Celebrating Our Sweet 16 (Years of Marriage)

Hubby and I will be celebrating 16 years of marriage tomorrow. Yup, we chose May 5th so it’d be an easy date for him to remember. 😉 (Fun fact: He has trouble remembering his own parents’ birthdays.) As we approach our sweet 16, the one emotion I feel is that of gratitude. I am so thankful because I know I married the right person.

Recently, hubby came back from work to have lunch with me. After our meal, we decided to go to Peet’s (coffee for him, tea for me), and on our way there we saw a man sitting outside on a bench. He held up a handwritten note on a piece of torn cardboard, asking for help. Hubby and I exchanged a quick glance as we passed him. Inside the cafe we placed our order and he went to the restroom. While I waited for him, I took my wallet out of my purse and checked if I had any cash. I rarely do, but that day I found a few bills and placed them in my pocket. I then picked up our order and met hubby as he came out of the restroom. I watched as he also pulled out his wallet to look for cash, and that’s when I knew … I had married the right guy.

“I already got some money—”

“You did?” he responded in surprise. He paused his search and took the cash I handed him. “Oh, good.”

We left Peet’s and handed the money to the man outside.

I don’t tell this story to brag about our “good deed”, but I do want to brag about my hubby. 🙂 In the time I’ve known him, I’ve learned that he is a generous person with a soft spot for people who would be considered underdogs. He is generous with his money (guess who’s the saver in the family?), but it’s because he understands that money is a tool which can be used for good. Even though he can never wait to get the latest and greatest gadgets, he is patient where it counts the most: with people. He makes time for the munchkins and showers them with daily “I love you’s” and kisses (in private of course, never at school!) and also forgives quickly. I still remember the time munchkin #1 accidentally dropped his precious Nikon SLR camera on the floor. He winced for a split second, but his love for his kids soon replaced any other emotions he could have had in that moment. As a husband, he has been my biggest fan from day one. He walked by my side as I finished grad school, let me squeeze his arm during labor contractions, and supports me daily as a stay-at-home mom. Even though he has yet to read any of my books (he doesn’t like to read, haha!), he encourages me to write and proudly tells his coworkers that his wife is an author.

Hubby is the more generous, gracious and giving spouse in our marriage, and quite honestly, my better half. And because of who he is and his care for our family, I have learned to be more generous, gracious and giving. The reason I wanted to give money to that man outside of Peet’s was because I’ve seen hubby do the same time and time again. The fact that we both opened up our wallets that day showed me that the past 16 years of our marriage have molded and shaped us. We started out as two very different individuals, and while we still are opposites in many ways, we have also influenced one another for the better. Our viewpoints and interests are more aligned. We see eye-to-eye on the bigger issues in life and let the minor ones fall to the side. Rather than a state of coexistence, our relationship has become one of communication, cooperation and companionship. And would you believe it, our marriage has also become more fun. 🙂

If you’d asked me early on in our marriage whether or not I’d married the right person, I don’t think I would have been able to answer with a firm yes. But now? I’m certain I married the right man. Because this man makes me want to be a better woman.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the Lord and our family and friends for supporting us through our marriage! And our munchkins for bringing so much joy (and white hair) to our lives. Happy anniversary, Honey! I love you. 😀

Picking Up the Slack in Marriage

As seasoned chauffeurs for our two munchkins, hubby and I have an established driving routine. He takes them to school and I pick them up. On the rare occasions when he has an early meeting at work, I’ll take over his shift. This routine has worked out pretty well for us, especially because he’s an early bird and I’m like this cat …

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

There have been days however when hubby doesn’t have to go in early, but I offer to take his shift for him. Why? Usually because he had to stay up late to work or he woke up with a migraine due to stress from work (yep, his work can be a beast). Yesterday, it was because there was an issue at work that kept him on the phone till 2AM, then too wired to sleep until 4AM. 🙁 This meant he was still in bed by the time the kids had to leave the house, so I made myself semi-presentable and played morning chauffeur. I haven’t always been this accommodating though. If this scenario had happened a few years ago, I likely would’ve woken hubby up or begrudgingly dragged my pajama-clad behind out of the house. I’d moan and groan and think, Why do I have to do something he’s supposed to do? If I were to be honest, I’d admit that statement goes through my mind. A lot. 😛

I used to be a pro at keeping score in our relationship. When we were first married, I’d remember each time I took out the trash or washed the dishes or did anything of significance (which happened all the time course, ha!). I’d also remember how many times hubby did (or didn’t do) something. For a gal who doesn’t like math much, I spent a lot of time doing mental calculations. But what did all my tallying add up to? A big fat sum of resentment. And as anyone knows, resentment is no fun. You tell ’em, Grumpy Cat.

