Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day Seventeen: Something You're Looking Forward To

AHHH!! Hello! You're reading the blog of an EMPLOYED licensed therapist :) I have been working (what seems like) non-stop since I started. It's been a big adjustment not being home at all during the day and also having to work at night. I'm thankful for a job, though!! I've definitely been slacking with blog posts, but I'm updating when I can now. There are so many things to do when you only have a couple hours a night... when you were used to having all day ; )

Today's post is something I'm looking forward to! I'm seriously looking forward to THIS WEEKEND. I cannot believe it, but Ryan and I have almost been married one year. It has flown by and taken forever at the same time :) I am so so so thankful that I got to marry my best friend and favorite person in the world <3 This year has been definitely challenging, but it's also been amazing. I've learned more about myself, my husband, and our relationship than I ever thought possible! haha... I know that we will continue to work to make our marriage grow stronger... but we are very excited to celebrate one year together. 

[[I love you, Ryan Keith! You make me so so happy, and you also make me strive to be a better woman. I appreciate the way you take care of me and try to do whatever you can to make me loved. You're my absolute best friend, and I can't imagine my life without you in! You're it for me forever, boo. Happy First Anniversary... we made it a year!!!! Let's have like 80 more :)  ILYMTTY BNAMAT]]

To celebrate, we are heading up to Branson, Missouri to stay in a private cabin at Big Cedar Lodge. We spent the first few nights of our honeymoon in a cabin at Mount Magazine, and we enjoyed ourselves. Since I am now a full-time working girl, I'm really looking forward to getting away for a nice long weekend :) It will be hard to adjust back to a work schedule once we get back, too. Man, I love cozying up with my boo for the weekend! It's been forever since we've just sat around and relaxed just the two of us. I'm also anxious to see if we'll get to ride in one of their horse-drawn carriages around the property... or go look at Christmas lights :) I know Ryan Keith is excited about grilling us up some steaks! We're just really excited to get away and be with each other since things have been so crazy lately. 

Here is Big Cedar Lodge: 

this is like the main lodge where all the activities and events take place. 

we'll be staying in a private log cabin like this one! woohoo!

((in other news -- I'm really really excited about Christmas... seems like I've been so busy lately that I've sort of been oblivious to the fact that it's almost 2 weeks away, haven't been shopping or anything! I'm excited to spend time with family and out of town friends hopefully coming in!))

so there's that! quick post about what's going on with me... and what we're doing soon! Glad to have a job that helps with the bills and helps other people at the same time. SO glad to have a weekend away with my hubby and reconnect right before Christmas :)

im thankful.
carrie anne

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day Sixteen: Dream Home

So I'm still sick... yuck. I hate that all my cold/sinus junk came so early this year - hopefully that means that it will leave sooner :) I was at least able to get dressed and out of the house today... for a great reason! I got to sign all my paperwork for my new job and get everything set up... I'll be starting work THIS WEEK if everything lines up. ((C'mon, state board!)) I'm pretty excited, but I wish I felt better to start a new job and meet all these new people. I guess it doesn't really matter, though... I'll be faking it til I make it all week! Can't waste time now!

Well, today's post is supposed to be about my dream home. After my last post dealing with materialism, I feel like anything I say will be a contradiction ; ) However... I think I can dream some -- it's just becoming so focused on the dream that I lose sight of reality that causes problems. 

I had an idea of what my dream home was... then I met Pinterest. This little ol site has just flooded my creative mind with TONS of ideas for a future home, and what I thought I wanted now has pictures and floor plans and even paint colors! haha Needless to say, I definitely have an entire board devoted to my dream home.

