Tuesday, July 3, 2012

~Boo Bear & Faith~

There are very few times in my life that I can honestly say that I felt the presence of the Lord so strongly that he was speaking to me. One of these times was almost to the date, exactly one year ago. I was so scared and felt so alone when I heard God tell me that he promises I am going to be okay. At the time I was a complete mess and felt more lost and alone than ever before in my life. I was not even thinking about God or praying when all of the sudden this overwhelming feeling came over my body and I began to weep uncontrollably. That is how I knew it was real. I believe it was God wrapping his arms around me and telling me to trust in him and trust that I was making the right decision. For me to have such strength during a time where I was so weak and to have every single road block become a straight path, I knew that God was directing me. I knew in that moment that God was truly in control of my life and ALL he asked of me is to trust in him and have faith.

For those of you who have known me for the past couple of years, could probably figure out that my most prized possession and the love of my life is my black lab, Jake who I more often referred to as my Little Boo Bear.  Two and a half years ago I woke up on a Sunday morning and told my fiancé at the time that I was going to get a puppy. I was tired of spending so much time by myself while he worked crazy hours and I wanted something to love and care for.  Being as he was always supportive and understanding with the combination of knowing that once my mind is set on something I don't stop until I get it, we drove an hour and half that same morning to a breeders home where I was certain I was going to leave with a yellow female lab. When I held her in my arms, I looked at my fiancé with tears in my eyes and when he asked me what was wrong, I responded with "I don't feel a connection with her." He suggested I be more open minded and we looked at the male black labs. I remember picking up Jake and holding him in my arms for the first time and I knew immediately he was the one. I felt such love for him.

Over the course of two years, Jake was the center of my world. He made moving from Oregon to Georgia with no family feel like I had everything I needed. He was truly like a child to me and as my family would joke, I spent more money spoiling him than most would on a real child! He was also my best friend, my comfort and security in that big house on nights I slept alone. He slept under the covers with me at night, he ran errands with me, I took him on walks three times a day, to the dog parks to play and my most special memories with Jake are on my boat.  Last summer I spent every day on the lake with Jake. I loved taking him to the pet store and letting him pick out a toy that I could throw in the water and watch him swim out to fetch and swim back to the boat so pleased with himself. I would do this with him for hours and as I would drive the boat around the lake, he would sit on the seat right next to me as my co captain and I would put my arm around him and just feel so proud and thankful he was all mine.

It is almost impossible for me to come to terms with not having my Boo Bear. Since moving from my home last year and into a small condo, it became too difficult to take care of him by myself in such a small space. I was spending hundreds a month on daycare and it simply became too expensive and unfair to Jake. The same day that I called my mom to tell her my plans of trying to find Jake a better home, I met a man at our condo's dog park who was playing with his Jack Russell. He and his wife were in town for the weekend visiting their daughter who lives in my building. Something inside of me on that Easter Sunday encouraged me to tell this man of my plans. He completely lit up. He explained that his wife has been devastated for the past year over the loss of their black lab, Nicki. She hasn't been able to even look at labs without getting extremely emotional and felt like there was a huge void in her life. He asked that I meet him down in the lobby that next morning so his wife could meet Jake. I cried myself to sleep that night and contemplated whether or not to go, because I was certain as soon as they met my handsome boy they would immediately fall in love as I did, which meant I would have to say goodbye. I thought unselfishly that morning and mustered up the strength to do what I knew was the best for Jake. When I learned they lived on several acres on a lake where he could swim, they allow him to sleep in their bed at night, they have another dog for him to play with and most importantly as a retired couple with no children at home, they spend all of their time with their dogs, I just knew in my heart that God gave me this family as quickly as he did, to save me the pain of dragging out the process of finding him a home.
Needless to say, that Monday was the worst day of my life. Although I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing, I felt very guilty and my heart was completely broken. I am thankful his new family has such compassion and sends me frequent updates and still asks me what my opinion is on certain situations. They have assured me that they love him as I do, he has adjusted remarkably and is extremely happy and spoiled in his new home.

