Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 Keys to not Looking like a Relationship Moron

So tonight I was trolling pinterest and stumbled on an interesting blog post. (Is it bad to post another bloggers blog on my blog?) Here's the link: After reading 16 ways this man "blew his marriage" I was impressed. I've seen/read/heard a lot of marriage advice from 'happily married couples' but none has been as practical or down-to-earth as this. I've always wondered why people don't give the down and dirty advice that people need when it comes to relationships. Now let me first clarify, some of the 'typical' advice is imperative. Such as, pray together, put Jesus first, etc. THAT is the most important relationship advice you can ever give or receive. HOWEVER, there is other good advice out there that just seems to be lacking. So I'm going to supply some of the most knitty-gritty advice I can (from experience *which means usually what I screwed the pooch on*). 1. LADIES! This is for the ladies. And only the ladies.- When you are PMSing (and we all know when we are) and you are mad to and unreasonable point about something your man did/said, CHILL OUT! I'm terrible at this, which is why I can speak to it. Some of the most pointless/weirdest/stupidest (yes, stupidest) fights I've ever been in with Jon were because of hormones. So! When you are in that Godzilla-like rampage; just go get some chocolate, tell your guy you'll talk to him tomorrow and keep it to yourself. If you're still mad in the morning, then it's worth talking out. But I usually find that the next morning I'm either a) regretting the psychotic break I subjected Jon to the day before; or b) REALLY REALLY REALLY (did I mention REALLY?) glad that I kept my cool and said nothing. So, to recap. Don't let your hormones rule your actions. 2. Also for the LADIES (or some men, I suppose)- DO NOT GO FISHING. And I'm not talking the sitting on a rock for 12 hours straight watching crawdads climb onto the sand or try to steal your bait fishing... I'm talking the 'I feel so ugly today' or 'I wish I was as smart as ___' or 'Well it's not wonder people like her better' type fishing. One, it's not how we should be seeing ourselves. Two, if your man is anything like mine he won't get it and will answer wrongly. Men don't understand that when we're throwing our fishing lines out there that we want "no baby, you're the smartest most beautiful most wonderful most attractive so much better than that other girl you just mentioned woman on the planet and I worship the ground you walk on..." response. They'll respond like they would to any other comment (in Jon's case, that is silence most of the time). Then what happens? Usually the fight, the resentment, the bitterness, the (God forbid) wooing compliments of another man. If you spend your time fishing for compliments and don't get them from your guy and do from another, you are SETTING YOURSELF UP for infidelity. Easiest solution I've found? STOP FISHING! If you are feeling particularly down in the dumps on yourself one day, just tell your husband/fiance/boyfriend whatever straight up. I've found that when I do this, Jon is FAR more likely to reassure me that he finds me beautiful, witty and hilarious. :P So just be honest and don't play the fishing game. 3. For any and all- STOP BEING SO FLIPPIN LAZY!- Ok I am the ever loving QUEEN of this. Which is why I can speak to it. I am the laziest person I know. Especially when I have had a long day of nursing classes (4 hour long nursing classes) and a difficult patient write up and a test yesterday and one tomorrow (for the same class) and I finally make it to Jon's place to hang out. All I want in that moment is to lay down and let Jon rub my feet and tell me how wonderful I am. Unfortunately, Jon also goes to school full time, works full time and has plenty on his plate as well. So usually, he's ready to flop on the couch, turn on the xbox and let me rub his feet while telling him how awesome he is. You see the conflict here? To my extreme shame, I'm usually the one who gets what I want, and rarely returns the favor. However, in those rare (hopefully becoming less rare) moments when I actually DO what Jon wants (whether that be playing xbox, going out to dinner, doing errands*, etc) I end up feeling much closer to Jon, and he feels more loved, which makes him do things I want, which makes me feel loved, which makes me do what he wants... etc etc. So even though we're all tired, and we're all busy and we all wanna do what we want: take the time to put in REAL EFFORT and show your spouse/bf/whatever that he/she really means enough to you to put yourself