Now, to be fair... and very honest.... 
  • My TRUE dream home is wherever I'm with my husband... I'd sleep in a tent under a tree with him if that's where we had to live to be together. 
  • If I'm REALLY REALLY honest... my dream home would be paid IN FULL, and everything inside would be completely paid for. No debts, no payments, nothing. If that means we pick a less ornate house with less expensive furniture/decorations, that's what we'll have! 
  • A dream home to me is something within our means that we actually OWN... not property are paying off from the banks/Ashley furniture/etc. 
  • I would also love for all our kids to have their own rooms because I loved that growing up after sharing a room with my siblings.
  • I would also love to have a big, big yard (what other super-churched person just sang "where we can play football"?)  ...a big, big yard...  for a big, big dog. :)  I'd also love to own a horse one day, too... I'm dreaming so much right now!
  • A pool is something I must have to please the hubby. He grew up with a pool and absolutely LOVES the water during the summer. I'd be a loved wifey if I gave him a pool. Plus, I love to sunbathe (responsibly, of course). 
  • A great backyard would be so perfect. To go with the pool/hot tub scene, I'd love an outdoor fire pit and grill for entertaining and parties... I love hanging out in the backyard when the weather is nice. 
  • I would also LOVE a big kitchen... I haven't quite decided on color/theme, but I know I want it big because everyone also seems to wind up hanging out in the kitchen while the cooking is going on. Plus, when we have kids... I want everybody in the kitchen helping!
  • I'd love to give my hubby a "man room" (where I would probably hang out the most)... with a big TV, Razorback memorabilia, poker table... and a bathroom with a urinal. Why does he think that's so cool?! haha I don't know... but I'd give it to him if it'd make him as happy as he gets talking about it. 
  • Now... what would make me happy is a theater room. Big pillows, surround sound, projector/screen, no lights, comfy couches... maybe a popcorn machine? I might not ever leave!
  • Lastly... I'd love to have a LIBRARY. I'm most like Belle from Beauty and the Beast out of all the Disney movies I think... because giving away her freaking library make ME weak in the knees. I'd love to have a place where our kids can grow up reading and making memories around literature and the written words. Don't hate... our kids won't be too big of nerds :) [[their parents love football WAY too much for that]]
So to Recap, my Dream Home = a paid off home where I live with my husband and kids in our own rooms with our paid off furniture and decorations with a big, big yard for a big, big dog (and somewhere maybe a horse) with a hot tub/pool next to the fire pit and grill in the backyard. It also has a real big kitchen and a razorback man room for poker and a urinal for my hubby, a theater room for movie days and a big library for me. 

I think maybe we can handle all that :) 

Here are some pictures from my Pinterest board for my dream home: 
I really love this kitchen. The floors, the countertops, the backsplash/rock... I might like it more if all the cabinets were dark like the island... maybe :) 

now, THIS... is a library :) 

didn't mention this up there ^... but a wine/beer cellar would be a-mazing! 

firepit, hot tub, and pool area... awesome. 

I LOVE this back porch... Makes me think that me, my mom, and my sister would all be sitting right there watching the boys do silly things in the backyard :)

So that's the Dream House! It's hard not to think about where we'll live one day and what it will be like... but I'm blessed to have a great home right now that I really do love. It's small and cute and most importantly - cheap :) haha... but it's "ours," and it will be for a few more years. We're blessed to have a place to live, and all the dreaming up there is just fun to do. Wherever we live in the future will be my dream home because i'll share it with the people I love. 

im thankful.
carrie anne

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day Fifteen: Bible Verse

Forgot to share the good news in my last blog post: I FINALLY GOT MY LICENSE NUMBERS!!! I can start work now... at some point! They came in the mail after exactly 5 weeks of waiting. Wow. I'm so glad they are here, and I can start getting my whole job thing started :)

Bad news for today: im sick. It's been a pretty rough day to say the least. It's hard to get started with work and everything when I'm in bed and feeling awful... timing, timing, timing. It actually came on SO fast last night -- with all my symptoms, I'm thinking that it might be the flu. I'm trying to take it easy, rest, and get healthy again so I can start work. It's time! My body just decided to do its own thing I suppose. 

Today's blog post is supposed to be a Bible verse. Since it doesn't say a favorite verse, I think this will be really easy for me. I've been really thinking about a verse used in church yesterday morning from the book of Jonah. 

"Those who pay regard to vain idols
 forsake their hope of steadfast love."
                                     Jonah 2:8

I'm not quite sure what it is about the verse that caught my attention so much... but out of the 10 verses we looked out in Jonah 2, this verse stuck out the most to me. I think it speaks to my heart and the struggles I have with wanting "things."

