Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fear and Timidity?



God gives us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.

Not fear and timidity. These are tools the enemy uses to make us lose our focus and motivation. To trip us up To keep us from doing God’s work. Leading us away from His will and his plans for us.

Will we let fear and timidity deter us? Or will we stand in God’s power and love to follow through on the plans He has for us?

“…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

That's Not My Name...

When I took at quick look at what was going on with some of the blogs I read this morning and saw that The Vintage Modern Wife was co-hosting a link up with the theme "Say My Name" (encouraging bloggers to share the origin of their blog name) I decided to give it a go! 

For any who are now going to have that annoying song by the Ting Tings stuck in their head all afternoon thanks to the title I chose for this post - Sorry.  Misery loves company.

I started my blog at a time when I was overwhelmed and annoyed by the increasing existence of all those "The Real Housewives of _____"  so-called-reality shows. 

When I thought of all the REAL housewives I know, not one of them was represented by a single person being showcased on these shows.  It was irritating.  As far as I could tell there was nothing real about most of these women - from their hair, to their breasts, to their personalities, to their friendships.  It made me sad that housewives were being portrayed in such a manner.

I imagined a show highlighting the lives of the real housewives I knew.  No lunches on the patio over cocktails and extreme back biting and cattiness, followed by an afternoon of over indulgent retail therapy.  More like morning rush to get the kids fed and to school, followed by a day of cleaning, grocery shopping, doing laundry, getting dinner on the table, making sure homework is done, etc.  I know... not exactly exciting television.  But that IS reality.

This inspired the original title of my blog "The Really Really Real Housewife".  Which soon evolved a little to the current working title. 

Just me.  Keeping it real.
The Vintage Modern Wife: Say My Name Link Up


My Love Dare: Day 21

“The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire.” ~ Isaiah 58:11




Day 21: Love is satisfied in God

God alone can satisfy all your needs. He is always on time. He always keeps his promises. He is always dependable.

You spouse is human. They will never be able to meet all of your expectations. They will never be able to assure you will be content no matter what happens. They will never be able to fill the God shaped hole in your heart. They are going to let you down at times. They will sometimes disappoint you. They will fall short of expectations.

This doesn’t mean that your spouse isn’t “the one” or that they are not a good spouse. It’s just that people are… well… human.

It’s time to stop expecting your spouse to give you all the things only God is capable of doing!!

Learn to trust God and depend on Him! God’s truth is the one constant, always dependable thing in life.

Seek Him. Love Him. Make your relationship with Him your top priority. He will supply you with all you need.

TODAY’S DARE: BE INTENTIONAL TODAY ABOUT MAKING A TIME TO PRAY AND READ YOUR BIBLE. TRY READING A CHAPTER OUT OF PROVERBS EACH DAY (THERE ARE THIRTY-ONE, A FULL MONTHS SUPPLY), OR READING A CHAPTER IN THE GOSPELS (MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, AND JOHN), AS YOU DO, IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LOVE AND PROMISES GOD HAS FOR YOU. THIS WILL ADD TO YOUR GROWTH AS YOU WALK WITH HIM.

I make an effort each morning to spend time in God’s Word, and in prayer. I really do feel it makes a difference in how my day runs to take this time with just myself and the Lord. It has been a while since I have read through Proverbs in a month. Maybe March is a good time to revisit that book.

”You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” ~ Psalm 145:16

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 20

“While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” ~ Romans 5:6


Day 20: Love is Jesus Christ

We are all imperfect people.

We all sin.

We all make mistakes

We all fail sometimes.

We all have flaws.

Despite all of our short comings and disobedience – God still love us!

Jesus proved God’s love for us on the cross.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~ Romans 5:8

We don’t have to work for God’s love. We don’t have to earn it. We can’t. It’s a gift freely given to us. All we have to do is accept it.

Once we begin to understand the love God has for us; we can begin to share that love.

To love our spouse even when they may not act lovable. To see past the flaws and imperfections and still love. To give them the grace and blessings of that love. To share with them the True Love we have found in Christ.