aside. I promise you, it's worth it. * Referring to the above * next to running errands: this is one of my least favorite things to do when I'm with Jon. But getting his errands done is important to him because he is NOT a procrastinator like me. AND when we do his errands together, he appreciates me so much more for it. It's ALWAYS worth the effort, so really, STOP BEING LAZY. 4. Ok, people. Time to get into the uncomfortable, even more shaming aspects of relationships. Here's the truth: No matter how long you've been together, how great your person is or how dedicated you are; a time is coming/has come/will come again when someone at work/school/the store/your favorite coffee shop/etc will catch your eye. You'll be tempted to flirt, chat or whatever. Suddenly, your significant others' less appealing qualities start creeping into your brain. Everything that has ever bothered you about them will suddenly be there. Advice #4 is RUN FOR THE HILLS! When that new person starts looking pretty attractive GET OUT OF THERE! It is so easy to allow all the bad qualities of your spouse to pop up, and you know what happens next? You start seeing those qualities everywhere, and because you only see those, they seem to pop up more. IE- "He doesn't tell me I'm pretty enough." This leads to you showing subconscious (at best) resentment. You know what that does, make your spouse want to tell you you're pretty LESS OFTEN. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. And it is BAD. So when you start getting those teeny tiny butterflies that we'd all love to deny having, there are some key things to do. Make a list of your spouse's best qualities (mental, paper, typed up whatever, just DO IT). Carry it around with you all day. Do NOT allow yourself to get into those dangerous situations with the other person. This is especially important and work/school type scenarios. I'd say avoid that not-your-spouse/fiance/bf/gf/whatever person altogether, but I know in the cases of school or work it may not be possible. So ONLY talk about work/school when you have to, surrounded by others, in broad daylight. The excuses come all to easily from our flesh to be alone. DO NOT DO IT! And the final, most difficult advice I can give, is be honest with your husband/wife/et al. It's so easy to want to hide those feelings or temptations from your spouse. You may feel like they'll feel betrayed or not trust you, and that may be true for a while. But in the end, it is best to be honest with them. It helps hold you accountable and often helps to defuse the subliminal tension and withdrawing that this may have caused. DO NOT under any circumstances, withdraw from your person (not for shame, not for anger, not for bitterness). Be honest, because it usually reminds you all the reasons you love them, and can really help to resolve the problem. 5. TOUCH YOUR SPOUSE/ET AL. Ok we're not getting dirty or inappropriate here. I'm a firm believer in keeping sex for marriage (if you are married then ya, go for it, it helps keep a marriage strong). BUT that's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about hand holding, kisses on the forehead, arm around them when walking, hugs and all those things we seem to have in abundance and the beginning that just seem to fade. This is the one point on here I think I have actually done a somewhat decent job at. Jon and I held hands on our first date and still hold hands any time we can. My love language just happens to be physical touch, but even if not the advice stands. Holding hands and all the other stuff listed above is a good, nonverbal way to show your person you love them. They are as important after marriage as before. Because Jon and I are waiting, it's our only way to physically show love. But I think even as married couples it's still extremely important. I love when Jon absentmindedly grabs my hand in church, or wraps his arm around me at the mall. It's habit for him, and it shows how important I am to him. It's the small touches that show throughout the day how much he is thinking of me and wants to remind himself/myself that he wants me by his side at all times. So I think it is so important to always, always, always hold hands. Until the day one of us kicks the bucket, I hope I always remember to never let go of Jon's hand. Ok that's all the preaching I have for now. Hope it helps. :) Feel free to leave thoughts/questions/comments for me. ~Kristin~ PS- sorry about the fact that there is NO spacing in any of my posts. It's just a side effect of the format I chose. I DO, in fact, know how to make paragraphs.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick wedding update

