Friday, January 29, 2010

Might as well talk about Sex some more.....

In case you haven't figured out from reading my blog, I am a Evangelical Christian. I was born and raised in the church, I believe what the Bible says and putting those principles into my life. Knowing this might allow you to understand some of my view points and where my ideologies come from.

When you are raised in the church a big part of your adolescent years are spent being told to wait for marriage before you have sex. As a girl, you are told how to be modest around boys, to watch what you wear and how it can bring attention to you and your body. You are told that all boys think about is sex and how it is ALWAYS on their mind! Girls don't think this way about sex so adults tell them over and over again how a boys brain works! None of this is wrong, and I would like to think that even if I wasn't a Christian I would want my daughters to think of these things too. BUT sometimes I have to wonder if a girls attitude towards sex is somewhat "warped" due to the way it is taught though. Hang in there with me and see if you can follow my line of thinking.

I have a 14 year old daughter who is in High School. She has AWESOME friends that also have AWESOME parents that are also involved with church and raising Godly Children. One of her friends got a book from her parents about modesty. I was in the car one day when her friend was reading the book and all of sudden she says out loud, "Ewwwwww, Stephanie you have to read this!" At the time I didn't know what she was reading so I was intrigued and asked her what was so gross. She told me about the book she got from her parents and this little part of the book that was talking about the way a guys brain works. She said that it explained that you need to be modest in the way you dress because if you bring attention to your body and a guy is looking at you, thinks you are cute, because he is a boy, he will most likely start to fantasize about you and even go so far as to picture you naked. This totally grossed out this 14 year old girl! The girls started talking about how gross boys are and why do they do that and why would he want to picture me naked. Ewww, ewww, ewww!

Ok, that was the scenario. After the girls got out of the car I started thinking. I understand that they are 14 and thankfully they think that sex is still gross BUT I couldn't help thinking that maybe, just maybe this book and the way sex is taught in the Church was warping their view on sex and males. From the beginning girls are taught that boys think of girls as sexual objects and almost anything we do as females makes them think of sex. Then girls are taught that sex is wrong before marriage, and that all these things are bad, bad, bad. I'm just not sure that is a fair and/or healthy view point.

God made men and woman different. What kind of world would we live in if, men and women wanted sex all the time OR if we lived in a world where men and women never wanted sex at all?! Instead, God, in his divine plan, created men and woman different. Men have needs and wants just like women have needs and wants. Are they always the same? No! But is it the "fault" of the male that he thinks like that? No! That is the way God created men to "work". That does not mean that a guy can do whatever he wants sexually because that is how he was created or that he has no control over it. Boys needs to learn how to turn away when tempted, to respect a girl, and control his desires until marriage. Just like a girl needs to learn how to be modest and have control over her sexual desires too. BUT, I just feel like sometimes, the Christian community puts down men for the way they view sex. I don't want my 14 year old girl to start thinking that a boys view on sex is gross, wrong, and unimportant. Because someday I want my girls to grow up, get married, and have a great sexual relationship with their spouse! I want them to respect their husbands view on sex and not just push it to the back burner because she has been taught that a boys sex drive is bad!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lesson Number Two

