Wanna Dance? Of Course! By Ms. Coco

Wanna Dance? Of Course! By Ms. Coco

When the Gentleman Farmer and I discussed what our challenge should be this month we had different opinions. However, we decided to go with his of learning how to salsa. I know he likes to dance and I have never taken any dance classes at all, so once again this is new territory for me. I appreciate these experiences that we have together.

We went to two classes this week, and I must admit, it was a lot of fun! I am not shy on the dance floor, and I LOVE to dance! Salsa does not come naturally to me; I have a hard time listening to the beat sometimes. However, the GF is a great leader, and as long as I catch his signals, I can stumble my way through. I would love to be a great dancer. Also, our teacher is amazing. Visit The Salsa Center in Lexington if you have a chance!

I am also currently reading How To Be Married by Jo Piazza. The GF bought me this book because he said it sounds like something I would read – his assumption is accurate. In the last year, I read How To Be A Woman, How To Be A Person In The World, and How to Grow Anything – Food Gardening For Everyone (really a DVD, but, yah know), so this is right up my alley. In How To Be Married Piazza travels the earth asking advice from people from several countries. She also discusses the fact that marriage is not perfect and takes real work. As you may have realized by now, I am all for working on my relationships, personal – duh- and professional, to ensure success! In one country the advice given was to always dance with your spouse. If you’re able to dance, you should be able to communicate (I actually believe communication may be the most important link to a healthy marriage). We dance sometimes, but we can always incorporate more dancing, hand holding, and eye staring into our daily lives.

We can always talk more as well. There is one exercise that is brought up in the book about talking for five minutes each day uninterrupted. For example, the GF talks for five minutes about whatever he would like to discuss. It can be good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. I must listen to him and not respond but show nonverbal actions to encourage him to keep talking. Then we switch. This allows each person involved to discuss the important or nonimportant issues that may not be addressed because of distractions from our partners or not being fully engaged. Maybe we’ll try this tonight and report back our findings.


Dancing with Kids

Dancing with Kids

July has already been a busy month for Ms. Coco and me. The last week of June we went on a little vacation and watched Ms. Coco’s young nieces and nephews. We decided to bring two of them back to Kentucky with us for a week.

Our second week with the kids at home was fun and hectic. Ms. Coco had a county fair she was managing all week, and I was working on several projects while trying to keep the kids fed and entertained when Ms. Coco was busy.

My first idea was to take the kids fishing which turned out to excellent except we did not catch any fish and when we attempted to go a second time a thunderstorm rolled in and rained us out. We rushed back to the car just before the sky opened up. I drove the kids to Ms. Coco’s office while they slept in the back of the car.

We got to have dinner together while we watched a produce auction and a swine competition where pigs competed with their owners for money and the honor of being a blue ribbon hog. The pig show was entertaining, and the kids liked it until the pigs started getting a little too close for comfort.

To have children for two weeks was a new challenge for us, and I feel like we did a pretty good job of entertain the kids for the short time we had them. All the kids said they wanted to come back and visit again, so I say that was a win.

I look forward to the rest of the month ahead with Ms. Coco. We are going to be taking some dance classes before our big August trip. I hope that I can remember something from my high school dance class!


The Love We Share…By Ms. Coco

The Love We Share…By Ms. Coco

I am a thoughtful person, for good or for worse. I know that may get me in trouble sometimes…as some songs say, I overthink. However, we all do that sometimes. And since the Gentleman Farmer and I started this project six months ago – WOW – I think it’s a good time to do so. I spoke a little about this last month when we were determining our rituals, traditions, and special moments. So let’s get into what I have learned since starting this with my honey.

I have always known I can be stubborn. I like to get my way when I want it. I do not like when people tell me no, especially when it’s my man (and he rarely tells me no…but it still gives me a little pang in my heart). However, I have realized that this feeling is also something I see in the GF. If he asks me something, I attempt to do it when he asks. If he does not do the same, I am VERY impatient! In my mind, I am thinking of all of the requests he gives on a daily basis – which is many- and how quickly I respond. I also reflect on the years growing up with my mother. If she asked for something, she expected a response immediately. This trait apparently has been passed down to more than my household.