TODAY’S DARE: DARE TO TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD. DARE TO TRUST JESUS CHRIST FOR SALVATION. DARE TO PRAY, “LORD JESUS, I’M A SINNER. BUT YOU HAVE SHOWN YOUR LOVE COR ME BY DYING TO FORGIVE MY SINS, AND YOU HAVE PROVEN YOUR POWER TO SAVE ME FROM DEATH BY YOUR RESURRECTION. LORD, CHANGE MY HEART, AND SAVE ME BY YOUR GRACE.”

I opened my heart to God’s grace and love some time ago. But I still sometimes need to remind myself of exactly how much God loves me. And how that love was shown through Christ. And to ask him to continue to change my heart and lead me in His will.

“In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them.” ~ Isaiah 63:9

Should I? Or Should I? - I Should!

I wake up in the morning and almost immediately the mental battle begins. 

I know I should go work out.  But I still think of a million reasons not to go.  I think about all the things I could be doing instead of walking on the treadmill.


More days than I care to think about, I even manage to talk myself into not going.  But some days I manage to beat back all the excuses and reasons not to go.  I drag myself out of the house and over to the fitness center. 

And as I leave an hour or two later, my attitude has always completely turned around.   I have that great, exhausted, sweaty feeling of accomplishment.  I know I have completed something worthwhile. I feel great!

I should probably keep that feeling in mind when faced with other things I don't really want to do, but know I should...

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 22

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Spring-like February days

Time at the park with the offspring and grand baby

Him:

And her:

And him too:

Feeding the ducks at the park:

Sparkly pink nail polish
It's so pink and sparkly!  I feel like a barbie doll!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 19

“Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” ~ 1 John 4:7



Day 19: Love is impossible.

Uh oh. Not a very encouraging title for today’s dare. Is it?

Almost half way in and now the writer’s of the Love Dare share that you can’t manufacture unconditional love (Agape love) from inside yourself alone. Sure – you may show kindness, unselfishness. You may be thoughtful and considerate. But truly unselfish, unconditional love is something entirely different.
Say what???

Well… here’s the bad news: Unconditional love that is able to face any obstacle and stand strong is out of your reach if you are only looking within yourself to find it.

But… here’s the good news: God can give you that type of love! He is the very source of that love. Only God can love in a completely unselfish, unconditional way. And while we may always fall short of this type of love – He can (and will!) work through you to express that love to others.

If you don’t know God and His love for us – you can’t truly love. You can’t give away something you don’t have.

When we surrender to Christ and accept Him into our hearts – the full power of His love is available to us. If you put the power of that Love to work in your life and your marriage – there is no telling what can happen!

TODAY’S DARE: LOOK BACK OVER THE DARES FROM PREVIOUS DAYS. WERE THERE SOME THAT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE TO YOU? HAVE YOU REALIZED YOUR NEED FOR GOD TO CHANGE YOUR HEART AND TO GIVE YOU THE ABILITY TO LOVE? ASK HIM TO SHOW YOU WHERE YOU STAND WITH HIM, AND ASK FOR THE STRENGTH AND GRACE TO SETTLE YOUR ETERNAL DESTINATION.

Throughout all the dares, God has shown me so much about myself.  Areas where I need to change.  Improve.  And gently reminded me all along that these changes are possible only with Him at my side. 

“This is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 18

“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.” ~ Proverbs 3:13



Day 18: Love seeks to understand

When something interests us – really interests us – we find out as much as we can about it.

We read about it.

We practice at it.

We watch TV shows, movies, and documentaries related to it.

We pay close attention whenever the subject comes up.

Do you do the same for your spouse?

Think back… When you were first falling for your spouse, you probably wanted to know everything about him. His likes, dislikes, hobbies, habits, dreams. You wanted to hear all his stories.

After years together. You’ve heard those same stories over and over. You are probably less interested.

There is always more to learn!

Keep studying. Make a commitment to try to figure out why your spouse responds the way they do to certain things. Why they like the things they like. Try to find out more about all those things you “just don’t understand”.

