Pollen and Puppies

20130417_135837

Spring is in full swing in Tennessee. My puppy, Kieran, and I spent some time outside today and I couldn’t believe how much pollen there was out there! He, however, was not displeased to find all the pollen. He licked it up off the front porch where it had collected in little drifts. I found that to be a little gross. When he was done it looked like he had been eating donuts covered in yellow powdered sugar. My puppy is weird but cute.

20130417_135848

20130417_13580920130417_135815

My New Puppy, Kieran

20130315_171747

Once upon a time there was a girl (me) who wanted a puppy.

She searched high and low (but mostly on the internet) for the perfect puppy for her little family.

And she found a small Beagle-Corgi-Something mix and fell in love with him. She named him Kieran which means “little dark one.”

20130315_200110_HDR

He loved to sleep.

20130317_085029_HDR

And sleep…

20130316_222222_HDR

And sleep.

20130319_203449_HDR

He had a lot of toys.

20130316_153557_0

But it was never enough. He would try to steal sticks and things from bigger dogs.

20130315_210827

He would run fast outside.

20130317_160724

Or just sit.

20130317_124304

20130317_124416_HDR

He never wanted to be left alone so he would sleep in her closet when she was getting ready for the day.

20130319_213046_HDR

He would even sleep under her computer chair while she was working.

20130315_171747

And that’s the story of Kieran, the little black puppy.

Beagle-Corgi Puppies

Beagle puppy

Beagle-Corgi Puppies

Today my husband and I are doing something that we have never done in our almost four years of marriage. We are getting a puppy! Until this month, we have always lived in apartments (ones that didn’t allow pets). And now we have our own home and are ready to move into the world of pet ownership! I certainly will be uploading puppy pictures within the week!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

100 Questions Couple Should Ask Before Getting Married

TGartprojectPaintingBanner-01

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Check out The Thanksgiving Art Project when you are done reading the blog below.

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK BEFORE MARRIAGE

I ran across this list online and had to read through it. My husband and I never made a list of questions like this before we were married but I know that we discussed nearly all of these things. It’s super important that couples who are planning on getting married should know if they are actually compatible. Check out this (borrowed) list and find out if you and your future spouse are on the road to success. (For more information you can check out the link to the article which is located at the bottom of this list.)

Sex/Romance/Love
If we eliminated physical attraction from our relationship, what would be left?
What is the best way for me to show that I love you?
If I put on weight, will it affect our sexual relationship? How?
Is it important for you to know that I’m a virgin? Why or why not?
What do I do that causes you to question my love?
What turns you off sexually?
How would our relationship be affected if for medical reasons we could not have children?
Do you think being in love means: (1) Never having to say you’re sorry, (2) Always having to say you’re sorry, (3) Knowing when to say you’re sorry, or (4) Being the first to say I’m sorry?

The Past
Which childhood experiences influence your behavior and attitude the most?
Could any feelings of affection and romance be revived if you met a previous boyfriend/girlfriend even though you feel strongly committed to me?
Is there anything in your past I should be aware of?
What did you dislike the most about your previous partners?
If your past boyfriends/girlfriends listed your most negative characteristics, what would they be?
Do you keep letters and memorabilia from past relationships? Why or why not?
Are you comfortable continuing this relationship if there are things in my past that I am not willing to share with you?
Have you ever been involved in any criminal activities? What were they?
Did your mother or father abuse each other or you in any way- sexually, emotionally, or physically?
Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? What was it?
Have you ever been violent in past relationships?

Trust
Have there been times when you were uncomfortable with the way I behaved with the opposite sex? If so, when and what did I do?
What do I do now or what could I do in the future that would make you mistrust me?
Would you be comfortable transferring all your money into my bank account?
Who comes first, your spouse or your children?
Is trust automatic until something occurs that takes it away, or does it evolve over time?
Do you trust me with money?
Is it permissible for us to open each other’s mail?

The Future
How are we different? Could this be a source of future conflict? Do our differences complement each other?
Do you anticipate maintaining your single lifestyle after we are married? That is, will you spend just as much time with your friends, family and work colleagues? Why or why not?
How did your family resolve conflicts when you were growing up? Do you approve or disapprove of that method? what will you change or not change to resolve conflicts in your future family?
Is there anything about marriage that frightens you?
Would you prefer to live in the city, the country, or by the beach? Why?
If I wanted to move away from our families for work, would you support me?
How would it affect you if I travel on my own frequently to (1) visit family, (2) earn income, (3) pursue a hobby, or (4) deal with stress?
Suppose we are experiencing trouble in our marriage. In what order will you seek help from the following to resolve our conflicts: (1) divorce lawyer, (2) your parents, (3) a brother or sister (4) a marriage counselor, (5) me, (6) a church leader? Why?
How will you support my hobbies?
How do you feel about having our parents come to live with us if the need arises?
Is there anything you would regret not being able to do or accomplish if you married me?
How will we schedule holidays with our families?

