Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Almost two years ago, my mom sent me this newspaper clipping as my wedding day approached. Every once in a while I like to read it as a nice reminder of the important things. I hope you enjoy :)

"Mom gives daughter advice as wedding day nears"

Something about weddings makes those of us who've been married a long time want to offer the newlyweds our advice.

It's cheaper than a blender. And they can always re-gift it to somebody else.

Five days before my daughter's wedding, when I should be awash with words of wisdom, the only advice I can recall is what my grandmother told me half a lifetime ago:

"Honey," she said, "don't start doing nothing that you don't plan to keep up forever."

Not bad advice. But I wanted to offer my daughter a bit more to reflect upon. So I sifted through years of old columns to glean the following suggestions from readers on "Tips for How to Stay Married":

1. Listen to each other. Seek first to understand before trying to be understood. When you are wrong, say you are sorry. When you are right, shut up.

2. Don't tie a half-hitch knot. Plan to stay married forever.

3. Never go to sleep angry. Keep talking until you get over it or forget why you were mad.

4. Laugh together. If you can laugh at yourself, it'll be easy.

5. Never embarrass, criticize or correct one another in public; try not to do it in private, either.

6. Remember one of life's ironies: We are least lovable when we need love most.

7. Don't expect perfection. It doesn't exist. If it did, it would bore you spitless.

8. On days when you don't like each other, try to remember that you love each other. Pray for the good days to come again, and then act as if they have.

9. Tell the truth, only the truth, and always with great kindness.

10. Kiss for at least 10 seconds every day without fail; do it all at once or spread it out.

11. Examine your relationship often. Know its vulnerabilities. Keep it moving in the direction you both want it to go.

12. Be content with what you have materially, honest about where you are emotionally and never stop growing spiritually.

13. To love someone is to wish them the best; always wish each other nothing but the very best.

14. Never yell unless the house is on fire. Speak softly when you argue. Whisper when you fight. Keep it fair and show some class. Hurtful words can be forgiven, but they can never be taken back.

15. Be best friends, as well as lovers. In a blackout, share the flashlight. Then turn it off and make your own electricity.

16. Show by your actions as well as your words that the person you married comes first in your life. Let nothing and no one come between you.

17. Remember that you're in love. Kiss in elevators. Hold hands in movies. Lock eyes across a crowded room. Say, "You are beautiful and I love you." Then say it again.

18. Never miss an anniversary, a birthday or a chance to make a memory. Memories may not seem important now, but one day you will treasure them.

19. Take care of business. Pay your bills, change your oil, cut your grass, call your mother.

20. Open your home and your hearts to angels unaware. Teach Sunday school. Coach Little League. Feed the homeless. Talk to strangers. Pick up trash. Make something beautiful of your life together.

Finally, I thought of one last thing I want to say to my daughter and my soon-to-be son-in-law: Do what you want. Lead your own lives. Follow your own callings. Be an interesting person, each of you on your own. But always save your best for each other.

And in the end, you will know that you were better together than you ever could have been apart. It will make the world a better place for you and your children. And it will make your mama very proud.

-Written by Sharon Randall 

My Sister, Mother & Me before my wedding. Photo by Amanda Sharp.

May 8, 2010. Photo by Amanda Sharp.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mind Games

I've been thinking up this post for a few weeks now. I guess I didn't even realize what has been happening until I faced my in-laws at Christmas who hadn't seen me in almost 4 months. I had already lost a majority of my weight the last time I saw them, but these last 10ish lbs have really seemed to make a huge difference.

I received the comments "you are tiny," "you are bony" (ahem, totally not bony at all. These curves are staying put.), "you better not lose any more weight" .... yeah those comments. The carefully disguised compliments, if you will. I was taken back a little at first but I realize these comments were not intended to be rude or mean. I did, however, examine my body a little closer in the mirror before getting in the shower (also see: naked).

I searched for these protruding bones and this tiny person they spoke of. Only? She was nowhere to be found. In fact, I realized, when I look in the mirror I don't look any different to myself than I did 34 lbs ago. How can that be? This is when I discovered the Mind Games.

Don't get me wrong, in pictures I see a huge difference. It's all right there laid out for me. I see it. I'm not oblivious. But in the mirror? I see the same person. My body looks no different to me. Losing weight has been a giant mind game to me. When shopping in stores? I think twice before grabbing a size. I think that people around me are judging me to be one of "those" girls who think she's one size when she really should be wearing one or two sizes larger. We all know at least one person like that, am I right?

Bear with me. I feel great in my new body. I am grateful to be a smaller, more healthy person. That's what it's really about to me at this point. I'd rather be healthy than skinny. I've mentioned this before, but I'm not really trying to lose any more weight. My goal now is to get fit, get healthy, get toned. Maybe then I'll see more of a difference in the mirror?

I'm not sure where this post is actually headed. I guess it's just a way for me to get my thoughts out of my head and into words. I guess it's me discovering that losing weight for me isn't only a physical journey but it's also a mental journey. And? It's a journey I'm looking forward to walking in 2012.