Ask questions. If there is one thing I have learned from watching years and years of Sesame Street episodes: The best way to learn something is by asking questions. If there is something you want to know about your spouse, or something you don’t understand about him: why not just ask?

Listen: Really listen. Hear what your spouse is saying.

Ask God for discernment: God gives wisdom. He will show you what you need to know to better understand and love your spouse.

TODAY’S DARE: PREPARE A SPECIAL DINNER AT HOME, JUST FOR THE TWO OF YOU. THE DINER CAN BE AS NICE AS YOU PREFER. FOCUS THIS TIME ON GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SPOUSE BETTER, PERHAPS IN AREAS YOU’VE RARELY TALKED ABOUT. DETERMINE TO MAKE IT AN ENJOYABLE EVENING FOR YOU AND YOUR MATE.

This was a tough one. With our little extended family around, schedules of family game nights, activities, projects around the house, etc – trying to schedule a quiet dinner for just the two of us seemed overwhelming to me. Yes. I let the enemy whisper in my ear and try to convince me it was impossible.

However, the Man of the House and I did schedule a special dinner out for the two of use last week for Valentine’s Day. We planned it for the day before Valentine’s, knowing the restaurant would be less crowded. I took the opportunity to try to talk with him, ask questions, and really listen to him.
I also realized that this dare doesn’t have to be shouldn’t be a one night thing.

I know sometimes when the Man of the House is talking, I tune out.  My eyes glaze over and pretty soon he starts sounding like the teacher from a Peanuts cartoon (you know… “wah wah wah waaah”). Or – I am so busy thinking about what I am going to say in response I’m not really hearing him.

It’s time to start paying closer attention. 

To ask questions. 

To hang on every word.

And let him know he really does interest me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Can I Have Some Crackers With My Whine?

Disclaimer: Today’s post is one big whine-fest. You have been warned…


I don’t feel great today.

My stomach feels sore – almost a bruised kind of feeling. Like I had someone using it as a punching bag all night.

And it’s making some craaaaaazy noises.

I feel nauseous off and on, but haven’t had any vomiting or anything. And let’s keep praying it doesn’t come to that. There are few things I dread in this life more than that. (doing it myself or witnessing someone else having to go through it.)

I have no appetite. Although I have forced myself to eat some Greek yogurt and saltines.



No fever. Although I haven’t really checked. There is a possibility I might have last night. At one point I woke up burning up and sweating a little. At the time I just figured the room was too warm or I was experiencing one of those middle of the night hot flashes that sometimes occur since I hit a certain age.

So, that’s today. I’m functioning. Trying to tidy up the kitchen. Doing some laundry. A little cleaning up in the bedroom.

Maybe I can convince the grand baby that a shared nap is a good plan for this afternoon while his mommy is at class.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.




~ 1 Corinthians 13



I Think I Want My Baby Back

This week I watched as my "little man" carefully picked out a small box of chocolates, taking a moment to decide between the assorted chocolates or the truffles.  (assorted)  and choose just the right design on the front of the heart shaped box.  All the while pretending to be very casual and nonchalant about the whole thing.
I noticed him slightly blushing as the cashier rang it up and seeming a bit flustered as he handed over his money.

I had a lump in my throat as the guy I usually have to constantly remind about his personal grooming got up earlier than usual this morning and took care to dress in his nice pants, tuck in his tshirt and put on a button up shirt over it. 

Yes, there is a girl inspiring all this unusual behaviour.  A cute little girl at school.  His first "girlfriend". 

My little boy is growing up. 

I don't think I'm ready for this.  I still see him as the little boy with chubby cheeks, playing with his Legos.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Love Dare: What We've Learned So Far

In case you are wondering where the posts for My Love Dare have been over the past few days - I want to assure you I have not given up on the dare! 



But I have gotten stuck on Day 18.  It's not even that the dare of the day is that difficult.  But in a house full of offspring and activities and what all else - it's going to take a little more deliberate planning than I anticipated.  But it will be done - soon! - and the dare will move on.