I write of this because writing is how I cope. I felt if I write about this, I could finally be able to move forward.  Last night as I lay in bed thinking about Jake as I do every night, I also began to contemplate some decisions I have made these past couple of months since losing Jake.  I realized that I was making them to fill the hole in my heart. Last night I felt again the Lord speak to me and I wanted to share in hopes that someone else who is feeling as I am, will take comfort in this as I do.
The Lord was telling me to let go and trust in him as I did one year ago and he will give me the desires of my heart plus so much more than I can't even possibly fathom. He was telling me that just because I lost something dear to me, I should not make the mistake of filling that hole in my heart with the wrong person or the wrong things. I need to trust that his grace is sufficient and do not go after a temporary fix that could lead to more holes in my heart. For those of you who have ever felt an overwhelming feeling come across your body where it becomes impossible to fight back tears, please listen to it because it could very well be the voice of reason. The voice of comfort and encouragement and the voice of guidance and strength.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
Kelli Michelle

Monday, June 11, 2012

Climate Change

There was a five part series at church titled "Climate Change." I am disappointed I missed a couple weeks of the series, but got some very good insight from the messages I heard that I would like to share.

I am super interested in relationships and learning about people on a deep level. I am not a surface person and couldn't be if I tried. I feel like I am pretty good at figuring someone out fairly quickly, meaning, they may feel like we have just scratched the surface with one another, and I can walk away feeling pretty confident of who they are on a deeper level. The reason I was particularly interested in this series, is because it spoke of relationships and two of the biggest struggles within a relationship; insecurity and conflict.  We all have a collection of relationships and within that collections of relationships there's a climate that dictates the relationship.  We all carry a climate with us and some relationships are in serious need of a climate change. The challenge however, is we cannot see our own climate because we are not on the other side. A good test would be to ask five people what it is like to be on the other side of you and ask five people that will actually be honest.

It is very difficult to be on the other side of an insecure person because you often feel as if you are walking on eggshells. The solution to insecurity is not a higher self esteem.  Self esteem cannot touch an insecurity that is deep seeded within you and cannot take away the "label" that other people and experiences have placed upon you. Insecurity can come from something as simple as a negative comment that has stuck with you for years, or something significant like a failed marriage or relationship, a professional experience, physical appearance or common every day stressors. Certain relationships will trigger this insecurity more than others.  At the heart of your insecurity lies the fear of rejection and the only cure for insecurity is acceptance.  Accepting yourself, loving yourself and seeing yourself through God's eyes rather than through the eyes of others.  It is so powerful when you fully believe that the creator of the universe loves and accepts you unconditionally. It is then that you will be given the strength to do what God has called you to do. Ask yourself this question: "Who's acceptance am I trying to achieve?" 
Conflict also affects the climate of a relationship when it is not resolved or addressed. The relationship will eventually get stagnant and freeze. Just because there is conflict in a relationship does not necessarily mean there is a major problem. The reason we have conflict is because we are all different human beings and when our differences collide, conflict occurs. The goal isn't the absence of conflict, the goal is to learn how to communicate with one another before the relationship freezes.

There are two types of people as it relates to conflict: Conflict enjoyers and conflict avoiders. I can tell you this, I am definitely a conflict enjoyer. When I see conflict, I hit it straight on...aggressively. I want to deal it with it at the very moment it occurs, and then never talk about it again. We as conflict enjoyers embrace conflict because we like to argue and like to debate because let's face it, we are good at it :) The issue with this, is you often overpower the person with whom you are speaking and force them to stop listening to you, shut down and not want to address the issue because you aren't listening to them because you are too busy getting your point across.

Conflict avoiders initial reactions are to take a step back and not get all worked up about the situation until they have taken the time to think about it. Or they will simply ignore the conflict and not address it at all. The issue with this is, relationships can end up very surface level. Emotions freeze and they don't deal with real issues and don't have any deep connections with people. Conflict is inevitable and sometimes love requires you to fight.

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." Proverbs 3:3-4.

Conflict enjoyers:  Never let kindness leave you. Seek first to understand before trying to be understood. If you simply listen first, it will set a foundation for the conflict to be resolved. Conflict enjoyers need to want to hear AS MUCH as they want to be heard. When you do this, you extend kindness.
Conflict avoiders: Never let loyally leave you. When you avoid conflict, you  are not being loyal. It is not fair to say you don't have the time or the energy. This tells the person you love that you are not loyal. When you engage in conflict, you are saying you are willing to fight for the person you love and extend loyalty.

