Friday, April 29, 2011

10 Relationship Do's

Let me start by saying that it was really hard for me to just choose ten things, but I'm winging it.  Get it?  Because I'm the Chicken Wing.  Har-dee-har-har.  Let's get to it!

10 Relationship Do's:

1. Respect your partner.

Respect takes a lifetime to gain and a second to lose. It's important that you think about what's great in your partner - what makes you proud of him/her? What makes you proud that he/she picked you?

2. Be someone your partner can respect.

If you want to be treated like a child, act like a child. If you want your partner to be proud to be with you, be a living example of that type of person. Act like a lady or a gentleman. Be kind to other people. Take the high road when others upset you. Be the type of person that others can look up to.

3. Be honest.

Even "truth hurts" brutal honesty is better than no honesty at all. There are few things that hurt worse than a lie or omission, and you should be able to trust your partner to be able to handle the truth. The truth always comes out one way or another, so you want to be on the right side of that truth.

4. Be faithful.

Cheating is a touchy subject. Clearly there are trust issues and respect issues where cheating is involved. I've been in situations times before where I could genuinely understand why people cheat. (Reference the 80/20 rule clip in the last post). The bottom line is this - cheating is taking the easy way out. If you don't communicate that something is missing and that you're having a hard time with temptation, your partner never has a chance to fix the problems. You're beating yourself before you even begin.

5. Make fun a priority.

Let's be honest - life is hard. It's hard to be light and cheery all the time when gas prices are about to hit $4.00 per gallon and everyone is suffering financially and the kids/pets are driving you crazy and you're always pulled in a million directions. It can be overwhelming, that's for sure. It is your responsibility, though, to stop the world for a minute and schedule some fun time for you and your partner. Reconnect, laugh, and be silly. If you don't, you're going under. Or you're destined to be miserable for the rest of your life, and that sounds about as fun as swimming in the ocean in a steak bikini.

6. Communicate often and thoroughly.

Communication has always been pretty easy for me - heck, I'm a talker to beat all talkers who was born to a talker who beats all talkers. Sometimes, though, communication is hard. Sometimes, there are things that need to be said that you don't want to say. Say them. Nothing can help your partner get a better insight into who you are and how you think than you telling them. Take the guesswork out. If you want something, say you want something. If you are unhappy with how a situation was handled, talk it out. If you are not having fun at the moment and you feel like you need to have fun, say so. I hate to be the bearer of devastating news, but men and women don't think the same. They also don't communicate the same. The sooner you realize that, the better it will be for everyone involved.  Oh, and don't forget that listening is one-half of communicating.

7. Be open-minded.

There have been several times in my relationship where I've been introduced to new things.  Comanche has multiple interests that are the same as mine.  He also has multiple interests that I either a) knew absolutely nothing about or b) thought I wasn't cut out for (read: had no interest in at all).  I've learned through my relationship with him that by being open-minded to new experiences and ideas, I've become so much more well-rounded!  I now like new foods that I'd never tried before, and I've attempted to do things I never really wanted to do before.  Take camping - I always said it wasn't for me.  Comanche asked nicely (and purchased all of the things we'd need, therefore making it impossible for me to say no), and I loved it!  I now want to camp at least once every year! 

8.  Compromise.

Wow, this is so important.  I actually don't like the word compromise as much (because so many people use it with a negative undertone), so Comanche and I take a different approach.  We call it "The Game Plan."  We lay out our options on the table and then pick and choose what we think will be best and we listen to one another's sides.  From there, we make our game plan, and the trick to this is to stick to the game plan.  For example, if we have an event that one of us really wants to go to, and the other has to be up to work early the next morning, we devise a plan that will satisfy both of us, and then we stick to the plan - no exceptions.  That makes it a win-win for everyone, we decided in advance, and we communicated the entire time.  Talk about teamwork!

