I am the cure for hiccups.

Some people believe that science has no idea what causes the hiccups. The truth is that science knows all kinds of things that cause the hiccups (carbonated beverages, laughter, stress, brain cancer, and more exciting things). But science doesn’t usually step in to do something about it until things get crazy bad.

For instance, a guy named Charles Osborne had hiccups from 1922 to 1990 and earned a spot in the Guinness World Records for the longest attack of hiccups. A few years back in 2007, a teen from Florida named Jennifer Mee got famous for hiccuping 50 times per minute for more than five weeks (unfortunately, she is also kind of famous for committing murder, which leads me to believe that hiccups can also cause craziness). Not to be outdone by the Yanks, Britain’s own Christopher Sands hiccupped every two seconds from February 2007 to May 2009. The only reason they stopped was because doctors found the cause of his hiccups to be a tumor, so they took it out and bam! They stopped.

Some cultures believe that hiccups are caused by being the object of someone’s thoughts (in the USA, we say that such thoughts cause a person’s ears to burn). But for my wife, the cause of hiccups has almost always been stress-related.

During our first year of marriage, she had a job that stressed her out to no end. Her manager was on a perpetual cigarette break, her schedule often included late nights followed by early morning shifts, and her coworkers were not always friendly. She got the hiccups every day, and usually multiple times during the day.

Let’s talk for a minute about the various home remedies for hiccups. Some people believe that a glass of water drank upside-down (or from the opposite side of the cup as normal) will cure them. Others stand by holding their breathe or eating a spoonful of sugar. But my favorite home remedy has always been scaring someone.

There’s something fun about trying to jolt a person’s hiccups away. Sometimes it works.

This was my standard offer for my wife during that first year of marriage. For some reason, she never took me up on it. Maybe because she is smarter than I am by an order of magnitude and she realized that since stress caused her hiccups, more stress would only speed them up. And yes, I often ignored her protests and scared her anyway, and yes, her hiccups would just pick up their pace.

But after almost ten years of marriage, we figured it out. I am the cure for her hiccups, but it has nothing to do with scaring her.

Here we are hugging just prior to getting married. No, we didn't go anywhere exotic in our dating life. That tropical scene was the wallpaper in my apartment prior to us getting hitched.

Here we are hugging just prior to getting married. No, we didn’t go anywhere exotic in our dating life. That tropical scene was the wallpaper in my apartment prior to us getting hitched.

Lately when she gets the hiccups, I give her a hug. Just a hug. It doesn’t even have to be all that long of a hug. And her hiccups disappear.

I’m actually kind of proud that my hugs are so calming that I can stop her hiccups. I’ll take it as one more proof that she and I are perfect for each other.

How often do you get the hiccups? What do you do to get rid of them?

I am Mary Todd Lincoln. Maybe.

My wife and I have joined a non-church-sanctioned couple’s Bible study. Yeah, we’re rebels.

Our group formed about a month ago when a newly married couple at our church expressed an interest in getting a bunch of couples together to talk about marriage. They could have gone through the official church channels to make it an official thing, but then the curriculum would have to be approved by some kind of board and the whole thing could have been killed by bureaucracy. So instead, we’re holding it in the homes of couples within the group and keeping quiet about it on Sunday morning. (I’m hoping that no one at my church actually reads this blog, by the way)

It’s a bit like Fight Club in that way. Only it’s a Marriage Club. And everyone knows that fighting and marriage have nothing to do with each other. Right?

9780310291442We’re going through Gary Thomas’ DVD series, Sacred Marriage. Thomas asks the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

My wife and I are set to lead the second session of the study, which focuses on the refining power of marriage.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863In the DVD, Thomas talks about Abraham Lincoln. In most polls, Lincoln is ranked pretty high on the list of best Presidents. At the same time, Mary Todd Lincoln scores consistently low among first ladies. So if we believe that God is in control of everything, why would he put such a great guy with such a terrible lady? Thomas suggests that God was preparing Honest Abe to keep a nation together by giving him a challenging wife and telling him to keep his marriage together. Good stuff.

It makes me think about my marriage and how my wife might be preparing me for something larger. If Lincoln’s contentious wife helped him stick with one of the bloodiest wars in history in order to keep the Union together, what does that mean for me?

464px-Mary_Todd_Lincoln2cropMy wife is no Mary Todd. Instead of being mean, cold, and crazy, she’s pretty darn great. She’s hardworking and kind, a great mom to our kids, and she’s smart as a whip. I think it’s possible that God is using her to teach me how to be more like my wife, but I think it’s more likely that I’m the Mary Todd of our marriage.