Good stuff!!

Kelli Michelle

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Half Way Through My 30 Day Challenge!

Well, I am half way through my 30 day challenge and I feel like I am very close to being back on track mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The purpose of my challenge was to take a step back, examine who I am as a person and ultimately make an improvement.  I felt like I needed to change my thoughts as they were very quickly becoming actions and those actions were even more quickly becoming habits that I do not want in my life. Throughout this challenge, I have learned the single most valuable rule to live by, is to not let things I cannot control effect me in a negative way. I have spent too much energy dwelling on the things that I cannot control, rather than the things I can control. Each part of this challenge has lead me to a happier, more fulfilled place in every aspect of my life.

A few days into my challenge, I was home by myself and looked down at the necklace I was wearing that has been around my neck pretty much every day for the past two years. Attached to my necklace is four charms; "K" for Kelli, "C" for the man in my life, a dog bone to symbolize Baby Jake and a cross to symbolize my faith in God.  I wore this necklace every day to have what was most special to me, close to my heart.  I would often fiddle with these charms and envision what would be added next to my necklace.  As I sat on my couch with my necklace in my hand, I felt it was very ironic that not only will I not be adding to this necklace, but in fact it was long overdue to remove the "C" from my chain. It's amazing how something so simple can trigger such strong emotions.  As I looked at the dog bone, tears started rolling down my face as I reflected back on my memories with my Baby Jake. Words cannot express the devastation I have felt from saying goodbye to the one thing that brought me nothing but unconditional love and joy. I never expected to say goodbye to Jake so early in my life and it feels there is a constant hole in my heart that no one can fill. Through this, surfaced an epiphany. In that moment, I realized that the only two constants in anyone's life are themselves and God.  You can love someone with everything in you, but there are no promises that they will be here tomorrow.  And with this being true, it is so important to love yourself  and to nurture your relationship with God.  I believe if you do these things first, everything else will fall into place the way they are meant to be.

God has placed this challenge on my heart because I needed to make some changes.  I believe sadness, fear and pain are given to us for the reason that we will let go of our control, and lean on God to direct our path.  There is a huge weight lifted from you when you recognize that God is ultimately in control of your life. Throughout these past two weeks, I have been dedicated to pray for the people that God has placed on my heart. Some have been distant "friends" and many are the most important people in my life. I believe in the power of prayer and that God gives us specific people at specific times to make an impact on our lives.

To conclude, I will share some of my favorite life lessons:

You can never receive too much love, and you can never give too much love.

Often when you give up something good, God will give you something great.

A person's past is a better indicator than their promise.

Never judge anyone. You never know how they can impact your life if you simply let them. You also never know how you will react to something until you are walking in their shoes.

Every day is an opportunity to be better than you were yesterday. 

Laughing is the often the best medicine. 

Marry your best friend.

The most important thing you can give to your children is time.

Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don't be afraid to make them. Try not to repeat the same ones too often.

Live in the moment. Tomorrow is not promised to you.

Slow down.

You have no control over what anyone else does or says to you, but you do have complete control over who you choose to surround yourself with and how you choose to respond.  

Always, always give thanks.

Kelli Michelle

Monday, April 23, 2012

~Kelli's 30 Day Challenge~

In my continuous effort to be a better me, I have created "Kelli's 30 Day Challenge" that I would love for friends to do with me! A couple of you I have asked to participate because you are always more likely to reach a goal when you work with a partner.  This will challenge us mentally, physically and spiritually with a purpose to give us more energy, feel healthier, more confident and make better decisions that will ultimately lead us to a more fulfilling life. The challenge consists of ten things to accomplish EVERY DAY for 30 days! Our challenge will end on May 23 2012.

1) No Alcohol. Excessive drinking is extremely unhealthy, and I LOVE to drink red wine.  I have created a habit of coming home from work and drinking a couple of glasses of wine, and then Friday and Saturday going out and drinking more than I should.  It's fine to do every now and then, but I think it's important to give your body a break. Cleansing is healthy for your body AND your mind.  Now, let's just be honest. Cinco De Mayo is coming up and I love margaritas, so let's allow ourselves a cheat day :)
2) Keep Track of What is Going into Your Body. We all want to lose weight, even if it's just a few pounds. You would be shocked if you actually kept track of the amount of calories you are taking in and the unhealthy foods you are consuming each day.  When you get into a habit of eating healthy, you would be amazed at how much more energy you have throughout the day and will even drop a few pounds for summertime!