While you're waiting, I thought I would share some of the things I've learned about myself so far:
  • I am the perfect wife. (bwahahahaha... just kidding...keep reading)
  • I am selfish
  • The grand baby and the dog do a better job of greeting the Man of the House than I do. 
  • I am kind of a brat 
  • I am not a very good listener.
(kind of makes you wonder why anyone would want to be married to me, doesn't it? I promise hope I'm not as bad as all that makes it sound!)






I Got Nuthin' !

I'm in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to my writing. A bit?  That might be an understatement.  Rather than a dry spell, it might be closer to a drought!


I thought I was coming out of the slump last week when I got two ideas in one day.  But those two thoughts seemed to have been the full extent of that particular creative burst. 

*sigh*

So... what's a blogger to do when she can't think of anything to blog about? 

Well, go looking for inspiration - of course!  And while I'm out searching for writing prompts and other sources to get the creative juices going again...

I could use some help!!

Please, please, please head down to che comments and ask me a question.  Or suggest a writing prompt.  Or.... something. (please keep it clean!!)  You just might see your idea in a future post.

Tell me what you got.  Because dear readers - I got a big fat nuthin'!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February WHAT??

How can it possibly be February 11th already?  That just doesn't seem right!


First of all... we were JUST celebrating Christmas.  Like... a couple of weeks ago!  Right?

I mean... almost 2 months can not possibly have passed since then! 

Time can not be flying by that quickly.  Can it?

Second...

OK, I don't really have a second.  I just can't believe that we can already be this far into the second month of the year!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 9

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • The grand baby walking up and resting his head on my lap
  • Wii Bowling with the family
  • Reading on the treadmill
  • Days when inspiration for blog posts seems to just rain down!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Hair Help

OK... I have seriously been putting this off long enough.  Too long actually.

I think it was back before Christmas I wrote about needing a hair cut.  I've been avoiding the subject (and the scissors) ever since that post. 

The problem is that I can't figure out what to do with my hair.  Which isn't really like me.  In the past I have had the "it's just hair - it will grow back" attitude.  When I have decided to do something different, I do it. 

This time around, I am over thinking it.

Should I take off some of the length and go for something a little different...




I want some layers so I can still wear it curly when I want

But my hair has gotten so long, I get nervous about cutting it.  So, then I think - maybe I should just leave it long...


Honestly, even just the thought of getting a basic trim and shape up is freaking me out right now.  Which is just strange.  I don't know if it's a sight I've let my hair just get too long or what.

What I do know is that my ends are fried and I'm in need of some serious hair help!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Under The Weather

I woke up yesterday morning to a sore throat.  And a headache.  And a general achy "blah" feeling.

As someone who has always seems to pick up the strep throat very easily (seriously, for a few years there I swear someone could just mention the word strep around me and I was going to end up with a sore throat!) , I tend to get nervous anytime my throat starts getting scratchy.  I mean very nervous.  I'm always convinced the big mean ol' strep germies are setting up camp.

Once I realized I wasn't running a fever, I felt a little safer.  But still felt icky.  Just... icky.  Under the weather - as "they" say.

And that... that phrase right there... "under the weather"... was enough to set me off on a full day of wondering where a saying like that comes from. 

I mean - aren't we always under the weather?  Unless we're in an airplane flying above the clouds maybe.  Or if there is snow on the ground - or mud puddles.  Then maybe we could be over the weather.  Or in the weather.  Maybe?

A quick google search and a few clicks turned up explanations of nautical origins about sea sickness caused by weather and having to go below deck  - which I suppose makes sense to me.

(and have I ever mentioned how much I love that I can just google all these random things that pop into my head on a regular basis? Well... I do!  "Google it!" or "I'll google it!" are phrases I use pretty much daily!)

Oh... and just in case you are wondering... I still have a scratchy throat and feeling blah today.  But I did manage to drag myself out to the gym for 3+ miles on the treadmill this morning in an attempt to sweat it out.  (sweat it out?  Hmmm... and now I'm off to google that!)

