Sweets & Treats Gallery

Friday, November 22, 2013

update: fall bucket list...

SwEeT bEaN's FaLL BuCkEt LiSt:
tHiNgS i CoMpLeTeD: 
  • Go pumpkin shopping with my Momma
    Pumpkin Patchin' It
  • Enjoy pumpkin treats like a pumpkin scone and a pumpkin latte… and pumpkin ice cream too
  • Exchange Great Pumpkin gifts with my Momma (the original Great Pumpkin!)
GP Made Sweater Pumpkins
Caramel Apple, With Nuts!
  • Buy a cozy sweater
  • Decorate for fall, which I always do on August 1st or 2nd
My Hutch
  • Fill a basket for trick or treaters (and not eat it all before Halloween!)
  • Bake something pumpkin flavored
  • Make a Halloweenie craft
  • Buy & burn a yummy fall flavored candle
  • Send Great Pumpkin gifts to my nephew, mister Mason and my Goddaughter, miss Ella Jean (but don’t tell them that I’m their Great Gumpkin, it’s a secret!)
  • Dress Penny in her pumpkin costume, just for fun
Penny Lobster & She Hated Every Minute of It!

  • Dress up for Halloween & wear my costume to school
I Made My Students Talk To The Bat Instead of Me!
  • Drive around an look at the leaves changing
  • Take a evening walk to enjoy that crisp Autumn air
  • Request a few fall inspired items from the library
sTiLL tO dO (oR mAyBe NeXt YeAr):
  • Attend my town’s annual harvest festival where giant pumpkins are weighed
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Carve a pumpkin with Hubster & Pen
As the Autumnal season winds down, I guess I'm okay with what bucket list items I completed, and even those I didn't. October turned out to be one of the worst/hardest months of my life... bummer, because it's my favorite month.  That makes it easy (and a little necessary) to jump into the Christmas season with joy! I need something happy and positive to focus on!  So goodbye October!  Hope next October is a whole lot better!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

want without belief is just wishing...

Want without belief is just wishing…
When marital results are not happening as fast as we think they should.

Every desire first starts with a longing, a craving- a wish.  Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who shared some of his personal struggle and dissatisfaction. As a delivery driver for one of the most popular carrier companies in the world, the high pressure of deadlines, unrealistic expectations and long hours was starting to take its toll on him emotionally, physically and mentally. The worst part of it all was the exasperation of feeling trapped with no end in sight, and it overwhelmed him to the point of a mental breakdown.

On one hand, my friend is thankful that he is able to pay all of his bills and even have some extra to enjoy. Conversely, he feels that the very hand that feeds him keeps him from seeing his kids during the week, keeps him from the possibility of meeting a woman that he longs to share his life with and keeps him from ultimately experiencing the true desire of his heart: inner fulfillment. That particular day, my friend felt like there was no hope or vision of something different or something better. In other words, he was at the end of his rope.  
Most of the dissatisfaction that my friend feels is the same feelings many experience, especially in marriage. Our wants and desires begin at the forefront of our minds. We think, “If only I can experience a healthy, satisfying marriage.” Or “What would it be like if I could be home more so I can maximize the time I have with my kids before they move out of the house?” Or “If only I could find Mr. or Mrs. Right to experience a healthy, enjoyable relationship.” Our dreaming and wishing definitely allows us to hope for something much more.  Limited thinking is confirmed when our hopes and dreams turn into doubt and uncertainty. As a result, our wants and desires slowly fade away because we think that we are being unrealistic, selfish or ungrateful. We reason in our minds that all of the things we enjoy and the possibility of really experiencing that ‘fairy tale marriage’ or being someone we have always wanted to be is simply too much to ask for.

Our fear of wanting is an angst that many share. Especially within the circle of friends and family we see and share, we know many who struggle with or have even lost the very person they loved through divorce. Often times, in situations like these, our guilt gets the best of us because we feel bad for what we have while the neighbor or friend lost their spouse to say a separation or split-up. And we feel lesser than because we assume the desire for being an even healthier married couple shouldn’t be at the forefront of our minds.  The thinking is, "certainly, if most people around me struggle and suffer in their relationship, who am I to deserve a happy, fun marriage relationship?"

I asked my unhappy friend, “What do you really want?” He responded, “I’m not asking for much, Rob. All I want is to get off from work at a reasonable time, maybe like 7:30, so that I can be there for my kids. I want to be on the same route that I was originally on when I first transferred and I want to meet a nice woman, maybe someone I can settle with, [with whom] I can be myself.”

I asked, “So what happened?”

He asked, “What do you mean?”

I clarified, “What happened to your wants and desires?”

