Monday, August 31, 2009

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Over the last 28 years, I am so glad that my husband and I have worked through different ways to make decisions and come to solutions together.  Every day presents myriads of things that need to be answered, addressed, and decided upon as couples.  Usually, and to keep things interesting, both of us rarely feel the exact same way about ANY thing.  

At first the issues are simple, or the decisions are "self-made" thus there isn't really a decision at all (for example, where do we go on vacation -- since we started out without any funds, the choice was made FOR us instead of BY us, or the options were so narrowed as to preclude opinions).

But other decisions are CONSTANTLY being decided:

what should we have for dinner?
where should we go for vacation?
how much should we spend on any given item?
where should we spend the holidays?
who should we hang with on the weekend?
what should we save for?
how much should we save vs. spend?
how much should our house cost?
where should we live?
where should our children go to school?
where should we go to church?
what movie should we watch?
should our children play with guns?
what is our limit for ratings on the shows we watch?
what is the curfew for our children?
and on and on and on... ... ...

Here are a few tips we've learned that have helped us in making decisions, both large AND small:

*Straight off, I knew my husband was the leader in my home and that any "deciding votes" went to him.  

*CONSIDER one another's opinions.  Let the other person say their opinion (without interrupting) and actually RE-STATE what they said BACK to them until they know you heard them right.  

*TRY to come to a decision where both parties agree.  We agreed in selecting furniture that there was enough choices to find something we could both live with rather than where one or the other weren't happy.

*LISTEN to the reasons the other person doesn't share your opinion.  Try to look at things from their eyes.  Often, when I would listen to Gary's concerns, I saw issues that could come up that I wouldn't have thought of.

*WORK TOGETHER until you KNOW that you KNOW that the other person is COMMITTED to your good and happiness.  Knowing the other person is not out to make you miserable or to destroy you is a FOUNDATION for trusting them in their decision-making processes.

*Make sure you consider what the other person is saying and MAKE IT IMPORTANT to you if it is important to them.  Try to bend over backwards trying to make the other person's goals happen, so that when there are good reasons NOT TO, it doesn't seem like you always need things done "your way".  

*Re-commit and re-commit and re-commit to the good of the "marriage" and not SIMPLY the "good of the individual" so that ALL decisions are made within that scope.

*Make sure that WHEN (not "if" but "when") mistakes are made in the final decision, that you don't throw it back at the person.  

*Understand when you have to make a decision that the other person is unhappy about then be sad with them, and when you can make decisions that make the other person glad, then be glad with them!

*Follow the simple commands the Lord gave us:  husbands LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE for your wives; and wives, RESPECT your husbands.

*Submit to each other.   Because you fear God.  (Eph 5.21)

Challenge:   Change your decision-making process until it is one where you BOTH benefit from the other's perspective.  Respect each other's perspective, and consider it when deciding issues.  Try to make decision making a STRENGTH in your relationship -- because there are SO SO MANY decisions to make!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Close Will You LET (ALLOW) Others to Be to You?

I'll never forget when my older brother Sam got married. I was about 12 years old at the time, and he married the (hot) girl from down the street (the one that all the guys liked to hang around while he was in Viet Nam!)
That started it, and as we added more and more people to the family, it was interesting and fun to see family get-togethers get bigger and bigger and bigger.

I was talking to Gabe today about some of the wonderful things my mom taught me when that started happening in our family: things that are happening NOW in MY family as MY kids are getting married one after another!

My Mom always said "open your circle and LET someone in"! She taught us the value of embracing the relationships that our siblings brought into the family. When you start to realize it, you live about 20-some years at your home and hopefully you'll live much more than that with your spouse and amongst the spouses your siblings choose.

So EMBRACE those relationships. I am SO GLAD we loved and accepted our "new" brothers and sisters into our hearts. Over the years, many times, they stepped in to play important roles when the siblings that we were raised with couldn't.

Even as parents, my husband and I have so appreciated the change to add our new sons and daughter to our family! We are SO EXCITED to have the change to be a Dad and Mom to Amber, Gabe, and Mike (and SOON Brandon!). Yes, yes, yes, we realize they weren't BORN to us, nor did we go through their elementary, junior high or high school years with them (well, with SOME of them we did – but NOT as their parents!), but when they married our children, they get US as parents from that point on. We take that role very seriously, and are excited to love them and provide for them as parents AS MUCH AS THEY LET US. We look forward to imparting wisdom we have, treating them as much as we can, and being there for them AS MUCH AS THEY LET US.

