Thursday, March 27, 2014

You're My Favorite Becady

"There's a snake in my boots."
"Reach for the sky."
"Somebody's poisoned the waterhole."
"You're my favorite deputy."

When Gary's oldest niece, Hannah, was a baby she said all kinds of silly phrases.  She loved the movie Toy Story and would quote Woody by saying, "You're my favorite becady."

I am a 'words of affirmation' girl and I know that because I use that love language on those around me.  So, I constantly tell Gary that he's my favorite, to which he replies, "You're my favorite becady!"

Gary doesn't necessarily care for the book The Five Love Languages, but I find it to be quite useful!  I've never read the book, to be honest, but I've studied up on the languages and Gary is quality time.  Some of his most favorite times are when we are in the car (pre or post baby) and he and I can just talk.  We can go on an 8 hour car ride and never turn the radio on!  He gets frustrated when I call my sister when we are in the car because he calls that 'our time.'

I find it be VERY important to learn your spouse's love language as well as knowing your own.  The more you know about the one you share a life with the easier your marriage will be!

Gary's dad was in graduate school when he and I were engaged.  He was taking some psychology classes and had to have volunteers to take a temperament analysis.  Gary and I volunteered and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.  A person's temperament is something deeper than their personality.

Temperament = innate or inborn, not learned. basic inherited style.

Personality = made up of certain characteristic patterns like behavior, feelings & thoughts.  acquired on top of temperament.

Therefore, your temperament is something that really can't change, so knowing that much about someone, especially your spouse, is beyond profitable!

When Wren was born I really don't remember getting that 'Oh my goodness, I've never loved anyone so much' feeling.  Does that make me a bad mother?  Does that mean I love her less than other mothers' love their children?  I honestly can't answer those questions.  I will say that I find myself loving her more and more everyday and squeezing her so tightly I think I might squish her and if you look back on my blog and facebook page you will literally see hundreds of pictures of just her, but I don't remember that feeling.  This doesn't mean that I don't love her and I didn't love her then I just mean that I didn't get that feeling that everyone talks about when their firstborn is welcomed into the world.  People say things like, "I never knew I could love someone so much!"

I'll be honest, I feel that way about my husband!

Some people might think that we are still in the honeymoon stage and that might be true, but you would be surprised at what we've gone through in our (almost) 5 years of marriage!!  We fight, argue and even disagree on several occasions, but at the end of the day he's the one I choose to spend my life with.  I confessed my love for him and vowed in front of God, our friends & family that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  That truly means something!!

In our society today I feel like there is more emphasis on the parent-child relationship than there is on the husband-wife relationship.  Just the other day I was sitting around a dinner table with some people from work and there was a girl there who has only been married for 6 months.  None of our spouses were there.  None of our children were there.  She was talking about what a great man she snatched and immediately negativity towards spouses and marriage started flying around the table.  IT. BROKE. MY. HEART!  They kept telling her she was in the honeymoon stage and she would get over these feelings.  I broke into the conversation and looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I truly hope you don't get over these feelings!  I've been married for almost 5 years and I feel the exact same way about my husband that you feel about yours & we have a kid!"

It seemed that before we had Wren people would always comment about mine and Gary's relationship by saying, "Just wait until you have children.  Things will change."  Now I know that we've only had a child for 10 months, but once I got past the postpartum stage (not depression, just getting used to a newborn) I feel like our relationship has gotten stronger.  And I also know that we have many more years together with children that can hinder our relationship.  But I don't feel like it's appropriate for ANYONE EVER to discourage newlyweds or new parents from having remarkable feelings towards their spouse.

Have you seen the movie Parental Guidance?  I highly recommend it!!  It's a fantastic movie with excellent moral standards.  Just a quick overview...Billy Crystal & Better Midler are considered 'the other grandparents' because their daughter doesn't like their parenting style.  It turns out they end up having to help her family out by watching the kids for a few days while she is supposed to go out of town with her husband while he receives some award.  The mom has a really hard time leaving her children because they are her life! My most favorite quote of the entire movie comes from Bette Midler when she says, "After your kids grow up, your husband is the one who stays."  Oh don't you just love it?!  It makes me so excited that Gary and I will get to be together even after we raise children!!

