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Change Together or Grow Apart | Guest Post by Ashleigh Slater

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Ashleigh Slater is the first to be featured in the new series, “Inspire: Women Who Create.” Ashleigh is a writer, editor, and homeschooling mama to four. I came across Ashleigh’s personal blog during my own early blogging days sometime back in 2005. Currently, I work with her in a more professional capacity writing for the website she created: Ungrind. We even got to meet in real life once when she visited Baltimore for a conference!

Ashleigh writes about marriage with practical wisdom and humor in her new book, Team Us: Marriage Together. Check out my full review here. Today, she is writing about how a marriage relationship is always evolving and we can choose to either grow together or apart.

Before sharing her guest post today, I had this question for her:

As a busy home educating mom of four, how do you make time to consistently work from home as a writer?

Instituting quiet time almost every afternoon has been one of the keys for me to consistently working from home as a writer.  My kid don’t nap anymore (my three-year-old recently gave it up), so it’s a time of quiet in their rooms where they play or read or listen to “Adventures in Odyssey.” Normally, it lasts about two hours. This is when I can really focus intensely on writing or blogging or the work on my plate. After quiet time, if I’m needing more work time, the kids can do crafts or play or maybe watch a movie. I’m readily available to them, but still working. If I have a lot of projects or didn’t get as much done as I hoped, then I may work after the kids’ bedtime a bit before Ted and I spend time together.  I actually wrote a blog post on this subject recently and shared a few other things I do to balance kids and work. Check it out here: http://ashleighslater.com/4-proven-ways-balance-kids-home-work/

Let’s welcome Ashleigh as she writes about changing together or growing apart in marriage.

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The Ted I’m married to today isn’t the same Ted I married almost 12 years ago.

Sure, he has the same blue eyes. The same crazy hair worthy of his middle name Wolfgang. Yes, he still often stuns people with his dry, witty sense of humor. And, all these years later, his passion for soy sauce and politics (not necessarily in that order) remains rock solid.

But he’s also changed over the years.

He now eats leftovers instead of cereal for breakfast. He gets seriously excited to watch obscure black-and-white films like Crisis (all you Cary Grant fans out there may know that one). And, best of all, he now understands why adults go to Disney World … without their children. Although that one’s easier said than done.

The thing is, he’ll tell you the same thing about me. The Ashleigh he’s married to today isn’t the same Ashleigh he married almost 12 years ago. I’ve changed too.

Fortunately, our changes have brought us closer together. They’ve resulted in more points of connection. More shared interests. More mutual dreams. But I know that’s not always the case for couples.

I’d venture to guess that you and your husband have also changed since that day you promised “I do.” Because the reality is that none of us is static. So as long as we’re living, we all change. Without exception. (God, the Changeless One, is the only one who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.) Which means none of our relationships is static. They change too. Including our marriages.

So if change is inevitable, how can we better embrace it in our husbands and ultimately in our marriages?

I believe by being intentional to change together. Side by side. Hand in hand. Over the years, that’s what Ted and I have sought to do.

This doesn’t mean you’ll both change in exactly all of the same ways. Ted and I haven’t. Want an example? When it comes to music, he didn’t like dub step or scream-o when we got married. These days, he plays both at high volumes. Me? I tolerate them because I love him. (Except when our kids are winding down for bed. Then, not so much.)

Yep, almost twelve years later, we’re still two different people with two different personalities. Because the truth is, marriage wouldn’t be quite as much fun (or perhaps as challenging at times either) if we were identical; if our personalities merged. But what changing, together, does mean is there’ll be less of a chance we’ll wake up one morning and wonder how we became strangers.

What’s one way you and your husband can be intentional to change together?

An easy place to start is by seeking out and developing new common interests. New things you love to do together. By taking the time to literally share in the other’s “joy” by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something they like. Sushi, classic movies, camping, or perhaps even Dragon Con. You might just discover you like it too. Who knew?

I predict that 12 years from now, Ted won’t be the same Ted he is today. And I won’t be the same Ashleigh. Once again, we’ll have changed. But my hope is that we’ll have continued to change together. Side by side and hand in hand. A chapter or two later, our characters will change, the plot will develop, but we’ll still be co-starring in it together.

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Ashleigh Slater is the author of the book, Team Us: Marriage Together from Moody Publishers. As the founder and editor of the webzine Ungrind and a regular contributor at several popular blogs and websites, she unites the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage readers. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh and her husband, Ted, have been married for twelve years. They have four daughters and reside in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more, visit AshleighSlater.com.

Inspire: Women Who Create

InspireLogoBack in December of 2014, as my due date neared, I had the thought to ask some of my favorite bloggers and writers to guest post on the blog for me. I knew I’d  be busy adjusting to a newborn and would lack time to post new content.

As it turned out, baby Ava came a little earlier than expected and I didn’t get around to asking and organizing that many guest posts for the month of January after all. However, out of that idea grew a new concept. An idea for a year-long series that would be published approximately monthly. It would feature some of my favorite writers, artists, photographers, crafters, and small business owners. In short, it would feature women who create.

Dictionary.com defines the word “create” in part as something evolving “from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.” 

Through blogging and Instagram I’ve met women who live creative and inspiring lives. Women who have opened small businesses based on their craft skills, product, art, or photography. Women who’ve published books. Women who’ve created conferences and community. Women who publish literary journals and host online workshops or mentoring relationships. All of these examples encompass various forms of creativity. And I find it very inspiring to watch women tap into their talents and do what they love and be successful.