3) Physical Exercise. If you never work out, then walking around the block a few times is progress. Make sure you have some type of physical activity every day and keep it realistic;  nothing too extreme so you will actually do it every day.

4) Sleep at Least Seven Hours A Night. I usually need eight or you don't want to be around me, however seven is more realistic for most people. Studies show you will live longer, perform, look, and feel better!

5) Positive Self Talk. At the end of your day, write down three things you either did well, like about yourself or that you are thankful for.  We spend way too much of our time dwelling on the negatives in our life. Attitude and positive self talk is everything!  

6) Identify & Focus on One habit You Want to Break. We all have bad habits and one of mine is shooting off my mouth without thinking. For 30 days I am committed to taking a minute, stepping back from a situation and thinking about what I am going to say before I actually say it.  I want to really make progress with improving upon this in the next 30 days.

7) Put Your Cell Phone Away. Give your full attention to the person you are having lunch or dinner with by putting your cell phone away  and don't even look at it until you are finished.  Be fully engaged in conversation rather than being distracted by your phone. This is not going to be easy for me as I am an excellent multi-tasker, but it needs to be done. It's a terrible habit that most of us need to improve!

8) Do Something Kind for Someone. Whether it be as simple as giving a compliment or buying a stranger their coffee in the morning; do something kind for someone else every day for the next 30 days.

9) Learn a Life Lesson From a Stranger. This is my favorite. I am all about life lessons. The life lesson I learned today was from a woman who's Dad told her to always look at your life in six month periods when making decisions.  Love this.

10) Pray. You can deny it all you want, but I KNOW there is such power in prayer! Choose someone different every day and pray for them. You may be the only person ever praying for that individual.

"Make sure your thoughts and actions are in alignment with your goals."

Wish me luck!
Kelli Michelle

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Listen, Up!

Yesterday I walked into my tanning salon and was greeted by the receptionist with “How are you?” I responded with a smile and said “I’m great, how are you?” Immediately following her same response, I forcefully set my purse on the counter, took a step back and said to her “You know what?  I don’t know why I just said that to you.  I am not great. I am stressed out at work and annoyed at my boyfriend.”  Her reaction to me took me back. Rather than asking me a question, she stated “well, I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years and he won’t propose.”

I live for moments like this. I truly do. There is nothing that makes me happier then the ability to make someone trust me and open up to me right there on the spot. The longer I talked with this woman the more passionate I became about her situation. I learned she is 28, has a masters degree in psychology, been with her boyfriend for three years and clearly wants to get married and have children. She then started telling me everything she has to offer; almost like she needed affirmation that she is better than her current situation. I felt like I owed it to her to give her my honest opinion because those that know me, well, you know that’s the only way I know how to be. So I asked her what she is doing working at a tanning salon with a masters degree in psychology. I asked her why she made the choice to move in with her boyfriend when she is hoping for a proposal, and asked her why she is waiting until September to leave him if he does not do what she wants. Then I told her she is not getting any younger and needs to figure out what SHE wants in her life. To conclude, I even threw out a couple things I believe to be true:

A) Never force a man to do anything, especially marrying you!

B) Be with a man who is slightly crazier about you than you are him.

Needless to say, I got the girl thinking. She was already thinking before I walked in, but probably thinking about things that will not move her forward in her life. As women, we love to talk. We will talk, talk, and talk about what we are “going to do” “going to say” “going to be” and spend hours complaining about our current situation.

Can you imagine where you would be TODAY if you actually did the things you said you were going to do six months ago?

I hear story after story from people who want to make a change in their life. They are unhappy, bored, unfulfilled, disappointed, hurt, betrayed… the list goes on. The only way you will ever find true happiness is to forgive, let go of self guilt, and learn not only from your own mistakes, but other people’s mistakes as well.  Stop asking yourself “how did I get here?” and start telling yourself that you are here in this very place at this very moment because this is where God intended you to be. There are no coincidences in life; I truly believe this.