9.  Make sure your partner knows how much you love him/her.

It really does not take more than a few seconds to look your partner in the eye and say, "I love you."  It also doesn't take more than a few minutes to write a cute note, make a Valentine, construct a text message or email, or leave a voicemail.  There are so many opportunities to make your partner feel loved and appreciated.  Make him/her dinner one night.  Or, if your partner makes you dinner, clean up without discussion. Kiss them a lot.  Hug them a lot. Have a dance-off.  Watch their favorite show with them.  Plan a date night.  Go for a walk and hold hands.  Have a picnic (in the park or on the living room floor). Give him/her a massage.  Heck, buy him/her a massage.  I happen to be dating a flower ninja, myself, and that works for me!

Literally on my windshield when I walked outside yesterday morning.  Love that man!
 10.  Participate presently.

This one is huge.  What I mean by this is be present in your relationship.  Don't put things off for tomorrow - none of us are promised that, anyways.  Don't say, "I'll make time for this later."  Also, just remember one of the fundamentals - participate.  There is nothing worse than a one-sided relationship in which one person does all of the work and all of the trying.  It is so un-fulfilling and unhealthy.  Resentment and disappointment are two words that are detrimental to any relationship, so head them off by participating and pulling your own weight.  If you notice that it's been awhile since you've done something nice for your partner, step it up. 

Be dependable - be there when your partner needs you. If they call, answer the phone if you can.  If you are supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, be there.  If you've told your partner that you will do something, do it.  Meet deadlines if there are any.  This feeds the trust that is necessary in all relationships.  Don't get into a rut where you're constantly being asked to do things.  If that's happening, it could be one of two things.  Either your partner is going through a needy spell, or you're severely dragging.  Either way, it needs to be addressed, and you can look back up to #6 for tips on that.  The bottom line is that ALL relationships take work, and it takes work from both parties involved.  Participating means you're doing the work, and that is more than half the battle. 

*Footnote:  Again, I am not a therapist. I'm actually not qualified to give relationship advice to anyone, but I get asked relationship questions all the time and decided to provide my opinion.  Just wanted to throw that disclaimer out there!  I also don't claim to be good at all of these things.  In fact, some of these tips I learned the hard way - I was the one who wasn't living up to my potential.  Others were things I wish had been done for me in relationships.  That's why they say relationships take work and you learn something new every day.

Up next:  10 Relationship Don't's.

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's Talk About Relationships

I've decided to create a small blog series about romantic relationships.  Lord knows I've learned a ton about relationships through the years, and I haven't even been married yet!  There are so many variables when it comes to relationships and I have a hard time stifling my uncontrollable laughter whenever I hear someone say, "You'll know you've met the one when everything is easy."

Yeah, okay.  My advice to you, friend? 

Sure, things can flow very smoothly, and you may find someone that you're exceptionally compatible with.  There's still what is called the 80/20 rule.  Never heard of it?  Allow my good friend Tyler Perry to explain it to you through his sensational film, "Why Did I Get Married?"


Basically, keeping the 80/20 rule in mind, you're going to continually be faced with choices in your relationships. Times will get hard, and you will never get 100% of what you need. That's why no one has the perfect relationship.

I actually was in a public place the other night and heard a couple in a drag-down, knock-out fight. I mean, they were really going at it. The man in the relationship was being extremely sarcastic and short. The woman in the relationship was so demeaning, loud, and rude. Ultimately, they were airing their dirty laundry IN PUBLIC and all that was successfully happening was that they were feeding off of each other's meanness to see who could verbally hit the hardest.

That horrific scene caused me to think about relationships and the lessons I've learned throughout the years, and I thought I'd share two posts with you - the first post is about relationship do's. The second is about relationship don't's.  Keep in mind, these are not scientific.  I am not a therapist nor an expert.  These are just some lessons I've learned or things I've learned to be true along the way. I'd also love to hear any insights that you all  have to offer!  The more we share with one another, the better we all will be!

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How Great Indeed

Hello, Peeps!  I hope each and every one of you had an amazing Easter weekend!  I know I did, and it was jam packed full of love and togetherness.  I got to see my incredible friends and my fantastic family, and all is right in my little world.