 I believe this struggle really began when I got engaged... There is so much involved in wedding planning -- so much to buy, to love, to crave... but sometimes in those things, we lose the purpose of the wedding, the union, the covenant. It becomes more of a show than a miracle... more of a performance than a time of worship... more like showing off than praising God for the person standing next to you. It gets very hard when there are so many "things" to pick out, choose, and plan for a wedding. You can get so caught up in the details instead of the actual purpose of the wedding. You can substitute one for the other. You give up the deep, meaningful, and priceless moments of a holy union... for tablecloths, flowers, details, invitations, photographers, food, etc etc etc -- You can truly lose yourself in all of it

Blessed that I am... I had some amazing people around me to keep me focused. Ryan was especially great at encouraging me and hearing my heart about the gross things that I felt were starting to fester and influence my thoughts about our wedding. I plainly told him about how I felt pressure to have the best of everything, the prettiest, craftiest, gorgeous wedding... because of what "society" tell us we should have or just my own expectations of what a wedding should be. Together, with our families, we made it simple. We wrote down what was most important and made sure that those things were taken care of. When it came down to it, if my Save the Dates weren't perfect... it'd be okay because they weren't high on the priority list. The same went for anything else up until the wedding day. It totally eased my attitude, and I was extremely calm and stress-free because there wasn't a pressure there to have a "perfect" day. 

My little idol of materialism had been smashed in that area. 

Jonah 2:8 may be speaking to actual, manmade idols; however, I think "idols" can be way more than just golden calves or false gods. Materialism is one of the biggest idols in today's culture, and it's one of my biggest struggles. The more we focus on what we need want, the more we give up our hope of Christ's love for us. 

Now that my wedding is over, I still struggle with materialism. That was only the beginning! Now I have a house to decorate... babies will be coming in a few year... and I have a new career now. There are so many opportunities to just WANT THINGS. A new chair for the living room, a rug, curtains, CLOTHES (and LOTS of them), makeup, a new body, a pretty/healthy/perfect baby, something everything somebody else has.... the list is infinitely long, and it's very difficult to admit that we lust so much after things

But this verse tells me that the more I cling to those things (those things I REALLY want) the more I give up the love of God. I've heard the phrase [many times], "When you say yes to one thing, you say no to another." That is exactly my point here. The more I choose to love clothes, love promotion, love status and power, or just simply love me... the more I say no to God's love, God's provision, God's power, God Himself. When put in that perspective, the new outfit/new car/new job doesn't seem all that important anymore. 

"Those who pay regard to vain idols
 forsake their hope of steadfast love."
                                     Jonah 2:8

The more my face is turned toward materialism and all that it encompasses... the more my face turns away from God's love and all that it promises. It's almost a daily struggle to choose God instead of ______ (insert anything new and shiny and pretty that I want here), but I'm trying. I believe that choosing to live by His standards, His love, and His promises will help me entirely more than living by other people's standards, expectations, and ways of living. 

My favorite part about this teeny little verse is the purposeful wording of the last few words. In it, I can see the God's steadfastness and faithfulness. Even those who DO pay regard to vain idols are loved by their Father. It doesn't say that those who pay regard to vain idols lose the love of God their Father. There's hope in this verse to me. It says that the gross, disgusting humans that we are choose idols and by doing so, keep and tarnish parts of our heart that we should be offering to God.

We forsake our hope of His love changing us
But His love never changes

Such a small verse ... with so much power! It's something I'll definitely try to keep on my mind when I'm having a hard time battling this stupid materialism.. especially with Christmas coming up. I'm not worthy, but I'm consider myself extremely blessed that God continues to love me... even in the midst of my nasty, tarnished, idolatrous heart. 

im thankful.
carrie anne

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day Fourteen: A Picture You Love

AH! What a CRAZY week!!! Gotta love the holidays :) Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful. I got to spend time with both sides of my family and made some great memories. Ryan left Friday morning to head out to the woods to hunt with his dad and brothers... I've been bunkin with my parents for the weekend, and it's been pretty fun! I got to hang out with my brother and KaLee last night... and today has been pretty busy, too. Casey took some pictures of me for some graduation announcements I'm designing, and we all headed up to Fayetteville to the Arkansas Razorback Basketball game. Casey sang the national anthem, and he did SOOO great!!! It was awesome to get to be back in Bud Walton Arena to watch the hogs, too :) Tomorrow will be more family time: mainly church in the morning and hanging out in the afternoon... Then I will be "patiently" waiting for Ryan to get back home!! 

