while but haven’t yet. For this meal I had to put pieces of it into a food processor to finely chop it up. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. You can also shred it on a grater. Once it was all pieced out, I then saute it in a pan with some olive oil and salt until it softened and turned brown. Then I added fresh lime juice and cilantro. This was so good I couldn’t stop eating it. I was trying to cook the chicken while eating large spoonfuls of the cauliflower. The kids didn’t like it but I LOVED IT!

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My first suggestion about eating healthy is don’t be afraid to try something new. This entire recipe took longer than I thought it would but we ended up having a chicken that my son would finally eat and a new side dish that is phenomenal.

Next I want to mention a few of my tricks.

  1. Drink lots of water. I also really like to add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon to my water. This makes me feel like I’m drinking something fancy and it gives me a boost of vitamins.
  2. Figure out your tricky foods and see if there’s something to sub in instead. Like my family loves chips and salsa but chips are not allowed right now. I use celery sticks to eat these snack foods. They are also really great for guacamole.
  3. I think one thing I do that most don’t is I don’t swap in fake foods. Many times I hear folks eat disguised treat foods and say things like, “it’s low fat”, “it’s low carbs”, when in fact it’s just really loaded up with fake stuff. Read the labels, if most of the ingredients aren’t whole foods, I tend to not eat it.
  4. I eat eggs. I eat a lot of eggs. It’s sort of my staple food. There’s a report from the Department of Health and Human Services that the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans will not include a caution about cholesterol.  This is pretty good news since I eat avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs and butter.
  5. This year, I will be adding in exercise. I didn’t do that last time and still lost 18 pounds. I’m excited to see how this will effect my over all health. As a photographer I really need to be able to stand for long periods, as well as squat often, run, lay down, maybe even climb a tree.
  6. Don’t think you need to eat regular foods. Sometimes I like a spinach salad for breakfast. Yesterday I was thinking, well, what food do I think of as a fun food and guacamole came to mind. So I decided to incorporate that into my breakfast.

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Finally one of my hardest things is just keeping the food I don’t want to eat, out of the house completely. I know how hard that is though! I have twin 10 year olds and they love snacks. But I think it’s good practice to have them try some of these new foods and eat healthier. They may not like them all but it’s worth a try!

Feeling Good In My Skin

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Ten years ago I gave birth to twins. Despite putting on the minimum suggested weight I still gained 50 pounds with this pregnancy. I was also almost 36 years old.  For the next 10 years I would attempt to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. As I aged into my 40s I became convinced I would never go back to my “normal” size and that I should become comfortable with this “new” size. I found hope in the idea that I maintained this weight very well. That’s good, right? Then two winters ago I noticed my weight creeping up. I thought, like I’ve done in the past, I’d reduce my carbs and sugars and any weight gain would go away. This time it didn’t. As I reached weight amounts I had never been to before, even during my twin pregnancy, I began to panic. I became frustrated. I tried all my old tactics and nothing worked! I am mostly a healthy eater. I don’t drink pop, I gave up beer 5 years ago when I found wheat created unwanted health problems, I eat vegetables (a lot), I rarely over eat because I hate that feeling. I like carbohydrates though and I like a sugary treat every once in a while. I’ve tried to maintain a very low carbohydrate diet when I can. It seems that my issue is that my family really likes their carbohydrates too. So when I found I was doing well for a couple of days, they would come in and request cookies, or ice-cream or something of that nature and I wasn’t strong enough to let them indulge and not partake. I also hated the idea of me not participating in a family fun food activity. I never wanted to be the mom who wouldn’t eat ice cream with their kids. I felt trapped.

Last year my husband decided that he had had enough with the extra weight himself. He’d also gained extra weight during the twins’ pregnancy and wanted to really work to lose about 30 pounds. As we rounded the new year he and I together began to make better choices. We cut out all the starchy carbohydrates, all sugar, all white foods (potatoes, rice, pasta, flour, sugar).  We added back in breakfast meats, which we had stopped eating the year before to try to lose a few pounds. And he immediately started losing weight. It took me 3 months and then I also started losing weight. Once I got all the tricky foods out of my system and out of the house, I also lost weight. After being on the strictest diet I had ever been on for 6 months I had lost 18 pounds and was well on my way. My husband had also lost 20 pounds. Then summer hit. I think we both felt pretty good about our weight loss and decided to take a break.

