Author Archives: Cindy Bodendorfer

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How an Affair Really Begins

Category : Marriage Advice

It’s been a little while since I’ve shared something from The Land of Other People’s Writings. Today I came across a concise list of the steps common to every affair. I wish I didn’t feel led to post it. I wish all Christians had strong marriages and didn’t make the kinds of decisions that led to affairs, but alas, they don’t. They key, though, is that these are decisions … totally under our control and avoidable as we choose to follow Christ instead of our own selfish desires.

Quotable ~ Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event. Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions.

Decide wisely.

Read the rest here.

Blessings … Cindy


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Stupid Little Stuff

Category : Marriage Advice

By now, you all know that I enjoy entering the Land of Other People’s Writings. Today I stumbled across one that really hits the nail on the head. Why do couples fight so much over “stupid little stuff?”

News flash … it’s not the stuff you’re fighting about. Not really.

Quotable: “Most guys don’t know that she’s NOT fighting about the glass,” says Matt. “She’s fighting for acknowledgment, respect, validation, and his love.”

Read it here.

Do you know what’s important to your spouse? Do you value them enough to do it, even if you think it’s stupid?

Blessings … Cindy


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Men Who Won’t Grow Up

Category : Uncategorized

This week’s forage into Other People’s Writings brought up a title that grabbed my attention. Tim and I are seeing more and more of this … married men who want to live single, who shirk adult responsibilities and refuse to leave the video game world they grew up in.

Quotable … We live in a culture that celebrates youth and beauty and independence—even at the expense of growing up.  Many young men today immerse themselves in a world of media entertainment and diversions that tell them it’s okay to live a self-centered lifestyle, free of commitments to anything beyond endless and mindless pleasure.

Read the rest and let us know what you think.

Men Who Won’t Grow Up

Blessings … Cindy


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What Makes Marriage Strong

Category : Uncategorized

This one is good … written by the daughter of a blogger who, from what I read, has a pretty good marriage.

What Makes Marriage Strong

If you’re not doing these things, it’s never too late to start. You can change your marriage any time you want to.

Blessings … Cindy


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10 Second Love

Category : Uncategorized

Awesome idea. Let us know if it changes your perspective.

The 10 Second Way to Love Your Spouse More

Blessings … Cindy


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Married But Alone?

Category : Uncategorized

My forage into the world of Other People’s Writings led me to this gem today. If you’re feeling disconnected from your spouse, this is the thing you need to fix.

Living Alone in My Marriage

Blessings … Cindy


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Boundaries or Manipulation?

Category : Uncategorized

It’s a common question … what’s the difference? In this week’s perusal of Other People’s Blogs, I came across one of the best explanations I’ve ever heard.

Boundaries vs. Manipulation

Blessings … Cindy


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Happy Unniversary

Category : Uncategorized

Yesterday was my “unniversary.” September 22 is the date I married my now ex-husband.

I didn’t even realize it. I hadn’t thought about what day it was until a friend, who was married on the same date and left her abusive husband a few years ago, posted something on Facebook. I’m unashamedly stealing the word unniversary from her. I don’t think she’ll mind.

I’ve been asked how I got here … how I went from the breakup of a 25 year marriage to not even knowing it was my anniversary. How I got past the anger. Why I don’t hate men.

The answer is simple, and yet incredibly complex. I choose not to dwell on what was. I choose not to be angry. I choose not to hate everyone with a Y chromosome just because of what one man did.

The follow up question is always … But how?

Granted, the temperament God created for me has a lot to do with it. I don’t have a temperament that dwells on things or holds onto anger. It’s over, done, nothing I can do about it, next. I fully recognize that for others with different temperaments, that’s not the case. Getting past those things is harder.

But in the end, it boils down to a choice.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phillipians 4:8, NLT

It’s kind of like driving a car. If you’re going down the road and hit a patch of ice, you have two choices. You can either let go of the wheel and allow momentum and lack of traction take you into the ditch, or you can take your foot off the gas, steer into the skid, and get the car back on solid ground.

If I hate men pops into my head, I can follow that thought into the ditch of bitterness, or I can deprive that thought of fuel and firmly steer in a positive direction. The way to control a thought is to replace it with another thought.

It’s not easy, but it’s critical if I’m going to be the person God wants me to be. Bitterness does nothing but destroy the person who’s carrying it. I refuse to allow it to have a place in my life.

Yesterday was full of beautiful sunshine, happy dogs, accomplishments, and horse kisses. I didn’t spare one more thought to my ex or our dead marriage. I choose to live.

Happy Unniversary to me.

Blessings … Cindy


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How’s Your Marriage?

Category : Uncategorized

I like reading other people’s blogs. Often I find a perspective I hadn’t considered. Often their thoughts confirm my own. At any rate, I find it helpful to get out of my head and into someone else’s at least a few times a week.

Today’s find brings up a really good question … is your marriage a place of trust? The author’s list of queries is a great way to give your relationship a checkup. Can you answer at least most of them positively? If not, it’s time to do a little evaluation. Could the problems simply be differences in the way you and your spouse are wired, or are there deeper spiritual issues? We can help you figure that out.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
Is Your Marriage (Or Other Relationships) A Place Of Trust?

Are you building relationships of trust? Take time to look at yourself, your marriage and other relationships in the mirror of these questions.

A TRUST QUESTIONNAIRE

1) Is there more unity, understanding, and love in your marriage now than there has ever been?
2) Do you both do what you promise in the time that you have promised?
3) Are you attentive to what your spouse sees as important?
4) Do you make excuses for failures to do what you’ve promised, or are you ready to confess?
5) Do you listen well to your spouse and act on what you’ve heard?
6) Do you follow through with mutually agreed-upon plans?
7) Do you work together on planning and scheduling priorities, or do you demand that the other do it your way?
8) Do you share with your spouse your thoughts, desires, hopes, dreams, and concerns, or is it easier for you to be quiet or to share with someone else?
9) Is there any evidence that you’ve withdrawn from the other in protective distance?
10) Would your spouse say that you’re good for your word and faithful to your promises?
11) Do you carry wrongs around with you, or do you trust one another to confront and confess?
12) Do you ever wonder what the other is doing when not with you?
13) Are you conscious of editing your words and withholding your feelings because you can’t trust your spouse to deal with them properly?
14) Is your marriage partner the best friend in your life or has your dream of this kind of companionship evaporated?
15) Is your sexual relationship mutually satisfying, or is it hard for you to give yourself physically to your spouse?
16) Do you say things to other people about your spouse that you’ve not communicated to him or her?
17) Do you look forward to sharing times together, and when you have these times are they peaceful and enjoyable?
18) Are there problems between you that remain unsolved because you don’t have the bond of trust necessary to work together on a solution?
19) Are you comfortable with the vulnerability that a good marriage involves?
20) Do you ever wonder if you made a mistake in marrying the person who is your spouse?
21) Do you ever fear that you’re being manipulated or taken advantage of in any way?
22) Do you ever wonder if your spouse cares for him- or herself more than for you?

So, look over your answers. What do you think? Is trust solid in your marriage? Is it growing in your other relationships? As you commit yourself to build a sturdy bond of trust, remember you don’t do that work alone or in your own strength. The One, who defines what trust is and does, is with you and offers you every grace you need to build relationships that picture his grace and point to his glory.

Marriage Questions

Blessings … Cindy


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Communication Problems? Really?

Category : Uncategorized

I came across this blog today. The author has a great perspective … most couples who say they have “communication problems” don’t actually have problems with the mechanics of communication. They have spiritual problems.

I’d add one thing he doesn’t address, though, and that’s differences in temperament. When couples know how they are wired, many issues start to make sense. Understanding and applying the information learned through an APS test can take a lot of them off the table.

Give it a read and let us know what you think. Try out the solution he proposes in the last paragraph. Did it make a difference for you?

Communication Problems

Blessings … Cindy

 


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Who Are You Worshiping?

Category : Uncategorized

I found this article today, and it really struck me. Do we know who Jesus really is? Are we really worshiping Him, or just someone who kind of looks like Him?

Counterfeit Christ Figures

Blessings … Cindy


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The F12 Button Again

Category : Uncategorized

I’m a sanguine surrounded by melancholies. Proof that God has a sense of humor.

Life is challenging for me at times. I live on a 21 acre, off grid farm … that’s right, no tv or Facebook … with some of my adult children. All but one of them has melancholy in every area of their temperament. My ex was melancholy straight across the board, and most of my close friends are melancholies. Although I was never able to give my parents an APS test, I’m fairly certain that my dad was mostly melancholy and my mom mostly supine.

So all of that got me thinking … many of us function outside of our temperament. We learn behaviors in childhood in order to survive our family situation. Those behaviors become our F12 button … see Tim’s previous post … even though they’re often not typical of the temperament God designed in us.

For me, my F12 button means that I often behave as a supine, even though I’m sanguine in inclusion and affection. Put me in a group of people I don’t know, and I sit and wait for people to come to me. I rarely call my friends just to chat because I’m afraid of bothering them. After all, these melancholies have their day planned! I don’t touch or hug my kids very often, because they don’t need it. Those behaviors are totally opposite from the way God created me, but for all of my life, I’ve needed to fit in with a bunch of melancholies.

Think about your F12 button … are those behaviors consistent with how God designed you, or are they things you’ve learned? Are they beneficial or destructive? Do you need to take control and tweak some of them instead of just letting them happen?

I’ve learned to find healthy ways to get my needs met, even when surrounded by people whose temperament is so different from mine. Most of the time, I even enjoy the joke. 😉

Blessings … Cindy


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Codependent? Maybe not …

Category : Uncategorized

Whenever we lose a relationship, romantic or otherwise, most of us can look back and see the moment when we knew it was over. There may have been a lot of little things that led up to that moment, but they all boiled down to one incident, one point where we knew.

In my marriage, that incident took place 5 years in. Twenty years later, I can still recount it in detail. It was the moment in which I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my ex didn’t love me. I stayed married for another 15 years, partially because I thought I had to, but mostly because I didn’t want to give up.

In a friendship that recently fell apart, the incident is still relatively fresh and raw. I can also recount it in detail, and I imagine I always will. It was the moment when I knew that, even if we remained friends, it would never be the same. We didn’t, but it was her choice, not mine. I didn’t want to give up.

The term codependent has been thrown around a lot since it was coined back in the 80’s. When we stay in a relationship too long … when we can look back and see all of the reasons we should have left way before we did … we often decide we’re codependent. There must be something wrong with us if we stayed with someone who didn’t meet our needs, giving them chance after chance, hoping that maybe this time, they’d change.

But when we are patient and kind with the people close to us, when we keep no record of wrongs, when we forgive all things and bear all things, it often has a simpler name … love.

Christ forgives me much on a daily basis, puts up with my stubbornness and my impatience, and lovingly draws me as close as I am willing to come. It makes no earthly sense for Him to do so. I have failed Him a million times, and yet if I am willing to change, He doesn’t give up on me. And then He commands me to show the same love to others.

Granted, there are times when loving does cross the line into codependency. There are times when a relationship has become so toxic that the only healthy thing you can do is get out. I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone stay in an abusive situation, and I’m not saying that healthy boundaries should not be enforced. If you’re having trouble with that, contact us.

But if we’re hanging on longer than others think we should, it doesn’t always mean that there is something wrong with us. It might just mean that we are loving others as Christ loved us.

Blessings … Cindy


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A Tale of Two Temperaments – Happily Ever After

Category : Uncategorized

Now that we’ve talked about Mike’s and Lisa’s temperaments and the challenges they face, both individually and as a couple, let’s catch up with them a few months down the road. Based on what they learned from their APS tests and counseling sessions, they’ve made some significant changes.

Mike left his job in sales and applied for a position in the copywriting department of the same company. This job allows him to use his intellectual and creative abilities while working alone most of the time. Since he isn’t forced to interact with people all day long, he is able to give his family the attention they need. Now that his energy isn’t being depleted on the job, he has initiated a regular date night with Lisa.

Lisa has learned to meet some of her need for social interaction during the day, even with 2 busy preschoolers. She listens to Christian radio at home, and either calls a friend or chats online while her children are napping. She has joined a local MOPS group and regularly gets together with other moms at the park or church. With Mike’s encouragement, she occasionally leaves the kids with him and goes out for dinner and shopping with a girlfriend.

The couple has instituted a weekly business meeting, where they make decisions about finances, parenting, etc. Lisa has discovered that Mike is very willing to participate in the decision making process, and she is less critical and frustrated.

Mike has learned to initiate affection and sex more often. He remembers to say I love you – probably not as often as Lisa would like to hear it, but she now understands that he is saying I love you by the things he does for her. She can get some of her need for touch from her children and close friends, and she has learned that God is ultimately the only one who can fulfill her need for affection.

Now that they understand their temperament needs, Mike and Lisa are much happier. The fighting has stopped, and they can’t believe they ever thought of splitting up. Mike is enjoying his job, and Lisa loves being a stay-at-home mom.

If you’re like Mike or Lisa, unsatisfied in your life, marriage, or career, contact us. It might be as simple as bringing your life into balance with the way God created you.


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A Tale of Two Temperaments – Couples Counseling

Category : Uncategorized

Now let’s look at how Mike and Lisa function as a married couple.

This is a classic case of opposites attracting. Mike is melancholy in inclusion. Lisa is sanguine. Mike is supine in control. Lisa is choleric. Mike is phlegmatic in affection. Lisa is sanguine. Their needs are like oil and water – they don’t mix.

Secular counselors might say that they are too different, and they would probably be happier if they went their separate ways. Biblically, though, we know there’s another answer. Although there are cases where divorce is advisable, this isn’t one of them.

Ephesians 5:25 commands husbands to love their wife like Christ loved the church. Since Christ gave Himself up without expecting the church to do anything first, this is where we start with Mike. He is called to understand his wife and to meet her needs to the best of his ability. This will mean stepping out of his temperament, putting his wife first, and making a sincere effort to give her what she needs.

That means that Melancholy Mike will need to put aside his preferences and take his wife out after a long day with the kids, no matter how much he would like to crawl in a hole. It means that he will need to make the effort to participate in decision making, and that he will need to push himself to initiate love and affection. If he wants to stay married, he can’t continue to ignore Lisa’s needs.

On the other hand, we would ask Lisa to understand and respect the way God created her husband. Although she would love to go out every night, that would totally exhaust him. His capacity for making decisions will probably never be as strong as hers. He has less emotional energy than she does and needs to work to initiate affection. There is nothing wrong with him – he is simply wired differently.

One thing that can’t happen is for either of them to use their temperament as an excuse. No one gets to say Well, that’s just how I am, take it or leave it. Our goal should always be to become more like Christ, and sometimes that happens by stretching ourselves to meet the needs of the people we love.

Mike and Lisa are about to make some changes …


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A Tale of Two Temperaments – Lisa

Category : Uncategorized

Now it”s Lisa”s turn.

Lisa is sanguine in inclusion. Sanguines thrive on social interaction and become depressed when they cannot be around people. They are talkative and outgoing – the life of any party.

Lisa is choleric in control. Cholerics want things done. They will jump into any situation and start issuing orders, and they will thank you to just do as you are told. They can be insensitive to other people as they focus on getting the job done.

Lisa is sanguine in affection. Sanguines shower their loved ones with physical affection and want them to do the same. They need deep emotional contact and frequent reassurance that they are loved.

As with Mike, we can see several areas where Lisa”s life does not fit with the way God created her. Lisa is a stay at home mom of 2 preschoolers. However, her inclusion temperament needs to socialize. By the time her husband gets home, Lisa is climbing the walls. She wants to go somewhere – anywhere, as long as there are people around. Unfortunately, her melancholy husband is exhausted. The last thing he wants to do is go out.