Keeping with the MOPS theme, the other "lesson" I learned to change my marriage was also learned at MOPS. This lesson is a little bit more personal so please bear with me! Along with learning how to care for my family and take care of young children while at MOPS, once a year we had a lady come and talk to us about Sex. We all knew her as the Sex lady and I remember the hushed chatter around MOPS the first time she came to speak. I must have missed her talk in years past because I know I would have remembered her talk before. I know for sure I can't do her talk any justice here on my blog because 1) It was a long time ago and 2) I don't retell stories very well.
The lady was there that day to talk to us about Sex with our husbands. Obviously we all knew what that was, since we were there with young children. But sometimes the problem with marriage is that for women, Sex tends to get put on the back burner. I know for a fact I can remember times I told Jason, "I'm just not in the mood" OR "I'm so tired honey, maybe another night." I remember how much it seperated us when I would tell him that. He was never ugly to me but it just sort of put a wall between us. I never understood how he felt or why it was such a big deal. The sex lady got up this one day and started talking about her husbands needs or more practically all our husbands needs. We all know that God created men and woman different. Men seem to think about Sex ALL the time and woman...sure we think about it but not ALL the time like men.
Think back to when you first got married, I remember how I could not get enough of my husband. It was just the two of us, we were all alone, of course I was in the mood for sex. Sex was new, Sex was fun, Sex was exciting. If he was in the mood, I was in the mood. It was GREAT! Everyone was happy! But slowly, as in every marriage, sex seemed to get less and less important to me. We had kids, and I wasn't leaving anything at the end of the day for my husband!
The sex lady talked that day about how there are two kinds of sex. One is the over top really good sex and the other she called the peanut butter and jelly type sex. Over the top sex happens late at night or when the kids aren't home at all. It is time consuming, it is satifying, and it is wonderful. Sex like that is GREAT and we all enjoy it but sex like that can't happen all the time!
The second kind of sex is the peanut butter and jelly sex, this is the sex that is maybe not over the top but still satisfying. It is the "bread and butter", the "slam, bam, thank you mam!" I am not trying to sound crude or discredit this second act of sex but honestly...the really good sex just can't happen all the time and that is OKAY! My husband married me and said that he would be faithful and love only me. How fair is it for me to hold Sex as something that he can only have when I am "in the mood" OR when "I'm not so tired"? Do you think anybody would ever get married if the vows included something about sex being available only when the wife is in the mood? No man would ever want to get married!
It is hard to put into words on a short blog how strongly I feel about this issue. I remember the MOPS sex lady talking about how she would ask her husband if he actually needed sex on the nights he wouldn't necessarily ask for it. Ask her husband for sex? I thought she was a little nuts! But the more she talked and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be the woman that asks my husband if he needs me for sex at night!
Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is more than just physical, there is the emotional and spiritual as well. My husband does everything to meet the needs of our family. He goes to work every day and provides the finances to have a roof over our head, food on the table, money to pay the bills, and even extra for the fun things like movies, games, and dinners out! Out of love and respect I want to provide myself in a sexual relationship to my husband to meet his needs!
I am a person who does not think that Pornography or Strip clubs is okay for any man in my family. This is something my husband and I have discussed and come to an agreement on. But I know that if I want my husband to only have eyes for me and to stay away from the temptations of pornography or other woman, I have to give all of myself to him. Not just when I feel like it but ALL the time, even when I think I am to tired! If all we can do is the quick peanut butter and jelly sex than that is okay with me. It's sort of like the bread holing our marriage together.
Besides what the MOPS sex lady said on that day I also read a book called, Every Man's Battle. Please understand that I did this to help me understand men and not because my husband has ever struggling with pornography. I would encourage all wives to read this book and get a fresh perspective on how guys think or are wired to work when it comes to sex. Again I read it many years ago but there was something in the book that talked about never letting your husband go more than 3 days without sex. I don't remember the full context but it is something that has stuck with me. If I don't want my husband sexually tempted than I need to be giving him a sexual outlet with me at home!
I know it is a lot harder when the kids are little and maybe you are still getting up in the middle of the night to feed your baby BUT, after the kids grow up and are gone, it's just you and your husband again. You can't have a relationship if you put it on the back burner for 18+ years while your kids are at home! I will admit that there are times I'm not in the mood but I still give myself freely to my husband so that we can be one again in Marriage...besides after a little while, you may find yourself more in the mood after all. ;-)
So for me and my husband I have found that these two lessons that I've shared with you have changed my thoughts and views on my role as a wife. It helped me to be less selfish and more giving to my husband. Of course my husband never complained about this fresh new perspective either! You have to do what works for you and your husband in your relationship, I am not posting these things to tell you that we have it all figured out or that you NEED to do these things or else. I just wanted to give you my perspective and show you what has worked for me in my marriage! Even after 15 years we have found new ways to express our love and keep things fun and new! I just don't feel like things would be as great for my husband and I if I hadn't applied these lessons in our relationship so many years ago!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Lessons That Changed My Marriage