We didn’t add in terrible foods. It was more like fruit, a bun here and there, some lemonade. By Halloween I had gained back 4 pounds and my husband had gained back 6. Not too bad. So we decided we’d just enjoy ourselves for the rest of the year and then January 4, 2016 we’d start all over again. We indulged in cookies, pies, cocoas, candy, buns, desserts and pretty much anything we wanted. It wasn’t in huge quantities but it was consistent. And it did make a huge difference. By January 4, 2016 I had gained back 12 of my 18 pounds and my fat percent was right back where it was a year ago. I had almost undone all the work I had done the year before. I was (am) very disappointed. I’m not sure it was worth it. I know I went through some hardships like my grandma passing away and eating comfort foods just felt right. So maybe it was worth it. Honestly, I’m not sure it matters. It is what it is, as people say.

The good news is I’m not discouraged. In fact, I am really excited to start all over again. This time I will know exactly what will happen if I push it too far. I will know how to tweak it to make it work for me better. I am also attempting to journal the progress a bit better. So that’s what this is. If you’re interested in my recipes, tips, secrets,  progress or even just being voyeuristic I would love to invite you to follow along.

Today, January 4, 2016 I have  begun keeping the tricky foods out, my carbs down and my head held high. My goal is to lose 20 pounds by May.

In my research for preparing to start I found this wonderful recipe:

Key West Grilled Chicken

which I will be making right now. For lunch I ate at Panera and had the Greek Salad plus chicken. I will be using the apps MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun to keep track of exercise and food consumption. I also have a Fitbit. I found today that when I went to add my Panera salad that the app actually used the GPS on my phone to bring in information about where I was. Once I got past the freakiness about my technology knowing so much, I thought it was pretty cool that these devices all worked together to make this data inputting a lot easier.

I know that weight loss is a hot topic issue lately, but for me, I need to feel healthy. I want to love my skin. I want to be the mom who can run and play and not get winded. I will still be curvy, I will still be soft, but I will be happy for reaching my goal to be a healthier version of myself.

So here we go!

Thanks for your support,

Ariniko

Trying to be Scruffy

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I’m not sure why it caused me so much anxiety. It’s not like I had never invited folks out to my house before. To me though it seems that invitations usually had a “real” reason; birthdays, holidays, family visiting, open houses.  One does not simply invite people out just because! Yet there I was coyly asking a friend and his wife out for dinner at my house.

Two things took place this year that pushed me to this “out of my comfort zone moment”. The first was a somewhat of a News Year Resolution thing. I had come to realize that I know a lot of people. I see them at networking events and out and about. And they are more than happy to talk to me at the moment but once out of that situation we don’t communicate much. I don’t invite them to my personal events and they don’t invite me to theirs. Our relationship doesn’t go much beyond the surface. So I decided I would make an effort, a strong, dedicated effort to get to really know the people that I enjoy spending time with. And my hope is they will want to get to know me better as well.

The second thing that happened was a friend of mine (another networking friend that I’d love to know better) posted this blog on her Facebook page.  The topic was about having “Scruffy Hospitality”, not “I need to have everything absolutely perfect before I let people see who I really am” Hospitality. The author wrote about how he and his wife rarely invited people to their house, despite really wanting to, because of that fear of needing to have a specific perfection reached before an invite can be offered.

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These two ideas seemed to latch together in such a way that I couldn’t ignore it. So there I stood about a month ago, in the doorway to the office of a friend that I had gotten to know pretty well in the last two years or so. We rarely see each other outside of a networking event or at work yet we spent a lot of time having conversations, probably to the detriment of his business, and really getting along. I met his wife at one of the networking events and we seemed to click pretty well too. So they were going to be my guinea pigs, so to speak.

As nonchalantly as I could I asked him what his plans were for Saturday. He responded by saying he’s heading out of town and then asking what I was planning to do on Saturday. This could have been my out, but instead I jumped right in head first. I then told him that I wanted him and his wife to come out for dinner on Saturday.  I didn’t pause and went right into my reasoning and he didn’t object to the idea. So we found a day two weeks later and put it on the calendar.

As that day got closer I began to negotiate with myself about which chores I should do. I found I was making excuses to clean places that I would normally not clean: “Oh, I spilled milk now I must wash all the cupboards; “I need to mop because we have some grease ants coming into the house”. It went on like this for a week. In the back of my head, though, I knew I had to let things go. I had thought I should make my OCD list of things I really wanted to clean but “chose” not to so I could have a true “scruffy” party and then present it to them. That made me realize how ridiculous this whole thing was making me. Not only was I failing at hosting this “scruffy” idea but I was really stressed about this dinner plan. WHY? Why was this so hard? So, I started to think it through. And I realized that trust played a huge part with the idea of being who you are on a day in and day out basis in front of someone else. It’s one thing to show up at an event or party or someone’s house away from all your closets, laundry, kids, kids’ toys, stacks of papers; and be yourself but completely different to be who you are in your environment. It was a huge leap for me to trust people coming into my home and seeing that my kids had drawn on the walls and I hadn’t painted over it yet. Or that I don’t have any photos on the walls, or that I haven’t recycled in two weeks, or that our carpet is remnants because we haven’t had the time or money to replace the carpets our dog ruined while his kidneys shut down for a year straight. It all is having a trust that those people won’t come in and judge, or ridicule or even use what they see to gossip about me later. It was trust and fear. I needed to let go and let myself trust people and let go of the fear about these incredible insecurities I have. I didn’t realize that would be so hard for me. It’s easy when I hide all my insecurities behind a closed door or a dirty dish in the oven, but to purposely leave the stains out so the guests can see the real me was terrifying! The whole situation put me in a very vulnerable state. And yet I knew deep down inside that few people really would come to my home and judge me, especially people I like and who I think like me as well. As my friend at one point said to me; “I think you’re over thinking this”.

So I did it. I had “Scruffy Hospitality” and it was great. We sat at the table and talked over a plate of vegetables and ranch dressing. We created a lovely meal together and even the burnt burger was consumed. We shared stories, had a nice swim, and watched the kids play with the dog. It was a good night and I really hope it was mutual!

So it may happen that sometime in the future you get asked to come out to my house. And when you get here and you notice the floor’s not swept, there are some unwashed dishes and maybe even the lawn’s not mowed, I hope you realize that you are the beneficiary of some O’Meara Scruffy Hospitality. It’s not that I was too lazy to clean up for you, but instead I chose to leave my home in a state that’s more reflective of the true me and that’s what I want to share with you.

Let the Festivals Begin!

nnaaIMG_6318 Guests stand out against the CCFF logo

Lansing is a very active city. As soon as the snow melts the festivals begin. We’ve already had TEDxLansingED, which I was invited to coordinate photography for.  Right around the corner is another fantastic event; the Capital City Film Festival. This will be my fourth year volunteering for this event. For the last two years I coordinated the photography coverage for this four day festival.

nnIMG_4869The Red Carpet

nnIMG_5073The local news covering the Red Carpet Premiere.

It begins with this amazing Red Carpet event which is free to the public and held at Troppo in downtown Lansing. An actual red carpet is laid out on the sidewalk leading into the restaurant. As guests arrive, dressed in their finest attire, they travel along its path, stopping long enough to pose for a quick photo before heading into the bash. It’s fun, festive and fancy! It’s one of my favorite parts.

nnIMG_5352The CCFF Coordinators

nnIMG_5891The CCFF Ladies

Before the Red Carpet Premier kick-off party even finishes the opportunities to enjoy the first film begins. The films are featured at various venues throughout Lansing. This year the movie viewing happens at the Lansing Public Media Center, Dart Auditorium on LCC campus, Mustang Bar in Old Town and the Lansing Center. Each night also offers an array of musical talent.

nnIMG_6897Music performances every night during the festival

The venues for this year’s music are the Loft and Mac’s Bar.

nnIMG_6051Michael McCallum owner of Rebel Pictures. He writes, directs and produces films in Lansing.

The event runs from April 10 through April 13. You can buy a festival pass for $50 or you can pick and choose your events and pay at the door.

It’s a great way to try something new and experience a film festival right in your own little town.

There’s Film in Lansing!

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Check out my photographs from previous years!

 

 

“The Mirror”

For a few months now I have been working on my SEO for my photography business. It’s a bunch of “think like a computer programmer” tricks and really not my thing. I get easily frustrated by its “popularity contest” feel, especially when it gets bought out by the higher bidder. Yet, I feel like I should try. I heard recently that adding video content to your website actually increases its chance of getting ranked higher on Google. I’ve been putting together little video slide shows for years., decades even. So, here’s my little ditty. It’s a poem about being the person behind the lens and what I see when I take you into my camera.

Twenty-Two

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Today I have been married for 22 years. When my husband and I started out we had incredible odds against us. We even had family members placing bets on when the divorce would occur. See, we created a child together after only dating for about a year. We then decided to live together to raise our child together. I wasn’t employed at the time and my husband was working at McDonald’s. We struggled with funds and I was able to get state assistance. When we finally did get married I was already pregnant with our second child. We decided on a Catholic wedding where we were told we couldn’t wear white, could only have immediate family at the service and since it was Lent there could be no flowers or other decorations. We were also told that we couldn’t get married in the main area but instead we had to have the ceremony in the side chapel. Essentially they didn’t want us having the perks of a respectable couple. We were to be ashamed of our state and be thankful they would marry us at all. Of course that didn’t sit well with us and we went to speak with a pastor that had been kind to us but had moved to a new church. At once he scoffed at the conditions we told him about and insisted that we were doing the honorable thing and trying to be a good family. He agreed to marry us and would talk to the pastor at the church we had planned to get married in.

File1714As you can see we were properly married in the main church area with over 150 family and friends. Bride, groom and first child were all spectacularly adorned in as much white as possible. It was a lovely service and Father Phil will always have a special place in my heart.

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From there my husband found a better job working cable installations. Quickly he moved into a programming job which was his college program. Within the year we were moving to Virginia. This adventure provided the perfect environment for our little family to become very self sufficient. We really had no one to count on but ourselves.

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Through the beginning until now there have been lessons learned. So in honor of 22 years I will list my ideas that I think have helped my husband and I stay together this long.

