Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A T-riffic Hodgepodge

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming this week-The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you're visiting today from the A-Z Blog Challenge, you'll find my entry for the letter T at the end of this post.  In the meantime, everyone is welcome to join the Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog, then link back to that post at the end of mine. Here we go-

1. April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature? In what way?

Oh absolutely, in all sorts of ways. Nature inspires me to write, think deeply, dream, and worship. I'm especially inspired by sunlight on the water, the ocean, a mountaintop, or a beautiful sunrise. I often wonder how anyone can look at those things and say there is no God. I love cities, and can find a certain sort of energy and inspiration there, but not the quiet reflective kind I find in my own back yard.  

2. Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth...which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Four corners of the earth? Not precisely, but when I deposited one fiance, one daughter, and one boyfriend at the airport on Sunday afternoon, followed by one bride-to-be at the Amtrak station they were traveling to four different cities in three different states. And of course hubs and I are in a completely 'nother state, so yeah, quite often it feels like we are scattered to the four corners. 

We deal. 
More or less.  

3. Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple.

After every wedding comes a marriage. 

Being engaged is a very special time in the life of a couple, so nurture that relationship now more than ever. Invest time and energy in one another during these next busy and exciting months.  I think it must be extra hard in today's culture of social media and Pinterest and everything shared not to get completely caught up in the planning of your very special day, but remember after your very special day will be the rest of your very special life. Treat your relationship with the tender loving care it needs and deserves. 

4. When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home improvement or repair? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided?

We recently had a plumber out to repair a pipe that had burst in our garage. We've used them before and are always very happy with their work, good manners, the care they take in coming in and out of the house, and generally the price. I give it a 10. 

5. When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk?  Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?

Well I'm not the expert my hubs is, seriously everywhere he goes he comes home with someone's life story. He knows how to draw people out and into a conversation. It's a gift. I'm pretty good with small talk, and it doesn't make me uncomfortable. Nobody here is surprised to know I can chatter about nothing at all when a situation calls for it, are they?  

6. What was the last historic place you visited?

Probably the restaurant we dined in Saturday night-One If By Land, Two If By Sea. It's located on Barrow Street in NYC, and was at one time Aaron Burr's carriage house. It's also supposedly haunted but we didn't see any signs of that on Saturday. I wrote about our evening here.

7. The world would be a better place if we just___________________.

Lived by the golden rule...'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Giving myself a small breather here today, and using this random space for my A-Z Challenge post. 

T is for Tradition

As I've been thinking and writing about marriage this month I've come to the conclusion that every component of married life really does come back to a single word-expectation. That's true in dealing with household chores, extended family, leisure time, child rearing, money...all of it, and it's no less true for what I'm going to call tradition. By tradition I mean those things that happened within your own family as you were growing up that stamped holidays, special occasions, celebrations, and milestones as belonging to your family. Things you'd like to recreate within your own family now that you're married.  

Every family has a particular way of celebrating birthdays, Christmas, achievements of one sort or another. Presents opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas? Travel at the holidays or stay home and circle the wagons? Thanksgiving dinner or brunch? Favorite home cooked meal on your birthday or dinner out in a fancy place? Homemade sweaters beautifully packaged or money in a card-pick out something you like? Paper plates picnic style or the good china?  

While you or your intended may think you don't really care one way or the other about the traditions you grew up with, once you marry it quite often turns out you actually do. There is something about leaving your family and forming a new branch with your beloved that makes a person suddenly attach importance and significance to the familiar traditions that say home to them. Or one or both of you just assume that of course we won't open presents on Christmas Eve, only to discover your counterpart was assuming that of course you would.  

These are seemingly small things, but remember what I said about the small things? Small things accumulate and become big fat snowballs, so its good to at least have some conversations about what home means to you, what family means to you, and especially as holidays approach, what you are hoping yours will look like.  

I think it's nice to incorporate a bit of both of you into your own family celebrations, which also means we can't dig our heels in about everything. When it comes to tradition I excel at the digging in of the heels. Sometimes I think God moved me to England just to show me I could indeed survive Christmas without being in the middle of my great big extended family. Maybe not the only reason, but it was for sure a bonus. 

In fact as it turned out, Christmas on our own was a whole new kind of magic, and we managed to make special all kinds of holidays and celebrations while living across the pond. They are memories I wouldn't trade for anything.

I don't use the word compromise a lot, because in my experience there is of course some compromise in marriage, but often what that looks like is one of you letting go of 100% of your expectation some of the time, and your spouse releasing 100% of his sometimes too. 

New traditions are often born out of neccessity, perhaps due to geography or finances or work committments. Sometimes new traditions come about because you take a little of his and a little of yours, stir them together, and voila-new tradition. Every couple will have to decide what works for them, but it's best to begin the conversation about how Christmas will look prior to December, and if having a box with a bow on it for your birthday is important to you then say so. 