Wedding Countdown Ticker This isn't going to be one of my long, ranty posts. Just a quick update on wedding stuff. Since people keep asking how much longer, I added a ticker to answer that question. I have my dress and venue (which happens to take care of catering etc). So really, now it's just bridesmaids dresses and details left. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

705 days down, 361 to go!

705 days ago (give or take a day or two since I can't remember our engagement anniversary) Jon asked me to marry him. It has been a LONG engagement (and we're only 2/3 of the way there!!). I've been asked several times if I wish we'd waited to get engaged, and if I'd recommend a long engagement for other couples. So I guess first thing's first: Do I wish Jon and I had chosen to have a shorter engagement? Not really. It's been an extremely trying and yet rewarding time for me. It helps and hurts that I see Jon maybe twice a week (and that's it been that way since the beginning). It sucks not being able to see him very often, but it's been helpful as far as focus and purity. Having been engaged for almost two years has taught me a lot about Jon and how our relationship is likely to go once we are finally married. There are some issues that just don't come up when you're only dating, and it's been very nice to have a good, long while to sort those out and learn from them. I've learned most of Jon's bad habits (I'm sure I'll find more once we're married) and we've learned how to fight productively. I've learned which types of quiet mean mad, frustrated, tired, sad, content etc. I've learned how to best show love to Jon (time). We've learned each others fears and insecurities, hopes and dreams. Jon knows me better than anyone now, and I know I can trust him with anything. (I also discovered he squeezes toothpaste in the middle which is just ludicrous!). The level of understanding Jon and I have for one another is something I don't think we'd have if we'd been dating for this long rather than being engaged. So, even though it's been very tough at times, I do no regret getting engaged when we did. Second: would I recommend a long engagement for other couples? In most cases, HECK NO! For one thing, there can tend to not be a lot of romance and pizazz in this long of an engagement (which is fine for me, because I'm about as romantic as an action movie) but this is very difficult for a lot of women. (Granted, marriage can be that way a lot so maybe it's a good thing, who knows?). Also, if you are trying to wait to be married before having sex it makes it THAT much more difficult. Truthfully, the only way I think it can even be pulled off is to CONSTANTLY monitor your situations. Jon and I are almost NEVER alone. (I highly, HIGHLY recommend this even if you're in a dating relationship; but a ring adds the rationalizations of 'well, we're for sure getting married, right?'. Let's be truthful too, it SUCKS watching relationships start and end up in marriage between the time you got engaged and are STILL waiting to get married. I've had several friends meet, date, get engaged and get married in the time Jon and I have been engaged. While I'm always really excited for them, I'm human so jealousy loves to worm its' way into my brain at those times. It's extremely easy to let bitterness and spite get a hold during such a long engagement. So even though, overall, it's been REALLY good for my relationship with Jon and it's prepared us for marriage in a way I don't think dating would have; a long engagement is really hard to do. It has worked well for my personality type (and Jon's), so I'm not saying it should never be attempted. But if you decide to have a long engagement, don't say I didn't warn you. And as with any decision, I think praying long and hard before you decide to have a long (or short) engagement is the key.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Truth about Nursing School

