Relationships

re·la·tion·ship

/rəˈlāSH(ə)nˌSHip/

The unique ability of women to create deep, personal bonds that enrich lives. With strength and grace, investing in others while maintaining boundaries in order to build healthy connections, and work to repair those that are not

9-Things-I-Miss-About-Being-Single

9 Things I Miss About Being Single

It seems I should start this off with a disclaimer: I’m a happily married woman. Now that I’ve told you that, I can tell you the rest. There are some things that I miss about my days being single. Most of those don’t have to do with guys or dating or anything, but just about who I was during that time and how I was able to live. Being in a healthy relationship certainly has many perks, but every once in a while, I pine for pure alone time, less responsibility, and a different lifestyle. Here are some of the things I miss about being single: 1. Only being responsible for myself. I mean that in the best way, but I’m serious. I […]

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Can You Have a Fairy Tale Love?

Can You Have a Fairy Tale Love?

Life’s fairy tale—fact or fiction? I hear the clamor of female voices saying, “Disney lied! There are no princes! There is no happily ever after!” Dreams dashed, fantasies destroyed. In many ways they are correct; you will not walk through life singing with the birds while fish harmonize and other woodland animals dance in time. Unless your career is that of a park ranger… There are males out there who can indeed be princes, yet they are just as likely to be frogs. A real-life man is often some of both. Expecting the dragon, evil queen, or bad-lipstick octopus to be defeated for your rescue, is probably not going to happen. But, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on some of

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One Thing That Will Improve After Your First Year of Marriage

One Thing That Will Improve After Your First Year of Marriage

I’m going to tell you about one thing that will improve a lot after your first year of marriage… “I know you were exaggerating,” Bill says, smiling across the table from me at one of our new favorite pubs, “but did I really make you cry every day of our first year of marriage?” We’d ditched a party after an hour for our own after-party date night, a practice that I, an avowed last-to-leave-extrovert, have come to love. Bill remembered something I’d said earlier to a newly wed couple. “No,” I answer, “you didn’t. But I did cry a lot and almost always because you hurt my feelings, which, to be accurate, is what I said you did every day.” This, I

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Teachers Have the Power to Shape Who We Are

Teachers Have the Power to Shape Who We Are

When the new school year began, I became nostalgic for years past: for the purchase of new supplies, the order of organizing binders, the shopping for fresh, new clothes, and the excitement of finding out which teacher we will have for the new year. Perhaps nothing brought as much of a thrill as the postcard we received at the start of August declaring, “Welcome to my class! I’m excited to be your teacher.” Teachers have the power to shape who we are and to speak words over us that we will never forget. My sons have been blessed with caring, creative teachers over the years, and I have seen them challenged, encouraged, and affirmed by them time and time again. I experienced the

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Practicing the Grace of Offering Forgiveness, Every Day

Practicing the Grace of Offering Forgiveness, Every Day

I don’t think there is a day that goes by in which I manage to escape extending or asking for forgiveness. I used to think forgiveness was something required of us only a few times in our life for those deepest of offenses, that the smallest of daily altercations were somehow excused from the necessity. But, the more my life becomes intertwined with others, I’m realizing that even seemingly insignificant wrongdoings can accumulate and cultivate bitterness in my heart without my awareness. Whether it is the driver who cut me off during rush hour, the dinner guest who showed up an hour late, or that person who shares their unfiltered opinion on social media all too often, I’m coming to the realization

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Breaking Up in a Digital World

Breaking Up in a Digital World

It really was madness—ending an engagement via text message, but at the time I didn’t know what else to do. So I took the easy way out and avoided a long face-to-face conversation. Besides, how could this kind of conversation (between two young kids who met online, talked online, and lived in two different time zones) go well anyway? We didn’t really know each other; we knew the selves we presented online. According to Facebook, he was a writer and I am a writer. We shared similar beliefs and both enjoyed spending time outside. But Facebook never asked me about my love for travel, my volunteer work with refugees, or what kind of stories I wanted to write. There was no text

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Take a Moment to Stop and Listen

Take a Moment to Stop and Listen

This morning I had a heart-to-heart with my son’s teacher. It all began when she commented on my physical transformation that she noticed from the pictures I provided for his family collage. We chatted a little about that (as you do when making small talk), but then she commented on how honest I seemed… And friendly… Somehow our conversation became more personal, and she ended up sharing her struggle to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Then I shared how many friends I had who experienced the same thing; then we talked about considering adoption… Each of us revealing a piece of our heart. I am now sitting here, grateful for little interactions like these… Moments to be honest while sharing our lives. Ladies, let’s

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Nagging Your Husband? Try This Instead!

Nagging Your Husband? Try This Instead!