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 7


I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Leaving church and walking into snow flurries
  • The Man of the House cooking chili
  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • The Man of the House making up fun little Super Bowl wagers to play during the game
  • Salted caramel cream pie

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 17

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. ~ Proverbs 17:9


Day 17: Love promotes intimacy

We all want to be known, loved, and accepted. Opening ourselves to someone else can allow us to be loved completely and unconditionally.  It can also expose us to deep hurt and pain.  Marriage is the most intimate of all relationships.  The intimate secrets of self we share with our spouse can draw us closer, or can be used against us to hurt or shame us.

Do you make your spouse feel scared... or safe?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear. ~1 John 4:18

Marriage should be a safe haven.  A protective embrace.  A promise to help each other deal with all the struggles, the baggage, the negative or embarrassing things we all experience. A place where we are free to make mistakes without fear of rejection. 

Whenever your spouse shares something personal with you - they do not need to be nagged, lectured, or criticized.  They need to be heard.  They need support.  They need acceptance.  We should love our spouse- as one imperfect person to another - offering understanding, grace, acceptance, and safety. 

TODAY'S DARE:  DETERMINE TO GUARD YOUR MATE'S SECRETS (UNLESS THEY ARE HARMFUL TO THEM OR TO YOU) AND PRAY FOR THEM.  TALK WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND RESOLVE TO DEMONSTRATE LOVE IN SPITE OF THESE ISSUES.  REALLY LISTEN TO THEM WHEN THEY SHARE PERSONAL THOUGHTS AND STRUGGLES WITH YOUR.  MAKE THEM FEEL SAFE.

This dare had me really examining - DO I make the Man of the House feel safe?  Does he feel that he can talk to me about things which are troubling him?  Things he worries about or struggles with?  His dreams?  His fears? 

One thing that came to mind was just recent. He was talking about a certain situation where he felt there needed to be some changes on his part.  I agree whole heartedly that there need to be changes in that area.  Just not the kind of changes he was talking about.  Rather than really listening to him and offering support - my first instinct was to push back and nag at him about the situation.

*sigh*

I know... I know...  If I react that way when he shares something like this with me - how can he feel safe to share with me the next time he's dealing with a personal struggle like this comes up? 

Wrestle Mania


As I was reading Genesis 32: 22-28 I began pondering how we're not all that different from Jacob.  We also wrestle with God.  Struggling against His plan for us and trying to go our own way.

I've been there.  I've tried to find my own path.  Follow my own will.  Fight my own fight. Battered and bruised.

Peace can be found when we stop wrestling and receive His blessings - finding rest in His grace.


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 16

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers ~ 3 John 1:2


Day 16: Love intercedes

It's a basic truth:  you can't change your spouse.  You can't "fix" them.  You can't mold them.  You can't alter them. 

All the arguing, manipulating, or demanding in the world won't force them to become someone different.  It will only leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged. (And just imagine how your spouse would feel after constantly being pushed to be something different!)

The Love Dare isn't about changing your spouse.  It is about making the choice to love.  Once that choice is made, there is a good chance that you personally will be changed.  That change will affect your spouse, and he may begin to blossom also.  It won't be overnight, but with the change on your part, nurturing (not nagging!) and prayer - it may happen.


Yes... prayer.  It works!!
No, prayer isn't magic.  There's no "Pray - POOF! - It happens"  It's not a drive thru service.  But scripture tells us that "the effective prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16)

Instead of dwelling on your spouse's faults...

Instead of grumbling...

Instead of nagging...

Instead of complaining...

PRAY!

If you are willing to change, nurture your spouse, protect your marriage, and let God do His part - you might just be amazed by what happens!

TODAY'S DARE:  BEGIN PRAYING TODAY FOR YOUR SPOUSE'S HEART.  PRAY FOR THREE SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE YOU DESIRE FOR GOD TO WORK IN YOUR SPOUSE'S LIFE AND IN YOUR MARRIAGE. 