Chances are pretty good that God is using my terribleness to teach her how to be a great leader of some kind. Perhaps she’ll be able to diffuse World War 3 or something later on. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of marriage and so far, I’m enjoying the Sacred Marriage study. My hope is that, even though I think I’ve got a pretty great marriage already, I can learn new ways to love my wife and to help both of us to be more holy.

The Art of Stay-cationing

My wife and I are on vacation this week. We aren’t camping, or traveling, or anything like that. We are, in fact, staying home. In common parlance, we are having a “stay-cation”.

There is an art to the stay-cation. The art is in the balance. If you work the entire time, you do not feel like you are on vacation at all. If you try to spend all of your time outside of the home, you might as well have gone on an actual vacation. And if you fill every day with day trips, you will run out of resources quicker than you can say “I just spent too much at the zoo!”

Thankfully, my wife and I are great balances for each other. We began the week by writing a list. Okay, to be honest, my wife started the list, because that’s the type of person that she is. She filled the list with all of the projects around the house that we have been putting off for lack of time. She wrote down things like scrubbing the floorboards and power mopping the hardwood, renting a carpet cleaner and fixing our bathroom sink drain, and so on. Good things all, but fun? Not so much.

grand_rapids_childrens_museumBut that’s okay, because we have fun planned in as well. We are going to story time at the library, taking the girls to the carousel at the mall, visiting the children’s museum downtown, and celebrating eight years of marriage with dinner and a movie (in an actual theater!).

The to-do list is a balanced approach of the things that need to be done with the things we want to do, and the really beautiful thing is that no matter what category (fun vs. work) an activity falls into, we will be happier once that activity is completed.

Sometimes, I have trouble seeing the happy part of doing back-breaking labor. That’s when I am happiest that my wife sees it there for me. And sometimes, my wife has trouble seeing an activity as worth the money it costs to do, which is where I step in and encourage us to do it anyway.

Yes, the stay-cation is an art, but once learned, can be applied to all areas of life. Even after you return to work.

I am glad she said yes.

On this date, eight years ago, I asked my wife to marry me. Here’s how it went down.

DeAnne and I started dating in February of 2004, after I asked for her phone number at the end of a church group winter retreat. Technically, I asked, “So, do you have a phone?”, which she kindly understood what I meant and jotted it down for me. I have a way with words.

Doesn’t this look like a fun place for a first date?

Our first date was February 20th and consisted of me waiting at the entrance of the restaurant where we were to meet for hours on end, telling myself that I had not been stood up, eventually calling her house, leaving a message, waiting some more, getting a phone call that her car had broken down, but that she was getting a ride with someone else and she would need a lift home after the date, to which I said yes. She showed up and saw me sitting at the entrance with a sign bearing her name (like at an airport). This lifted the tension a bit. After dinner at Kahunaville in the mall(the restaurant is closed now and in its place is a furniture shop), we got tickets to a late showing of the Adam Sandler comedy, “Fifty First Dates”. But since my carefully crafted schedule was thrown out the window by her broken-down car, we had time to kill before the movie. Lacking other ideas, we drove to a nearby grocery store (Why did we leave the mall? I don’t know. I was nervous.) and walked the international foods aisle, which I said was how I got my culture. We returned to the mall in time to see the movie, which was okay, but the company was far better.

Fast forward to almost a year later. It is late January. DeAnne’s birthday is coming up. I know that I love her and that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. It took months of careful saving, but I bought the ring (another adventure for another post) and had been hanging on to it for at least a month. I knew her rules for how the question should be popped (not in public, not surrounded by friends or family, and I must have her father’s blessing). All I was waiting for was the right opportunity.

Even though I had the ring at Christmas, I didn’t want to ask during Christmas, because I wanted the date to stand out for its own significance. I wanted to do it soon, and I wanted it to be a surprise, so I decided to make it seem like I was just doing something for her birthday. I made sure that we both had the day off and told her to let me plan the whole day.

Now, you might be asking yourself if she suspected something at this point. Fair question. She was certainly hoping that I was going to ask soon. But an unforeseen transmission replacement right after Christmas had her convinced that anything I had saved for a ring was now changing gears in my car (that’s was a transmission does). In fact, she went to her sister a couple of days before our special “birthday” celebration and cried about how I wasn’t going to ask her soon because of my stupid car. Of course, you’ll remember that I had already had the ring by this point, so the car repair just came out of my savings.

card_1Well, dawn broke on our special day and I showed up bright and early with homemade Monkey Bread and the first of many homemade “birthday” cards. The first card contained a riddle and the promise of more clues. The riddle said, “Farms have these; they’re made of wood. Plus one more name for right and good.”