Today is supposed to be a picture I love... and maybe it's because I'm just missing my husband, but I picked our first picture we ever took together. It's so funny to look back at this photo and think about the people we were back in April of 2009. Young kids really. I was really starting to like this guy, and he was the sweetest, nicest, funniest guy to me. I was nervous about where this whole thing was headed (I just didn't date anybody!!!)... but I knew that this felt wayyyy different than anything I'd ever experienced before.

I distinctly remember Ryan saying at one point that we should just strap on our seatbelts and enjoy the ride/roller coaster :) It has definitely been a crazy adventure since then, but I wouldn't change anything. Our bumps, hiccups, and screw ups are beautiful to me... they brought me closer to my best friend, and they make me cherish the seasons we share together as a married couple now.

 If you told that girl in the picture that she was standing next to her future husband... I don't think she would be surprised. There was something very different and imperfectly perfect about Ryan Keith that calmed my little heart and opened me up enough to give him a chance to be my boyfriend...fiance...husband :) Like I've said (and will continue to say), God writes the BEST stories. It's only because of Him that two broken people found love and continue to try and be love to each other... and will forever <3

im thankful. 
carrie anne

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day Thirteen: Goals

Well, I'm a little bit behind on my 30 day blogging challenge :) I initially just wanted to make sure to post on weekdays and leave the weekends to fun and relaxation... I've taken a little bit of a break lately! haha -- This past weekend was Ryan's birthday, and we celebrated for days!

Thursday was our tree decoration day... so our house is now in full-swing, Christmas mode. I absolutely love it! Here's what I got Ryan for his Birthmas:  

card, Christmas candy, Christas tobacco, old Christmas movie, & his favorite beer... in the seasonal flavor :) 

 Here's our tree!!!

We probably took like 200 pictures in front of the tree... I never really like ANY of them -- :)

After celebrating with his family on Friday night... we woke up Saturday & we left for St. Louis bright and early... and we had a really great time. We checked in our AMAZING hotel (thank you, for the 4 star hotel for CHEAP!)... It was amazing!   

yep -- that's the arch... in our hotel window!!! I had to get down on the ground to get the whole thing -- we were so close! 

 here's a better view from our hotel!

then we headed to the Busch brewery for a tour and free samples! 

Then we came back to the hotel to change and watch the end of the razorback game (we won!).... Then headed to dinner at Schlafly Tap Room -- such great beer and food! That's where I surprised Ryan with tickets to go see Jim Gaffigan. He was so excited, and we rushed to the show... Jim was hilarious as we expected. Then we got to listen in the car as Oregon lost and then OU tumbled as well.

It was a great kickoff to the next part of our night... more beer! haha -- I found an awesome place in STL called International TapHouse... Ryan found his new favorite beer, and I loved the atmosphere.
 they have over 300 bottled beer and 20 beers on tap (they change them out every 2 months, too!)

his favorite beer now :) 


outside International TapHouse

We headed back to the hotel, went to sleep very quickly, and woke up too early the next day. We checked out the arch before we left... and then drove by my Cardinals stadium - location of the 2011 World Series victory!!!! :) 

Then we headed back to Fort Smith to eat and celebrate with my family. What a weekend!!! I love planning special things for my hubby<3

he finally got his BMFP shirt :)


Today is supposed to be about my goals. I've actually been sort of putting this post off for a while because I wanted to make sure I had time and enough brain power to really think about my goals. I am for sure that I will forget a ton of things that I would like to do/see/accomplish... my brain has been scattered lately. I'll more than likely update this later! :)

Short Term Goals
Get my license number and start my job!!!
Be a hard-working employee at my new job and learn my things quickly!
Keep Christ at the center of this holiday season... and not get lost in it
Continue to work out and eat right - even during the holidays!
Celebrate Thanksgiving with family
Enjoy our 1st anniversary trip in a couple weeks and make lasting memories
Officially 'graduate' with my Master's (The ceremony is in December)
Finish my application for my Ph.D program
Go to whatever Bowl Game the Razorbacks play in this year :)

Long-Term Goals
Graduate with my Ph.D
Start my own Private Practice in counseling
Teach at the graduate level
Prayerfully, adopt (see how adoption has changed me hereand birth children
Get DEBT FREE!!!! 
Put more in our retirement fund/savings/IRA
Travel to Haiti (oh, my heart)
Write a book
Build our dream home
Be Razorback Football season ticket holders & take our kids to the games
Go on vacation with my family and see my dad on a boat on the ocean