“It obviously never happened! And you know what? This happens all the time! It’s not like I’m asking for the world, Rob. My work keeps me from what I want and I’m sick of it!”

I paused for a few minutes, “So, do you believe that your desires can really happen?”

“You’re saying that I need to believe in my desires? That’s the last thing I’m going to do. My wants are simple and God doesn’t seem to understand that I’m not asking for much. Here’s what I think: seeing is believing, and I haven’t seen anything!”

“Okay, fair enough. Can I ask you one more question?”

“All ears. Go ahead.”

“I actually think that you want so much more than a 7:30 clock out time. And I think there’s so much more than simply wanting to spend additional time with your kids. And I certainly think you want much more than someone who will let you watch football...” 

“Okay, you have my attention.”

“So then the question is, how can your desires happen when the last thing you want to do is believe that they can really happen?”

While we can argue that many things or people around us prevent our wants from happening, the true test of our wants is determined by our efforts, and believing that they will in fact take place! The desires for a better marriage relationship, well behaved kids, or a successful, fulfilling job are all good things to wish for. Unfortunately, many people fall short in seeing their wants manifest because they just don’t see the results of their desires happen fast enough. The level that many fail to reach is the true belief that their wants and desires will in fact happen, no matter what. Wants often reside at the surface level and end up being an attempt at discovering temporary satisfaction because we think that if this or that happened we would be happy. In other words, we want the results before we believe they will actually happen. 

Belief allows us to demonstrate a key component to living life to the fullest which is gratefulness. If you can believe and be thankful for your wants before they actually take place, then you are guaranteed to see your wants take shape. Belief always strengthens one’s wants and desires because you pursue at a deeper level.     
In my business, The Marriage Lane, I have the true pleasure of helping couples and people like you and my friend move from wants and into belief. Our mission is to empower people and couples to overcome fear, and gain victory over “just getting by,” and move fully into a full life of marital living in all aspects of their relationship. 

The next time you want something, ask yourself, “What happened to my wants and desires?” The answer to this question will get you focused on the pursuit of having, being and doing more which is a sure fire way to move from want to belief. You will discover that wanting and believing is an outpouring of full expression of the infinite potential that resides in all of us. 

Rob Lane
Marriage Mechanic

Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

friend makin' mondays...

I happened upon a new blog recently that a friend follows, and I've always enjoyed her Friend Makin’ Mondays (FMM) posts, but the Marriage Mechanic & has his weekly Monday posts, so I haven't participated.  I figured that I would today, and we might also have an MMM post too!  So here it goes:
friend makin mondays

fMm RuLeS:
-Answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.
-Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen.
-The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

1.  What are you plans for Thanksgiving this year?
I am lucky enough to have married into a family with different cultural traditions than those I grew up with. At first, these new traditions meant I was leaving mine behind. But over the last ten years, my husband and I have managed to figure out a beautiful blend of both our worlds that works well! We spend Thanksgiving with his family at his parents' house where all his family piles in for a mostly Asian dinner. His dad always makes a delicious turkey too, and my sweet sister-in-law brings those tube crescent rolls just for me because she knows I love them. It's a loud, busy afternoon of eating and more eating. There's no formality or tradition other than being together as a family! Sometimes we play a card game or bingo too... but mostly we laugh, and drink and eat! Friday is the day we celebrate with my family. My family has accommodated my husband's family traditions by celebrating most things a day later. So we have a more traditional, quieter Thanksgiving on Friday with all those classic Thanksgiving foods I love so much!  Each celebration is very different, but the intention is the same: gratitude for blessings and family... and I wouldn't trade either for the world!

2.  At what point do you being celebrating the Christmas season?
NOW! My trees have been up since November 1. I've been listening to Christmas music since around then too! Each night I snuggle in bed with my Christmas jammies (which I wait to wear all year), my pup, a cup of decaf candy cane tea, and a good Christmas movie. And I start every morning with a hot cocoa!  This weekend I wrapped all my Christmas presents, and party favors for a small gathering of girl friends I have each winter. I love this time of year! And I really dislike those pretentious people who make a big stink about waiting til after Thanksgiving to do anything Christmas. Shush, you! Do your own thing and mind your business.  Stop judging me, bro!

3.  Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you celebrate another holiday?
I celebrate, with complete joy and adoration, the birth of our savior, and the King of angels: Jesus' birth. CHRISTMAS!

4.  If you could have one present (you know, a material good, not love or world peace) what would you want?
Hmmm...I have, for years, been wanting a nice, fancy digital camera. Because they are so expensive, it's one of those not-this-year-maybe-next-year kind of gifts. And that's okay, because it'll probably be on my Christmas list next year too! Hubs and I have decided on other projects around the house this year, and that money has already been spent.

