"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
--Martin Luther

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Venting Online

Arghhhh!  It's been one of those days (actually two days) when everything seems to go badly.  I've been having issues with my cat, issues with unexpected bills, issues with organization.  It feels like the house is a mess, and we are still trying to figure out how we will organize our paperwork so that we can actually find things.  (When I lived by myself, I was incredibly organized with accordion filing systems, but it seems my husband likes to use the kitchen table...)

I kept wanting to go on my blog to just vent my frustrations.  How come our security system is so finicky?  How come I can't find anything?  How come I'm not working, which would at least cover some of these unexpected bills?  How come this is so frustrating?!

This isn't the first time I've been tempted to rant online about something that bugs me.  Why is it that I feel like pouring my emotions out into cyberspace will solve the problem?  Sometimes it's helpful to vent to a friend (or spouse), but more often than not, it just inflames the situation.  People offer their own frustrating stories, and then we are even more angry!  Not only that, but at what point does personal venting turn into finger pointing and even slander?  I certainly don't want to write a post complaining about our security system, only to find the company suing me for libel.  To sum it up:  Is venting online helpful or harmful?  What do you think?

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, 
slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Home!

And just like that, we're back.  It's hard to believe 10 days went by so quickly.

I'll do a bigger post or two on our trip over the next week or so, but wanted to touch base and say that Gil and I are home safe and sound after a fabulous vacation.  As a bit of a teaser, here are a couple of shots from our trip.

Gdansk by night

Our view of the pitch at the first game we attended.

Highlights from the trip were:
--Crazy soccer fans!  The Irish and Spanish are nuts!
--So many castles and churches
--Food.  I didn't expect to enjoy Polish cuisine that much, but real pierogies are delicious and my husband enjoyed eating *many* variations of pork.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

...And We're Off!

I'm excited to announce that Mrs. Doctor Dear will be on hiatus for the next two weeks or so, because in just over 24 hours, Gil and I will be boarding a plan to Europe!  We'll be spending 8 days in Poland, checking out a couple of Euro 2012 matches and otherwise touring around the country.

Today,  while I was watching Germany beat Portugal 1-0 (whew, that was a nail-biter!), I began to reflect on my love of soccer.  I first got into soccer during the World Cup 1998, when I was working part-time and would watch games with my brother on off days.  It was while studying abroad in 2002, however, when I fell in love with the "Beautiful Game".  Watching games in pubs in Germany, surrounded by fans in full gear, I couldn't help but get drawn in.  10 years later, watching soccer still takes me back to when I was young and able to just throw myself into loving life, even though some areas of my life were stressful and hard.  My friends and I would coordinate our shirts so that we covered the three colours of the German flag, and then ride our bikes in formation on our way to the pub to watch a match.  (Yes, we were that crazy cool.)  This afternoon as I checked into facebook and read my friends' updates, it felt a little like we were watching the game together, even though we were scattered in all corners of North America.

Gil and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, and so watching soccer also reminds me of that first time away with Gil, and how it was really the first time I knew for sure that we were going to get married one day.  (It only took him another year to finally ask!)  All that to say, soccer brings back many happy memories to me, and I'm looking forward to making some more with my husband in the next two weeks.

With my girlfriends in Germany, wearing matching Michael Ballack jerseys
Germany fans in Durban, South Africa, 2010

Anyway, I'll check back in two weeks time, and until then:  Los geht's, Deutschland!!!

Monday, 4 June 2012

On Being a Housewife

I've recently come to grips with the fact that I may be a housewife. I don't even know when that sets in. Apparently, couples are still considered “newlyweds” up until their second wedding anniversary, but how long do I have to be out of the workforce before I'm officially a “housewife”? A few times when I've talked to someone over the phone (like at a bank or something) and they ask for my profession, I stumble and eventually elicit a response like, “Oh, so you're a homemaker.” Because my husband is a doctor, being “at home” is presented like a very normal choice for me. I'm guessing if he worked at Tim Hortons, I would be seen as “looking for work” rather than a “housewife”.