So how do you do it?  How do you keep that spark alive in your marriage even while you are running around taking your kids everywhere they need to go?  Don't underestimate the power of date night and I'm not talking about once in a blue moon date night I'm talking about making it a priority to spend quality time with your spouse!  Here's a little formula that Gary found that we try to stick to:

20 minutes a night - every day spend an uninterrupted 20 minutes (at least) with your spouse.  No kids, no TV, just talking to him/her.
1 night a week - send the kids to the grandparents or if you don't have family close find another young couple with kids and have different date nights than the other so you can watch each other's kids while they go out.
1 day a month - spend an entire day together.  Switch it up as to what you do.  One month do something she likes, the next month do something he likes.  Play hookie from work while the kids are in school ;).
One weekend every quarter or twice a year - Getaway or at least get the kids out of the house.  You don't have to do anything elaborate for your time together because, let's be honest, we can't all afford to go on a weekend getaway every 3 months, but just taking the time to plan something with your spouse.  Go to the zoo without the kids.  Get some sleep and cuddle all weekend!  Do some household chores that need to be done, but do them together (i.e. clean out the attic never know what treasures you will find up there that might lead to a story that you never knew about your spouse).  Just be together!!

I want to end by saying the most important thing you can do for your marriage is keeping God 1st!!  I'm sure most of you have heard the rule and seen the diagram

the closer you get to God the closer you get to your spouse.  This isn't always easy because just like a marriage relationship can be strained from the busyness of life, so can your relationship with God.  Once again, you have to make it a priority to spend one-on-one time with God as well as time with your spouse & God.  Have a Bible study together that requires you to work separately and then come together to discuss what each other learned.  Hey!  That could be your 20 minutes a night ;).  See what I did there?

I can't say that Gary and I are the best at all of this, but keeping God & each other a priority in our lives is something we strive to do on a daily basis.  I hope and pray that we are able to sustain this throughout the remainder of our lives, until death do us part!  I pray the same thing for each and every one of your relationships as well!

Pray for your spouse!
Pray with your spouse!


Monday, March 17, 2014

10 Months

She did not want to sit down in her chair for the picture, so we just had to get a standing one :).

10 months sure does fly when you’re having fun with a little stinker like ours!  This is such a fun age!  Her personality is starting to shine and, I must say that, I think she’s gonna be like her momma in that she smiles at everyone J.  The people at church just eat her up…well really anyone that sees her does.  She is kind of clingy to me sometimes, but will still pretty much go to anybody!  I can’t say if that’s because that’s just her or because she’s been passed around her entire life.  No matter where we go to church she gets passed around and I love it!!  Our preacher calls her the ‘church baby.’

This past month has been tiring!  She’s been back in her ‘wake-up during the night stage,’ but I just try to remember that when she’s 13 years old she won’t want to come get in bed with us anymore.  So we make it work and love on her when she shows up in our bed J.

Gary was able to stay his first night alone with her this past weekend.  I’ve been away from her overnight several times at this point, but this is the first time that she’s stayed with her daddy because usually he’s with me.  My sister invited me to a ladies retreat with her church and I’m so glad that I went!  It was phenomenal and it was good to see a lot of the ladies I have known pretty much my whole life!  Anyway, back to Gary and Wren…she had been staying up really late the week before.  I’m talking 11 to 11:30 every night.  I called Gary before I went to bed at 11:30 thinking they would still be partying!  NOPE!!  He was in bed and she had been in bed since 8:30!!  WHAT?!  Mommy leaves and daddy and baby…SLEEP??  That’s not how that’s supposed to go!  He did say that she ended up waking up at midnight and he put her in the bed with him, but then she slept until 8am.  Great day in the morning!!  I’m so glad that everything went well though and I never worried once that he wouldn’t be able to handle it.  He’s a great daddy!  I think I need to thank his sister’s for that because they had babies while he was really young and he would baby-sit them all the time.  So he knew how to change a diaper, give a bath and anything that I already knew how to do.

She still only has 2 teeth, but think she’s about to get some more here pretty soon!! 