You can spend your energy blaming someone else for your misery, trying to change someone who doesn't want to change, control a situation that you will never gain control over OR you can take responsibility for your choices, accept where you are today, love who you are today, and be inspired for who you are going to become. Only YOU are in control of your happiness and your future. I know this because I have lived this. You can not rely on anyone else or any THING else to make you happy. Figure out what you want from this life and give your whole heart to making it happen! The best advice my Dad ever gave me was to always move forward. Refuse to go backwards in your life.

Kelli Michelle

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This is for Me!

As I have said before, I have kept a journal since I was in fourth grade. The only breaks from writing I have, is when my life seems to get so crazy, that it is too exhausting to put it all on paper. It is easier to neglect it and hope that things will straighten out enough where I can pick up where I left off and spare myself all the details and the pain of feeling like my hand is going to fall off from writing.  Everyone has their releases and mine has always been writing. I never step away for too long.

The last few days I have had this urge to open up my journal and pick up where I left off.  I feel like I need to step back and analyze for a moment the direction I am heading.  I smiled while tears filled my eyes when I discovered I had left off the month prior to packing up my house and leaving while my fiancé was out of town. The feelings of fear and not knowing how difficult my road ahead of me was when I was writing that last entry was a trigger point. Nothing is more scary than the unknown and not being completely certain that you are making the right decision. As I reflect back on what has happened in my life these past six months, I still cringe at the thought of where my life could have gone if God didn't give me the strength to move forward. With that being said though, those thoughts have become more and more of a distant memory; now I am just so thankful, happy and hopeful of my future. I have realized that I really am completely on my own here; set aside from God of course who never leaves me no matter how much I try to do things on my own.

I have lived in Atlanta almost two years and friends I thought would be in my life forever, I have come to realize that they simply won't be. You lose touch. People move on and get married and wrapped up in their own lives and the longer you are apart, the harder it is to stay connected. My best friends are my mom and sister who I talk to every day, and of course my long time best friend who will always be one of the most important people in my life no matter what. It may have taken me a bit longer than most, but growing up a little sheltered with parents who always took good care of me and did their best to protect me, and then moving on to a relationship where I was very well taken care of, I now know that that's not a reality that lasts forever.  I am a small girl in a big place and no one is going to protect me except for myself. At the end of the day, my actions are my consequences and no one else's. I am the only person who is responsible for me and the decisions I make and the person I choose to be is completely my choice.

I am a huge believer in always finding ways to improve yourself. I prefer to be around people who don't get TOO complacent with who they are, but are always striving to be better. I always want to look back at my myself a year prior and know that I have grown so much as a person and experienced new things and accomplished what I have set out to do. There is nothing worse than waking up and looking in the mirror and asking yourself "how did I get here?" The moment I asked myself that question, I knew it was time to make a change. Now I look in the mirror and say "I am so happy to be here."

My focus as a single woman this year, is going to be to continue to work on the person that God intended me to be. I know he did not bring me here to be reckless and selfish, but to use me for His good. For those of you who are single and have a desire to get married, here is some advice that was given to me that I feel is so important before walking down the aisle or just as a woman living on her own.

1) Address your childhood issues that are unresolved because if you don't, every relationship will be the attempt to fill the hole in your heart.

2) Don't be treated like a commodity.

3) Get out of debt.

4) Break your bad habits.

I am still undecided if marriage is something that will be in my future. The thought of a divorce and sharing my life with someone who at any given point can change their mind, totally scares me, but that is a topic for another day :) I have made a commitment to myself to focus on these things in addition to taking the advice of one of my dear friends who suggested I try the challenge of putting my cell phone away while being out to lunch or dinner.

Enjoy the moment and those around you. Slow down. Before you talk, listen. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Give your all to every relationship you chose to enter into. And in everything, give thanks <3

Kelli Michelle

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

~Knowing What to Ignore~

Sunday morning I woke up and just didn't feel like getting ready and going to church. It wasn't because of a late night out either; I just felt like taking my time instead of running out the door like I do every morning.

Rather than missing a sermon all together this week, I decided to turn on Joel Osteen and listen to his message. He is the pastor of the largest church in the country out of Houston. I have read a couple of his books over the past few years and really enjoy his messages.