One thing I was quite upset about was missing a special on TV that honored several of country music's female phenomenons.  I would have TiVO'd it had I known it was set to air!  Boo sauce to that!  One of my favorite country artists, whom I've loved since her audition tape on American Idol, was honored during that special.  If you've ever heard Carrie Underwood sing, you know that the girl is beyond blessed.


I was particularly impressed with the song she chose to sing, 'How Great Thou Art.'  To say she hit it out of the park would be a severe understatement.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself.


Happy Easter, everyone!  Remember the reason - He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Until next time,

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Group Is Awesome!

Have you ever heard of a little band (and by little I mean two people) named

No?  Well, join the club because I literally just learned about them on Wednesday!  But, I have to say that they are pretty darn good!  Combine an adorable, quirky girl with a big, soulful voice and a slightly muscular All-American looking guy who can also carry a tune, and you've got Karmin!  Oh, and you'll need to throw in a bevy of instruments, from a guitar, to a keyboard, to a trumpet, to my favorite.......wait for it......a box.  Yes, I did just say 'a box.' 

But he rocks that box, let me tell you.  And that box rocks my socks off.  Okay, seriously, enough about the box.  How about an original song, followed by a cover?



I had never heard of them before I watched one of my favorite daytime talk shows, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and she found them on YouTube and begged them to please come on her show THE NEXT DAY.  Like, literally, someone who knows them had to be watching Ellen, hear her shout-out invitation to them, call them up, and have their people get in touch with her people, book a flight, and get their butts out there in ONE DAY.  Whew, just describing that makes me tired!

Needless to say, they killed it though!  Need proof?  This is the song they did on the show.


Okay, so by now you're thinking to yourself, "These two are pretty cute."  You're pondering how awesome it is that they found complementary voices in one another in order to make this group happen.  What if I told you that not only are they the founding members of a pretty fabulous musical act, but they are ENGAGED - to each other - as well?!?!?

Believe it.  That. just. happened.  Happy Good Friday, everyone!

Until next time,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Songs For Daddy

Dear Daddy,

If you're reading this, it's been sixteen years since I last saw you.  You were on your way to go fishing with your best friend, Charlie (which was one of your absolute favorite things to do).  It was a Friday.  If I'd known then that it would be the last time I'd ever see your face, I would have hugged you even tighter, kissed you on the cheek, and said 'I love you' a million times.  Actually, I probably would have refused to let you go.

We both know that life doesn't work like that, though, and I have to be satisfied with praying to God and asking Him to send you messages for me.  That's not a bad option, when you think about it, if I can't speak to you in person.  I want you to know that I've missed you every single day of these past sixteen years.  If you do the quick math, that's 5,840 days of missing you and loving you from here.

I hope they have golf courses and fishing holes in heaven, because I know you're enjoying yourself.  I'm sure it wouldn't hurt if they had big screen TV's, as well, so you can watch our beloved Tar Heels and Redskins and even the PGA tournaments that you loved so much.  Most of all, I hope you're happy with who we've all turned out to be.  I know that I've tried very hard to live my life in a way that would make you proud.  I hope that when we reunite in heaven one day, you can look me in the eyes, pat me on the back, and say 'you've done well.'

Every time I hear one of your favorite songs, it makes me think of you.  Every time I shoot, attend, or plan a wedding, I pay attention when the bride walks down the aisle with her father and when they share their father-daughter dance.  I say a quick prayer that they realize in that moment just how lucky they are to be able to spend that time together.  I try not to get down, though, because I can say that the one thing I have over everyone else is that my Daddy is with me all the time because he lives in my heart.

I miss you.  I love you.  Watch over me.  Until we meet again, I thought I'd put some songs in here that make me think of you or help me when I'm down.  I know there are people who read this blog and some of them even get inspired by what I have to say.  I also know that several of them have lost someone close to them, and they've been through the pain that I have.  So, I'd like to share these with them to help them through, too.  Here goes nothing.






Until next time,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons....

....well, you know what they say about that.  Let's just say that my week started off with an uber sour lemon!  After an unfortunate series of events, "I fought the curb and the curb won."  Big time.  Need proof?