When Jason and I lived in Arkansas I attended MOPS. For those of you who don't know, MOPS stands for Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers. It met twice a month at our church and was something I looked forward to every Friday it met!
The concept behind MOPS is, very briefly, to give moms a chance to be with other moms while the children are cared for. Every meeting consists of some time for fellowship, a craft, a speaker, and then some group time to discuss what the speaker talked about. Speakers could come and talk about anything from Baby Massage to Birth Order. How to plan meals or how to start traditions. No matter what it was, it was always GREAT! I was a young mom and was a little sponge just soaking up the wise words of these older Mentors.
As my kids began to get a little older and I had been in MOPS for a few years, I decided to get involved in the leadership team of MOPS. When you are a leader you are then given the opportunity to go to the Annual MOPS leadership conference. I think I attended two of these conferences but it was at one that I learned my first little bit of information that slowly started changing my marriage.
The speaker at the conference was Elise Morgan who was the President of MOPS at the time. She spoke about how our role as a mom is very important but went on to talk about our roles as wives. When you are young mom you give and give to your young kids. All day long they NEED you. I mean literally NEED you. Without you, the mom, your children could not feed themselves, bathe themselves, clothe themselves or change their own diaper. They would not climb into their own crib and take a nap or make sure the diaper bag is packed before you head out the door. There is laundry to do, beds to make, clothes to change, dishes to do and diapers,oh the diapers! So much time giving all day long to this little person! I remember the analogy she gave so clearly. She said that moms are like little Juice Boxes (the Capri Sun kind that inflate in themselves). All day long your little person is sucking more and more out of you. Diaper change (one little suck), breakfast, lunch and dinner (a few more sucks). All day long the child is taking taking taking and you are giving giving giving!
Then, 5pm rolls around, daddy is now home and you have been sucked dry. With just enough of yourself to get dinner on the table, you and your little juice box self are empty! You get the kids into bed and there is your husband looking over at you with those eyes. You know the eyes I am talking about! The ones that say he wants to go in the bedroom for fun and you just want to go in the bedroom for sleep! But Elise went on to encourage us and challenge us to remember this analogy and to remember to make sure our own personal juice box doesn't get sucked dry before our husbands come home at the end of the day. We all know the demands of children can be exhausting but we need to save some of our giving for our husbands as well!
That little analogy stuck with me so well. Even after over 8 years I can still hear Elise, see Elise and feel like I am right there. It was also a good analogy because with toddlers in the house, at the time, I was constantly filling that sippy cup! It helped me remember that I had to save some "juice" for my husband at the end of the day.
Was it always easy? Nope! Did I ever fail? All the time BUT I will say that little by little it go easier to make sure I had enough of myself to give to my husband each and every night (I'm not talking about having to have sex every night, just being able to give of myself to be with him and not be selfish at the end of the day.)
God was still working on me, this little analogy had been placed upon my heart but God had one more little tidbit to teach me....but that will have to wait until tomorrow! :-)
So keep your juice boxes with a little extra today, just for your hubby when he walks in the door tonight at 5 O'Clock!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nicholas's Prayer

Nicholas prayed at dinner tonight and said, "Thank you God for making daddy's flight get canceled so he had to stay home a whole extra day!"
We all said AMEN! :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

How I feel about my hubby

Some of this song is about a guy and girl who aren't getting along BUT the chorus, I love the chorus. I know that there is more to this life than just my relationship with my husband BUT I do know that after God, there is nothing I treasure more than just being with my hubby, laughing and loving! I really do love him so much! :-) (sorry about the bold font, I couldn't get it to turn off!)

Life After You lyrics

By: Daughtry

Believe me I won't stop at nothin'
To see you so I've started runnin'

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughin' with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
Without you God knows what I'd do, yeah

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My new favorite picture

Since yesterday was Lexi's birthday I spent some extra time in her room before bed. Just hanging out with her, tickling her, and telling her about the day she was born. We were laying on the bed giggling when I knew I had to capture the moment. Using the camera on my cell phone, I took this picture of the two of us! It quickly became my new favorite! I LOVE BEING HER MAMA! :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Alexis

Alexis 1 day old

Alexis now, dancing with her Daddy!

Happy Birthday to my youngest baby Alexis! I can't believe she is 8 years old today! My baby is getting so big and since she is our youngest I will always think of her as my baby! Daddy's little Princess and my brown eyed girl!
Alexis was my fourth baby and was supposed to be an easy labor! Her older brother is only 15 months older than her and had been as quick labor of 4 hours. He came so fast I had no time for pain medication! The Dr and everyone else told me that my Fourth baby was going to be a SUPER FAST labor and that I had better get to the hospital as soon I was in labor....some how labor never goes as planned!
With my 4th pregnancy my water broke and labor started slowly. I walked around at home for a while and didn't go into the hospital until I was sure my water was leaking and I was in labor. Once at the hospital they confirmed that my water was broken and that I was in labor. I told them about my previous labor going fast and that the Dr. was to be put on red alert. I think I was about at a 5 or 6 when I went into the hospital. They called the Dr. to come in and when he got there I was only an 8. I labored and labored at that 8cm and swore to God that I was going to be stuck at an 8 for the rest of my life. I even had one of those moments where I broke down and started crying and telling them that I couldn't do it! After being at the hospital for 8 hours little Alexis finally made her debut into the world. 4 hours of labor at home, 8 hours of labor at the hospital, so much for a quick delivery!
I have heard it said that your labor can mimic the personality of the child. Nicholas was a quick 4 hour labor and he is my go getter. That child wakes up in the morning and is ready to go. No time to dilly dally, the day is a wastin'! Lexi on the other hand is very patient and laid back. She can sleep in until noon if I let her and is very content to sit and snuggle with Mama on the couch! No need to rush around with Alexis, things will get done but there is no hurry. She is the youngest of 4 children with 2 older brothers. She is totally girly and likes her hair just so, but has also learned how to be tough and keep up with her older brothers! She likes to get manicures with mommy but doesn't mind digging in dirt! She LOVES LOVES LOVES our two dogs and is generally good with all animals! She has a heart of gold and makes her Mama and Daddy so proud! God knew what He was doing when he blessed me with that little girl and placed her in my life 8 years ago today! What an honor to be her Mama!