Sorry readers... once again I'm not going to share details.  I'm not going to share with all of you what specific areas where I am asking God to work in The Man of the House's life or our marriage.  Some things aren't for printing on the internet.  But I am praying... for him, for us, for our family.  And fully expecting to see God at work.


A Spirit of Gratitude: February 5


I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Chocolate animal crackers
  • Feathery ice crystals of frost on the car window
  • Scrabble on family game night
  • Reading in the car during the male offspring's guitar lesson
  • Chit chat with the male offspring on the way to school

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 15

Live with your wives in an understanding way...and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life ~ 1 Peter 3:7



Day 15: Love is honorable

hon·or[on-er]
noun: high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
verb: to hold in honor or high respect; revere: to honor one's parents

To honor someone.  To value them as something special.  If you honor someone, they matter - and they know it by the way you treat them.

Your spouse should not feel as if he is common or everyday.  He should feel special and unique.  He should know that he holds a sacred place in your heart.

Oh, dear friends... I am so guilty of this.  It is so easy to take our spouse for granted, isn't it?  Especially if he is reliable and patient.  It's easy to look over him to all the things we feel we need to take care of or to do each day.  It's easy to think that he should just "know" his value.

Remember the rug?  (My Love Dare: Day 11)  Your spouse is not just a furnishing in your life, but a treasure to be cherished. 

Every day I want my actions to tell The Man of the House, "Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most.  Of all the things I am willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you.  With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults - I still choose to love and honor you."

TODAY'S DARE:  CHOOSE A WAY TO SHOW HONOR AND RESPECT TO YOUR SPOUSE THAT IS ABOVE THE NORMAL ROUTINE.  IT MAY BE HOLDING THE DOOR FOR HER.  IT MIGHT BE PUTTING HIS CLOTHES AWAY FOR HIM.  IT MAY BE THE WAY YOU LISTEN AND SPEAK IN YOUR COMMUNICATION.  SHOW YOUR MATE THAT HE OR SHE IS HIGHLY ESTEEMED IN YOUR EYES.

Um....  my mind completely shut down.  I tried to think of something "above the normal routine".  And kept coming up blank.  Finally... finally... something came to me. 

You see, I'm not a good listener.  No... really! Part of the problem is my tendency to multi-task.  I get distracted doing other things and don't pay as much attention to the person speaking as I should.  The Man of the House gets the worst of that.

I want to show him honor and respect by being more intentional in how I listen to him.  That means to stop what I am doing and give him my undivided intention.

Will this be difficult?  Yes!  Will I probably fail at it many times?  Yes.  Will I keep working at it?  Yes!!

I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant. ~ Jeremiah 30:19




Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 14

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:9 (HCSB)



Day 14: Love takes delight

Remember when you first fell in love with your spouse?  Everything about him was so delightful and interesting.  You wanted to spend every moment together.  He was constantly on your mind.  You were just so overcome with these powerful new feelings.

It's unrealistic to expect to always have our feelings for our spouse remain at that level.  We can't expect to maintain a life long relationship on feelings alone.  There are going to be days when you just don't feel very loving toward  our spouse. 

(I mean... obviously not the Man of the House, because as we learned on Day 5 I am clearly such a delight and he is surely always overcome with love and joy at the thought of me every minute of every single day... *snort*)

As humans, we often have a tendency towards disapproval.  Something he does aggravates us like you would not believe.  Something we do gets on his nerves.  Next thing we know, we are always focusing on those negative things.  We criticize more than we praise.  We nag more than we laugh.  We let those negative feelings lead us down a dark and broken path.

We have to make a choice.  A choice not to always follow our heart, but to lead it. We have to remember that life is too short to bicker over petty things. 

Think back again to those early days of the relationship.  All the things you took delight in at that time.  If you felt love and pleasure once - you can again. 

Delight in your spouse.  Seek his company.  Talk to him.  Enjoy him. Relearn what you love about your spouse. 