5.  Share an idea or two that you can plan to do for someone who may need to feel loved throughout the holiday season
Go to Pinterest and search for ideas of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK)! There are countless ways to spread cheer.  You can also see a few ideas on my Pinterest board dedicated to RACK here. Last year, I did one random act for each year of my life on my birthday! My amazing momma helped with the elfing! It was a really special way to kick of the season, and celebrate my birthday. And I am grateful that I was raised with parents who've always modeled generosity and charity of spirit for those in need, year-round!

6.  Would you rather spend the holiday season on the beach or in the snow?
Although I loathe driving in the snow, like, so, so much, I do love being in a cozy cabin with comfort foods and a warm blankie and jammies and hot cocoa when there's snow all around outside. And I even like snow activities... again, just not driving in it!

7. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Almost everything my parents make for Thanksgiving... even the green bean casserole and those canned crescent rolls. It's all good, and it's the one time I can't get enough of leftovers!

 8.  Will you participate in Black Friday shopping?
No. I think it is ridiculous! There is no deal I want that bad to deal with fanatical people and long lines. No judging for those who love the day and approach it like a sport... it's just totally NOT my thing.

9.  Will you travel for the holidays or stay at home?  If you’re traveling, are you flying or driving or making alternate plans?
We are traveling for the holidays, but we're lucky enough to only go by car because everyone is pretty close by!

10.  List at least 5 things for which you are currently thankful.
  1.  My maker! In the last few weeks, I have struggled with some pretty challenging and sad stuff. I am in full gratitude mode for all my blessings, because He helps me heal by giving me peace and comfort, and showing me my blessings... I can't be desperately sad anymore or cry anymore, so I have to be grateful to heal, and busy (hence my full blown stay-busy-with-operation-get-ready-for-Christmas-mode!).
  2. My husband! We often talk about how your true measure in your marriage isn't how you act or treat your spouse when things are good.  It's when things are bad that you see your true depth as a partner. My husband is one amazing man! He has been my rock through all my "stuff," and I thank God for him everyday! I don't know where I would be without him, and he's more than shown me what he's made of when times are tough.  If I had it all to do over again, I would sprint down the aisle to marry that man, not giving him even a split second to change his mind! He's my perfectly imperfect match and I love him so much!
  3. My pup! This is so obvious if you know me at all, but she is my second rock! She gives me purpose, and structure. She is my little fur baby and reminds me daily to rest more, play more and exercise more (there is irony in that order). I love her morning snuggles, and even that she steals socks and scatters them around the house. She has helped J & I get through so many difficult times, and given our marriage so much purpose!
  4. My family and friends! Gosh, I am so blessed! I have AMAZING parents! AMAZING! And my three closest girlfriends: Lynsey, Amy and Sarah! But also other close friends and Jason's friends too! Our cup runneth over with all the people we love and value, and who support/tolerate us! We are so, so blessed!
  5. My cozy little home. It is my sanctuary! I love cleaning it and decorating it and living in it!
Thanks for reading this and other posts! Our readership has soared in the last few months, and we are beyond grateful for your support!!

Happy Monday!


Monday, November 11, 2013

taking risks in the wild ride of an abundant life...

One of the coolest memories I have was when we celebrated my youngest son’s 7th birthday by taking a trip to Disney, California Adventure. We started our fun day with grabbing a park map. We set out our course of action by hitting some “warm up” rides. We capped off our morning by getting wet on the Rushin’ River ride. That was a blast! Since we were all soaked we decided to get drenched even more, so we hit the water park!

We took a break and grabbed some lunch. While we were eating and drying off, I asked my birthday boy if he wanted to hit the roller coaster. He said emphatically, “Oh yeah! Let’s do it!” I questioned, “Are you sure? It goes really fast, it has a few big drop offs and it has a big loop.” 

All of a sudden, my little ambitious one put the brakes on as you could see the doubt start to sink in his mind.  I asked, “What do you think, still want to go?” He answered, with a questionable, “Maybe...” 

After we were done eating, we decided to let lunch settle while we hit a few shows. Then we rode a couple more rides. As we were waiting in line, I asked my son, “Let’s go watch a few runs on that roller coaster to see if you want to go on it. What do you think?” He said, “Okay.”

As we walked towards the roller coaster, I suddenly saw some confidence build up in my daring son’s demeanor. In fact, I began to see a little more pep in his step. We turned the corner, and we all paused. We looked up and I said, “There it is! What do you think? Let’s do this!” Right after I made this proclamation, the coaster came swooping down along with hearing the wild screams. I looked back at my son and he had a huge smile on his face. He looked at me and said, “Dad, let’s go!” I said, “Right on!”         