Side note: When it is one of our childs Birthdays they get to pick what they want for their Birthday dinner. Lexi's request this year. Roast Turkey, Cranberry sauce, Jell-O salad and French Fries! Ha-ha! No mashed potatoes for this girl, she likes French Fries! What can a Mama do but serve French Fries and Roast Turkey! :-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Anniversary

After looking back at my previous year posts, I found that I did not write about my wonderful husband on our Anniversary last year! Shame on me! So now I have to make up for it and post today, on our 15 year wedding Anniversary! Wow! 15 years! I can't believe we have been married for 15 years! I remember being 15 years old, let alone having been married that long! It has flown by, I mean just soared! All though our marriage is not perfect, I will admit that I have found it quiet easy to be happy and stay married to my husband Jason. So, since I have yet to share on blogger world how Jason and I got to be the Happily Married Couple that we are today...let's take a trip down memory lane!

May 1993
It was our Junior Year of High school end of year party. We were all at a friends house and the guys were playing football in the front lawn. I don't exactly remember how or why but my best friend Christine and I were actually in Jason's truck sitting outside watching the boys play football. (All though Jason had always been an acquaintance in High School, it still intrigues me that we were in his truck. I don't remember ever thinking of him as a friend so I don't know why we would just hang out in his truck). Anyway, as most High School girls do, we started talking about how that next school year we were going to Seniors in High School! We talked about how much we had done and how far we had come since being such young immature Freshman! As we watched the boys from our class play Football we talked about how the boys had changed, gotten cuter and what boys we thought were now good looking as compared to our Freshman year. I remember that both of us thought Jason had gotten very good looking and was actually pretty cute compared to Freshman year, but that was it. Just a little thought, quick conversation and that was it. Junior year was over, summer time came, and the boys of our High School class were put on the back burner while we enjoyed summertime!

PICTURE 1 - Me and my two best friends Junior Year of High School. (L to R: Christine, Me, Danielle)

August 1993

So now we are back to school mode. I was a big time Senior in the High School and I was out to rule the school! Okay, maybe not really, but I did feel pretty cool knowing it was my last year in High School. Starting to get back into routine and I notice Jason, once again, as the cute Senior that I remember saying was getting pretty good looking just 2 short months ago. I knew that he was a wrestler and I knew he wasn't dating anyone at our High School but I had no idea what his life was like outside of school and whether or not her had a girlfriend. So, being the wise a mature Senior that I was, I decided to call one of his friends and do some reconnaissance. I called a friend of his named Mike and refused to tell him who I was (because I was "under cover") and tried to get the scoop on this boy named Jason. According to Mike, Jason already had a girlfriend that didn't go to our school so I was out of luck. He then told me that he knew it was me and laughed as we hung up the phone! (That wasn't very nice!) I went back to school the next day and some how, everyone knew that I had called Mike and that I had a crush on Jason. I think I sent Jason a note or something and told him that I knew he had a girlfriend and that I was not going to make a big deal out of this. Come to find out, Jason DID NOT have a girlfriend. Mike just made this up to help "protect his buddy"! NICE! So after a few notes and maybe some phone calls

September 1993
Jason asked me to go on a date with him after one of our half days of school. I still remember what I wore that day. Burgundy jean type pants, a black long sleeve body suit with a cream crochet type sweater over the top of the bodysuit! Oh yes, I was HOT that day! We went miniature golfing near school and had a little lunch outside at the miniature golf place! He drove me back to school and gave me a very polite hug and then we departed ways. I had the time of my life and was already planning our future together. He-he-he! Jason, on the other hand was not so convinced. After a few more phone calls and conversations I was feeling like Jason, wasn't that into me! :-( I found out he had his eyes on a tennis player and that he wanted to keep his options open. :-( I was heartbroken but still not deterred!