SomeDay Goals
Go see our Canucks play (NHL Hockey!)
Watch the Hogs play in the National Championship
See the Northern Lights
Travel more internationally (Europe, Africa, Australia)
Go to Bora Bora.
Stay at the Maldives
Basically - lots of travel :)
Go watch the Cardinals in the World Series
Go to Germany for Oktoberfest & the Christmas market
Be on TEDTalks and share something meaningful
Gain a mentor in the counseling field
Go to more concerts (Beyonce, Alicia Keys, David Phelps, Celine Dion and anybody I've already seen)
Get another tattoo
Sing during a live concert I'm attending

Life-Term Goals
Be consistently devoted to God & grow in my relationship with Him
Be a loving, respectful, and faithful wife to Ryan Keith
If I get the role of momma... to be a loving, fun, and gracious mom.
 Share the lives of those family members before me & leave a lasting legacy for my family 
Cherish my family and friends
Continually process and work on myself as a person
Never Give Up

There are a few goals I have... Some very serious, some kinda quirky -- all perfect goals for me :) I wish I had time to make an addendum to this post about all the goals I've already accomplished... I've set the bar high for my life because I know that's one way to reach my dreams! I consider myself so blessed to have been given the opportunities, resources, and people in my life to get where I am today. 

By no means am I here because of ME - it's only because of God that I am able to breathe today... let alone accomplish my dreams. I take that into consideration when I list out what'd I'd like to see happen years from now... some of them seem overwhelming, but I'm sure my life as a 24 year old would have seemed overwhelming had I seen it when I was 20. God makes a way, and I know some of these things probably won't ever happen... but I'm hoping a certain few do. Regardless, I'm learning to trust Him more -- I'm sure some of these things made Him laugh as I typed them because He's got such a great story for me to live out that I'm so completely unaware of. Those are the best stories, right?

im thankful.
carrie anne

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day Twelve: What You Believe

This post is so broad -- I don't really know where to begin. I guess I should start at the top and most important and work from there! 

  • believe that God is sovereign, in control, and faithful. I believe He is good and does good for His people. I believe that He has planned everything in my entire life ahead of me, good and bad (whatever my definitions for those words might be). His love for me cannot be measured, matched, or contained, and I believe that He created and designed me in His image. I believe that He can heal, change, and deliver those on this Earth, and I believe that His faithfulness is more than I can comprehend. I believe that God writes the best stories for His people, even when we doubt His ways. I believe that He is life and He has the power of resurrection in His hands. More than anything, I believe in His goodness, His love, and His faithfulness. 
  • believe in forgiveness and redemption. I hold tight to these because I know how much power they have had in my own life. I believe that forgiveness should be built firmly in the foundation of any relationship, especially marriage. I believe that healthy relationships are made of people who specialize in forgiveness.
  • Because of my belief in systems theory, I believe that one person can make a big impact on the world. Just like one member of a family can be the spark that changes the entire family system, I believe one person's actions can change the environment around him. There are so many examples, but a recent and controversial one is the scandal at Penn State. I believe that one person could have made enough noise, enough difference, enough indignation to change things around for those children and the people responsible. There were so many individuals who could have stopped the actions in their system, and I truly believe that one person could have changed the entire thing around.
  • believe that love is a choice and not an emotion. In my vows for Ryan, I wrote that I chose him to be my husband and leader of our home. I have to make that choice every day, regardless of how I feel. I believe that a lot of new couples lose that "love feeling" and think that they've fallen out of love. I believe they've simply stopped choosing to love because things have gotten difficult. I believe love is a difficult choice. 
  • believe that family is extremely important. I believe that from the time you're born, your family influences who you are, what you believe, how you act, your role in the family, your view towards other people... the list goes on. I believe that this doesn't define who you are, but it definitely influences you. As you grow up, I believe that it's your responsibility (not your family's) to look at yourself, your beliefs, roles, views, etc... and see if they match up with your heart, and if they don't, you have to alter them to fit with who you are. It can be a difficult process, but I believe that it's one of the most rewarding. 
  • believe in waiting to have sex until after you're married. Ryan and I didn't have sex before we got married, and I believe that it helped our marriage more than I can imagine. I believe God can redeem those couples who do have sex before marriage, but I firmly believe that following God's plan for sex is the ultimate and best goal. I love that Ryan and I have no stories about "getting caught" or having a pregnancy scare or regret that we didn't (no, not couldn't) wait. We made it clear from the beginning of our relationship that sex within marriage was our goal, and I believe our protection of sex (not the exclusion, fear, or obsession of sex) made that possible. We knew how great the reward would be since God's plan seems to be the best, and we protected it based on God's promise. 
  • believe that laughter can truly be medicine for the soul. Laughter and good food. :) Seriously, sharing life and laughter with friends and family has to be one of the most soul-nurturing things you can do for yourself. I believe that community with each other not only strengthens Christ's church as a body but also ourselves. 
  • believe in balance. I believe that extreme opposites are still the same, and there must be balance in everything. For example, idealism balanced the right way could change the world. Many times, someone's lack of faith squelches another's idealism. I believe there needs to be more idealism paired with responsibility, and perhaps we wouldn't have such cynicism and lack of faith. 
  • believe in adoption. My family has been touched by the beautiful, painful, amazing power of adoption, and I believe that it upholds one of God's commands to care for orphans. I would love to adopt children one day. I know its power, and I believe God commanded us to care for orphans so we could get a glimpse of how He has adopted us. 
  • Lastly, I believe in miracles. I have been part of a miracle, and if you're married, you have as well. It is a miracle that two people can become one. I believe God is powerful, righteous, yet also miraculous. It was by no coincidence that Ryan & I asked for the painting of Jesus turning water into wine for our wedding ceremony. Just as the water miraculously became wine, Ryan Keith and Carrie Anne miraculously became one. Neither wine nor married couple could ever be separated from that point forward, and I believe Jesus (as in most things) was intentional about when and where He performed his first miracle. Weddings are a great time of joy for me because I get to witness a miracle each time I attend one.

