“Find out who you are, and Do It On Purpose”

A famous quote from a famous country singer. I loved it from the fist time I heard it  ( in A Walk to Remember). I am often reminded of it from day to day and week to week. Not because it was so profound or even that life changing of a quote for me at the time, but because it has a meaning now that I have decided with all my heart to live ON PURPOSE!.

One of the common ideas that seems to permeate most people’s lives these days is happenstance, or in other words allowing life to happen and dealing with it as it comes.

Now, generally this doesn’t seem like a bad way to live. In fact, in some cases it is the best idea! Life will happen! I know it, you know it! We have all been affected by “life” and many things we can’t choose, prevent or even prepare for. In these cases it is of course best to take it one day at a time, and deal with it as is fitting.

However, this is not the case with everything. Nor should it be. Specifically in our marriages. This is a dangerous belief and it is (in my opinion) destroying marriages all around me.

Why would I have this opinion? Because ALL of the stuff I have been reading about for marriage and listening to people talk about, seems to point to this idea. Those marriages in which the couples are so in love and they think they always will be and they are just living on love… tend to me miserable a few yrs down the line. They  think love will take them through anything and everything but they actually are not making any purposeful effort to keep the passionate love alive.

These are the people I hear that think how it is in the first few months or year of marriage is how it will always be. They mistakenly believe as long as you love it will all work out. BUT I don’t hear these people talk about how to KEEP the love alive, how to serve their spouse and how to make sure they are a blessing and not an annoyance or burden to their lover’s life.

These are the people I hear complain that their husband or wife “used to ____”. or they are the ones who say things like “enjoy it while it lasts”. It’s sickening, because so many people assume and live with a reality where the best days and years of their marriages are behind them and “somehow” it all just ended, stopped and is no longer like this anymore.

It made me wonder (and worry!) Why? What makes things change so drastically. Why are people who were once madly in love now resentful and apathetic? It really made me have to look at the big picture of what was going on and the common thing I note is that most of these people let life happen and do not choose to do anything on purpose…especially anything to stop allowing life to suck the love out of their marriages.

So, that brings me back to my theme for the month (maybe year!) Live on purpose. Love on purpose and above everything else choose your attitude on purpose.

Once you (and your significant other)  are making choices, planning for certain expectations and doing things on purpose to demonstrate love, appreciation and service to the other then it is easy to see that life has no chance to creep up and steal the passion out of these relationships. It is easy to see the contrast in people, who are happily married for 10, 20, 30+ years. These people love to talk about marriage! They are worth listening to, and their example is worth following.

I am ever the student, learning as much as I can about my life as a Christian women and now a wife as well. I see lessons in every relationship I come across and take the chance to talk about this with all of them who give me a few minutes to observe and ask.

There are the couples I learn from because it brings fear and worry that I do NOT want to end up like that. and others who are such great examples and it make me look at them and say THAT’S how I imagined marriage to be!



To be Happily Daily After

So I am learning that with even just two adults in this apartment, things get messy and dirty really fast!

I can not believe the dust this place collects. We are on the 9th floor of a very busy street and I tend to keep the windows open 24/7 so it’s partly my own fault….but still!

I have to dust daily or else it honestly looks like I haven’t dusted in weeks!

I started to get a routine to help me stay on top of things! I am not crazy clean but I do not like dust. I have a feeling I would be a lot more of a “clean-freak” if we had space and storage. But storage and Japanese apartments do not tend to go together.

Here’s the things I find that save me time and help this TINY apartment stay clean.

1) After cooking, when I wipe down the counters I choose 1 row of the spice rack to wipe down also. This way I don’t have to wipe all the spices down every time but it does help the tops from getting dusty or greasy from the cooking. At least once a week all the spices and the rack are wiped clean.

2) Scrub the shower WHILE I take my shower. (I realize this works best in the stand alone shower stalls which is similar to what I have here). This is part of my relaxation therapy! I wash myself from head to toe and then I douse the shower in cream bleach. This is my favourite shower cleaner. I LOVE when things smell of bleach  (sorry to any enviro people out there.) I leave a scrub brush in the shower and just scrub it all while I pray, or sing or meditate..whatever. Then I rinse it all down and myself and I am ready to start the day. Fresh!

3) I pre-plan all my meals for the week on my day off. For me this is Monday as I work Saturdays. I look through blogs, recipe books and ideas from friends and then I put together my meal plan for the whole week. I go shopping twice a week but only from this list. Once a week would be fine back home but here a) I have a SMALL fridge and b) vegetables do not last more than a couple of days before going bad. I shop Mondays and Thursday evenings.

4) Budget. This keeps me happy, organized and feeling in power of my life. I tend to be rather frugal and cheap but I do not sacrifice as much as it may seem. Yesterday I wanted to try a new recipe that included feta cheese. The only option was  a small brick of 50g for $7. I bought it! But I do not do this every week. I tend to pic and choose my splurges and plan around them so they are used optimally and I can spread the money out across the week.

5) Low Ball. I don’t know if this is the actual term I should use here but see if you catch my drift. I put my food budget a bit lower than it likely would cost and then when I do my shopping my goal/game is always to get things cheaper than that. Of course I have more money available, no one is starving here! Sweets and I make decent money so were not sacrificing or miserable. It just makes shopping fun when I have a game or challenge. Usually I am really successful at spending less than I challenged myself even if it is just on one of the meals or by a few $ for that week. It simply makes me happy. My top budget for the 2 of us is 18$/day (500$/month) but my low ball attempt is always 14$/day ($400/month). I am not sure if this is high or normal for Canada/USA but for Japan this is pretty decent. Prices tend to be rather high, or you get a much smaller serving for the same prices so I need to buy more.

6) Do the Laundry as soon as I wake up. For me this works as I wake up usually with about 1.5 hrs before I need to leave for work. My washer takes about an hour to run through and so I still have time to hang everything out before I need to leave for work. (No dryer here, everything is and hung on the line) But having the smell of the laundry while I’m reading or making breakfast ect.. is so motivating and automatically I start the day feeling productive – which then helps me to BE productive the rest of the day. This is another reason I prefer to vacuum in the morning…I only get to do this on the mornings Sweets goes to the gym before work, but its all good!

*7) This is a special one for me. I make a point to do something loving and sacrificial for my husband at least once a day. This can be anything really. But I found that I appreciate him the most and feel the happiest about making him smile when it actually cost me something. Usually for me it is time not money. This weeks example is waking up early to make lunch for him. He has never asked me or expected this. Typically he eats cold Japanese style lunch, but  he is always very appreciative when I do this for him. It is a struggle some mornings for me to will myself out of bed that few minutes earlier to cook him a hot lunch and put it in the thermos – even just left overs need to be piping hot which takes a bit of time. It is always worth it when I see his smile! He gushes about how he is just so thankful for me and how I make his life so much better. He has told me that even when he is at work his life is improved since we married and he never imagined or expected that. This makes me the happiest!

Well, I’ll end it there today. Its been a good day!  I hope you also have/had a fabulous day where-ever you are, doing whatever you need to do!