She’s eats anything!  She had crab meat and shrimp (which I think she had already had shrimp before) yesterday at lunch!

Just yesterday I started noticing that she’s beginning to understand sounds and animals!  She LOVES hand puppets!!  We have one for Old MacDonald and she loves it!!  Here’s a video of her with that one.  Gary said that he just has to put the hand puppet on and she’ll start going, “EIEIEIEIEIEIEI.”  In Bible class she gets so excited when the teacher pulls out a hand puppet!  Her face lights up and she starts waiving her hands (like nemo’s…hahahahahaha that’s what my roommate, Trish, called my hands when I flapped during a scary movie or intense intramural game).  Last night in church she was looking at one of her books and gets to a page with ducks on it and starts going, ‘quack quack.’  Gary said, “How does she know that?”  I said, "because she’s heard us say it, probably Emily (my sister-in-law who keeps her) and probably her bible class teachers."  It was just cool to hear her actually do it on her own.  That morning she was copying me making a dog noise, but wouldn’t do it when I asked her to, so hearing her quack when she saw a picture was pretty cool!! 

I’ve really been excited for her to start clapping.  I don’t know why but that’s always been one of my favorite things that kids do!!  She hasn’t started yet, but I’m starting to practice with her to hurry it along J.  We were practicing yesterday and she thought it was soooo fun, but every time she tried when I wasn’t helping her she was just flapping her ‘nemo’s’ again.  She’ll get it soon enough and it will be a fun day.  Hopefully I’ll get it on video!!

We had scrapbook for Lads to Leaders yesterday afternoon and a couple of the girls were playing with her.  They screamed, “SHE’S WALKING!!”  Sure enough when I looked over there she took a step and then fell.  I’m not sure how many steps she took before that, but it’s just a matter of time!!  It could still be a while before she does it again, but we should probably get ready!! 

I can’t believe she will be ONE in 2 months!!!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Beginnings

In August of 2009 I began an adventure.  I started working for a company that took me, literally, all over the world.  I was initially a data entry employee and eventually became a sales rep and then a team trainer.  Looking back on the 4+ years with ServiceSource, I can only think of good things…except the horrific commute into downtown Nashville.

On January 8th (I just now realized this new opportunity came my way on my birthday J) I was approached at church by Zack Bannister asking me if I was looking for a job.  At the time I wasn’t, but the more he described the position, the more interested I became.

On January 20th I had a lunch meeting with Jamie, the Director of Agency Sales and Marketing at Consumers Insurance, and Zack came along as well to ease any tension.  It was a very pleasant lunch and I left there feeling confident that this is something I definitely MIGHT want to do.  I continued the process with an open mind, but not 100% committed.  The reason for that was because I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then be disappointed.  Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted to change jobs because I was completely happy with my current position.

On January 31st I went in for my formal interview at Consumers.  Once again, I kept my answers and responses very open and non-committal.  I more or less really wanted Consumers to WANT me!!  Before I left the office that day I filled out the application and had to write in a start date.  That was probably the scariest part because it made everything seem so real.  I had so many questions regarding insurance and lapse of coverage, but Julie, the HR director, was wonderful and answered my questions with confidence!  Over the next few weeks I excitedly checked my phone and email religiously to see if I had any missed calls or messages from Jamie. 

FINALLY, on February 11th, while I was in a team meeting, Jamie texted me and said to give him a call when I had 5 minutes.  That meeting seemed to last FOREVER!!  I was so anxious and nervous to call Jamie because I wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to tell me.  Was he going to offer me the job?  Was he going to say he found someone else that had better qualifications?  As soon as the meeting was over I pulled a couple of my friends aside, who knew all about it and they said, “Call him now!”  So, I found a safe spot to call and talk and Jamie offered me the job!  However, he was still concerned that the only reason I might take the job was because of the location.  Did I mention that the office is in Murfreesboro?  Did I mention that it’s about 7 minutes from my house?  Oh and SUPER close to where Wren stays during the day, at my sister-in-law’s?  So, you can imagine that the entire time during the lunch and interview I mentioned how close this was to home and baby.  Jamie, rightfully so, was very concerned that would be the only reason I would take the job.  So, he requested that I look over the job description again and get back with him the next day as to whether I wanted to take the position.  I had already made my pro/con lists and Consumers won by a long shot!  Gary was giving me absolutely NO feedback on what he wanted me to do, which I found completely annoying, but it just meant that I couldn’t make a wrong choice.  He supported my decision 100% whichever way I decided.  As Jamie requested, I took the evening to read over the job description again and pray about it.  Oh I also forgot to mention that Jamie is a Christian, which was also a big deciding factor in my final choice. 

