Nature, nurture

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Turtles are amazing, let’s just start with that.

They are prehistoric, eat literally anything, are loved by all, and are so so sweet (except those snappers, but there always has to be an exception).

While mucking out our flower beds recently Elizabeth discovered a box turtle meandering around our side yard.  I did my best to prevent any additional pokes (photos), and we watched this sweet turtle make a bee line straight for the worst spot aesthetically  in the flower bed, where she burrowed into the leaf litter and pine straw.

I was ecstatic!  Our visually unappealing flower beds were home to an endangered species, that’s quite humbling!  We halted our measures to beautify our temporary home and did some research on box turtles.

The first thing we learned was that they’re endangered.

Second was that the worst thing one can do to a box turtle is to relocate it.  Simple enough for us – just don’t move it.

The third was that they eat everything: live bugs, fruit and other organic matter, you name it.

The fourth was that they lay numerous nests of eggs in groups of about 5 eggs.

Fifth was that they are pretty much stationary in terms of home turf; they don’t relocate.

That was all I needed to know to call it quits on our curb appeal project.  In an attempt to keep the turtles home as natural as it was before she was discovered, I returned most of the leaf litter I had removed.

Since then we will check on her every once in awhile and our days are always brightened so much when we see her.  If there was a way I could ensure this little turtle’s health and longevity, I would.

I wish I could speak turtle and let her know how much she is loved by the Butlers.

The best revenge is bettering yourself

It has been so long since my last post.  Hello long lost friends! ❤

I have spent such wonderful time with my husband, daughters, extended family, and amazing tribe.  My husband and I didn’t realize just how much we needed a little break from our sweet girls until we had it.  Thank goodness (well, thank the Marine Corps) for fleet week, am I right ladies?!

Lately our technology has been off.  We’ve been watching TV less, using our computers less, and communicating face to face instead of via texts and it has been such a relief!

We’ve been focusing on ourselves lately in every way possible.  Caught up on some much needed medical appointments, filing paperwork that’s needed filing, explored places we’ve been meaning to explore, and caught up on monotonous things.

One thing that we’ve been unable to control is other’s actions.  We focus on positives but sometimes another’s actions are so blatantly in-your-face that it’s impossible not to see.

I’m sorry that it’s difficult for some people to live their lives without constant comparison, or “keeping up with the Jones'” and I’m made somewhat uncomfortable by the constant reminder of being checked in on.  

I can’t control whatever extents people go to in order to compare themselves: checking my LinkedIn, driving by my house, etc. I can simply sympathize the insecurity at their core.

Anyway, tonight’s toast is this: Here’s to you and to letting you know that I do not think of you and will pray that you find the strength to feel the same and move on.

I pray for you, and I don’t mean that as an insult as so many do, I actually want you to be confident in yourself and not need to check on me or compare yourself to me.  We’re separate individuals with completely different journeys.

I hope everybody loved their Independence holiday as much as we did!  More posts to come as we settle back in from our crazy start to the summer.

Photographs

Today I received the lens mentioned mentioned in this post.  It is an exciting lens for me and though I’m the most amateur of amateurs when it comes to photography I am aware (hopeful? haha!) that practice makes perfect, and eventually my photos will be straight up awesome.

This new lens is a 40mm macro lens so these photos were mainly me practicing with the lighting (as always) and aperture.  Any constructive criticism is welcome, you’d be doing me a favor! 🙂

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I always have qualms about sharing things because I’m such a private person so I really hope you enjoy what I have to share now and in the future.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

ps. feel free to follow my (admittedly, kind of obnoxious) instagram at k_forty

Touch

This chapter was interesting to me as my husband and I have recently begun working with the book The Five Love Languages (more about that later).  Touch is something I have personally become more aware of since bringing that book home.

When Will and I began dating we would hold hands in the car every moment possible.  We would cuddle watching movies rather than sprawl out on opposite sides of the sofa.  Sometimes we don’t even share the same blanket!

This chapter was about rekindling the physical aspect of your relationship with your spouse.  Becky Thompson is very specific about it being “all encompassing” in the physical world: holding hands, hugging, cuddling, etc.

Of course when one touches a loved one they experience an increase of oxytocin which is the happy hormone.  This really, truly, simple task makes everybody happy and calm, which in turn makes the relationship happier, right?  So simple. 🙂

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Task 1 | Task 2

Kindness

Do you find yourself speaking less kind toward your spouse than you would when you had first met each other?  I do.  In Becky Thompson’s book Love Unending she targets this as the second task to improve.  Love and marriage is her knowledge territory therefore I’m all about taking her expertise and practicing it in my life.

