Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: Easter Edition

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

The Cross

The empty tomb

Forgiveness for sins

God’s grace and mercy

Coloring eggs with the family

The smell of ham in the oven

Easter baskets

Jelly beans

Marshmallow bunnies

Easter egg hunts

Pretty Easter outfits

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 29

“Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men” ~ Ephesians 6:7 (HSCB)


Day 29: Love’s motivation
We may not always feel motivated to demonstrate love to our spouse.

We may struggle to find inspiration for loving actions.

And when we do express love, they may not always be getting the message. (If you are speaking a love language your spouse isn’t translating – I highly recommend The Five Love Languages)

We can’t rely solely on the actions of another imperfect person to determine how much (if any) love we show them.

We have to have a better motivation – the very source of all love. The loving, constant God.

The love for our spouse should honor the Lord with our devotion and sincerity.

Love motivated only by ideal conditions or out of a sense of duty will struggle to maintain or survive.

Love that is lifted up to God in gratitude for the love he has given us is continually re-energized. Just like that silly little bunny – it will keep going, and going, and going.

TODAY’S DARE: BEFORE YOU SEE YOUR SPOUSE AGAIN TODAY, PRAY FOR THEM BY NAME AND FOR THEIR NEEDS. WHETHER IT COMES EASY FOR YOU OR NOT, SAY “I LOVE YOU”, THEN EXPRESS LOVE TO THEM IN SOME TANGIBLE WAY. GO TO GOD IN PRAYER AGAIN, THANKING HIM FOR GIVING YOU THE PRIVILEGE OF LOVING THIS ONE SPECIAL PERSON – UNCONDITIONALLY, THE WAY HE LOVES BOTH OF YOU.

Praying for the Man of the House – easy! Telling him I love him – easy! Showing love to him – easy!

It does give a unique perspective to look at showing love not only as an expression of my love for the Man of the House, but also as an expression of God’s love for all of us. And it will certainly give me some serious food for thought on those days when I feel grumpy and selfish and not really like demonstrating love.

A Spirit of Gratitude: March 28

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Bright blue sky without a cloud anywhere

Long-awaited holds at the library becoming available

Spring trees beginning to bloom

Daffodils in the yard

Finding new ways to save money

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting in Anticipation

Tom Petty sings that: “The waiting is the hardest part”


Balzac said, “Our worst fears lie in anticipation”

The anticipation – the waiting – is often the worst part of anything we must endure. I know I can work myself up into quite a tizzy just thinking about having to go to the dentist, get blood drawn or having a shot, getting a medical test, getting my license renewed. Pretty much any event I know has the potential to be unpleasant. But most of the time I know it is something that needs to be done, so I brace myself and carry on.

This led my thoughts to Jesus in Gethsemane. Waiting for what was to come. Knowing full well how agonizing and brutal the events that were about to happen would be. And knowing the importance of them. Bearing the weight of all that on his fully God, but fully human shoulders. Knowing this was what had to be, there was no other way. 

I suddenly saw the story I had read many times from a new perspective.

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”"  ~Luke 22:39-46


It makes anything we may look forward to with dread pale in comparison, doesn’t it?





Monday, March 25, 2013

Some Days I'm Not

Some days I wake up feeling rested and cheerful. 

Some days I am in a good mood.

Some days I have plenty of energy to attack my To-Do list.

Some days I feel creative.

Some days I get a lot accomplished.

Some days I make myself laugh. 

Some days everything falls into place.

Some days I am friendly and loving.

Some days I am at my best.

Some days I'm not.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
~ Zechariah 9:9




"When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted

'Hosanna!'

'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' "
~Mark 11: 7-9


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spirit of Gratitude: March 23

TODAY I AM THANKFUL FOR:

The grand baby’s sense of humor

Going to the fitness center in the evening to exercise with the man of the house

Cashews


Purging items I don’t need or want any longer (and blessing someone else with them)

Sparkly toenails

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some Week

"Some Week"

If we had a Charlotte living in the corner of our doorway, that is what she would weave into her web right now: "some week"  (we don't by the way, although I did squash a big gray spider earlier today in the laundry room.  Ugh, spiders... *shudder*)


Last Friday our 18 year old cat went missing.  He was old.  He showed his age.  He has been in declining health for a few years and in recent months had started losing weight. We have no clue what happened to him, when he got out, or where he went.  He was mostly an indoors cat these days, only occasionally venturing just outside the door to nibble some grass or enjoy some sunshine before wanting right back in.  We can only assume that he went off in the way animals often do to pass. 

On Wednesday morning, I was going about my normal morning routine.  It was time to take the dog out and take care of the chickens.  I glanced out the window and stopped in my tracks.  There was what appeared to be a chicken lying in the back yard. 

Oh no...

I went outside and made the discovery.  Something had managed to break into the pen during the night or early morning.  There were feathers everywhere.  And other than the 2 dead chickens in the yard, I couldn't find any of the others.  I did come across a lot of white feathers down at the bottom of the empty wooded lot next to our house.  No clue what got to them.

If you are keeping count, that means I lost 1 cat and 6 chickens in less than 6 days.  I think I can officially say without exaggeration that I didn't have a great week.

It seems I'm not the only one.  The male offspring has also been complaining of a headache for 3 days.  I'm pretty sure it's sinus.  But he insist it isn't and refuses to take the decongestant I keep trying to press on him.  (Teenage boys...  *sigh*)

And the female offspring has been stressing about a math test she had today.  She's glad it's over, but now is anxious about how she did.  Convinced that she bombed it, of course.  Although she never thinks she does well, but always does. 

On a brighter note, the man of the house and I have been making an effort to workout and an eating plan.  I've lost about 5 pounds so far.  Yah!  Less than 3 months until summer!

The grand baby has learned how to use the chairs to climb up on top of the dining room table.  And does it every chance he gets.  Which means I now have a few more gray hairs to cover up with hair color!

And that's about all I can think of to share at the moment. So, as you can see... some week.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's A Curl To Do?

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very good indeed.
But when she was bad she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



I’m a curly girl.

I know… it’s hard to tell when you look at the pictures of me in my profile. But that’s because I often give in to the straight hair obsession around me and go at it with a straightening gel, a blow dryer and round brush, and a flat iron.

Being curly isn’t easy.

It means living in fear of even slight humidity, knowing full good and well that the frizz factor of your hair is directly related to the moisture level in the air.

It means having to do something with your hair every day, because one night of sleep causes either a) flattened curls leaving an odd crop-circle type thing on the side or back of your head; or b) a total fuzzy, frizzy mess.

It means living with mixed messages as women you know tell you all the time “oh, if I had curls like that…” But show up sporting a blow out and the same woman says “oh, your hair looks soooo good like that!”

What is it about curly hair that seems to make some people uncomfortable on a deep mental level? Do our curls bring up images of Medusa and her head full of snakes?
Is it a subconscious fear that we are personally as wild and out of control as our hair? The wild woman  or bad girl is often portrayed with a head full of spirals. And often in a blazing shade of red. But I digress – there’s probably enough fodder there for an entirely new article.

It means that on a good day it is my crowning glory of waves and twists. On a bad day it is the frazzled uncontrollable bane of my existence.

All this leads to a complete love/hate relationship with my curly hair. Is it any wonder that the sleek, shiny waves that can be obtained with heated instruments is so tempting?

But after fighting my hair’s natural tendencies for too long, and considering a number of factors (not the least of which was the discovery of the 2011 article “In Defense of Curly Hair” by Judith Newman); I am choosing to embrace my curls once again. I am switching to sulfate free shampoo, and stocking up on good conditioners, leave in moisturizers and balms. I am using the diffuser that came with my blow dryer – when I actually use the blow dryer. I’ve put away the flat iron. I’m giving the curls free range. (maybe not completely free – I’m keeping them somewhat tame with plenty of creams, serums, and balms)

I may come to regret it as summer comes around full of hazy, hot, humid days to make me fight the frizz. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes. I may even from time to time yield to the siren song of the flat iron calling me to live out my fairy tale princess fantasy of silky, shiny, wavy tresses. (But let’s not forget – even Disney finally gave a princess a wild mop of red curls with the release of Brave!)