So we went to Barnes and Noble Booksellers, where we had spent a fair amount of time together while dating. At the cafe in Barnes and Noble, a present (a gift card and a hot drink) and another card/clue were waiting for her. This clue consisted of a series of questions, the answers of which fit into a grid where certain letters were circled. After the questions were all answered, the circled letters spelled the next location, which was Eddie Bauer.

Eddie Bauer was my employer at the time and they made possible my saving up for the ring. They also have fine quality clothing that lasts a long time. When we got there, DeAnne went to the counter were a package (a nice, warm sweatshirt) was waiting for her along with her next card/clue. In the card was a picture of a cow with a speech bubble, an arrow pointing to the speech bubble minus the letter “O” plus “VVVVVVV”. That’s right, we were off to the movies.

It was a morning showing of “Meet the Fockers”. Don’t judge, there weren’t many options that morning. Anyway, at the ticket counter, another card/clue was handed to DeAnne before we went into the theater. The clue was this, “This garden will your hunger sate, with bread sticks always on your plate.” The movie ended around noon and we left for lunch at Olive Garden, DeAnne’s favorite restaurant.

At this point, DeAnne was pretty sure that the day’s surprises were done. We saw a movie, she got a couple of gifts, and now we were eating out. Obviously, a fair amount of planning had gone into her birthday celebration, since she was recognized at each place and handed something to open. She thanked me for a really nice birthday and asked what we were going to do for the rest of the day. I told her that it wasn’t over yet. Just then, her next card/clue came with our bill.

This clue sent us to the grocery store where we had walked the international food aisle so many months before, but on this day, we went in search of some snacks to sustain us for the remainder of the day. We checked out at the help desk, where she got another card/clue. It sent us “where Hollywood’s library is certainly Grand, but overdue fees can get out of hand.” And so we went to the movie rental place near her house, Grand Video, for a couple of movies to watch that night.

Now, I don’t know if they are still open or not, but when I showed up there the day before to drop off the next clue and leave a picture of DeAnne and I (which is how the employees at each place knew us on sight), the manager gave me some free movie vouchers just because he thought I was doing something cool. So if you live in the Grandville/Hudsonville area, and if you don’t do Netflix or something like it, give your video rental business to Grand Video. Anyway, DeAnne and I went there together, the clerk handed DeAnne another card/clue. I was really stretching by this time, so the clue said this, “Umm, clues for the next few places were really hard to come up with, so basically you’ll just have to trust me and follow my lead. I love you!”

We were near her house and it was getting cold, so we stopped by to pick up some warm clothes and a blindfold. So far, all of the places that we had gone that day had some significance throughout our dating relationship, but this time we were off to somewhere new, somewhere that I hoped would have a special significance all its own. After leaving her house, I had her put on a blindfold and I drove her to a park.

I imagined that the park would be a very nice place to come back to in future years, but on this cold night in Michigan, I had forgotten that the sun goes down obscenely early and that I would be asking for her hand practically in the dark. In any case, I had a flashlight, but the view that I imagined was ruined.

card_finalSo we got out of the car at the park. Still blindfolded, DeAnne followed my lead up a hill in the dark and I gave her the final card. It had a little mushy writing and the letters w-i-l-l-u-o-y-r-r-a-m-e arranged in the question mark. While she was trying to read it there in the dark, I pulled out the ring box and got down on one knee in the snow. Since she seemed confused, I asked out loud.

“DeAnne, will you marry me?”

Now, what happened next has been debated for eight years. DeAnne says that her first word was, “yes,” followed by, “wow,” followed by, “my dad agreed to this?”. I insist that it happened in reverse order. Either way, she said yes eventually and we headed back to her house where her family all knew what was happening and greeted us with congratulatory hugs.

It was a perfect day, and it’s been a wonderful eight years. I’m so glad she said yes. I love you DeAnne!

I humbly accept…

Jodi Picoult

There’s that unwritten schism that literary writers get all the awards and commercial writers get all the success.

– Jodi Picoult, Author of 18 novels

According to this quote by Jodi Picoult, I have become a literary blogger as of late. In the last few weeks, I’ve been nominated for a few blogging awards, which I think is just wonderful, because I’m a person who appreciates appreciation.

Also, it is nice to know that I’m not simply writing into the void.

My thanks go to the people who nominated me:

According to the rules of these awards, I’m supposed to say 7 things about myself and then nominate 15 other people for each award. I’ll give you the 7 things, but the 15 other blogs seems a bit chain-letter-y, so I’ll just list some awesome blogs without keeping too close a track on numbers. For the people who do find their links here, take your pick of these awards and tell your friends that you got it here.