And so I offer you the series, “Inspire: Women Who Create.”

Tomorrow I’ll be introducing our first guest, so check back to find out who is featured and be inspired! 

Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake - January 26, 2015 - 12:43 pm

I really enjoyed the experience of having guest bloggers on my blog. Sounds like a wonderful series! :)

Winter is a Time for Movies

Winter has always been a time for movies in my family. As a child during Christmas vacation between cookie baking and gift wrapping we spent time watching some of our favorite classics: Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women. Not because all of these films were Christmas related, but because they took extra time to watch and the long dark winter nights were the perfect opportunity to enjoy some movie magic.

Winter continues to be a favorite time for me to curl up some hot chocolate and a great story in the form of a movie, mini-series, or TV series on Netflix. Here are some of my favorites:

North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell’s excellent novel gets adapted for film in fabulous style. Heroine Margaret moves from the country to a factory town and has a hard time adjusting. Actor Richard Armitage rivals Colin Firth when it comes to playing the misunderstood brooding hero and Brendan Coyle of Downton Abbey fame is memorable as the union organizer of the cotton mill.

 

Wives and Daughters
Another Gaskell adaptation, young Molly must adjust to life when her widower father remarries a woman who has a grown daughter Molly’s own age.

Pride and Prejudice
Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle are fabulous as Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Really, this adaption is the best as far as I’m concerned. Other adaptions have their good points, but nothing rivals this six hour version of the novel.

Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables–the Sequel
Anne of Green Gables
defined my childhood in many ways, both the film and the book. I was introduced to the novel by the film. It was the first time I encountered a red-haired heroine and I fell in love with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing. Although the Sequel doesn’t follow the book like the first movie does, I enjoy it too.

Bleak House
This Dickens adaptation has a riveting multi-layered storyline! One episode would quickly turn into just one more. And the cinematography is excellent!

Lark Rise to Candleford
I can’t tell you how much I loved this series! I discovered it when I was nursing Sophia and was so sad when the final season ended. You’ll recognize Brendan Coyle yet again and Julia Sawalha (who played Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice) is all grown up and the head of the local post office in this charming series.

Rosemary and Thyme
Murder. Afternoon tea. English gardens. Just a day in the life of two middle-age professional gardeners and amateur sleuths.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries 1 & 2
It’s the 1920s in Melbourne, Australia. Phryne Fisher is a “lady detective” in a man’s world. Dressed to impress, this pistol-packing fashionista is smart, sophisticated, and ready to solve the latest crime.

Doc Martin
Doc Martin is new in town. Formerly a surgeon, but having formed a crippling fear of blood, Doc Martin becomes the GP of the small town of Portwenn, filled with quirky characters. Martin who is surly, tackless, and lacking people skills doesn’t fit into the town’s friendly and tight-knit community nor does he try.

Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife follows Jenny, a newcomer to London’s East End Anglican convent, where she is to work as a midwife. The series is incredibly heartwarming, life-affirming, sensitive, and thoughtful as it deals with poverty and women’s issues of the time.

So there you go, I hope you find a new series to enjoy! What movies or series are you watching?

 

Chris - January 20, 2015 - 11:21 am

I’ve seen 7 out of the 10 and loved all that I’ve seen. However, I must say that I’ve tried Bleak House twice and just couldn’t get into it either time. So dark…but then, it’s Dickens.

Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake - January 24, 2015 - 4:04 pm

Oh, how I love some of these! My sisters and I had both a “Wives and Daughters” party and a “Pride and Prejudice” party where we sat down with friends and watched both of those. (Clearly this was before I was married with kids, haha.) I loved Julia Sawalha in Lark Rise; watching that show made me envy her beautiful, beautiful clothes. :)

Beth - January 26, 2015 - 10:06 pm

I’m bookmarking this page so I can reference it later – either through the winter or save it for when Baby #3 comes in July!

Am I Beautiful?

 

I was putting her to bed the usual way, with a song and prayer.

Suddenly, my four year-old daughter made a pouty face.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, stopping the song mid-line.

“You sing prettier than me,” she sulked. And then, as if it added insult to injury: “You sing prettier than me and are more beautiful than me.”

I must admit I found my daughter’s comparison of herself to me — at the age of four no less — sobering and a little disturbing. That she would already feel some need to compete in the beauty and talent department with another female saddened me. It also made me realize how innate those feelings can be.

I already knew she was tuned into recognizing and valuing beauty — in nature and in other people. And most days after picking out her clothes, she comes down to the kitchen to ask what probably every woman has wondered at some point, “Am I beautiful?” But this new revelation of comparison and competition made me think deeper about the message of beauty I want my daughter to receive.

Join me over at Ungrind to finish reading

Image Credit: Ungrind.org

Dorothy Greco - January 17, 2015 - 3:09 pm

Lovely article. Truly. Just followed you on Twitter. I’m also a photog, (ex.)homeschooling mom, writer (at SMR too). Look forward to seeing more of your work.

4 Books to Influence Your New Year

The New Year is a time when many of us take stock of where we are in life, make goals, or attempt to make changes in our habits.

It is also a time when some of us make booklists of what we want to read in the upcoming year. Outside of the many wonderful people in my life, I have to say, books have been some of the most influencing forces in my life.

I’ve gathered a few titles that I think are particularly good to consider when starting off with a fresh year in front of me. Books that nourish, provoke, encourage, and inspire.

Find out what those titles are over at FortheFamily.com