I'm sure I'll look back at this post and wonder why I included the things I did, and maybe I'll look back and disagree with some things I said (I hope so! I forever want to be processing and evolving my epistemology!)... But for now, 24 year old Carrie Anne believes in the things above. Most of these things were learned through painful times, difficult relationships, lack of faith, extreme ideas, periods of isolation, doubt, and betrayal. It's only because I worked through those hard times that I am now able to see the whole picture and piece together what I believe. I can see God's goodness when I'm in pain, and I can choose to love my spouse even when he hurts me. believe there's power in looking at what you believe. It can show you your journey and all the painful, amazing, fun, and heartbreaking ways you got to where you are now. 

im thankful.
carrie anne

P.S. -- This was a difficult post to write. If I were to ask you what you believe, what would be some of the first things you'd say?   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Eleven: Favorite TV Shows

This is an interesting topic. Ryan and I purposefully chose not to have cable when we got married. It's a great financial decision because the cost of cable is outrageous (and unneeded really), but it's also a relationship decision we made. We believe that TV can really hurt a relationship, especially a new marriage. Controversial? Maybe. Don't mean to step on any toes if you watch a lot of TV - these are just our thoughts. We honestly don't get a ton of time together. Ryan works 40 hours a week (8-5), and he usually works on school from 6-bedtime from Mon-Thurs. If he ever gets done early, my first desire is to talk and be with each other... not turn on the TV and stare at a screen. Granted, sometimes we watch movies and TV on the computer... but that's maybe once a week if we have lots of extra time together. Just the other night, we were both reading in bed and got the chance to share with each other what we had read - it opened up a really amazing discussion and ended with prayer. I'd have that over TV ANY day. I can just see how TV could easily get in the way of our relationship, and I'm glad that we decided to eliminate it from the start. 

Basically, TV is a great outlet for ignoring your spouse or "numbing" your mind to things that really may need some attention in your relationship. When I counsel couples, I sometimes ask how much time they spend on the internet/TV and how that compares to the time they invest in their relationship. It's amazing how often we let ourselves get captivated by a TV show or Facebook or whatever... and fail to give enough or any energy to one of the most important relationships in our lives. 