TODAY'S DARE:  PURPOSELY NEGLECT AN ACTIVITY YOU WOULD NORMALLY DO SO YOU CAN SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR SPOUSE.  DO SOMETHING HE OR SHE WOULD LOVE TO DO OR A PROJECT THEY'D REALLY LIKE TO WORK ON.  JUST BE TOGETHER.

I have a confession.  I sort of stalled on this one.  It just wasn't as simple as I thought it was going to be.  And to be completely honest, there were a few times when a moment passed and after the fact I realized that I had missed an opportunity to fulfill this dare.  I was going to have to be much more intentional if I planned to successfully complete this day's dare.  This one might take a few days to complete.

We have started having a Family Game Night at my suggestion.  Each week we pick one night and take turns suggesting a game.  Just us, as a family - playing together.  Oh sure... some night I would rather be watching tv, or reading, or doing crochet than say... playing X-Box.  But I put that aside to spend time with the Man of the House (and the rest of the family)

Give me your heart... and let your eyes delight in my ways. ~ Proverbs 23:26

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 13

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. ~ Mark 3:25



Day 13: Love fights fair

Conflict in marriage is inevitable.  Even the closest couples have differences.

We are all imperfect people.  The closeness of marriage is going to expose, and perhaps amplify, all those imperfections - bad habits, hurts, fears, etc.

This isn't about avoiding conflict in marriage.  It's about dealing with it in a healthier, more constructive way.

We can be our absolute worst selves during conflict.  Our most judgemental self.  Our most selfish.  Our rudest, most inflexible, most unwilling, most prideful self.  In the midst of conflict, we can make some very bad choices and do our marriage, and ourselves a lot of damage. (anyone else flashing back to a few of the previous dares?)

Love is the protection against that destruction.

Love reminds us that our marriage is too important to destroy.

Love reminds us that our love for our spouse is more important that whatever we are fighting about.

Love helps us use conflict to build bridges - not burn them down.

The Love Dare suggests that for conflict to be healthy and have a positive outcome there need to be boundaries.  "We" boundaries, and "Me" boundaries.

"We" boundaries are rules you both agree on which apply to any disagreement or altercation.

"Me" boundaries are rules you personally practice.

TODAY'S DARE:  TALK WITH YOUR SPOUSE ABOUT ESTABLISHING HEALTHY RULES OF ENGAGEMENT.  IF YOUR MATE IS NOT READY FOR THIS, THEN WRITE OUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL RULES TO "FIGHT" BY.  RESOLVE TO ABIDE BY THEM WHEN THE NEXT DISAGREEMENT OCCURS.

"ME" Boundaries:
1)  Listen before speaking
2)  Speak kindly and honestly - focus on keeping voice volume down.
3)  Confront the issue honestly - don't stuff feelings.

Be of the same mind toward one another. ~ Romans 12:16


Friday, February 1, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 12

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:4



Day 12: Love lets the other win

Uh oh. 

I don't like to lose.  I don't like to be wrong.  Even more - I don't like to admit I'm wrong. I will argue my point even when I realize I might be wrong.  I am incredibly stubborn.

Some things are worth standing up for: our priorities, our morals, our obedience to God.  Standing up for other things can be a waste of time and productivity.  And it can wreck havoc in a marriage.  We have to figure out what is truly worth standing up for and when we need to bend.

We can start by asking ourselves: Is being right, or getting my own way more important than the health of my marriage? 

I know, right?  Puts a whole lot of things right into perspective for me.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 2:5

An attitude of willingness, flexibility, and humility.

TODAY'S DARE:  DEMONSTRATE LOVE BY WILLINGLY CHOOSING TO GIVE IN TO AN AREA OF DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE.  TELL THEM YOU ARE PUTTING THEIR PREFERENCE FIRST.

The man of the house and I were facing a couple of choices for an upcoming date.  I knew the choice he was leaning toward would involve some stress and tension for me.  And I could have been a brat about it.  Instead, I made the choice to allow him to make the choice about our plans for that day and put his preference ahead of my own.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. ~ Romans 12:18

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