Maybe I am hung up on semantics, but the term “housewife” is a bit difficult for me. I am very supportive of women (and men as well) who stay at home to serve their families. I admire Stay at Home Moms and Work at Home Moms. I just have trouble reconciling myself, as a non-mom, with not working.* After so many years of needing to work to pay the rent and buy groceries, it feels almost wrong to be buying things without my own income, despite the fact that though my husband is fine with supporting us. Even though there are benefits to being home, I just feel a bit lazy, no matter how hard I try to use the time wisely.

One of my issues is that I feel so unprepared to be a housewife. I have this image of a housewife/SAHM, some sort of a June Cleaver type, and it's not me. I don't enjoy cleaning (though I do it anyway, don't worry). I don't particularly like cooking unless I'm doing it with Gil or with a friend. I'm fairly certain the supposed female trait of wanting to decorate has evaded me all these years, as I have zero desire to flip through a magazine like House and Home, and still don't understand what Pinterest is. I would rather study Chinese than think about home design.

In my most honest and vulnerable moments, I'll admit that this makes me feel like a defective woman, and a bad wife. What happened to my x-chromosomes? Did they get bent or something? There are moments when I feel like a double-disappointment: I've failed as a “girl power” independent women by being out of work for so long, but I'm lousy at being a conservative homemaker. I try to laugh about it, but it cuts right to the heart of who I am and what I was made for. I've mentioned before that I am in a desert place these days, trying to figure out which direction to go. I'm blessed to have a supportive husband, but some days it's hard. I didn't realize how much of my self-image was wrapped up in what I did: The woman who paid of her student loans in two years, who bought her own home at 27, who worked hard and yet was busy almost every night serving at church, attending Bible studies, and seeing friends. It's hard to find the me that's inside all that wrapping, and it's hard to redefine my own worthiness.

One thing I've learned though, is that things that are hard are worth doing, and that it's important to think and pray through these issues now, rather than finding another cloak to wrap myself in and having the same issues resurface in a few years. So please pray with me as I continue on this journey, and as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. :-)

Addendum: I wrote part of this post a few weeks ago, and have been adding to it for the past couple of days. This morning's reading took me to Judges 4, the story of Deborah and Jael, which is one of my favourite chapters. I guess God thought I needed a reminder that women can be godly in non-traditional roles!


 *Just to specify:  I haven't for sure decided not to go back to work, but at present I need to face the reality that I'm not working and do not know when I will be.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Settling In

Hi friends!  After a few heavier posts, I thought it might be time for a brief update on how our lives are going and how we are getting settled.  I'll post some photos of the new house at some point, but for now there are a few areas that need to be organized, so that'll have to wait.

First of all, we LOVE the new place.  Or at least, I love it and Gil seems happy here (he is generally a mellow personality and probably wouldn't use the word love unless referring to me or perhaps to the Liverpool Football Club).  While my husband works so much that he doesn't have much time to enjoy having a yard thus far, I am loving the fact that I can sit out on the porch to read. 

I'd have to say, though, that living in a house has been a humbling experience for me.  Gil and I are realizing how much we don't know.  We've both been grown-ups for a long time, but have lived primarily in apartments and condos, so are just beginning to realize we need help.  We do not know how to operate our gas lawn mower.  I don't know how to take care of a garden or even how to start one.  It's pretty embarrassing to have someone say, "You do know that you have to water your grass, right?"  (Except that today it is pouring, so nature's taking care of that for us!) 

It is also humbling to have to take things slowly.  I have moved many times, and I generally like to get everything set up ASAP.  With this home, I'm realizing that I need to take my time and be sure about where things will look, rather than just jumping in.  I am setting up a home, rather than a temporary lodging.  Fortunately, we like the paint colours that the vendors used, because we don't know much about painting either!

In sum, we are thankful to God for providing this home, and thankful for the learning opportunities that have come with it.  And even though the house isn't photo-ready, here's one picture of our peonies that bloomed last week: