International Mens Day: who are you celebrating?

Today is International Mens Day. This is a day to celebrate the men in our lives and all the amazing things that they are and do. This year’s theme is “positive male role models.” And to commemorate this uberliciously fabulous day, I’d like to take today’s post to honor two very special men in my life; hubby and my step-dad (who I refer to as Dad now). Both of whom have been a major positive role model in my life.

Hubby…my hero!

Y’all know how much I adore hubby. Just this past weekend we celebrated 8 years together and he spoiled me with an incredible bauble…just the kind I like all sparkly and beautiful. He took me out to dinner and to see the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part II.

But hubby is so much more than the ultimate gift buyer and movie goer. He is more than urban word Wednesday fun. He is so much more than the guy who spoils me with new clothes and a panty drawer overhaul. He is an incredible person, best friend, husband, lover, role model and father.

Hubby has taught me how to love and trust in relationships and life again. When he came into my life, I was pretty skeptical. I had lost my father in a car accident 13 short years earlier and the mark of that devastation and lost was firmly tattooed on my heart and soul. I was paralyzed by the fear that any man I loved was going to leave me; one way or another. That fear of abandonment dominated my life and left me unable to love, trust and experience healthy relationships.

When hubby came into my life, there was no doubt I was in the best place I had ever been. I had taken months on my own to build up my self-esteem and self-love but I was still unsure of how to translate that into a relationship…and I wasn’t sure if I even could.

But when he came into my life, hubby took his time. He was patient, open, kind and loving. He shared with me. He bore his soul to me. He showed me what it was to be vulnerable and to put your heart in someone else’s hand with no expectations for the future. He had enough faith in love and “us” for the two of us. And with him as a constant, I began to see the light. I began to fall in love and shared myself in a way I had never done before. For the first time in what felt like a very long time, I was able to let go…and with complete abandonment, love!

With hubby…I finally became whole…and found myself.

But before hubby, came another defining relationship in my life that I believe was instrumental in my healing. My Dad.

My Dad…my other hero!

My Mom had been a window and single for 8 years before my Dad came into the picture. Mom and I had lived together as roommates for most of that time and we had a very close relationship. I knew she was ready to start dating and I really wanted to see her happy. I mean come on…8 years had passed. She was a vibrant, incredible woman in the prime of her life…she deserved to find love again!

It shocked me how upset and angry I was when she did actually start dating and falling in love with another man. In my head, I knew it was a great thing and I knew the man was perfect for her…but my heart was another matter. I couldn’t seem to get passed it. For years, my relationship with my Dad although positive and loving on the surface, had an underlying current of distrust and hurt. I loved him. I was happy for her. But I struggled to truly accept and love him wholeheartedly.

For years, I called my Dad by his first name and held him somewhat at arm’s length. I married my first husband and moved out of the house and a few years passed.

It was when I left my first husband and moved back home that my relationships with my Dad totally changed. Of course, Mom was there for me for hours of counseling and talking but she was also working a lot so it just so happened that my Dad and I were home together, a lot. I was struggling to find the answers to how I had made such a mess of my life and my Dad was there for me at every turn.

All these years he had never pushed or tried to force a deeper relationship with me. And here we found ourselves talking for hours on end. He helped me through the pain and devastation. He taught me about love, acceptance, and self-love. He helped me to take accountability for my choices and decisions that had led me to where I was. He showed me what it was to listen, to be heard, and to feel understood. He enabled and empowered me to figure out who I wanted to be going forward. And in those weeks and months, he became a father to me in every sense of the word.

Without knowing or trying, we became a father and a daughter and in that…a piece of my heart that I thought was permanently broken with the death of my father, healed. I became whole again. And I started calling him Dad…because that’s what he had become.

Hubby and Dad…these two men who came into my world later in life but both have played critical roles in helping me shape and define who I am today.

So today…on International Mens Day…I celebrate you hubby and Dad…the two most influencing men in my life. Two of my greatest joys. Two of the most incredible men I’ve had the honor to know and love. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and for everything you continue to do. Without either of you, my world wouldn’t be the same.

I love you both more than words could ever say!

What men do you celebrate today? How have they shaped you and your life? What man has been the greatest role model in your life and why? Come on…share the wealth…

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The truth about boys – a guest post by Jessica O’Neal

I am so excited to welcome Jessica O’Neal to my blog digs while I am on vacation. Jessica’s blog ROCKS with her vlogs (yes…she does VLOGS….how uberlicious is that…) and her bow and arrow (yes…she has a BOW and arrows and she knows how to use them)! I know y’all will just adore her. Thanks so much for swinging by and hanging out here Jessica – I hope you enjoy yourself! Take it away…

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Jessica O'Neal

Hey y’all! I am super excited to be hanging out here at Natalie’s fahhhbulous blog, I even painted my toenails pink for the occasion (you can’t see them, but I promise they are pink). I was beyond honored when she asked me to come up with something for you guys, and then I instantly got nervous. Let’s face it, Natalie is a hilarious act to follow. The antics that she and the hubby get up to always make for some entertaining reading and, try as I might, I couldn’t think of a story of my own that even came close to measuring up to one of theirs. In fact, for the majority of my life I was pretty sheltered and most, well all, of their stories would have been quite shocking to my innocent little self. This got me thinking. When did that change?

Growing up, it was just me, my mom, and my sister from a fairly young age. I went to an arts school for middle school and high school, so the girl to guy ratio was about 4:1 and the guys that were there made sure to show their well-behaved, tame sides around me. The only other boys I was around were from church youth group, so they were always on relatively good behavior, too. All of this meant that when I started dating my future husband, who also happened to be the first guy I ever dated, I was incredibly naïve as to the world of boys. Sure I had heard rumors of their crude natures, but based on all that I had ever witnessed, I believed those tales to be vastly exaggerated. Ha! Oh, how so very wrong I was.

I’m not really sure what changed when I started dating my husband. Maybe it was because I was off the market, so there was no pressure to impress me in the hopes of winning my heart, but whatever the reason, I began to be treated as one of the guys. My husband’s friends, and there were a lot of them, welcomed me into the inner sanctum of The World of Male and, oh my goodness, it was quite the culture shock. Every construct I had ever built up in my head about boys was shattered as I learned that all the jokes I believed to be just that, jokes, were indeed true.

They really do behave like they are still children with one another. This may not seem like much, but it was shocking to me. My husband and his friends were all in their early to mid 20s, yet they still tormented each other like they were little boys. There were a select few that tended to be picked on the most, and the rest would spend hours coming up with practical jokes to play on them or ways in which they could embarrass them, such as throwing things on them while they were taking a shower or getting on an IM chat with their girlfriends and pretending to be them.

Then they also did things that were just dumb. I remember one time we went to a party where all the guys thought it was hilarious to throw mouse traps at each other. Another time they decided to play “shopping cart chicken,” which involved two guys sitting in two shopping carts being pushed towards each other at full speed. And don’t get me started on holidays that involve fireworks – let’s just say that my fear of being burned by fireworks no longer seems irrational.

They really do like to be naked, or close to it, as often as possible. I had always heard the boys in youth group joke about “naked time,” but again I thought that it really was a joke. I was wrong. Generally speaking, boys have no problem getting naked and they think it is funny. I went from never having seen a naked male to seeing way more than I ever wanted to. Thankfully, whenever they got naked it was to be funny, so there was usually something hiding the *goods*, such as a basketball. One of our good friends was particularly fond of wearing plastic bags. The memory that always sticks out in my mind is the time we were watching TV and he suddenly came out in nothing but cowboy boots, a pink tie, and a strategically placed Target bag. Sometimes there would be a short supply of cover-up objects, but that didn’t stop them when the naked mood struck. Nope, on these occasions they opted to preserve their modesty with the good ole tuck, or as they called it, the “man-gina” (there’s an urban word for you, Natalie!).

They really do think about sex. All the time. This one, I think, surprised me the most. Before my husband’s friends, boys did not really talk about sex around me, so I never believed the idea that boys thought about sex every 3 seconds. Well, I can now tell you with confidence, that saying is true. Oh. My. Goodness. I have heard more stories, most of which are even too dirty for this blog, than I ever cared to know (thankfully none of which involved my husband). I don’t know if it was just because most of my husband’s friends were in bands and had a ton of tour experiences to talk about (“tour goggles” are a real thing too, by the way, as the nicknames “pig-frog” and “man-face,” the nicknames given to two girls one guy fooled around with on tour, can attest) or if it is this way with all guys, but it is seriously out of control how much they think about women and sex. I am pretty sure the entire first year of my relationship with my husband was spent with me gaping at the things that came out of his friends mouths. It was definitely an educational time period for my innocent little mind.

Going from a world comprised almost exclusively of women to one almost exclusively of men was the biggest culture shock I have yet to face. Once I got over the shock, however, I was able to develop an appreciation for this world that had been kept secret from me for so long. As dumb and gross as they can be, those boys always make me laugh.

What about the rest of you? Did any of you experience a culture shock when you learned the truth about boys? And what about you men out there? Were there things that shocked you when you learned the truth about women? Go ahead and dish in the comments.

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Squeeeee…man-gina!! I am TOTALLY going to do a post on that Jessica – love it! Thanks again for swinging by and sharing your story with us. I can only imagine what a culture shock you’ve gone through but it also sounds like you’ve had a ton of laughs and have adjusted beautifully!

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Hubby’s Corner: Every superhero needs a villain

Brent Butt

Like many other couples in the world, we spent the weekend hanging out, relaxing, running errands, hitting the mall and getting groceries – preparing for the upcoming week. On Saturday we were out and about and I saw a poster that indicated the Canadian comedian Brent Butt was coming to town and it brought me back a previous Hubby’s Corner post where I hinted at my camp nemesis Brent!

Let me take a moment to give you a head’s up on Brent. Brent has a camp just two down from us. He is a mountain man, a man who could live off the land and thrive. He spends almost every weekend of the year at the camp where he eats wild game, bark, berries and washes it down with muddy puddle water. He shaves with a rusty knife. He fishes. He hunts. He works around his camp and gets up before dawn to gather firewood. He’s a man’s man. He’s handy. He’s resourceful. He’s knowledgeable. He’s every man’s worst nightmare!!

Natalie's dream - to meet Mike Holmes

At this point I’d like to take a small tangent in my story to tell you about one of Natalie’s great loves (other than me). She loves and I mean LOVES Mike Holmes, HGTV, TLC, and anything to do with MIKE HOLMES. Common phrases around our house are ‘That’s not up to code’; ‘Do it right the first time’; and ‘That’s not how Mike Holmes would do that.’

So it should not be any surprise that during our first camp project, when Brent stopped in to give his two cents worth, that he quickly became Natalie’s Mike Holmes.

Red Green

It was like Brent and I drank a magic elixir and Brent became GOD and I became Red Green! Canada’s Worst Handyman and a DIY nightmare!

I might as well dawned a cap, suspenders and a t-shirt with the phrase “If the women can’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy!” on the front.

From that point on, every camp emergency, project snag, and task that required some thought and planning was quickly followed by my ever so helpful wife’s inquiring and every man’s spine shivering question “Do you want me to go get Brent?” The phrase holds the same full body pain as the phrase “Do you think we should stop and ask for directions?

And in the spirit of Brent Butt, I have ever so cunningly turned Camp Brent into our very own inside joke comedy routine. Whenever we run into a decision or crossroad in our lives, I ever so seriously turn to my loving wife (who’s torn in a world of confusion and endless options) and I ask “maybe we should call Brent on this one!?

Who’s your Brent?

Prize Alert:
Last Monday I did an author’s spotlight featuring the amazing Virginia Ripple and we did a fahhhbulous book giveaway. Here are the winners:

Woot woot – congratulations to both of you. I’ll fire y’all a tweet to put you in touch with Virginia!

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