Children
Do you want children?
If we are unable to have children, should we adopt?
Do you anticipate raising our children (1) the same way you were raised (2) completely differently from the way you were raised (3) a mixture of both?
How long would you like to wait before having children?
Other than formal schooling, what types of education will our children get and how will they receive them?
When we have children, who will change the diapers, heat the bottles, prepare the meals, do the housework, bathe the child, get up in the middle of the night when a child is crying, take the child to the doctor, buy clothing, and dress the child?
What types of discipline would you implement to correct a child’s or a teenager’s behavior? Were these practices you experiences or are they new ones you have developed on your own?

Annoyances
If I had bad breath or body odor or wear dirty clothes, will you tell me? Should I tell you? Why or why not? How should we do it?
What is nagging? Do I nag? How does it make you feel?
DO you approve without reservation of the way I dress?
What does my family do that annoys you?
Would it bother you if I made body noises all the time, like passing gas or burping?
Is there anything you do in your line of work that I would disapprove of or that would hurt me?
Do you believe that you should stick with a marriage if you are unhappy all the time?
When do you need space away from me?

Communication
Whenever we have difficult feelings about each other, should we (1) remain silent, (2) say something as soon as the difficult feelings arise, (3) wait a certain amount of time before raising the issue, or (4) do something else? If so, what?
If you always say you are going to do something but never do it, what is the most effective way to bring this problem to your attention?
What did you admire about the way your mother and father treated each other?
What is the best way for me to communicate difficult feelings about you so that you are not offended?
Who should know bout the arguments we have?
What makes you not want to talk to me?
Do you feel you could communicate with me under any circumstance and about any subject?

Finance
What justifies going into debt?
What are all your current personal debts?
Do you feel stress when facing financial problems? How do you deal with that stress?
How often do you use credit cards, and what do you buy with them?
How should we prepare for a financial emergency?
Do you feel that lack of money is a good reason not to have children?
When our child is born, will he or she go to daycare or will one of us stay home to take care of the child? Who will it be?
Will we have a budget?
Who will pay the bills?
How do you feel about helping me pay my debts?
What are your feelings about saving money?
Do you prefer separate bank accounts or assets in different names? Why?

Miscellaneous
How would you rank all the priorities in your life: work, school, family, spouse, friends, hobbies, and chuch? Does your ranking reflect the amount of time you spend on each?
Are you closer to your mother or father? Why?
Do you prefer a set daily work schedule or flexible work activities and timetables?
What do you fear?
What influence, if any, do you believe my family should have on our relationship?
Do you believe that our parents should know our financial condition, whether good or bad, just because they want to? How far should this go?
What are your views on pornography?
How would you react if our son or daughter told us they were gay?
Do you harbor any racial prejudice?
How do you feel about having guns in our home?
Is there anyone close to you who feels we should not get married? Why? Should we this?
What health problems do you have?
Have you ever had any psychological problems?
When you are in a bad mood, how should I deal with it?
Do you like pets?

Questions You Should Ask Before Marriage

How to be a happy couple

I just watched a small video called What Happy Couples Do from Yahoo. I picked up a few things from the video that you probably already know:

good communication equals good relationships,

don’t go to bed angry,

listen to your significant other without interrupting or making faces,

and don’t hangout too much with the cranky people in your life.

I think that all of those are very good pieces of advice. Good communication really is the place to start. (And, don’t point fingers at your partner and say “if he (or she) had better communication skills than this would be a better relationship.” Because, that in it of itself is poor communication. The one who sees the problem should be the one to bring it to attention and help the other one understand.)

As a server at a restaurant I see a lot of poor communication. Guests come into the restaurant and become angry if you didn’t read their minds to know exactly when they need you at the table, but than they also become angry if you show up too soon. I would hate to be in a relationship with a person like that. Don’t expect your significant other to be able to read your mind and know what it is that you want. Chances are, if your partner really loves you, he or she will be more than happy to do what you want him to if he just knew what it was!

As a Christian I have a somewhat unique perspective on this subject. I am reminded of some verses in the Bible that I’ve been reading. Much of the New Testament is a collection of verses simply telling us to love one another! Sadly, I haven’t read my Bible as much as I should, so I have been surprised at how many times the New Testament authors advise and implore us to love each other. I believe that that is the key to any good relationship. Do you truly love you significant other? If the answer is yes than the rest of it should come together. If you love that person than you will take time out of your day to show that person that you love him or her. This probably won’t be a crazy big gesture of love every day, and it doesn’t have to be. My husband and I have been married for over 3 years and dated nearly two years before that. Mainly, we communicate love by one of us doing more of the house chores if the other one is super busy with work or homework. It’s little things like that that really communicate love.

The famous photo of my husband cleaning

Another thing that happy couples do is finding something to do together that both of you enjoy. Or two somethings. My husband and I play tennis and basketball (I like the former, he likes the latter). We also watch tv together in the evenings from Hulu or Netflix. This may be simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most. I’ve included several photos of other couples doing things together to give you ideas.

Basically, LOVE, LISTEN, and LEARN from your mistakes! (And, don’t forget the PRAY a lot).

What Happy Couples Do: VIDEO