One thing about the Girgenti family that the Budzinski family has carried on is the extreme love, devotion and loyalty to our relationships. When my children came to me while dating with their problems, they would be SO MAD that I would "take the side" of Amber, Gabe, Michael, and Brandon. But I figured they already KNEW their "own" side, and I needed to "stick up for" their significant others, and help my children see their significant others' "sides"!

Even when my children go to each other, we all fiercely protect the one who is being complained about… We are about ONENESS and we fiercely protect the person not there! I have seen the total opposite in most families: I have seen families literally "gang up" on people that weren't born into the family, causing hard feelings, division and break-ups.

One friend of mine recently even told me about her husband's family having all their "natural born" kids go on a trip and left all the people they married behind because they weren't their "kids"!!!! That is CRAZY to me – I cannot understand how after over 20 years of marriage, parents still don't realize that the people their children married ARE their children as MUCH AS THEY LET THEMSELVES BE. My Mom has told me that because she LET the people her children married become as her own, they have brought so many blessings to her life in that capacity.

Challenge: OPEN your circle; OPEN your heart; and LET your children's and your sisters' and brothers' spouses IN – WATCH the LOVE grow and LIVE an AMAZING life of VICTORY and AMAZEMENT as you learn about the FAMILY of God from YOUR family!

Psalms 68:6 God places the solitary in families…

Proverbs 10:22 GOD’S blessing makes life rich;
nothing we do can improve on God.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Advice from Gary to our Newlyweds!

I wanted to share a few rules or principles of living A Better Way to Live together...

Rule 1 -
Count your blessing. Appreciate the assets you already possess.

Rule 2 -
Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Excercise your privilege to go the extra mile, and enjoy all the rewards you receive. You deserve them!

Rule 3 -
Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down in life, don't look back at it too long. Shake off your blunders. Never quit. If you want to succeed, you must learn to live with failure. The only people who never fail are those who never, never try.

Rule 4 -
Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nuture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strieve to present your best side to your children.

Rule 5 -
Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Let the vision in your heart be in your life's blueprint. Smile!

Rule 6 -
Let your actions always speak for you, but be forever on guard against the terrible traps of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress.

Rule 7 -
Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicpas of the moment to poision your attitude and plans for yourself and your future.

Rule 8 -
Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now, Now! Not tomorrow!

Rule 9 -
Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find "Tomorrow" on the calendars of fools. This is your day! Never treat time as if you had an unlimited supply.

Rule 10 -
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.

Rule 11 -
Laugh at yourself and at life. Never take yourself too seriously.

Rule 12 -
Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the litle things!

Rule 13-
Welcome every morning with a smile. Be a self-starter. Today will never happen again. Don't waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail. Open to the obituary page!

Rule 14 -
You will achieve your grand dream, a day at a time, so set goals for each day -- not long diffucult projects, but chores that will take you, step by step, toward your rainbow. Write them down, if you must, but limit your list so that you won't have to drag today's undone matters into tomorrow. Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you neglect your most important goal -- to do the best you can, enjoy this day, and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.

Rule 15 -
Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.

Rule 16 -
Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble. "That's terrific"...

Rule 17 -
Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without geting a few drops on yourself.

What a blessing to share these past 40 days. Remember to focus on the urgent and not the important priorities today. Your priorities are to enjoy each other and this precious day.

What a blessing to witness Karen working side by side with each and all of you preparing for this day. She has been the love of my wife these 28 years. Thank you Karen for your dedication and agape love. I love you.
Your passion is so contagious during this entire process and time.

I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness;, the second is frugality;, the third is humility......
Be gentle and you can be bold ; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men or women.

Practice what you preach....I have heard this expressed so many true to do what I know is right. The principles of righteousness are truth and the outcome is zoe life.

Your dreams will come true when your ways will please the Lord and your marriage will be blessed when you follow His steps.

Enjoy this day. Great memories. Treasure this time. I never did anything alone. Whatever I accomplished was accomplished collectively. I love you guys so much. Gabe and Hannah, Michael and're the best.

Love you dad