I also have realized no matter how well I believe the GF and me communicate, we sometimes are on opposite sides, and I have to be humble enough to fix the problem. Or at least begin to repair the issue. I shut down when there are problems most times. I do not want to say anything I will regret. I also need to gather thoughts. But at that moment my feelings are HURT! Within our relationship, I cannot shut down. And I won’t do that to him. He worries when I am not speaking to him, and I would never want to give him the thought that what is wrong is irreparable. Even when we are arguing – we have had a few of those – I still have to show him love in the way he receives it. For him, his love language is physical touch. He likes to hold my hand, touch my hair, or give me kisses when (I think) he thinks I am upset. At that moment the last thing I want to do is hold his hand, but I do because I still love him and I want to show him love always. I hope he does the same for me when he is upset. I need him to talk to me, listen to my concerns, and tell me what is going on since my love language is quality time.

One last thing I have realized over and over again is that the Gentleman Farmer loves me and will do anything to protect me, make me happy, and keep me safe. I adore him for all he is, pleasant or trying. We have done many things in the last year that have strengthened our love for each other, that have tested each other’s nerves, and that have affirmed – for me, at least – that he is the man I will love until the end of time. Of course, we have to decide on what our next steps in life are. Where will we live is something we’ve been contemplating for the last month or so. How will we keep our joint spaces neat enough that we won’t be irritated? How should our meals be prepared and seasoned (that’s all ME)? Where will our future children go to school (if our blessing is to have any)? Where will we feed Bates when we’re in other peoples’ homes? These are all questions that came up the past couple of months. We will get answers to them all. He gets All That I Got.

This month’s challenge is to create something together. Our first project is a menu board – I am always thinking of food. It will say “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34:8. We’ll see how this turns out!

How does one live a good life?

How does one live a good life?

Work life balance is hard for many people; I’ve still yet to master it.

Last week Ms. Coco talked about a mission statement. I’ve been thinking about the question she asked last week. I don’t have many answers yet, but I’m working figuring out the answers.

I recently attended a conference for work. But this conference was quite exceptional in that, you could bring your family, and made time each day for a group/family activity. The family time not only helped the attendees bond, but it also gave folks time to bond in a new way.

Ms. Coco had to work this week and could not attend with me. I missed our time together and wished she could have joined me. But I feel like this period apart was also valuable in that it made me appreciate our time together so much more!

The habit of taking a break a once a year to reevaluate work and family priorities is important to me.

How does one make sure they are a good husband, father, and person? This issue that was presented to me this week; by a colleague. I’ve found that asking better questions is a valuable skill.

So my plan this week is to take some time to try to answer some important inquiries. How am I going to do this? I don’t fully know. But I’m sure it will start with reading and research.

Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

This month of rituals and traditions have shaped our relationship in a different way than I imagined. I believe the Gentleman Farmer and I have always observed various rituals and traditions but have never talked about why we do what we do.  I think it is always important to know why we do what we do, whether that is personally or together. The Gentleman Farmer and I have discussed this for the past couple of weeks. For example, each night we give each other a kiss before saying goodnight. I think that is important and it lets me know we care about each other and are acknowledging each other before bed. If we miss a night my feelings are slightly hurt. (Don’t judge…we all have our things.)

For the last week or so the GF and I have discussed writing a mission statment for our relationship. I listen to many podcasts and at least three of them last week mentioned mission statements within their relationships. The couples who discussed them relayed how this mission statment was a tradition or ritual based on where they were in their lives. One couple just got married, another just had their third child, and another had been together for two years. I thought this concept of creating a mission statment was great! It directly impacts the work I do on a daily basis with families, but also it is a great thing to do with my honey. This exercise is ongoing and flexible and can be modified whenever we need.

So we started with a few questions. What is the purpose of our relationship? What type of life do we want to live? What does being right and wrong mean to us? What legacy do we want to leave together? Where do we want to raise our future kids? I asked the GF many questions that I found on the internet. I started with Cooperative Extension websites first because I wanted to see research based information. Then I looked at other samples and websites. I am always curious to see great examples of how others showcase their real realtionships. The GF and I both have our faults but I do believe, and hope, that we care about our relationship enough that we will foster intimacy in various ways other than just the physical.