Sunday's topic was "Knowing What to Ignore."  I immediately knew that God purposely had me listen to this message because lately, I have really let what people have said to me or done to me effect me. God made me aggressive with a tendency to shoot off my mouth without thinking; something I constantly am working to improve upon.  When someone has hurt me and I feel it was intentional or I do not understand, I have a very difficult time letting that go. I spent time dwelling on trying to figure it out which wastes so much time and energy.  

I was reminded that if I am going to live my life to its fullest potential, it is critical I learn what thoughts I need to ignore, what comments I need to ignore and in many cases, what people I need to ignore. Like many of us, I immediately think that everything that comes my way is a battle that was placed in front of me to fight which is simply not true.  Not every battle that comes our way is a battle we are supposed to fight.  Many battles are simply distractions that lure us from our course. We all need to ask ourselves if this particular battle is between me and my God-given destiny or a battle that needs to be ignore completely.

We live in a world of jealous and insecure people who want to bring us down. And unfortunately, those that are supposed to love you most, can often times be the most guilty whether intentional or not. Valuable time and energy is wasted on the person at work who doesn't want you to succeed, a family member who gives you no credit, or even a relationship that you put way more effort into than it's worth. We need to get good at knowing what battles to ignore and accept the fact that some people will never recognize our gifts.  Some people will always disagree with you. Some people will never like you. Don't get sidetracked because God will place people in your life that will support you and cheer you on.

The bottom line is, you can live your life frustrated or you can dismiss your frustration, forget about their approval and live your life happy. It is very freeing to not engage in conflicts that don't matter. What people say about you does not define who you are. What someone does and does not give you doesn't determine your value. We are all children of God and he has given us everything we need to succeed.  Be secure in who God made you to be. Trust that he will bring people into your life that will build you up and make you better.  Our destiny is too great to be distracted by critical, jealous and small minded people. And life is certainly too short!

Don't respond to every criticism.  Ignore some things and stay focused on what God has called you to do! The mark of a true champion is knowing which battles to fight and which battles are merely distractions that need to be ignored.

Just like the story of Nehemiah, and from his story came this verse:

"I am doing a great work and cannot come down."


Kelli Michelle

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Find a Suitable Husband: With Help from my Big Sister

Well, it looks like it is only appropriate to continue on the one area of my life that I cannot seem to get together: Finding a good husband! I think my sister's timing in writing a paper titled "How to Find a Suitable Husband" possibly could have been written with me in mind, but who really knows for sure :)
I am excited to share with you Melissa's expectations on the topic of finding a good husband.  This is very well written and I think if women stuck to these guidelines, there would be many more happy marriages and a lot less divorce. Some men just have no business getting married in the first place and reading this could do them some good. About ten guys come to mind as I write this....
Everyone can give you advice on marriage, however, I prefer the advice from someone who is and has been happily married. My sister and her husband are celebrating their ten year anniversary this year and they seem to get better and better :)
I hope you enjoy!
How to Find a Suitable Husband:
Husband-hunting is a thrilling sport, but a woman ought to be choosey in whom she catches.  The classic “tall, dark, and handsome” are three qualities that make a woman weak at the knees, but when searching for a forever companion, one should consider the following traits: personality type, religious beliefs, work ethic, financial responsibility, and obsessions.
A strong personality can be delightfully entertaining, but when choosing a husband, look for traits that will defuse arguments—not fuel them.  When a man first meets a woman that he is interested in getting to know, he will more than likely treat her with kindness.  Therefore a woman must observe how he treats others.  Look for someone who is friendly to restaurant waiters, forgiving of bad drivers, and patient while waiting in a line that won’t budge.    
Men who continually deny their own will to please God have learned a fundamental skill that will more than likely carry over into their marriage.  However, it is wise to investigate the sincerity of a prospective husband’s faith.  Church attendance does not equal conviction, nor does denomination equal passion.  His actions must speak louder than his words.
A good work ethic says a lot about a man’s character, and a poor work ethic says even more.  Look for signs that he’s driven toward success.  Does he follow through with commitments?  Does he volunteer his time or money when others are in need?  Does he have hobbies beyond movies and video games?  Regardless of future ambitions, a woman ought not to tie the knot with a man who is unmotivated to work for a living.
If a man can’t manage his finances when he is single, it’s only going to get worse when a wife and children are added to the mix.  Few issues spoil a marriage faster than financial problems.  In a land where fancy cars and big screen TVs are just a signature away, a woman must be careful when deciding whom to partner with for the rest of her life.  Before the relationship gets too serious, ask questions up front and be direct.  Imagine the frustration a wife with a joint checking account might feel when her husband is not wasting just his money, he’s blowing her money as well.
Everyone has hobbies, but for some individuals their favorite pastime teeters along the verge of obsession.  Once an obsession is discovered—such as football or hunting—a woman should take a step back and evaluate her own needs.  She must ask herself if she will be able to tolerate the sports channel blaring twenty-four seven, or if she is independent enough to spend countless weekends alone because the love of her life regularly packs up his rifle and camouflage for some male bonding.  Oftentimes a woman dreams of what her future marriage will look like, and particular hobbies might rattle that expectation.  A woman is more understanding and compliant during the beginning stages of a relationship.  But fast-forward five years.  The same woman is at risk for dictating how her husband spends his downtime.  This type of disagreement can cause hurt feelings on both sides.
Every marriage has its struggles, but there is no substitute for the companionship it offers.  Choosing a spouse is one of the most important decisions a woman will make in her entire life, and such a task should not be taken lightly.  She is not only choosing the man who will stand by her through better or worse, but in many cases, she is also choosing the father of her children.  It is unwise to waste valuable years trying to change Mr. Wrong, when that time could be better spent getting to know Mr. Right.    
Melissa, I may have to print this out and carry this on my dates. I have to say though, you missed one of the most important traits that says SO much about a man: He must be a dog lover and have absolutely no issue with them sleeping underneath the sheets in the bed!! :)
Thank you & I love ya!
Kelli Michelle