I truly believe that people can have affairs without ever talking to another human being. Grouping in a third party into your marriage can really do some damage. This is called "triangulation." Forming a triangle (you, your spouse, and ______) is unhealthy, but people do it ALL the time. For example, you can repeatedly call your friend/mom/whoever and discuss your marital problems to decrease your stress level in your relationship. A triangle is a triangle when you bring someone or something into your relationship that decreases your stress/anxiety without having to interact with your spouse. It doesn't just have to be another person, though. You can drink alcohol, smoke, work out, or my newest discovery... watch TV.

 You can seriously have an affair with TV

Sounds weird, but think about it: how often do you hear people talk about Grey's Anatomy/Desperate Housewives/ANY Reality Show/The Real Housewives of _____ /Army Wives/LOST/Friends/The Good Wife/Glee/HIMYM/Big Bang Theory/ETC...  Insert any hit TV show in there. It's like people think it's real life - they are talking about the characters like they are real people, with real problems, and experiencing real emotions from the show. Not saying that is BAD... but there comes a point where you set up expectations from a show or a movie that will not be met in real life. I'm convinced that Grey's Anatomy gives some of the WORST advice to its viewers... advice that does not line up with what I believe as a Christian (love yourself, forgive yourself, self-help, etc) - but so many people eat it up and make daily decisions around those lines in the show because they are SO involved in it. Like I said, I believe you can watch TV and just enjoy it for what it is, but there is a point where it goes too far... where TV can change your expectations from your spouse, your life, your friends... and it's a bar that can only be reached in a fiction television show. 

I've heard that chick flicks and romantic/dramatic television shows are like porn for women. Without making too many generalizations here, most men are sexually aroused by their eyes and minds (hence traditional pornography being so appealing and destructive to them)... Women are more aroused by their emotions, feelings, and heart. While pornography sets a standard for men that most women cannot reach, these shows/movies that women LOVE set a standard that no man can reach. He cannot stop a moving car, know when you're upset just by sensing it, do all things right, or say a beautifully scripted line that's just the right thing we needed to hear. 
That. Is. Fiction.

All of that to say, I have a very big guard up when it comes to movies and television. I try to monitor what I watch and how it affects me and my marriage. I believe it's very important. As time goes on and we start to have kids, I'm sure that there will be more discussions on getting cable in our house. I think that maybe not having cable would force me to be a more involved mommy and not just put my kids in front of a screen (or the electronic babysitter as I call it)... Who knows. I know if we ever do get cable, it will definitely be organized and monitored as to how much time each person spends in front of the TV. 

Am I on a soap box or what?

There are just SO many WAY more important things than TV shows. I'd much rather spend time with my husband, my family, my friends... I'd even BLOG over watching TV because at least I'm forcing myself to think, feel, and experience something real. I've read quite a few books since I've been out of school as opposed to the TV, and I really enjoy it. 

Enough with the rant! Ryan and I do enjoy TWO shows currently airing on TV. Every couple weeks, we'll get on and watch them when we have plenty of time together. Less than an hour a week on TV!! :) I love that I can say that. 

we love modern family. There are so many funny parts to this show... I literally laugh so hard at each family represented. So funny. 

we are also proud fans of The Office. I honestly miss Michael Scott, but Ryan loves the new guy, Robert California. This is just great comedy. 

when I lived with my parents, we LOVED watching Friday Night Lights. Here's a show that got me hooked. I felt like I was in the town, best friends with the characters, and cheering for the football team. Scary how I got such an emotional connection with the show! 

 This is one of the best series I've ever seen. When I had my tonsils taken out in college, I watched this show day & night since I hated going to sleep. I loved the storyline and the characters. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a good series to watch! :)

I watched the 3 seasons of this show with Ryan after we started dating. It's really really funny, and we are excited that they are making a movie next year! 

you just can't beat House!!! I love this show, and I've been a fan for many years. My annual birthday present is usually DVDs of the newest House season. I have a lot of catching up to do, though. I love his narcissism. I probably will never say that about any other person in the world :)

TV. Love it. Hate it. Enjoy it. Whatever. I have some thoughts about it that I think most people don't share... But I'm not a TV hater. I like to think that I respect TV. I respect it enough to know that too much is bad, and what I do watch should be analyzed and processed to see if it's beneficial for me and my marriage/relationships. I don't think that's overkill by any means... I actually think I should do more of that in other areas of my life. Maybe I blog too much? Who knows. Good questions to ponder for a while :) at any rate...

im thankful.
carrie anne