Being aware of, and improving, your own flaws is the best way to enhance any situation.  In my journey of 2017 I’ve been refining all of my relationships.  Some people had to go because they were nothing but negative, others had to be censored a little to help avoid the toxicity, and other relationships simply need more positive attention.

Luckily my husband and I don’t have a tough relationship but I’d rather put preventative work into it than have to re-mediate a situation.

I’ve witnessed people throwing their significant other’s belongings out the front door while demeaning and absolutely tearing them down; if they had worked on their relationship before things had gone sour it would be easier sailing.

I’ve also seen couples who never argue, ever.  These couples are aware of the best way to approach an issue and they use those techniques throughout their relationship.  (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a good book to help couples with this area.)

We aspire to be like the latter.  Since reading this second chapter in Becky Thompson’s book we have noticed that outside stressors cause us to become snippy with each other.  These stressors can be in the form of the toxic relationships mentioned previously or common stress-causing situations in day to day life.

We have seen this task improve drastically because I don’t find myself being treated poorly by others and then mirroring said behavior onto my husband.  I have more patience.  I’m behaving how I naturally would (and did when we first met), without censoring myself and becoming strained by not being comfortable.  I hope you can also notice any shortcomings you can work on to better the environment you live in. ❤

Purchase Becky Thompson’s book here and begin improving your marriage now!  Watch out for more posts as we continue our journey through her recommendations.

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To read the previous task click here

Improving marriage

In most aspects of life my family lives by the motto “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” however within our relationships at home and surrounding our home, we don’t want things to break, ever.

With the extra energy I’ve gained since removing toxic relationships I’ve been able to focus on improving the positive relationships in my life.  In order to do this I first had to recognize where I was lacking as a spouse, mother, or friend.  I cannot try to improve these relationships by dictating what others should improve, as that would have the opposite outcome, I must focus on and refine myself.

I purchased a book called Love Unending by Becky Thompson and began reading it this morning.

In her story, Becky describes her father as her inspiration.  He is patient and so obviously loving.  She seeks his relationship advice, which is to love your spouse as though it’s your first day of marriage.  She then goes on to say that her ideal relationship point to aspire toward was actually not then, but prior to her and her husband’s marriage, which I agree for ours.

When we got married we had already been living together, our roommate was a drunk who was sleeping with one of my sisters, my husband was working about 80 hours a week (many of them overnight shifts), and I was working part time and a student full time.  Talk about never again.  It was stressful.

Prior to our engagement we were both college students, living on campus, with a lot of free time and a healthy amount of responsibility.  It was perfect, the only thing that was better then than now was that we had predictable schedules.  Now, he never knows when he’ll be home from work, whether it be 3:30 or 10:00; he’s gone for weeks on end, and almost all of our attention is focused on the girls.

The first task in Becky’s book is to greet your spouse how you would greet them in the prime of your relationship.  I was happy to see Will simply for him 5 years ago.  I’ll have to admit that today I’m happy to see him more for his ability to help me than for his own presence.

That will change.  The next time I greet him I will greet him as I did for during the firey part of our relationship.

I am immersed in this task, and we will walk in love. ❤

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To read to the second task  click here

He’s home

Elizabeth missed her dada so much while he was away.  In fact I didn’t really notice how badly she missed him while he was gone.  She wasn’t fussy or asking about him in any unusual ways; sadly it’s common for them to miss each other even when he does come home after work.  He simply leaves for work before she’s awake in the morning and comes home after she’s in bed again; to her, he wasn’t home that day.

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I had no idea when he was going to be coming home; in fact I thought it was going to be the following day.  Out of nowhere I saw him pull into the driveway and told Elizabeth “let’s go outside, dada’s home!”  Instantly she ran toward the front door which was conveniently open as it has been beautiful mid-70’s weather lately.  Later in the afternoon while we were at dinner to celebrate dad being home Elizabeth would not let him go.  We set her up in a booster seat, which is also a first, but she just wanted to be held by him and cuddle.  When Elizabeth cuddles she rests her chin on your shoulder and pats your back; it’s seriously the cutest thing.  Being held by dada was the only thing she wanted the entire evening, and the following day.  It was so sweet to see, and I cannot get over it.

Since then, she has gone back to the normal routine of sometimes seeing him during lunch, sometimes not at all, we’re so unbelievably blessed that she is easy going and not really bothered by the unpredictable schedule yet.  She is arriving at the age where she will be impacted by his being gone for days, weeks, and God forbid, months.  We’ve been very self-sufficient in maintaining the home and our lives together (with Alodia, too).  Not much changes in our routines and habits when he leaves nor when he returns.  As a family we kind of just fit him into the rythmic works of our everyday lives.

As heartbreaking as it will be to see her sadness when he is absent, celebrating his returns will be worth it.