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

So how do you stop resentment in its tracks? It’s simple (kind of!). Stop thinking only about yourself.

One thing hubby taught me that’s really stuck with me through our 15+ years of marriage is the idea of teamwork. Not only the idea, but the ins and outs of how to be a team player. (He’s the youngest of 4, so he’s had plenty of opportunities to learn how to get along with people.) The most important part of being on a team is thinking like a team. It’s no longer me or you, it’s us. And when part of “us” isn’t able to do something that could lead to the success of the team, the other part of “us” picks up the slack.

The thing with picking up the slack for someone else is that it doesn’t always seem fair. You know what? It’s not. People aren’t perfect and situations aren’t always ideal. But what balances those things out is something else that isn’t fair: Love. Love is far from fair. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs or disappointments. It doesn’t keep score or compare. Love is about being the bigger woman (or man) even—and especially—when it’s not fair. And that’s a good thing. Because it means so much more when you do something for your spouse out of kindness, compassion, mercy and grace, not with a sense of obligation, guilt or resentment.

That’s what Jesus did for us. I love the part about joy in the verse below.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Now I’m pretty certain we’ll never have to pick up the slack for our spouse like Jesus did for us (whew!). But there will be plenty of opportunities when we’ll have a choice to make for our marriage: Endure something out of love or become a grumpy cat and feed on a meal of resentment? I think even Grumpy Cat would agree that resentment isn’t worth eating. But love? Love is as sweet and mind-blowing as a big bowl of your favorite ice cream stacked a bazillion scoops high with all the sprinkles, syrup, nuts (or not if you’re allergic) and whipped cream you could ever hope for (without the calories and cavities). 😉

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Yup. Our spouse is our life partner, the closest and most precious teammate we’ll ever have. And each day is a new “game” in the journey of marriage, one in which we have two choices: 1) stay in our own little corner of the playing field or 2) “take one for the team”. When you think about it, when we choose to pick up the slack for our spouse, we’re letting them know they’re worth the extra effort, that they’re worth our love (as imperfect as it is). We’re also contributing to the team’s success by fostering an environment of courtesy, kindness and perseverance. The bottom line? It’s a win for the whole team. I don’t know about you, but winning sounds good. 🙂

Just ask Grumpy Cat. (This is my last meme, I promise!) 😉

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Here’s an oldie but goodie about teamwork, Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”.

Who have you picked up the slack for on your team (ie. your marriage, work or family relationship)? Who has picked up the slack for you?

Confessions of an IT Wife (And a Cover Reveal!)

I’ve shared about my secret life as an IT wife before (here) and now I’m going to share some confessions of an IT wife. 🙂 In case you don’t speak tech, IT stands for Information Technology (not the crazy clown from a movie that a friend told me about, haha). Ever since I met hubby, he’s worked with computers. This explains why we have a surplus of monitors, laptops, and tablets lying around the house, plus wireless routers and cables and other electronic doodads. E mentioned once that his friend had to wait for his dad to come home from work in order to use his laptop to play games, to which I rolled my eyes and thought, You don’t know how good you have it, buddy.

But along with all the perks of a tech job comes the stress. I’m talking about STRESS with a capital S. I like to think of the IT department as a company’s first responders to a technical problem. And in this day and age, especially when you live in the Silicon Valley, a technical problem is more like a technical emergency. Cue the sirens and flashing lights … or emails and texts and phone calls at all hours of the day and night! He used to be the one fixing the issues, but now as the Fire Chief, he’s the one overseeing three dozen different issues at the same time. Hubby’s job is so all-encompassing and critical, that he carries a lot of his stress from the job back home. As a (trying to be) supportive wife, I do my best to listen and share in his load as much as I can. After 18 years of listening to him speak tech, I actually understand most of what he tells me now. 😉 I didn’t realize though just how much I’ve been sucked into his world until I got inspired to write about it.

That’s right. I wrote a story about an IT guy. 😀 And since I write romance, I had to include an IT girl … and I bet you can guess what happens next.

I must confess though that I have had more than enough of the IT world, both the real and fictional ones. I’m sure I’m not the first IT wife/girlfriend who wishes her hubby/boyfriend spent as much time looking at her as he does his phone. 😉 Or that he could spend one weekend—or even a day—without worrying about something going down at work. But I’m thankful he has a good job and our family has the best tech support available 24/7/365 (although sometimes we have to share him)! Most of all, I’m grateful I get to walk side by side with my IT guy through all the crazy ups and downs of his IT career.

Now for the fun stuff … here’s the cover reveal for A Spoonful of Spice, the second short story in my Seasons of Love series!

*Updated Sept. 3, 2016: This cover is no longer the cover for my story! Go HERE to find out why. 😉

ASOS

Josh Pepper has one goal: to become the next manager in his IT department. But his career plans are sidelined when the first woman, Cin Thomas, joins the team. He now needs to keep everyone from being distracted by her presence, a task that appears easy to accomplish … until she starts invading his dreams with her piercing green eyes.

And here’s the playlist to give you a taste of the story. 🙂

 

Celebrating 15 Years of Marriage!

I was driving with a girlfriend a while back and she was kindly holding my phone up so I could hear the directions from the GPS. Midway through our route, my phone beeped to signal that an incoming text had been received. A preview of the text then popped up at the top of the screen, causing my friend to gasp in surprise.

“Is it your anniversary?!” she exclaimed.

“Huh?”

“D just texted that he misses you!”

She held up the phone for me to see and, sure enough, there was a short text from my Honey (that’s actually the name I have for him in my phone, LOL) that read “Miss you!” with a couple of kissy face emoticons next to it.

Hehehe. 🙂

Nope, it wasn’t our anniversary that day, but it is TODAY! And I am soooo thankful to be celebrating 15 years with hubby today!

I almost feel like we should receive an award of some kind for all our effort (’cause according to hubby, 15 years of marriage has felt like a loooong time, haha), but the best reward we have is the blessing of waking up and being able to “do life” together these past 5,475 days. And looking back, I know we couldn’t have gotten here without the help and support of:

Our friends, especially in the early years when we were navigating through the ups and downs of a new relationship.

Our Pastor P. and his wife, M., who counseled us in the early stages and helped us tie the knot.

Our families, who have been especially helpful in offering to babysit the munchkins so we can go on dates and have grown-up time.

Our kids, who always seem to squirm in between us when we’re sitting next to each other on the couch, but who unite us as partners in parenting.

Our favorite TV shows (hello, Lost and Fringe fans!) that gave us something to do and talk about when we were up to our ears in diapers and tantrums.

Our cell phones that make it possible for us to communicate throughout the day and send one another mushy texts like the one referenced above. 😉

Our church, for reminding us of what’s important in life and providing lots of material for deep discussions.

And most of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who brought us together in the first place and has been growing us into better people and better spouses. Because of Him, we have reason to die to ourselves in order to mature in love.

It’s been a fun and wild ride and there’s no other person I’d want to take this journey with. Happy 15 years, Honey! 😀

engagement

This song, “Thank You”, by Jason Chen perfectly sums up how I feel today.

Who do you want to say thank you to for supporting you in your life?

What is Marriage Good For?

Our church started a new sermon series titled “The Vow”, and the first message was about the hardships of marriage. A friend and I were talking about it and she mused that most of the sermons she’s heard on the topic make marriage sound challenging, difficult and just plain depressing. Yikes.

Well, to be fair, any interaction you have with another human being on a consistent basis (ie. at work, school or home) will face hardships from time to time. People are imperfect and needy and broken, so yep, relationships are hard. And when you have two people committed to building a life together through marriage, you’ve got plenty of ammunition on your hands for WWIII. What’s the lesson here? Get a dog or cat if you want to avoid hardships. Kidding (kind of)! 😉 The real question I’ve been thinking about is this: What is marriage good for?