7 Things about Josh Mosey

  1. I am happily married (sorry ladies!)to the most beautiful, smart, and hardworking woman in the world (sorry men!).
  2. I took a class in college where I learned how to tie knots and juggle.
  3. I am the founding president of the Valhalla Norwegian Society.
  4. I have more hair on the underside of my arms than most people.
  5. In high school, I helped a non-existent student run for class office, and though he did not win, he beat one of the more popular girls from school.
  6. I have never been afraid to make a fool of myself.
  7. I am afraid of fish.

There you go. The dirty truths come out.

Here are some links.

Some are writers, others are religiously themed. Be sure to visit them all, because they are all quite good.

As it turns out, I came up with 15 links after all, but that was only by happenstance. These are the blogs that I make it a point to read as often as they put new content up.

Thanks again to the folks who nominated me, and thanks to everyone who reads my blog. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to keep it going for this long.

I am a husband. Part II

A while back, I was inspired by a series of posts that Jessie Clemence had done on her blog and I interviewed my wife. That interview has proven to be one of my most popular posts over time, which makes sense, because my wife makes everything better.

Well, anyway, she and I were chatting about ideas for blog posts and she asked if I would consent to her interviewing me. I did. Here are her questions and my answers.

What are you looking forward to most about being a father of two?

I love being a parent and seeing you (my wife) as a parent. Our daughter is simply adorable and I can’t wait to see another little girl who is half me and half you (my wife again). Also, I’m looking forward to seeing how Adie is with her sister.

What other hobbies do you have besides writing?

I collect Lego sets, specifically the viking, adventure, and castle sets. Though I just saw some Lord of the Rings themed sets that make me want to eat my words about how I hate that Lego is going after franchises. I also collect Dr Pepper knock-offs (the regional drinks that try their best to be Dr Pepper without coming anywhere close). My favorite is probably Doctor by the Our Family brand, because it didn’t even bother to come up with a replacement for Pepper like Dr. Thunder, Dr. Nehi, and Dr. M did. Plus, I am a fan of the show Doctor Who, who also goes by simply, the Doctor.

What is something that you do that gives you personal satisfaction or makes you proud?

I am a sucker for praise, especially of any of my creative endeavors. I know that I should care less or not at all what other people think about stuff, but I also know that I’m a born people-pleaser, and it makes me happy to make other people happy. If I can create a thing that gives joy, it will give me joy. It is probably strange then that one of my novels is dystopian and doesn’t end happily. I guess I’m complicated.

If you could be any character from your novels or short stories, which would you be? Why?

I would love to be Tom, the invisible roommate of my Thom & Tom series. He’s such a goofball and doesn’t care what people think about him. He lives by his own rules and whether he intends to or not, brings a bit of joy to his roommate, Thom. Also, he’s invisible, so that’s pretty cool.

If you could make any book you’ve read reality, what would you choose?

I love the idea that M. I. McAllister’s Mistmantle series could be happening for real somewhere, that there could really be an island of chivalrous squirrels, playful otter, bustling hedgehogs, and hardworking moles living in harmony. Plus, many of my other favorite books have some pretty scary bits that I would hate to see in reality.

What is it that, in your opinion, makes you so incredibly awesome?

My wife. She’s the awesome one. You were probably just thinking of her. I don’t blame you. I like to think of her too.

If you could have a super power, which would you choose? Would you let people know about your power or use a secret identity?

I would like the ability to transform one kind of substance into another kind of substance, like iron into gold, or dirt into gasoline. I would be called “The Alchemist”. Unless I had some kind of invincibility that went along with my other powers, I would keep my identity secret. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be safe otherwise. Plus, my family would always be in danger of being kidnapped for ransom and such. So yeah, a secret identity would be good. I’m not sure how I’d fight crime, but I bet I could give more to charity, and that’s like the same thing.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?

I very much enjoy the game Diablo II. I know that Diablo III just came out, and someday I’m sure we’ll get it, but at the moment, I don’t know when we’d play.

Do you think watching TV can help or hurt your writing and level of creativity?

I’m a bit torn on this question. I was a the quintessential couch potato growing up, and I consumed a lot of television. As a result, I learned a lot about how stories are put together and about characters that I enjoyed. I would come up with stories and drawings based on what I had seen on television. Today, I watch a couple of shows every few weeks, but I don’t have time for much more. If I were as addicted to television now as I was when I was growing up, I know that my writing would suffer, but more due to the time constraints than to being dumbed down by TV.