All of the "ghetto" and none of the "fabulous."
There were multiple things that could have happened once I realized my original tire had a legitimate hole in it (and yes, by original tire, we are referring to the tire that was one of a set of four that I just purchased and  had put on my car two.months.ago.  Yeah, one of those tires.).

I could have sat on the curb on the side of the road and cried.  I could have yelled obscenities.  I could have tracked down the source of said hole in tire and beat him down.  I could have broken my foot by kicking the curb's behind.  I could have done a lot of things.  What did I do?

I called my hero.

Oh, herro, hero!  How YOU doin?
Yes, this incredible and very easy-on-the-eyes man woke up early on his day off, after working three twelve-hour shifts in a row.  He drove to find me, patiently and efficiently took bad tire off, put spare tire on, went and purchased me another tire, and then put that on when I got home from work.  Praise the Lord for sending this angel to me!

So, naturally, that was a horrible way to start off my Monday morning - I typically like to have peanut butter crackers for breakfast during the work week, not lemons.  But, that's life.  Sometimes, lemons happen.  And it's not like lemons are code-word for bad things - I happen to like lemons.  I love lemonaid of either the original yellow or pink variety.  I love lemon meringue pie.  I love lemon bars.  I love those old-school butter cookies with the lemon filling in them.  So, I say that when you get a lemon in life, make the most of it and move on.  Be grateful for what's going right, and know that the reason you can do so is because you've seen your fair share of lemons and know how to differentiate between the two.

In closing, I thought I'd leave you with an adorable and hilarious video of babies eating lemons.  You're welcome for the smilefest that is about to take place on your face.


Until next time,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What An Incredible Morning

Today was a big day for my spiritual life!  It was a Sunday morning pretty similar to any other Sunday morning.  There were two major differences, though.  Instead of the 10:45am service, I attended the 9:30am service.  Oh, and my AMAZING church became a multi-location church for the first time ever!!!!

They've been working so hard to branch out and reach even more people in the community, and today was the culmination of their efforts!  It was an absolutely amazing service as we launched our new campus and relaunched our original campus.  The songs were incredible, the message was so on point it was ridiculous, and there were some people who had life-changing moments today.  There was a video that featured one of the most beautiful versions of "Amazing Grace" that I've ever heard.

All in all, it was just a wonderful day for my soul.  I got so teary-eyed and filled with the spirit that my typically on-the-money singing voice was shaky and broken.  (I kid, I kid - I'm not in the band for a reason)!  It was the perfect weekly dose of the good stuff that I needed to keep me in line.

I hope you all have an absolutely amazing week, and I hope that you all dig deep and think about all the good things you've got going in your life.  Know that you're never "too bad" or "too off the path" to be loved. Life is a beautiful thing, and we're all blessed in some way.  If we all took the time to look at what we do have instead of all we don't have, the world would absolutely be a better and happier place!


Until next time,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken Wing Went Shopping!

Well, I have to admit something, Peeps.  I haven't actually been shopping in a long time.  Well, that is until recently.  I love, love, love to window shop and I do that often.  But, due to being economically cautious, it's actually been awhile since I went shopping for myself, and I think I'd forgotten how important it is to do that sometimes.

I had an amazing girls' day with one of my best girlfriends recently, and we shopped until we dropped!  It was an awesome day!  So, I decided to share my pretties with you all, and sum up my day with this timeless, classic expression:

Are you, Charlie?  Are you?
You may have been wondering, "Were there ruffles involved?"  "Heck to the yes, there were ruffles involved," I exclaim!

Take, for example, this unbelievable purse that my lover, TJ Maxx, had waiting for me!  The best part?  I got this $60 bag for $25!

Personal cell phone picture of my precious!!!

TJ also helped me with a major need I had.  Imagine this:  you have a wedding to shoot where you will be on your feet for nine hours straight.  You go to put on your trusty, not-attractive-but-uber-comfortable, black shoes only to discover that the ankle strap is......wait for it........BROKEN!  THE HORROR!

So, lucky for me, I actually found a cute pair of BOC black ballet flats that are actually very comfortable!  BIG WIN for the Chicken Wing!  Check 'em out!