  1. Forgiveness. As hard as this is, if you cannot find in your heart the ability to forgive a long term relationship becomes very difficult to achieve.
  2. Do not attack the weaknesses of your partner. Everyone has those insecurities; do not ever use those to go after that person. As angry as you are, using this technique will cause an incredible amount of damage to the relationship.
  3. Remember why you got together in the first place. As a photographer I have a continuous slide show of photographs that keep to the forefront the life my husband and I shared.
  4. Do what’s right for you. My husband and I spend a lot of time together. We always have. We often have friends and family that try to get us away from each other, sometimes even using phrases like “you need a break” or “separation is good for a couple”. There are no words to tell these good intentioned people that we like each other and want to spend time together. Very rarely do I feel I need to be away from my husband. That’s what’s right for us. Up until a few weeks ago I have spent every night in the same bed as my husband for the last 15 years. That’s what we like. Do what’s right for you and your spouse.
  5. Say I love you. It matters. I don’t say it enough but I know it always makes a difference when I do.
  6. Say I love you in actions. My husband has quite a few little things that he does that he believes shows me that he loves me. Some examples are chocolate, a movie, sitting and watching TV with me.
  7. Be respectful of your spouse’s parents. I love his parents and he loves mine.
  8. Watch out for the typical marriage breakers; money, rearing children, chores. These things will cause stress. Figure out compromises. Figure out the rules. Take the time to delve into these before it’s too late.
  9. Find a hobby that both of you are interested in. It’s easy to know what you like, but what does he like? Find things to do together.
  10. When an argument does happen use your “I” terms. This is a technique that counselors will tell people, use phrases like; “when you say that it makes me feel”. Keep the argument from your perspective. When you attack, the other person goes on the defense. If you make statements about how you feel, there isn’t as much defensiveness.
  11. Do your chores, but do his too, and vice versa. Even though I am dish washer and laundry and he’s trash and shoveling, there’s no reason I can’t do some of his and he can do some of mine. I have no trouble helping him shovel and he has no trouble helping me with dishes.
  12. Be supportive of each other. There is nothing worse than being excited about something but having no interest or support from my best friend. If there isn’t support, find out why.
  13. Watch out for the green eyed monster. As much as a couple wants to be secure in each other, jealously can put a wedge out there really fast. And it might not always be opposite sex situations. Jealously can appear with jobs advancements, relationships and friendships and other simpler ideas. If you’re in competition with your spouse someone will feel defeated at some point
  14. Don’t go to bed angry. Unfortunately I can’t do this one. When I’m tired I need to go to bed. However, I think the point really is, if something is bothering you talk about it! Don’t let it linger or grow into something bigger than what it is. Even if it’s dumb, talk about it. Sometimes the dumb thing is just a tip of an iceberg that wasn’t really evident until the conversation progressed.  You might think you’re mad because he leaves his stinky socks on the floor, but that might be covering up the feeling that he doesn’t respect you.
  15. Be truthful, always. This is my pet peeve. I truly believe being honest on all matters is the only way to have a solid relationship with anyone.  I don’t go around telling my husband every thought I have but I don’t lie to him if he asks me something. And if something happened that I feel he should know, I tell him. I am not a fan of “apologize later”.
  16. Patience. I kind of suck at this one too. My husband is really good at waiting for the exact moment. I’m a rush, rush person. I think his way is much less stressful. He lets things have a chance to work out on their own.
  17. Know how the other deals with frustration. I like to vent. When I get mad I have to let some of it out or I will explode. So I rant. I spew junk until the boiling inside stops a bit. This makes me work. My husband keeps it inside. He becomes very quiet and won’t really have a conversation for a long time, sometimes weeks. Then I have to poke at him to get him to talk. I’ve learned this method after many years of failing at it. We’ve actually gotten to a point where I can ask if there is something he needs to talk to me about. It’s a much calmer process. I still spew. He doesn’t like it but he knows that’s how I need to do it. He patiently waits until I have it out enough to talk.
  18. Celebrate the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. These days were important. It’s your job to keep them important.
  19. Don’t let pet peeves ruin you. I am still really working on this one. There are things that my husband keeps up with that no matter how much I complain about it, he still does it. I only recently realized that he loves me and he knows how I feel yet he keeps doing it. It must be important enough for him to risk having me be mad about it. I’ve decided to back off my stubbornness and see if I can see why it’s important to him. That’s the least I can do. I might not ever totally like it but I shouldn’t always be the bitter voice accompanying it. I should let him have this. It certainly won’t kill me.
  20. This one’s for the guys. Your wife likes intimacy to be more than the final goal. They like hand holding, soft kisses, hugs, dancing, cuddling, shoulder (feet, back, legs) massages, and really anything that reminds them that you care. They will be more willing to get to the nitty gritty if it’s accompanied with some of these other forms of intimacy.
  21. Laugh. Make each other laugh. Laugh together. Laugh, laugh, laugh.
  22. Pray together. As a Christian the idea that I can have this relationship with this other human all alone seems silly. Almost everything on this list, I’ve prayed about. I’ve used the guidelines from faith and religion to create the boundaries of my marriage. I think that has kept it strong. I love God above all things because he has given me my relationship with my husband. He gives me the strength to be a good wife and gives my husband the strength to be good to me.

TEDxLansingED 2014

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How often do you get to enjoy a solid afternoon learning about local groups promoting better education policies? Yesterday I had the great honor of not only attending one such convention, but also acting as lead photographer for this event. The name of this event is TED. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Its catch phrase is “ideas worth sharing” and that’s exactly what it does; share ideas. Each area that promotes a TED event uses the “x” to denote their location, hence TEDxLansing. Each presentation is called a TED Talk. If you check on line you will see how global this event really is. I was very fortunate to get involved with TEDxLansing from the beginning. I loved the concept and have enjoyed each event that’s been hosted in the Lansing area. This year’s TEDxLansing event had a concentration on education. I had not been aware of the ability to create a concentrated event. By hosting this event with a specific theme I found that it drew in a very specific, dedicated group of individuals. They all seemed engaged and energetic. It worked well. In fact as someone who sat back and watched it all unfold from the background, it appeared flawless. All the coordinators seemed happy with the results as well. As with the previous TEDxLansing events there was an interesting mix of ideas presented. There were speakers who shared their stories and experiences of traveling to other locations like; American Samoa, the North Pole and Peru.

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There were education professionals that shared their anecdotes and tested ideas about bettering the way to educate children.

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There was a moving presentation by a woman, after the loss of her son, who developed a program to bring shelter dogs into the schools to enhance the emotional climate of the schools.

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It also incorporated some fantastic performances by Wally Pleasant and Ed & Lisa Smith.

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At the end of the day each of these TEDxLansing experiences leave me enlightened, enriched and entertained through the technologies shared, entertainments given, and the designs used.

You may find the entire set of images here and a Flickr set here.