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Switching Gears...

We have all either said it, heard it, or thought it at some point in our life. That the older you get, the harder it is to meet someone because all the good ones are taken. And those that aren't, they either have commitment issues, too set in their ways or have what we all fear most... baggage.  At 27, I can attest this to be very true from the guys I have dated. It's no surprise that I am not a private person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my philosophy is, "if I can't share it with the world, then I probably shouldn't be doing it." So... I think it only makes sense to switch gears every once and while and write about dating and relationships. There has just been too many good opportunities that have presented themselves to not take advantage of and turn into perfect writing material.
A friend told me that one thing he does know about me is, I always date outside the box. He's right, except they all have one thing in common: They are funny. I am such a sucker for someone who makes me laugh. If I can have fun and be myself around someone, that is the absolute best quality. The problem is, I love that quality so much, that is tends to trump the rest which ultimately leads to a failed relationship. I strongly believe that every person needs to have five deal breakers and stick to them no matter how cute, funny, successful, athletic etc a person is. Wait, did I just name four of my five deal breakers? :) Not quite! I missed  the most important; follower of Christ and a close second... 6'1 or taller. OK maybe I have six! :)
It humors me being 27 and single and starting to become "that person" where people hint that you are starting to get older and still single. As if I haven't already thought that to myself. I know I am 27 and I know I am single, but I also know what I have to offer. If I have it together, why would I want to share my life with someone who doesn't? Why would I want to live with someone who messes up my house, when I can live alone and have it just the way I want it? And most importantly, why would I want to settle for someone who isn't everything I want? All I will do is wish for something more.  I may be leaning towards the category of "set in their ways" but I think I could budge a bit if the right person came along. I know too many marriages that are staying together simply to not get divorced or maybe even worse, for their kids. Disagree all you want, but divorcing when your kids are in their late teens is way worse than divorcing when they are babies.  All I know is, I would rather be single and happy, than married and miserable.
This leads me to my current question of what kind of personality makes most sense to be with? There are a couple different philosophies when it comes to dating and who your best match is long term. Some argue that you need to be with a person who is opposite of you. Me for instance: I have a very strong personality and I am very independent. I have an opinion about most everything and tend to take control of every situation I enter. So it only makes sense that I am with someone who is laid back, patient and can easily go with the flow, right?
Not necessarily.
On the other hand, there is the philosophy my colleague introduced me to in which he feels so strong, he is in the process of writing a book. He is convinced that he can determine who you should be with, based on answering one simple question:
 "Name the time your life that you felt the most loved?"
It's actually very simple. If your answer is related to when someone gave you something, that means you are a "Lion" as he would say. If you name a time where someone said something to you, this means you are a "Parakeet." And lastly, if you name a time where someone touched you, you are referred to as a "Kitty Cat." He believes the most successful relationships will be between two Lions, two Parakeets or two Kitty Cats.  For the record, I am most likely a Lion :)
I find this to be really interesting. Doesn't it make sense to marry someone who shows their love and feels love the same way you do? For years people have said "opposites attract." The questions remains though; do opposites stay attracted to each other, or do they end up not understanding one another long term and seek out someone who is more like themselves who truly understands them? It's a no brainer why opposites attract. Of course at first it's more interesting to be with someone who is different than you, but long term, how can you totally understand someone that you don't think anything like? You can't. Well not without a ton of work and patience.
I am single partly because I haven't yet fully figured this out, but after a recent dating experience, I am convinced that some people may appear to have it together, but in reality, they have more issues than all of us. I don't pretend to know everything, but I do know some basic personality traits and what they mean not only in a relationship, but just on an individual level.  I think I will continue on this topic as opportunities present themselves in my journey to find my perfect match. Sometimes it's just more fun to write about, and plus, I find it fascinating.
Happy Sunday!
Kelli Michelle