Also from TJ Maxx, I hit the jackpot!  Comanche and I went on a mini-trip for his birthday last year, and while in one of the shops there, we saw this section of glazed pottery-type items and we had no clue what they could be.  All I could tell was that they were gorgeous!  The saleslady explained to us that they were a new phenomenon called firepots!

Basically, they're your own little fireplace when you don't have one. Whether you use them on your patio for crisp evenings or in a cooler area of your home, they are a great option for instant warmth.  I will say, they won't heat your entire house or even an entire room, but they're great for folks like me who tend to stay cold all the time.  They also have a citronella version of the fuel gel so you can use that outdoors to keep the bugs at bay!  Double win!  The only reason Comanche and I didn't purchase one of those bad boys right on the spot was because one of the cheapest ones they had was $135.  Yes, you read that correctly - we didn't buy one.

At TJ Maxx, however, there was a GORGEOUS firepot on sale for THIRTY DOLLARS!!!!  After a quick call to Comanche to confirm that I wasn't just buying things to buy things, he reminded me that 1) I'm always cold, 2) I'd definitely use it, and 3) I'd been using an extremely ghetto "fireplace" which consisted of a medley of jar candles to help heat my living room.  Okay, so fail on the last one.  According to him, it only made sense for me to snatch one up since I was clearly desperate in the winter.  Done and done, and she's a beaut.  (You know, short for beautiful).  See?

Personal cell phone pic of my firepot in action!

Then, there was the highlight of my shopping trip. My friend and I ended up at the mall in Belk, when out of nowhere, I saw her.  Our eyes locked across the room.  She was so gorgeous, I couldn't look away - I was mesmerized.  She had exotic coloring and curves for days.  She even shared my love for damask. And ruffles.  Who is she?

I've been stalking this class-for-days, Kristen Stewart style dress  Seriously, for years!  I've tried on so many dresses like this, and they have never fit me.  My fiercly intelligent friend suggested for me to try it on in Petite sizes, even though I argued that I thought those dresses were only shorter in length for smaller people.  Who was wrong?  {Raises hand with guilty face on display}

What I love about this dress is that I can wear it to a variety of functions and it will be appropriate and class-a-frass at each and every one!  And, I also got this on sale 30% off!  Sorry, Charlie, but I think your phrase has a new owner in town.  Move along, and go fix your life.  Mmmkay, thanks for playing.

Until next time,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Musical Message For Your Week

One thing I greatly look forward to every Sunday is the message I receive from my church.  I'm telling you - there's nothing better to start your week off correctly than a little time with Jesus and a bunch of other people who love Him too.

Yesterday's message was a good one and I really took a lot away from it, but one of the most wonderful parts of yesterday's service was actually one of the songs they did.  My good girlfriend had heard this song before yesterday, and she got very excited when it started to play.  Once it picked up and I focused on the lyrics, I really was touched, as well.

You see, we've been talking a lot about the mysterious ways that God works in our lives for weeks now at church, and one of the recurring themes that our pastor has touched on is that God doesn't come to us in ways that we think He should - He does it on His own time and in His own way.  Sometimes, He comes to us in such a way that you honestly have to sit back in disbelief and wonder why He thought that was the way to go.

The reason this message has resonated with me so well is because I've seen it firsthand.  I think of certain situations I've been through, and I know that God must have been overwhelmed by the amount of prayers and pleading requests I'd sent up to him.  During those times, I genuinely felt one of two ways:  1) that God was ignoring me because my prayers were petty in comparison to others' or 2) that He wanted me to stay on the path that I was on.  After certain situations ended and I'd moved on to different things in my life, it was then that He appeared to me, and I have to admit - while I laughed at the irony, it all made perfect sense.

So, that is why the song you're about to hear fit so perfectly with that theme.  It reminds you that if you stay the course and keep your faithfulness strong, you'll find the answers you need when the time is right.  The "downtime" while we're waiting is just as important as the answers themselves.  I hope this message starts your week off right, too!  Happy Monday, Peeps!


Until next time,
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