Married or single, I’m sure you have your ideas of what marriage is like or should be like. When I turned 18, I remember telling my mom I was old enough to be married (in other words, I was old enough that I didn’t need to listen to her anymore, haha), but I had NO idea what being married involved. When I did get married at 25, I started learning exactly what marriage was and what it wasn’t.

Marriage isn’t a free pass to do or say whatever you want and expect your spouse to put up with it. It’s also not the right to expect your wife or husband to fulfill all your needs and make you happy. If that’s your idea of marriage, you’re in for a rude awakening—like a bucket of ice water poured over your head kind of wake-up-call!

So what is marriage good for? Essentially, the husband and wife relationship is THE training ground to learning how to love another person better.

We may say we love the people in our lives, such as our friends and family (and especially cute, cuddly kittens or puppies), but until that love has been stretched and pulled and twisted and knotted, we don’t truly know the heights and depths of our love. That’s why marriage, with all its crazy, real-life, day-to-day opportunities for you and your spouse to be authentic—to show the real YOU—gives you endless chances to love (and be loved) over and over again.

Ultimately, marriage should be a sanctuary. A safe place for messiness and mishaps. For growth and second (and more) chances. For appreciation and acceptance. For unconditional love.

I’m reminded of a conversation hubby and I had when he shared about some of his old memories and regrets. He brought something up to which I replied, “You already told me this a long time ago.” He stopped in surprise and said, “Wow, I must trust you.”

Yes, this is surely a sign that hubby has a bad memory (which we already were aware of), but it also confirmed the fact that we’ve come a long way in our marriage. Far over the dark valley of anger and resentment, through the rough terrain of disappointment and hurt, and up the steep mountain of forgiveness. We are now closer to the peak of trust, respect, and love that marriage is all about. Which is a testament of God’s abundant grace because marriage—as all the sermons out there say—is hard. But when it’s good, it’s oh-so good.

Isn't the view at the top grand and worth the journey?

Isn’t the view at the top grand and worth the journey?

So, the next time you hear a message about how difficult marriage is, nod in agreement, but also challenge that belief by doing the precious work of loving your spouse hard and deep and strong. Because that’s what marriage is good for.

Here’s a beautiful song by John Legend about the realities of love: “Ordinary People”.

What do you think marriage is good for?

Dear Son (A letter about puppy love)

Dear Firstborn Munchkin,

When I dropped you off at school today, I got a glimpse of some budding puppy love. I recognized that delighted, somewhat mischievous smile on your face, the one you have when you purposefully do something to bug your little sister—except this time, it wasn’t C that you annoyed, but a cute girl in your class.

Right away, I realized what was going on and my heart cringed in my chest. I knew this day would come, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. But now that it’s here, let’s have a little chat … about love.

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS/freedigitalphotos.net

If you’re sensitive like me, you probably feel a lot of emotions and will end up being a hopeless romantic. You’ll notice things about the opposite sex and will discover a little quirk about someone—a certain laugh or look—that will catch your eye. You’ll experience butterflies in your stomach whenever you hear her voice, and if she looks your way, it will be like one of those Matrix moments when time slows down … waaaay down.

If you’re a ladies man like your Baba was, you won’t have trouble catching a girl’s eye. You’ll know how to strike up a conversation by asking good questions and making just the right amount of eye contact so you come across as interested, but not creepy. You’ll do all the gentlemanly things, like opening doors or giving her your jacket when she’s cold, that will have her falling faster for you than the bullets that drop to the ground when those Matrix slo-mo moments are over.

Okay, enough with the stalling (and movie references). 😉 I guess what I’m trying to say is that love is a tricky thing. All the emotions you’re feeling are normal and a part of life. But don’t give your heart away just yet. The feelings you have now are sweet and special, but they will likely change. Someone new may catch your eye next year or the year after that. Like I always tell you and C, hold your horses! Be patient. You’ve got a long ways to go.

It will probably take another decade or two to find the girl of your dreams. In the meantime, keep growing and improving yourself. Make friends and develop those friendships. Guard your heart from liking the wrong girls, the ones who don’t appreciate you for exactly who you are. Pick yourself up when you do fall for the wrong ones, and learn from your mistakes. Save up your dreams and hopes for the woman who’ll be worth waiting for.