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cheers to 2012 ~Best Year Ever!~

I was a very happy and thankful girl when the clock struck midnight and I was drinking champagne and toasting to 2012 with some very special people that are new to my life!  I have so much to be thankful for when I reflect back on this past year. With that being said, I am even more thankful that this year is behind me rather than in front of me because I know I just don't have it in me to do it again! Even though this year brought me (hopefully) some of the toughest times I will ever endure in my lifetime, this year also brought me such a peace in my heart I have never experienced before in my life.  Everything happens for a reason; even when that reason is simply a result of a bad decision made by an individual. I can say that my life is a true testament of God's Grace that even when we turn our back on Him and try to do things our way, he continues to stay faithful and protect us throughout our journey of self destruction. I guess sometimes everything just needs to fall apart before we will truly understand and appreciate the ways that God can put everything back together. Moving forward, my goal is to allow him to direct my life and live my life the right way, so there isn't so much to put back together next time :)
I could make a list a mile long explaining all the blessings I have been given which are so undeserving. I think it's appropriate to share some of them that have really stood out for me this past year.
First and foremost, I am thankful that God saved me. God saved me from a path of destruction and selfishness and living a life that was completely unfulfilling and empty. Throughout the many times where I just wanted to give up, God continued to remind me that in times of difficulty, His grace is sufficient. He reminded me that I am never alone. He created a perfect path and all he asked of me is to have faith and follow.  He truly does make all things good for those who love him!
I am also extremely grateful for my church. If there is no other reason that I was brought to Georgia than to attend North Point and listen to Andy's messages, then that is reason enough. I have yet to meet him or express my gratitude, yet I feel like I owe him a big hug and a thank you. Through his messages, I gained so much strength as a person and have such a better understanding of who God is, which led me to have this peace in my heart that I had never felt before and that I never want to be without again.
When I think of this past year, some of my best memories came from my sister. For those of you who don't have the blessing of a sister, you cannot possibly understand what a special friendship and relationship that this can be. For years I did not appreciate what a gift a sister is, but this year she and I have both realized it together which is a very special thing. I can finally call my sister one of my very best friends and continue loving every minute of being "Aunt Kelli" to my niece and nephew.
Finally, for those of you who read this and have been on this journey with me of growing, recovering and discovering, I want to thank you for taking the time to call me and message me about how my experiences have encouraged and inspired you. It means so much to me I can't even begin to express! And thank you Mom & Dad for continuing to pray for me; I think I finally believe in the power of prayer :)
Along with my usual New Year's Resolution of losing the five pounds I gained at Christmas, this year my focus is to live a life that is fulfilling and wise.  My goal is to remember that the decisions I make today have a direct correlation with the success and happiness of my life tomorrow.
Happy New Year!!!!
Kelli Michelle