I went into work the next morning knowing what decision I was going to make…I had to give my 2 weeks’ notice.  I emailed Jamie to let him know I was accepting the offer.  I talked to Zack that Wednesday, who by the way had been ignoring me the past few weeks, and he let me know that Jamie was sitting right beside him when he got the email and was very excited that I accepted it!  That made me feel good.  Anyway, back to my notice…Talk about a knot in your stomach!  I’ve heard about people not liking their job or being ready to leave, but that was not the case for me.  This was definitely bittersweet and one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  I just knew I would cry my eye balls out, but I actually kept my composer as I met with several different people throughout the day.  Everyone was extremely supportive and excited for me, but also sad that I was leaving.

The next couple of weeks were crazy!  The management team asked that they be able to make the announcement, but I made sure they knew that I wanted to tell certain people myself.  The day they were supposed to make the announcement we had someone on our team pass away, so it kind of put my news on the back-burner.  Therefore, we had to keep the secret for another week.  Obviously, more and more people found out so when the big announcement was made not many people were that shocked.  I had just trained 18 new people and they all had no idea and I kind of felt bad for springing it on them like that. 

My last day, February 26th, we had lunch at Puckett’s and Wren came to work with me that day.  It was a wonderfully fun day, but I was sad when I left because I would never be returning…as an employee anyway.  Of course, the managers let me know that if this new job didn’t work I would be welcomed back with open arms, which will make anyone feel good when they make such a life changing decision.

Pictures and videos from my last day at ServiceSource:

Hanna and Wren...I guess she's the only one that got pictures with her that day :)

My first day at Consumers was Monday March 3rd.  I wasn’t supposed to be in until 9 because they wanted to be able to get all of my paperwork ready to go before I got in.  I got up, got Wren and Gary out the door and headed back to take a shower only to find that I had a missed call from Jamie saying the office was closed!  WHAT?!  Does this happen?  Snow day on your first day of work…good or bad?  I went with GREAT and called Gary to come back home!  He hadn’t made it very far because the roads were AWFUL.  He had to salt the driveway before he even left because he almost busted it.  So, he ended up staying home as well!!  YAY for a snow day!!

This is the only picture I got from the snow day.  I tried to get the snow outside the window, but it just didn't work.  I also have a short video of Wren touching the snow, but we didn't stay out long.  She wasn't a big fan.  We will try again next year :).

Take 2 – I went into work on Tuesday March 4th at 10.  There was another lady that was starting in a different department, so she and I filled out our paperwork together.  Her name is Connie and she is precious!!  After paperwork, we were able to go around and meet EVERYONE, did you read that right?  Yes, I said EVERYONE in the office.  It was so bizarre to me because I came from a company that was over 800 just in our office, not to mention world-wide.  We usually only met the people on our team, so this was something new to me.  Everyone was wonderful, very welcoming and kind!

The first week went great and I have enjoyed being at Consumers!  I look forward to coming to work and not having to deal with the traffic into Nashville.  This morning I heard the traffic report on the radio and thought, hmmm I don’t have to worry about that EVER AGAIN!!  What a nice thought!

My job title is: Agency Sales & Marketing Coordinator
We are in 7 states (TN, AL, VA, IL, IN, MO &  AR)
There are Sales Reps in each state
Just a few of the things I handle include: sales rep convention registrations, hotel (if needed) reservations and help with planning the yearly agent trip.  I'm pretty much an event planner and I LOVE IT!!  I also work on brochures and will be in charge of the company store!  

So, my last line will be a shameless plug!  If you don’t have/or are looking for new car insurance find a local Consumers Insurance agent near you!!