And come talk to me and Baba anytime. As hard as it is to believe, we were young once, too. We’ve got a lot of life experiences to share from (most of which we will not tell you about in specifics). 😉 We do remember what it feels like to fall in love, but more importantly, we know what it’s like to work hard to stay in love. We’ll do our best to help you navigate through the crazy, but wonderful, journey, too.

Love,

Your Mama

P.S. Baba says your tactic is one he would’ve used when he was your age, but he didn’t care about the opposite sex that early. Hm. Seems like you got a bit of both of our genes. 😉

Take a listen to JR Aquino’s song, “By Chance (You & I)”, a super cute and catchy song about falling in love. 🙂

Do you remember your first experience with puppy love?

Lessons on Life and Love from Beauty and the Beast

I spent yesterday morning chaperoning a field trip with both munchkins to watch “Beauty and the Beast” at our local community college. As expected for a Disney-related play, it was equal parts scary and sweet. Poor C ended up sitting on my lap for most of the show because the Beast had some anger management issues after the enchanted castle spirits cast a spell on him. Thankfully, Beauty entered the picture soon after and came to care for him, despite his hardened heart. She agreed to marry him, and he turned back into a prince (and secretly stuffed his beastly mask into a bag as C informed me). 😉

I came away from this play with two thoughts: one, Disney stories are not exactly kid-friendly, and two, what are kids supposed to learn from watching this?

There were some good lessons in the play, such as commitment to your family and keeping your word. But of course the moral of the story was: Don’t judge a guy by his looks or wealth or status. In a culture that values all of the above, however, that’s a hard lesson to swallow.

That was the belief I grew up with. Both my parents went to college, I went to college and grad school, and multiple people in my extended family have Ph.D.’s. The majority of my friends at school and church existed in similar bubbles. As an Asian, you’re expected to work hard in school and get straight A’s so you can go to a good college and graduate with a degree (or two). So imagine my surprise when I met and fell for a Chinese guy who (at the time) had done none of the above.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Good thing hubby was cute. (I kid!) But it wasn’t just his infectious smile that caught my attention. I was also drawn to his enthusiasm for life (he reminded me of a chinchilla bouncing off the walls) and the kind way he treated people. When I found out he hadn’t followed the typical path of every other Asian I knew, I was shocked. But not shocked enough that his education (or lack thereof) became a deal breaker (thankfully, it wasn’t for my parents either).

Because there’s more to a person than the abbreviations following their last name, the size of their house or the car they drive. Neither is one’s worth measured by their dress size or by how many friends they have on Facebook. The true value of a person can only be found in their heart.

That’s what Beauty believed when she fell in love with the Beast. And what I believed when I fell for hubby.

Nevertheless, this is a lesson I’m still learning. For instance, when E told me he doesn’t want to go to college, I was a liiitle upset. 😛 Sure, he’s years away from seriously thinking about it, but in my mind, the decision to go to college is a no brainer. Good thing hubby is more open-minded. Maybe given some time, I will be, too. 😉

For now I will do my best to rest in this truth from 1 Samuel 16:7: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Here’s the song, “Something There” from the Beauty and the Beast, which describes the moment Belle saw the Beast’s heart for the first time. 🙂

What outward things about a person do you value? What inward things would you like to value instead?

Killing Your Spouse with Kindness

I watched “War Room” this week with my mom and sister (at my mom’s request for her birthday girl’s only hangout). It was a good movie with fairly good acting, funny and touching moments, and above all, a good message. I came away with two reminders: one, that prayer is powerful and it works(!), and two, that marriages can be torn down by a single word.