To a certain extent, Lisa”s need for control is satisfied by having 2 children. At their ages, it is easy for her to direct them and to squash any rebellion. Mike also gives her unquestioned control over the operation of the household – she can do whatever she mobile casino likes as long as she doesn”t bother him. Her biggest source of frustration in the control area is that she is married to a supine. She probably sees him as a “wimp” and looks down on him for not standing up to his boss or taking charge of anything in their family. Unfortunately, cholerics tend to marry people they can control and then end up despising them for their weakness.

Lisa needs to both give and receive a lot of physical touch and I love you“s. Again, to a certain extent, Lisa can get this need met through her children, who also enjoy a lot of touching and hugging. However, her phlegmatic husband often complains that she is “hanging all over him.”  He rarely wants sex and doesn”t initiate expressions of affection. She doesn”t feel as if he is invested in their relationship and wonders if he even loves her.

What changes can Lisa make to bring her life more into balance with the way God created her?


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A Tale of Two Temperaments – Mike

Category : Uncategorized

So let’s start talking about Mike, after a few more definitions.

Inclusion is the area of social interaction and surface relationships – coworkers, acquaintances, and the people who come in and out of our life every day. It also includes emotional and intellectual energy.

Control defines how much power you want to have in a relationship, and how much you are willing to allow others to have over you.

Affection is about your deep, personal relationships – spouse, family, and very close friends.

Mike is melancholy in inclusion. Melancholies tend to be loners. Being with people drains their energy, and they need time alone to recharge their batteries. They also tend to be deep thinkers and are usually very creative.

Mike is supine in control. Supines live to serve. They find their worth in helping others. Supines tend to be dependent people who are uncomfortable making decisions on their own. They have gentle, sensitive spirits and cannot say no.

Mike is phlegmatic in affection. Phlegmatics are the peacekeepers of the temperament world. They tend to have low energy and are selective about how they use that energy. They often use their dry sense of humor to keep people from getting too close.

Keep in mind that we’re only hitting the highlights – all temperaments have strengths and challenges that we can’t cover in a short story.

Now that we know something about Mike’s temperament, we can look for areas in which his life isn’t lining up with it. Mike is a salesman. Jobs that require a lot of interaction with other people are a poor fit for a melancholy in inclusion. He is capable of doing the job, but it is emotionally draining. By the time his work day is over, he is exhausted. He wants nothing more than to crawl into a hole and hide … but he is going home to a wife and 2 small children.

Mike’s boss is very aggressive and frequently demands extra tasks from his team. Since Mike is unable to say no, he often ends up staying long past the time his coworkers have walked out the door. He feels used but cannot stand up to his boss, which frustrates his wife.

When Mike finally makes it home, Lisa and the children are all over him. They want conversation and attention. Unfortunately, his low energy supply is already depleted, and he finds himself tuning out. At some point, he nods off in his chair, leaving his wife lonely and angry.

What suggestions could we make to help Mike get his life and marriage back on track?


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A Tale of Two Temperaments

Category : Uncategorized

(Please note – this story is fictional. It’s just an example of the many ways temperament therapy can help you in your life and relationships.)

Mike and Lisa came in for marriage counseling. They reported frequent fighting and found it almost impossible to communicate with each other. Lisa felt lonely in the marriage. Mike felt drained. They were both wondering if it would be better to end it and go their separate ways.

A few basic questions revealed that Mike was 35 and had a job in sales. Lisa was 34 and a stay at home mom to their 2 preschoolers. The first thing we did was administer APS (temperament) tests to both of them.

Before we start talking about the results of their APS tests, we need to go over a few basics. When we’re talking about temperament, we’re talking about the qualities that God created in you – things like how much social contact you want, how much control you need to have, and how many deep, personal relationships you require. We are NOT talking about personality or behavior. Environment and life experiences affect your behavior, so you may or may not be acting in a way that reflects the temperament God gave you. It is impossible to accurately assess temperament without an APS test. Most temperament therapists agree that if you guess, you will probably guess wrong.