First, I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two in my 10 years of marriage. Namely, it takes a LOT of prayer. And I don’t mean praying as a couple. What I am saying is that instead of complaining or nagging (which we all do), pray for your husband as part of your daily or at least regular routine. It will be a worthy investment—not only for him but for you too. But why? There are several reasons every woman should do this. (And I don’t mean only if you’re currently married! If you have a desire to be married one day, or at least are open to the idea that you may get married, I encourage you to begin

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Our Marriage Motto

Our Marriage Motto

I’ll admit it—I’m terrible at choosing favorites. Whenever people ask me questions like, “What’s your favorite movie or song?” I truly cannot offer one answer because I feel like I am leaving too many other good choices out! However, when it comes to my marriage, both Michael and I firmly hold true to one motto: “Love Flourishes in Freedom.” And the second part of our motto, “Control Breeds Contempt,” coincides with the first. This motto helps us keep our marriage balanced, but it also guides us in putting the broken pieces back together after we’ve allowed our messy humanness to get the best of us. We first heard this core relational truth, “love flourishes in freedom and control breeds contempt,” ­from our pre­marital counselor, wedding officiator, and Psychology

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Happy Father's Day—What Makes a Good Man

Happy Father’s Day—What Makes a Good Man

Here at Grit and Grace Life, we celebrate all of the qualities that make women—women. However, we also think it’s important to honor good men. This Father’s Day, I have the privilege of highlighting a great man, my dad. I have an exceptional father… And I’m not just saying that because it’s Father’s Day or because I’m biased and see him through rose-colored glasses. He is the real deal—a cut above. Below you will find my list of good-dad qualities, but they’re really just good-man qualities. So, gentlemen, take note: • He takes ownership and responsibility of everything entrusted to him. • He doesn’t grumble. • He loves my mother well. • He sends me a picture of every rainbow he sees,

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Stay Connected With Your Husband

Stay Connected With Your Husband

“Take it easy luck-luck!” is something my husband said to me about a month into our marriage as I started to lose my cool one afternoon. I had never heard such a weird statement. I honestly have no idea what had me quickly coming unglued, but as the words escaped his mouth I began to laugh. The situation was diffused just like that. That very phrase has been spoken in our home many, many times since that day, usually as a joke. My husband is typically the one saying it to me because, if I can be honest, I struggle in moments of overwhelming chaos (like getting two little ones out the door when we’re already fifteen minutes late). My words can

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How-Friendship-Changes-as-an-Adult

This Is How Friendship Changes as an Adult

After graduating college and getting married one month later, I really struggled with making and maintaining friendships. I’m finding that being an adult and experiencing difficulty/disappointments in friendship isn’t a coincidence—though it did leave me bitter in the beginning. Here are a few things I’ve learned that have kept me from bitterness and unrealistic expectations in this new territory of developing adult friendships. Perspective changes everything! 1. For me, realizing the difference in the sociocultural climate of Colorado (where I live now) and Florida (where I grew up) was very helpful. After college and as a happy newlywed, I invited women I knew from college, work, or church to coffee or lunch. The typical outcome? I was canceled on… a lot. I’m not

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When Someone You Love is Depressed

When Someone You Love is Depressed

It was a forced friendship from the beginning. Boldly, she announced that every single Wednesday she would be coming to my house. I could see her resolve. I was scared, and I started to squirm. Every Wednesday? Generally, I leave this thing kind of open-ended, “penciled in,” if you will. I rarely do firm “commitments;” after all, what if I decide to change my mind? Somehow, she must have known that. This unyielding pit-bull type proceeded to clamp down on me even harder stating the only way I could cancel is if I had a doctor’s appointment (even then I believe she would have required a written doctor’s excuse)… “Okay, are you my principal now?” Starting to hyperventilate. Next, if I were

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I Know My Man But Do I Understand Him

I Know My Man, But Do I Understand Him?

I saw this YouTube video the other day about an engineer who works with a bunch of prank-playing welders. They created a “backward bicycle” with a front tire that turns the opposite direction of the handlebars and challenged him to ride it across their workshop. The engineer, like most of us who learned to pedal at age 5 or 6, figured he could instantly master the bike. Instead, it took him eight months of daily practice before he could stay on the bike for more than a few seconds. He was a young guy and a public speaker to boot, so of course the video was super cool and fun to watch. But it was a few little words in the middle

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How to Have Friends and Kids

How to Have Friends and Kids

It can be really hard for moms of small children to not feel isolated. The difficulties of getting out the door with babies and toddlers in tow often makes moms just hunker down inside. Even there, finding time for phone conversations can be daunting. Here are a few tips of how to build friendships in this season of life: • Learn the art of short phone conversations. Plan them for times when you know you’ll actually have 10 or 15 minutes to yourself. • Invite other women into your home without expectations. That means you don’t expect yourself to be the perfect hostess! Other moms won’t be bothered by toys on the floor or a breast pump on the coffee table. Keep

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Make it a Great Day

Make It a Great Day!

Today’s visit to the bank should have followed the same basic routine it always has; a few transactions in a few minutes. But what I thought would be a simple exchange of polite greetings with a bank representative transformed into a beautiful connection with “Nick” (on his name tag). It was an encounter that has influenced my thinking and taught me a valuable lesson about how precious each second of every minute, hour and day are to those of us still drawing breath on this earth. As I exited the bank, Nick called my name. As I turned around, he pointed in my direction and said, “Phyllis, remember to ‘Make it a Great Day.’” I smiled and said, “I will!” After learning

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Apology to Moms Everywhere

Apology to Moms Everywhere

Dear Moms, Let me take a minute to officially apologize for the times I have judged you or your children. I will readily admit I have not always been the most compassionate toward those with screaming children in a complete meltdown at a restaurant or a store. I’m sure I’m not alone. There are plenty of us who have thought, “I would never let my kids do that” or “when I have kids they will be well behaved”. I still have my moments, but this was before I had nieces in the toddler stages. Before I worked with teenage girls who many times seem (emotionally) around age 5. I’m still not a parent, but I feel like now I understand a little

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