The movie starts out with a husband and wife who do what husbands and wives do on occasion – they fight. With furrowed brows and clenched fists, they exchange mean words, throw around accusations and blame, and retreat to their own corners till the next match. Every time they open their mouths, you know what comes out is not going to be pretty. And with each word they spew, the tension on the screen grows and grows until you wonder if the characters’ relationship will soon be irreparable. 🙁

But through a series of events and the not-so-by-chance help of an older, prayerful woman (she’s a fun actress to watch!), the wife starts changing her ways. The change comes slowly, but surely, as she renews her love for her husband and begins praying for him. Her heart softens to the point where she no longer has anything negative to say to him (or about him). Her words and attitude toward him are so different that at one point he wonders if she secretly poisoned his meal, and switches dinner plates with her when she’s not looking. 😛 And with time, God answers the wife’s prayers and works in the husband’s life and heart to soften him up, too. I won’t spoil the ending, but you can probably guess that it’s a happy one.

Now I don’t profess to have a perfect marriage (hubby can vouch for that!), but one thing I do appreciate about our relationship is the courtesy we extend toward one another. Oh, we have our share of disagreements and messy moments that require lots of forgiveness and humility to move past, but most of the time, we try to be kind with our words. Because we know that words have the power to heal or destroy. As in the words of Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

It’s amazing what a simple  “please” or “thank you” can do to soften your spouse’s heart. Or what the simple act of willingly getting out of a warm, cozy bed to go downstairs to stick the wet clothes in the dryer means to the spouse who gets to stay in the warm, cozy bed (thank you, Honey! :D). It’s just plain and simple courtesy, but when each word and act of kindness are added together, they can produce a mutually respectful and loving marriage.

All it takes is one kind word or one kind gesture to tip the scale toward kindness. And it just takes one person to start. So let’s be that one person. 🙂

P.S. I’m adding this picture as a reminder to myself of one way I can be kind to hubby, by making him breakfast. It’s something his mom used to make for him when he was a kid. 1 hot dog + 2 eggs = 100%. It was meant to be an encouragement to do well in school. So Asian, I know! 😉

IMG_4244

Here’s proof that your kind gesture doesn’t have to look pretty! Haha

Here’s Selena Gomez’s song, “Kill ‘Em with Kindness”. There’s some good whistling in the song, too.

How can you share kindness with your spouse or a family member today?

Adding Conflict to Romance (+ A Sneak Peek at My WIP’s Cover!)

It’s been raining a lot here in California, and with the wetness comes a lot of allergies. I’m not sure what was in the air yesterday, but I was sneezing almost non-stop. By the end of the evening, C said my face looked burnt, and I was ready to crawl into bed and hibernate.

I hoped some sleep would help, but I woke up this morning with another sneezing fit. After I had ah-chooed a big one, I turned to hubby and exclaimed, “What is wrong with me?!”

He grinned and replied (a little too) quickly, “That’s what I’ve been wondering, too, for a long time.”

Hardy har har. 😛

Okay, I admit I totally set the stage for hubby’s punchline, but most of the time he doesn’t need any help from me to mess with my head. 😉 Take the instances when he’s in the shower (and I’m on the porcelain throne) and I wonder why in the world I’m getting rained on … until I notice hubby oh-so innocently throwing water over the glass door in my direction. Argh! 😉 Yup, as I’ve said before, he’s the sand paper to my sharp corners, and I’m the hole in his bubble. The very things we love about each other are also the very things that can drive us craaazy.

But what romance would be complete without some conflict? When I read or watch love stories, I do so to feel the push and pull between characters and to virtually experience the highs and lows they have to go through to find love. It’s much more exciting when you have some kind of obstacle (ie. a comatose brother or a scheming family friend) on the way to happily ever after. Wouldn’t you agree? And as a writer, I want to provide that entertainment in a meaningful and believable way (always with humor of course!).

I think this is why I’ve been struggling so much with the third book in my “Taking Chances” series. I have been working on this WIP (work-in-progress) for nine months now and it’s been, in one word, hard. Like this kind of hard:

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Hahaha!

Ever since I got feedback on my first book that the story lacked conflict, I’ve been trying to make life harder for my characters, which in turn is making life harder for me, too. It got to the point where I vowed to never write another romance book (after I finish this one of course) because people and love can be so complicated. That lasted about a day though because I realized the conflict I’m having with writing conflict is something I can’t escape from. Like my characters, I need to struggle through the trying, heart-wrenching, angsty times in order to earn the right to type “The End” on the last page of a book. Isn’t it ironic, that the one thing I’m forcing my characters to face is the one thing I don’t want to deal with. 😉

So, that’s where I am, struggling to write this book that so far is my favorite one that I’ve written. Now if only I could get it finished and published so you can enjoy it, too. 🙂 But in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.