We haven’t actually written the mission statement yet. And like the couples in the podcasts, this is a working “document” if you will. Maybe one day we will share it with the world. I wouldn’t mind.

We did go to the Juneteenth celebration this weekend in Lexington. It was pretty interesting. We didn’t stay long enough to hear or see the other informational acts that day but it was in a park after an African-American jockey from the late 19th century. I also signed up to volunteer with a coalition in the city. I believe community is important and I am trying to join communities in which we share similar interests. We’ll see how this goes!

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Right now I’m planning for Sunday dinner. A new Tradition we are working on adopting. For some reason most of my new habits and traditions revolve around food.

I also have some new personal habits, like being active an hour a day, writing, and reading for at least 30 minutes a day. We also have our relationship goals, like celebrating accomplishments, new holidays, and planning out at least one meal a day for the whole week. 

I’ve been writing a lot this last week. I was attending a writers conference and trying to improve my ability to put pen to paper. I learned a lot from several very good writers, about their habits, and how they keep themselves productive. Haveing a routines like taking a walk befor and after working for several hours, making tea, or finding a inspiring place to work like your front poarch of writing cubby helps keep you motivated.

Makeing small adjustments has made it easy and seems more effortless to adopt these habits. I’ve also been careful about how I add or take way thing. I know I’m busy on Fridays and I kept out date night their so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on Friday which is usually a busy day for us both. Sunday dinner is also good because it give me a chance to shop for the week ahead and make a little extra for Lunch on Monday and Tuesday. 

Ms. Coco want to celebrate more holidays, so I’m talking it upon my self to learn more about the holidays and traditions associated with them. My family was never big on celebrations but I do enjoy them and I know she does too. I’m going to be learning a lot this week about June-teenth, wish me luck and you can help me out by commenting about June-teenth traditions.

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Well, the month of May has come to a close and the Gentleman Farmer and I have made it out alive! I never had a doubt whether our relationship would still be in tact after 31 days of cohabitation, I just wondered how our mental state would be…or more so, my own mental capability after this month’s challenge. I think it was much easier than I anticipated overall. The Gentleman Farmer would tell  you he is an excellent “roommate” and I would have to agree with him. He is courteous of others, he does his share of chores – even though we never verbally discussed chores this month – and he prepares breakfast more times than I do! I am not a huge fan of breakfast but I fully understand why we are more productive and healthier if we do. However, I am a pretty good “roommate” if I say so myself. I cook dinner most nights (that we are at my house), I have snacks that he prefers (and La Croix water), and he always has lunch for the next day! I realize all of this revolves around food…but hey, I know what I know! I think it was a tie for this challenge.

The month of June is when we discover, explore, and create traditions that will last a lifetime. We certainly already have a few rituals or traditions that we observe. The Gentleman Farmer prepares dinner on Sunday nights. We celebrate accomplishments! Not every family celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations, or other milestones. However, we do this together and make a big deal of them, or at least I do and drag the GF along with me. June brings celebrations of African-American Music Month and the Juneteenth Celebration. I have grown up celebrating Juneteenth and would like to see how Lexington does so, if at all. We used to have community events at the park where I grew up. This included some type of learning program and lots of food. We usually celebrated other African-American holidays such as Black History Month and Kwanzaa. My mother was serious about her children learning the history of our people. She, and Nas (the rapper), always said “they” never teach you came from kings and queens. I am a Zimbabwean princess afterall…from the Shona tribe. 🙂

I look forward to starting and continuing traditions or rituals with the GF. He is my favorite person and I like being as spontaneous with him…or as predictable with him. All of these things set a strong foundation for how we choose to live our lives. And I like the way we are going. Every year I feel you should ask that person you like and love if you’re still going in the right direction. Since I asked him this a few months back I will have to ask another time…but for now we are both on the same page. I like that very much.