Tag Archives: communicate

Schedule Time To Talk

At the end of July, my husband & I had a disagreement.  Not even really a fight, just a disagreement.  During the course of working things out, we began talking about our relationship in general.  We realized that when stressed, we both tend to withdraw into ourselves.  Both being major introverts (he’s INTJ, I’m INFJ), it’s hardly a surprise.  It’s also not good for our marriage, because when he withdraws it triggers me to withdraw from him & when I withdraw, it triggers him to withdraw from me also.  We tried to figure out ways to cope with this when we came up with a good solution, & I believe it’s beneficial for any marriage.

We now have daily time to talk with each other, minus tv & computer.  Maybe music but that is iffy.  In fact, we have the Amazon Echo Dot, & I have a daily reminder on there for her to tell us to talk so we are sure not to forget this time.

Every evening at 9, our Dot tells us “This is your daily reminder.  It’s talk time.”  At that time, we turn off the tv & computers, ignore the phone & talk.  The topics vary daily.  Sometimes he talks more than me, sometimes I talk more than him.  We also don’t have a set time we must talk, so sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, sometimes an hour or more.  There are also times we do it earlier in the day because maybe there’s a tv show we want to watch coming on at 9 or we’re really tired & want to get some extra sleep.  We also had an evening where one of our cats got sick & had to go to the emergency vet about 9pm, so talk time obviously was postponed that day & rescheduled for the next few days while he was in there to adapt to our spending time at the hospital.  There are no rules & there is absolutely NO pressure about talk time other than spend time together.

This ritual has been super beneficial for our marriage!  I’ve noticed we are withdrawing much less & being a lot more open about everything.  My husband used to hold a lot in about his difficulties at work but now he is talking about them.  Even when it isn’t “talk time,” he’s opening up about work more often.  He used to hold his frustrations in so this is a very good thing!  So much healthier!

We also are closer than we once were.  Focusing on each other daily has increased the intimacy in our marriage.  We are more open with each other & know we can talk to each other about anything.  I’ve felt safer to bring up topics that could start arguments because both of us are more patient, considerate & understand with each other since we started with our daily talk time.  It seems like we slow down & really think about things more during talk time.

I think we also have begun to have even more in common than we once did.  By focusing so much on each other during our talk time, it seems to have enabled us to see things from each other’s perspectives more than we once did.  We used to butt heads about how money should be spent, as one example, but now we agree on it.  Granted that area improved the longer we’ve been together, but  since we started this ritual, we’ve gotten to be a lot more on the same page.  We rarely disagree on financial things anymore.

I wanted to share this discovery with you, Dear Reader, because I think this talk time ritual can help any marriage.  I know, life can be so busy, but like I said, it doesn’t have to take long.  Even just a few minutes each day where you & your spouse focus on each other can be a good thing.  If you opt to try this in your marriage, then please do as we have done & keep it as low key as possible.  I really think pressure would make it into a burden rather than something to look forward to each day.  Schedule a time that works for you but be flexible enough to change it if circumstances dictate.  Don’t worry about having a time limit either or specific topics.  Just hang out with your spouse & talk about whatever topics come up.  The point is to have fun, relax or work through a problem.  Just go with the flow & see if your marriage doesn’t improve like mine did.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

Communicating With Animals

Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  (KJV)

 

One of God’s greatest blessings is animals.  I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them.  Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent.  What’s not to love?!

 

In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old.  I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong.  In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.

 

The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun.  I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief.  I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would.  A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy.  I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died)  I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were.  Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.”  I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them.  After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.

 

The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework.  When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day.  “Mommy, this song fits me.  Listen to the lyrics.”  By this time, I doubted my sanity.  Once I was done my chores,  I prayed, asking God what was going on.  I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible.  It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture:  Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  (KJV)  Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire.  I wasn’t crazy!

 

Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals.  I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly.  What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me.  Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat.   He was very proud of his heritage apparently.  Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”.  Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD.  He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.

 

I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know.  You just need to be observant.

 

Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try.  Some seem to put up a mental wall.

 

Be careful reading about communicating with animals.  Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God.  They make it sound almost occult in nature.   I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with.  I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.

 

Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals.  I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed.   If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down  : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Some Thoughts On Pets

This past Thursday, we lost a beloved & very special member of our family.  Our cat Pretty Boy passed away suddenly of unknown causes at just over 14 years old.

 

I’m not sharing this for sympathy.  I’m sharing because I want to remind you fellow pet parents out there to enjoy every moment you have with your furbabies.  The time together can end in an instant, so make it a point to treasure every moment you have with them.  Pray for them regularly.  You may be surprised how much your furbaby likes it when you pray for them.  Pretty Boy had diabetes for 5.5 years, & I regularly prayed for him.  When I prayed for him in his presence, he purred & cuddled me.  It can be a bonding experience, praying for your furbaby.

 

Also, I have asked God to help me to understand & communicate with my furkids.  As a result, we are all very close.  And, I think this also has helped them to become the wonderful little creatures God created them to be.  It’s not just me that thinks they are wonderful either.  I’ve had several friends over the years who have said almost exactly the same thing- “I’m not normally a cat person, but there is something special about yours.  They’re so friendly & loving.”  I had one friend who was terrified of cats.. until he met my first cat, Magic.  Magic became his buddy in no time.  This friend also was no longer afraid of cats after spending time with mine.