What is one things that never fails to make you laugh?

Juvenile bodily functions. Every time.

What is your favorite book of all time?

I have to pick just one? Probably The Hobbit, because of its unique point of view. Not many books can pull off a third person story told by a first person narrator with second person asides.

If you could only use 4 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Married, Genial, Creative, Inquisitive

What is the best part of being my husband?

The best part is the fact that I don’t have to leave you at the end of the date anymore. When we were dating, I hated going home. Now your home is my home. As far as specifically be married to you though, I love that you are good at things like math and budgets, and that I know I can trust you will all areas of life.

Didn’t my wife ask a bunch of well-thought-out, wonderful questions? I’m starting to think that she should be the one with the blog.

I am a husband.

I love my wife more than old people love racism and talking about diseases.Let me be up front with you about something. I stole the idea for this post from a series of posts that Jessie Clemence did on her blog. Her interviews with her family (husband, daughter, son) made me smile and opened a window to her life that I hadn’t seen before (I knew Jessie and her husband when I was in college, but our paths split before they had kids).

I thought, “What a great idea! How hard could it be to interview your spouse?” So, I made  a list of questions and had my wife answer them. Here’s the result:

How long have we been together?

Not nearly long enough.  That being said, we had our first date 8 years, 2 months, and 16 days ago.  We have been married for 6 years, 8 months and 16 days, but as I said, not nearly long enough.

What are you reading now?

I am just about to finish Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, which has kept my attention from the beginning of the winter school semester.  I have read the book about three pages at a time for almost five months, but even though it has stretched over a long time, it still kept me coming back for more whenever I had time to spare.

What is your favorite book?

This is a hard question because in every genre I have a favorite book. That being said, the book I have enjoyed for the longest amount of time is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

What are your thoughts on your husband being a writer?

Honestly it depends on the day.  For most days, I am excited and supportive of your desire to do something you enjoy and I try to express that through my words and actions.  There are also occasional days were I become self focused and wonder why you must choose a hobby that is not only time-consuming but also solitary. On those days, I must remember your writing is not about me, but about you doing something that makes you happy.

You work full-time, raise a 1.5 year old, and are 7 months pregnant. You also just completed a master’s course in Accounting. Are you crazy?

No, let’s just say I have an incredible partner that makes all that possible.  I couldn’t do it without you babe.

What is the first thought that goes through your head when I say that I’m going off to write for a while?

Once again, this honestly depends on whether I have my attitude and focus where it belongs.  Given that I feel most loved by spending quality time together, leaving me to write isn’t the best way to say I love you.  So, whether I need an attitude adjustment or it is where it needs to be already, I need to remember that my joyfully letting you go is a good way to say I love you.

What is something that you want strangers to know about me?

Oh, the things I could share…

Do you have any advice for the spouses of writers?

Whether other spouses deal with this or not, maybe it’s just me, but I have to constantly remember it’s not about me, it’s about you.  That applies to all areas, at least in my opinion.

I love my wife.

I don’t know if you’ve read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but it spells out five ways that people feel most loved. There’s quality time, words of encouragement, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. DeAnne and I read this book in our first year of marriage and it has really helped me understand how to make her feel loved. That said, her love language is quality time and mine is physical touch. When we are snuggling on the couch, both of our love tanks get filled.

But then I took up writing. Like she said in her answers, I write best when I can be focused entirely on my writing, so it is essentially a solitary thing. I try to choose times to write when it won’t affect our time together, times when she is either out of the house (her commute is about an hour longer than mine) or sleeping (I’m a night owl anyway), but there are still times when I get together with my writers’ group when I could be spending time with her.

That isn’t a good way to help my wife feel loved. Sometimes, this makes me feel like bad husband, like I am not giving her what she needs, like I am choosing my own desires over hers. And no matter how many times she insists that I go off and write, I feel that I am messing things up.

This past weekend, through the interview and other conversations that we had, she helped me understand that my writing time wasn’t really the issue. The real issue is that when I am spending time with her, it isn’t always quality time because my mind is still living in writing-land. We may be sitting on the couch together or playing with our daughter, but I’m not fully there because I’m thinking of the next scene in my novel or the blog post that I’m going to write.

Our time together isn’t quality when I’m letting other things come before her and marriage.

Now, I’m not going to quit writing. I think, for the most part, I’ve tried to limit the time that I spend writing when my wife is available. But I am going to try turning off the writing part of my brain when I’m with my wife. For me, my marriage comes first. I love you DeAnne Lynne Mosey!