We ran into the line. We all psyched ourselves up and we suddenly found ourselves only a few minutes away. It was now our turn. We jumped into the seat, strapped ourselves in, and waited for takeoff. I looked over at my son, “How are you doing son?” He responded, “Great! I can’t wait for this to take off.” Right when he said this, the coaster took off with amazing speed! We all screamed!

I looked over a few times at my son, and all I saw was huge smiles and loud screams. He was having a blast and so was I. The ride ended and all I heard was, “That was awesome Dad!” I gave him a high five, hugged him and said, “You did it! You went on that scary ride. I’m proud of you!” My son quickly replied, “Dad, I’m 7 years old now. That was not scary! That was fun!”

As I think about this experience I can’t help but think how similar overcoming our uncertainties and doubts is part of moving into a more fulfilled and abundant marriage relationship. Often times, the challenges of marriage and struggle to find peace in and through this sacred relationship is simply too difficult to bear. Life often gets in the way of our marriage which is when thoughts of fear and panic slowly settle in and if not aware can eventually dry up your marriage relationship.  

There is a better way to combat those frightening moments as we journey through the adventure of marriage life. With all of its ups and downs, spins and loops, drops and climbs, the truth is your marriage relationship can actually grow and strengthen through every aspect of life. Today, it seems easier to throw a marriage away whenever things get tough or difficult. But with the right advice, tools and guidance your marriage has the potential of building a stronger foundation which faces its fears, struggles and challenges together, not separate.  

When we seek positive change in our marriage relationships, we must recognize that the hurdles and the risks are part of the journey. These barriers don’t stand in our way because we realize that it is all a part of the ride. When you pursue the marriage you have always wanted, the risks are not seen as dangerous. Rather they are seen as opportunity.

The first part of facing our fear (in anything) is to simply muster up the courage and strength, often times found outside of ourselves, a lot like my son when he was 7 years old faced with the overwhelming sense of living in a world of Can’t rather than Can. When you and your spouse live n a world of Can, you will discover whether you are young, middle age or older, that the brand new life of togetherness is a roller coaster that you can get on, strap on, stay on and ride!

Unfortunately as we get a little older, we find more excuses as to why we shouldn’t take risks or venture off into changing our limited mindset. You don’t have to be fearful of living out the child within you. Successful marriage is not meant to be scary; it is meant to be lived- to the full! A huge part of understanding this reality is the fact that around the corner is the married life you have always wanted. The truth is it is the life that is well within your reach.    

When it comes to changing the direction of your marriage for the better, you have to take a risk! Here’s the promise though. When you take the risk and jump on the ride of your life, it will be all worth it! I am certain!

Rob Lane
Marriage Mechanic

Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

little miss margaret…

Recently I went on an afternoon walk around my neighborhood with my pup, Penny.  For context, my dog is not a fan of other dogs.  We think it's because she thinks she's human.  She loves people! Loves them! She'll sit next to an older person for hours, and rolls on her belly for toddlers. She's a fierce snuggler, and licks my tears from my face when I'm crying. She is a seriously rad dog! On our walk we passed by and elderly woman who was standing outside in her driveway in the sun.  The woman commented about my dog being beautiful.  I asked if she'd like to pet her.  She smiled and walked toward us. Penny, in true Penny fashion, let the lady pet her while she tried to sniff and kiss her all over. I'm always so proud in these moments!  And because my girl brings so much joy to others, I always stop when people (especially the elderly and children) look like they'd like to pet her.

Most of my friends are "baby people."  My friend Lynsey works miracles with toddlers, and my friend Amy can get even the crankiest baby to sleep.  But that's never been my thing... I'd much rather chat with someone in their 80's or play with a doggy.  My doggy was a gateway to a conversation with this little lady, who's name was Margaret.  Pen and I chatted with the lady for 15 minutes.  She was knowledgeable about the history of our town, and lovely spirit. I've always had a soft spot for the elderly. And Margaret was just what I needed that day.

Anywhoodles, nearing the end of our conversation I told Margaret that she had beautiful blue eyes and that I really appreciated her chatting with me. You'd have thought I gave her a million dollars. She put her hand to her face, feeling the wrinkles at her finger tips, as if if to acknowledge her obvious age. Her face lit up and her eyes began to tear.  She shared that she appreciated someone just giving her the time of day (and I was thinking, I appreciate you giving me the time of day too!).

I imagine, in our culture that glorifies youth and beauty, that being elderly can be isolating. Penny was the bridge for this sweet little lady to connect with someone in the world.  It was a magical experience... and I feel so lucky to have a new friend in Margaret!  We look for her every time we pass her house now, and I can't wait to chat with her again, and R.A.C.K. (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness) her this holiday season!

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