Ok, I am a few days away from finishing my junior year of college, and my first year of nursing school. Let me tell you, I heard a lot of things when I decided on nursing. Everything from "nursing school's really competitive"
to "that is such an easy major" to "you're smart just be a doctor instead" (we'll address that one later) to "you're going to rake in the big bucks" to "have fun living in the library, I did" to "well you'll study really hard" and everything else and it's mother you could ever hear. Do you truly want to know the hardest part of nursing school? There's several. Let's go in order shall we? 1. Applying. Ok so if you aren't blessed enough to get a seamless transfer into a competitive nursing program you spend the last 3 months of your sophomore year breaking out in night sweats and panic attacks waiting for "THE LETTERS". These are the letters that inform you if you are a. accepted, b. waitlisted, or c. declined. I was one of the unfortunate ones to transfer into my school who, therefore, needed a letter. The day they came out people were running to get their letters. Opening that letter was one of the MOST awful moments of my life. It didn't help that there were (in my mind) a million and a half people running around either jumping for joy or crying. You see, nursing pre-requisites are completely different than ANY other major, so if you don't get into your program you either wait and re-apply or you do extra classes and change majors. However, one of the greatest feelings was seeing Dear Kristin, CONGRATULATIONS!. No one knows what the letter said after that, because after the first CON- you don't read any further you just jump up and down thanking Jesus you got in. Next hardest part, quarters, namely the first. That's right, most college programs are in semesters, 16 glorious weeks to learn material. Not nursing school. Your first eight weeks of school are spent in a few very key classes: Foundations of Nursing, Health Assessment, Pharmacology, and (in our case) Nursing Roles and Development.
The picture of those books is all the texts required for the first QUARTER. Anyway, the first quarter of nursing school you learn all the basics of nursing care: IV's, moving patients, how to assess different systems (all of them), commodes, bed pans, catheters, skin care, dressing changes, ted hose, legal stuff, communication types, neuro, cardio, pulmonary, x, y, z... it seems insane. Then in addition to that you learn DRUGS, lots and lots of drugs. You go through almost a quarter of your pharmacology book in 8 weeks. Oh my lands, so much to learn. You have NO free time. But the ABSOLUTE hardest part about the first quarter is that you go from thinking like yourself to thinking like a nurse. Your entire paradigm changes, and that makes your brain cry. Alright, I'll stop my ranting about the first quarter. It was busy, and tiring and hard. Having now almost finished my first year, I can say the hardest part of nursing school (besides clinicals before you've even had the first class in some cases)is the pace. You have 8 weeks for the basics, then 8 weeks for OB and labor and delivery, then 8 weeks for medical/surgical 1 (aka adult 1), then 8 weeks for mental health. You are taking other classes in addition to these and working 8-12 hour shifts as a nurse for part of the week. The material isn't extremely difficult (luckily, if you think logically you can guess right more often than not) but it's that there's so much. In this school year I have learned the basics of nursing, pharmacology, child-bearing, general nursing, geriatric nursing, mental health nursing (which is a whole different animal) and so much more. Your brain becomes so suddenly full it feels like it might burst! Then add the usual stressors of tests, finals, papers, projects (which are ALL group), reading assignments, a social life (ha), not enough sleep, working and everything else. Then please tack on being responsible for people's lives in the hospital, having screaming patients and patients' families, body fluids on your shoes (and hair and clothes and skin and anywhere else it can get), infectious diseases, terminal illness, HIPAA, assessing/observing/charting (which may mean someone getting life saving care or not), the emotional stress of the job... And then return on Monday to start all over again with your week. Not to mention the added stress of the NCLEX looming over you AT ALL TIMES, and finding a job in a crappy market (for those of us in Denver)... So there you have it, life as a first year nursing student. Wouldn't have traded it for the world, because even after all the tough stuff, it is the greatest decision I've ever made. It brings me so much joy to be making a real difference (even as a student). So yes, it's very hard (don't let them tell you otherwise) but it's so worth it! And as always, it wouldn't have happened without God and coffee! ~Kristin

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank God for Coffee?

So as many of you may or may not know, I've tried the whole "blogging" thing before. I didn't do so well; mostly because back then I didn't have much to say. Now you're lucky if you can get me to shut up, so I'm trying again. First, what kind of name is 'Thank God for Coffee' for a blog? Well it's the most honest and relevant one I can think of. I've heard many creative names relating to people's professions or goals or opinions or what have you's, but I'm sort of all over the place even in those things. I can honestly say there are two things I remain consistent to the core on: God and coffee. I wouldn't make it through the day without either, so now they're both in my title. Secondly, me. A brief synopsis. I've been a Christian for a very long time and am proud of it. I've been engaged to a remarkable man for two years and have one more to go (almost exactly!). I'm about to enter my senior year of nursing school. Once I become a reasonably decent nurse, I want to go to medical school. I'm obsessed with superheroes (mostly Superman). I'll read pretty much any novel you put in front of me (though I prefer the classics). I recently discovered I enjoy pomegranate cosmos. My #1 goal in life is to end up as a medical missionary in Africa (and no, I've never been). I'm fascinated by surgery and think it's what I could do for the rest of my life and never get bored (anyone who knows me knows what a statement that is!). Last, why blog now? I'm about to graduate college with a bachelor's degree which is something that seems extremely crazy even now. This last year or two of my life has given me some great experiences and taught me a lot. Between nursing school and being engaged and everything else that goes into becoming an adult (which sucks by the way, anyone who tells you otherwise is lying) I could talk for days about my opinions and thoughts. Mostly, it's taught me what it takes to keep a Christian faith going in the real world, and has formed some opinions in me I never thought I'd have. So essentially, blogging is a good excuse to metaphorically hear myself talk. Alright, that's the first one down. I'll jot down some more thoughts as they come... ~Kristin