October 1993
I honestly don't remember how it all happened but Jason and I kept talking and eventually he asked me out on a second date. I don't remember what I wore that night BUT I do know that we went and saw the movie The Program (which later had to be edited because of one part in the movie where the kids go and lay down in a busy intersection on the road. Kids started copying the movie, so it had to be edited and that scene taken out.) He then took me to a nice dinner at Olive Garden where we got the Tour of Italy and shared it! (Little did we know, this would become our Olive Garden tradition!) After dinner, when he was driving me home, he asked me if I wanted to "Go Out" with him and he gave me his class ring. Awwwwww! The rest my friends is History! :-)

PICTURE 2 - Jason and I at our Senior "prom"

January 1995
After a brief year and a half (give or take) of dating, Jason and I were married. Friday, January 13, 1995 to be exact! It was the BEST day of my life! I remember going to bed the night before and thinking about how the next day I was going to be Mrs. Jason Granstrom! It gave me butterfly's and I was sooo excited! My sister Kim was my Maid of Honor and then my sister Liz and my best friend Christine stood up on my side! Jason had his brother Ray, his best friend Dave, and his brother in law Mike on his side. It was a small wedding of about 100 people with a nice reception at AWANA headquarters in Streamwood, IL. Afterwords, Jason and I headed up to Lake Geneva, WI where we stayed at The Abbey Resort for the weekend. It was short honeymoon but Jason needed to be back to work on Monday. We had a GREAT time up there and someday we are going to go back and relive our time up there!

PICTURE 3 - Jason and at our Wedding Reception

January 13, 2010
What started as young love has blossomed into a meaningful relationship. What started as 2 people has now become 6. We have gone from IL, to AR, to GA. Jason got a degree in Engineering and I have become a full time mom and wife! I love my life and wouldn't change any of it (except being apart today, on our Anniversary!). I truly can't wait to see what the next 15 years will bring and just how much more I will grow to love this man of mine! God has blessed me and I couldn't be happier! I love you Jason soooo much! Who knew that one little conversation between two Jr. girls in High School would turn into this!

PICTURE 4 - J and I today (2010)

PICTURE 5 - The 4 additions to our family! (Christmas 2009)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The English Language (with apologies to my friend Becky who is an English teacher)

No I am not going to write about Noun, Verb agreement. I am not going to talk about how a preposition is "anything a cat can do". I just wanted to talk about three little words that over the past week have come up.

Word number One: Balsamic
I LOVE Balsamic Vinegar! I mean love, love, love it! I will pay excessive prices to have the stuff on my shelf because I think it is THAT good! I recently bought a bottle of Creamy Balsamic salad dressing to try! Well the other night was that night. So, with all of us at the table Alexis (my 7 year old) watched me pour dressing onto my salad. She couldn't help but notice the creamy chocolate type color and was intrigued. She asked what kind of dressing it was and when I told her it was Balsamic she sat for a minute and then said, "Balsamic...I like the sound of that word!" Maybe it is just me, but that tickled me. How grown up sounding for her to say something like "I like the sound of that word!" Hehehe! I thought it was cute!

Word number Two: Eccentric
Without admitting it, how many of you know the meaning of the word Eccentric? Webster defines it as a : deviating from an established or usual pattern or style b : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways . I like to use this word to describe myself at times and used it the other day with a our Schwans man. I was telling him that sometimes I come across as a little Eccentric for some people. He paused for a minute and said, "that is a big word what does it mean?" I chuckled and he then said, "I'm serious, what does it mean?" Hmmm, I did not quote Webster but told him that sometimes I can be a little bit too outgoing or have bolder thoughts than some people. He accepted my "definition" and we went on to getting me my good food! :-)

Word number Three:
After posting on Facebook that my husband is going to be gainfully employed again, one of my High School friends posted how she was glad for me but understood the situation by saying that she could Commiserate! Who would use the word Commiserate? A very intelligent friend of mine that I went to High School with, that's who! Thankfully, I did not have to consult Webster to know the definition, I understood what she said! :-)

All of this to say...finally the point!
I sometimes wonder if we are losing some great words from our English language as time goes by?! Not that Balsamic, Eccentric, and Commiserate are such profound words BUT, it makes me sad to think about how many people out there probably don't know those words or what they refer to? Instead they use 4 letter words and contractions like ain't, nothin', and gonna!? Nothing wrong with those words, I just wish we could be a little bit more proper at times...somewhere between, Pride and Prejudice English and Today's English (or what is left of it!)