There are 5 temperament types – melancholy, sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and supine – and 3 areas – inclusion, control, and affection. Many people are blends of the 5 types and are different types in each area. That adds up to a multitude of possible combinations.

When we look at Mike’s and Lisa’s APS tests, we find that Mike is melancholy in inclusion, supine in control, and phlegmatic in affection. Lisa is sanguine in inclusion, choleric in control, and sanguine in affection.

So what does all that mean? How can knowing this help Mike and Lisa with their marriage?

We’ll start talking about that next time …


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Girly Girls

Category : Uncategorized

I’m not a girly girl.

I never really have been. Even when I was a teenager, I didn’t play with makeup or my hair to the extent my friends did. While they drooled over dresses and shoes, I was looking at saddles and boots. I had a perpetual pony tail, and my favorite perfume was Eau de Quarter Horse.

And I almost never wore nail polish.

In college, I morphed into looking a little more put together. I was as girly as I was ever going to get – makeup, a little jewelry, and clothes that were one step above jeans and sweats. I think I owned 3 colors of nail polish then, but I still only wore it on special occasions.

Enter bad marriage. Suddenly, even that little bit of girliness became a dangerous thing. It meant that my sexually abusive husband might force me to have even more sex. It meant that another man might be interested in me – something that terrified me, because I knew that I could have an affair in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. So I went back to jeans and sweats that were too big. Work clothes were easy – shapeless scrubs that hid everything. I almost never wore makeup. The nail polish went in the trash.

Now that I’m divorced, some of my friends are determined to help me find my girly side again. They are working hard at convincing me that – shudder – PINK isn’t toxic. They take me to stores and point out shiny things that they think I should buy. On a recent trip to Florida, 3 of them badgered me into allowing them to put red sparkly polish on my toes. It seemed to be really important to them, so I reluctantly went along with it. I was assured by my best friend that once I had it on, it would feel amazing.

I hate it.

But my red sparkly toes have made me think again about how easy it is to lose ourselves in what other people want for us.

Nail polish isn’t important. It can be removed. I was willing to give up my preferences to make my friends happy, and sometimes it’s OK to do that. Relationships are about give and take. We have to give enough to let the people in our life know that they are loved. We just can’t give up who God has created us to be.

And there’s the struggle. Because even though I decided to allow my friends to paint my nails, there was a part of me that wondered why it wasn’t OK to not like nail polish. I felt that subtle pressure to be something I’m not, to live up to some standard set by someone else, and to do something that other people think I “should” do. I felt like on some level, it wasn’t OK to just be who I am.

I know that my friends love me and have my best interest at heart. I know that they feel amazing in a great pair of heels, wearing something pink and ruffly and sparkly, and they want me to feel that too. But those things don’t make me feel amazing. They make me feel artificial and uncomfortable. And although it’s good to stretch – to try new things and see if they fit – it’s also a good thing to recognize it when they don’t.

Reality is that I will never be as girly as my friends are. Although I’m becoming more conscious of my wardrobe, I will never be attracted to sparkles and ruffles. I wear earrings sometimes, but not always. I will probably never spend more than 10 minutes on my hair and makeup. I will NEVER like pink. And I doubt that I will ever purchase a bottle of nail polish.

Granted, if I meet some guy who thinks red sparkly toes are hot, I might rethink the polish thing. If he buys me a shiny something and wants me to wear it, I will probably compromise. That’s part of that give-and-take thing. But if I can’t get his attention without pink ruffles and high heels, then he’s not the one. If he can’t love me in jeans and boots, with dirt under my nails and hay in my hair, then he doesn’t love ME. If that guy never comes along and it’s just me and God for the rest of my life, I’m good with that.

God made me laid back and down to earth, with a love of all things outdoors and four legged. He didn’t give me a love of clothes and makeup and nail polish. My square peg is just not going into that round hole, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Because I’m just not a girly girl.

Blessings . . . Cindy