 

Communicating with animals is possible, & God will show you how to do it.  It is beneficial for you as well as them, & draws you closer to the furbaby.  I wrote some about it in my book, “Pawprints On Our Hearts” & will discuss it in a bit more detail in an upcoming blog post.   Job 12:7 says, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)  God will allow us to communicate with animals & be blessed by it.  It is truly a glorious gift He has given us, to communicate with these wonderful creatures He has made.  By communicating with mine & becoming so close to them, I have been blessed more than I can say.  In fact, one of those blessings has come in the form of music.  As my cat Weeble, was dying in May, she told me that the song “Angel” by Jon Secada reminded her of me.  I still have trouble listening to the song since losing her was so recent, but at the same time, it gives me comfort.  Also about a year ago, I was listening to Queen when the song “I Was Born To Love You” came on.  Pretty Boy & I were snuggling when he stopped & looked at me, giving me the slow blink cats do when saying they love you as the song came on.  Immediately I knew he was saying this was our song.

 

Just because… here is a picture of Pretty Boy.  RIP, my angel boy.  I love you with all my heart & will see you again one day soon..

 

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

A Helpful Tool For Responding In Difficult Situations

Much information I’ve read about Alzheimer’s stresses the importance of treating the patient with respect.  They are more frustrated than you because they can’t remember things or function like they once did, & your lack of respect will upset them even more.  One article gave a very valuable tip for the caregivers that is also extremely useful for dealing with difficult people in general.  Although I have mentioned it before, I want to stress it again because I believe it is extremely valuable.

Rather than reacting out of emotion, take a moment to take a deep breath, think, then respond instead.

Reacting is done without thinking while responding requires thought.  Reacting causes stress & disagreements, where responding can avoid them.  No matter how functional or dysfunctional your relationship, or whether or not the other person has an awful illness like Alzheimer’s, responding is always better than reacting.

As I’ve mentioned, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in July of last year.  Also as I’ve mentioned before, Alzheimer’s & dementia exacerbate narcissism in a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Dealing with him has become very difficult sometimes even though the disease hasn’t progressed too badly yet.  I have found the pause to take a deep breath tactic very useful for dealing with him.  As an added bonus, I learned it’s also useful in dealing with my narcissistic mother.

Deep breathing is relaxing, plus the pause gives you a moment to calm down your anger.  Both really help in dealing with narcissists!

This technique also helps me to deal with the frustration of flaring symptoms that accompany C-PTSD like having trouble finding the right words.  The brief pause often means the word comes to me when it wouldn’t during moments of frustration.  It also can help to trigger remembering something that was lost a moment before.

It also helps my marriage.  Thanks to the C-PTSD & a brain injury, I can be very moody & irritable.  Unfortunately there are times I have snapped at my husband for no reason, but I have found this technique helps to cut back on those times a lot.  If we’re talking while I am irritable, I stop & take a deep breath.  It helps me to have more control, & not snap at my poor husband.

No matter the status of your relationships or your mental health, I hope you will consider what I have said & begin to employ this technique.  It really can be helpful in even the most challenging of relationships!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

May 19, 2013

The last week or so have been over the top negative & stressful to me.  As a result, I’ve had many panic attacks, haven’t slept much lately, had nightmares, etc etc.. 

Today, while my husband is out, I decided to relax & have some “me” time.  I sent prayer requests to a few Christian websites.  I then cranked up a folder of music on my mp3 player that I have titled “Songs That Make Me Happy.”  Yes, I listen to the same tunes over & over, but well, they make me happy!  I also took a nice, warm, relaxing shower followed by exfoliating my skin & applying a yummy lavender scented lotion.  The entire time, I prayed.  

No, it wasn’t an expensive or elaborate afternoon, but it made me feel better.  MUCH better.  

Partly why it made me feel better is the music.  I am not a fan of Christian or gospel music. I have nothing against it- just for some odd reason, it seldom “speaks” to me.  The cool part of that?  God still speaks to me through my taste in music.  Today, one of the songs I listened to was “That’s How They Do It In Dixie” by Hank Williams, Jr.  Listening to the song reminded me how I have lost myself & need to get back in touch with that Southern gal that lives inside me.  She is my true self- kinda rebellious, but a lady who while feminine will fight for what is right.  Another song was “455 Rocket”- about a gal with an Oldsmobile with a 455 cubic inch engine in it.  I happen to have one of those!  She raced hers, & I raced mine many times too (much to the dismay of the other guy!  lol).  It felt good remembering that.  I also am listening to several songs from the 80’s (when I was a teen) that remind me of when I was 19 in 1990 & had just moved out on my own for the first time.  It was the one time in my life I was actually able to be who I truly am- living my life on my own terms, not others’ terms.  

I’ve been “scolded” many times for not listening to more Christian music, but truth be told, I’m fine NOT listening to it.  God still speaks to me.  We’re still close.  Honestly.. if He was upset by this, I think He would have let me know it by now.  I just want those of you reading this now to know that God loves you & will relate to you however works.  He isn’t critical of that!  He invented all music (not just gospel & Christian songs), movies, books.. He will meet you where you are & loves you so much!

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