Like everything else in marriage, how holidays, special days, and milestones will be celebrated comes wrapped in expectation, so in a word-don't assume. 

Two words I know, but I couldn't  manage to say it in one. 


  1. Excellent advice to a newly engaged couple! Though I would say, make your wedding reflect YOU, your husband and yourself... not what your mom or mom-in-law want... (no offense Joyce - i'm sure you're not as overbearing as some were during the planning of our wedding!) :-) But yes, what happens afterward, in the next 60 years or so, is SO much more important...

  2. Joyce...your hubby and I sound similar in that we both seem to cause folks to want to share their life stories with us. Chris always gets so tickled at me because nearly everywhere we go, it happens. I don't mind it and I think everyone needs someone to talk to, so I'm glad I can help when duty calls. You and I feel the same way about nature. I love going for long walks and using that time to appreciate life and to thank God for all my blessings.

  3. Love your #2. I wish some young people would spend as much time and energy choosing their MATES as they do planning their princess wedding!
    Your Hubs sounds like such a nice man!

  4. I enjoyed reading your Hodgepodge. I love family Traditions. Since my children are grown, we still try to keep the old traditions alive while making new ones for the next generation.

  5. I like the idea of dining in a refurbished carriage house of an historical figure!!!

  6. First of all, congratulations to your daughter! I haven't had time to visit much lately, so I just read the news, while I was reading your posts from the past few days! I suspected this news was coming :)

    I love your advice--"After every wedding comes a marriage" So true, and today's young couples tend to lose sight of this, sometimes.

    I love our old family traditions, but I've found that I also enjoy watching the next generation form new traditions of their own. You'll soon be experiencing this, too :)

  7. Yep - Pinterest has taken weddings to a new level of expectation - its ridiculous!!

  8. Live by the golden rule-so true for all of us.

  9. Thanks for the Hodgepodge, Joyce. I feel very much the same as your answer to #1.

  10. I love the history behind the restaurant!! You're fortunate to live in a part of the country awash with history!!!

  11. Excellent advice Joyce, both for the engaged couple in #3 and the newly married in your A to Z.

    Good answer to #1. I don't understand how you can look at this big world and not see that there is a God!! I so agree with you.

  12. Traditions are very important however it is always nice to add something new to the mix. Simple things like using a bowl or a recipe can keep a tradition alive.

  13. I'm so happy for your daughter! I'm looking forward to the next year as you all begin to prepare for their big day!

  14. You have had a whirlwind weekend for sure! Hoping you can catch your breath after sending them off to the four corners. :) Congratulations to the MOB-to-be, and also for keeping the secret, hosting the HP every week, and getting successfully pretty darn close to all the way through the A-Z! What a month you've had!

  15. I pinned that restaurant on my "Places to Eat" board. Excellent answer about following the golden rule! Love the church in the mountains.

  16. Perhaps one day our paths will cross and we can enjoy either small talk or in depth conversation. I'm thinking we would likely enjoy each other.

    Guess our minds were on the same track on #7 and I loved your A-Z today. Ah, traditional, it generally does take a big change when one marries and it's always interesting to see what traditions our kiddos will take as their own. You have all this to look forward to.

    Be SURE you tour Boone Hall Plantation and grounds when you are in Charleston if you have time. It was one of our favorites while we were there.

  17. Oh i am going to NYC in June so i'll pay that restaurant a visit for sure! :) I also like your #7 answer! Hope you had a great Easter holiday with your family.

  18. Mr. Sexy and I are still working through what kind of traditions we want for our family. So far, every year and every holiday has looked a little bit different. lol One thing that is sticking, though, is that we chop down our own Christmas. It sure is helpful that we live in the woods! It's also a really great experience for the kids - even though Marie and I usually just stand in the snow with our arms cross because it's way too cold and we would prefer to be sitting by the fire. lol Aaahhh what wonderful memories we are creating. :)

  19. I enjoyed your answers today. Your time living 'across the pond' is so interesting to me. I can't imagine doing that. The advice to the new couple is good. I agree completely.
    Have a great day.

  20. Your husband and mine, for #5! Joe often asks me if he has a tattoo or sign on his forehead that says "Talk to me!". LOL

    I enjoyed your Hodgepodge AND your T-Traditions!!

  21. You have such good advice and insight on marriage! I think your girls are lucky to have such a wise Mom! Happy Wednesday!

  22. You're so right about traditions. It's also a challenge when the spouse grew up without celebrating anything EXCEPT Christmas and Easter. When birthdays are a big deal to one but not the other; when one is patriotic and wants to see the parade and fireworks but the other hates crowds. Yeah, start with an easy holiday like Earth Day and start making traditions. Plant some seeds together or pull some weeds. LOL

  23. Love that marriage advice! I think we sometimes forget that as we get swept up in planning the wedding.

  24. I thought of the golden rule also.

    I've enjoyed your engagement posts!