Drawn to You_peek

When I showed hubby the cover, he said, “It looks like the girl is upset and kneeing the guy.” Haha! Yup, there’s a lot of conflict in this story. 😉

Alrighty, I’ll end here with a sassy song by Walk The Moon that my sassy main character reminds me of, “Shut Up and Dance”.  🙂

How has conflict made your relationships more interesting?

The Secret Life of an IT Wife

Sometimes I feel like I’m married to a firefighter. Hubby may not drive around town in a big red truck putting out raging fires, but as an IT guy, he’s the one who comes running whenever something technical goes up in flames in the corporate world. He’s the guy who might have received a phone call during his honeymoon because rolling blackouts at home shut all the company’s servers down. He’s the one who may have gotten a call on Thanksgiving from an employee working in Singapore who forgot it was a national holiday in the States that day. He’s also likely the one who missed dinner with his family on his wife’s birthday because he was stuck at work trying to resolve yet another issue (but to put things into perspective, he was hours late for his own birthday dinner a few years ago due to work). 😛

Suffice it to say, being married to an IT guy can be challenging at times.

Image courtesy of dan/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t share all this to complain about hubby’s job, although I’m sure life would be different if he were in a calmer line of work. I also don’t share this to brag about how understanding and patient and supportive I am because if I had all those awesome qualities, I would be polishing my halo right now instead of trying to find it. 😉 The reason I’m giving you a sneak peak into the secret life of an IT wife is because I know there are couples struggling in their marriages right now with whatever issues they are going through, and the struggle is real.

I wish I had some great insight into how to better communicate with your spouse or how to keep your love burning strong, but I’m still learning “on the job”, too. But one thing I did realize this week while hubby was dealing with a company phone issue and later on, an email issue, was that I didn’t truly understand what work was like for him on a daily basis. It didn’t hit me until one afternoon during one of C’s massive meltdowns over a homework assignment. Thanks to E (and the power of sibling rivalry), she had gotten thrown off while counting for a math problem, and promptly began wailing at the top of her lungs in frustration. As if to prove she might one day consider a career as an opera singer, she raised her volume up two notches and her range another octave. By the time her cantata was over, my ears were ringing and my blood pressure was off the charts.

That evening when hubby was venting about the issues he had faced at work that day and feeling the pain of an oncoming migraine, I suddenly got a peek into his world. For a moment I understood what it was like to walk in his shoes. The overwhelming level of frustration, anger and anxiety I experienced during C’s “performance” gave me a glimpse of the emotional stuff he faces at work EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I told him, “I get it now. It’s like you’re constantly dealing with tantrums and meltdowns at work.”

He smirked and joked back, “Yes, I have a lot of kids to deal with.”

Boy, he sure does, and those “kids” aren’t even half as cute as ours are (even when they’re singing opera).

Sigh. Poor hubby. The struggle out there in the working world is real. So real, that it sometimes a lot of the times follows him home and places a strain on us, our family life and our marriage. But instead of letting the stress and busyness divide us, I’m learning to choose empathy. I’m finding ways to better support hubby as he fights fires. I try to make his life sweeter, even if it means spending half an hour with wrinkly hands submerged in a bowl of water in order to deseed four pomegranates, hubby’s favorite winter fruit (FYI, some people prefer the spoon method). We’re both learning to lean on God more and to rest in His saving grace. And we sneak in as much time as possible whenever we can to catch up and support each other throughout the day with a text message or two.

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All this yummy goodness, and hubby gobbled it up in like 2 days! 😛

The secret life of an IT wife may not be a glamorous one, but it’s the one I have and the one I’ll make the best out of … because the IT guy I’m married to is worth it.

Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to all the amazing wives of those in uniform who fight literal fires, chase real bad guys and put their lives on the line each day to protect others. You ladies have my deepest respect, admiration and gratitude.

Take a listen to Beyonce’s song, “Halo”, a reminder that we can all wear a “halo” and show grace to the people in our lives.

Who has been a source of strength and support for you? Who have you been there for?