Join me curly girls! Toss out the straighteners and hold your curling serums high!

Love your curls!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Boxers or Briefs?

As I was folding laundry, or doing some other real housewife-ish chore last week I had the television on in the background. Tuned to some afternoon television talk show type program. For the life of me I can’t remember the fine details – such as what program it was or who the guest was. I want to say it was Katie Couric, but it was equally likely to be Ellen, or maybe Rachel Ray. Whoever’s name was the title of this show, she was interviewing one of today’s hunky male stars. I can’t recall who he was either. (The actual persons don’t really matter for this story)
At some point in the interview, I heard the unknown hostess ask her guest with a laugh something along the lines of: ‘So, the question everyone in the audience wants to know – boxers or briefs?”

I stopped in my tracks. My mind began swirling, filling with some of those random thoughts I so often have.

What is it that makes it acceptable to casually ask a man about his undergarments? The poor fellow under the spotlight always laughs, turns a little pink, and has to come up with some clever comeback. The whole situation is just embarrassing and immature.

Imagine if you turned on the TV to hear Matt Lauer, Brian Williams, or Anderson Cooper ask some female celebrity: “So, what everyone really wants to know is: thong, bikini, or granny panties?” People would be shocked! There would be an outcry from self-respecting women everywhere.

Why?

Because it’s so personal! Because that is objectifying her! She should be treated as a person, with talent, a brain, and value – not a sexual object.

And yet it’s OK to treat a man that way??

I think we all deserve to be treated with respect and discretion. If we want to be treated with dignity and respect, the answer doesn’t lay in acting out in the same negative ways we condemn others for acting. It’s not a matter of “well, they do it!” I believe the answer comes in treating others exactly the way we expect to be treated in return. If everyone followed this simple rule, we would all be treating each other with kindness, respect, and compassion.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 28

“He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers” ~ 1 John 3:16 (HCSB)


Day 28: Love makes sacrifices

When life is hard; we feel it. When we are inconvenience; we pout. When we feel deprived; we complain. When we feel mistreated; we want sympathy. When we feel unappreciated; we want sulk. When we feel overwhelmed;we want help.

But what about when others feel the same? If our spouse feels inconvenienced, deprived, mistreated, unappreciated, or overwhelmed, do we notice? Or do we think he is over-reacting, having a bad attitude, or being a cry baby?

When our spouse is stressed, overworked, or worried – we should notice and step in to support him and help when needed. Even without being asked.

Sometimes this means saying “no” to what we want and saying “yes” to what our spouse needs. Setting yourself aside and making him a priority. Turning your attention to his needs and giving him your focus and support.

When was the last time you asked “How can I help?”

If your spouse feels overwhelmed, unappreciated, or burdened – make the situation a shared effort. Take up part of your spouse’s burden to help lighten his load. Be ready and willing to make sacrifices for his needs.

TODAY’S DARE: WHAT IS ONE OF THE GREATEST NEEDS IN OUR SPOUSE’S LIVE RIGHT NOW? IS THERE A NEED YOU COULD LIFT FROM THEIR SHOULDERS TODAY BY A DARING ACT OF SACRIFICE ON YOUR PART? WHETHER THE NEED IS BIG OR SMALL, PURPOSE TO DO WHAT YOU CAN TO MEET THE NEED.

Oy… ok… I know I get so wrapped up in my own to-do list and my own stuff that I often don’t stop to take notice of how the man of the house is doing or if he needs my help or support. And dang it.. it just always seems so calm, collected, and capable.  It's easy to forget that he may need some kindness, support, or help!

I am trying to make more of an effort to show an interest in what’s going on with him, and to talk with him about his work and such. And also to just pay attention to his moods and attitudes so I can react and act on his needs.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” ~ Galatians 6:2

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spirit of Gratitude: March 15


TODAY I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Beautiful fresh eggs from the girls


Beginning to plan a summer vacation
Going out for pizza with the whole family
The man of the house rubbing my shoulders and neck when I have a headache
The forecast for a warm, sunny weekend
Purging some of our clutter
Clear blue sky without a cloud in sight

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 27

“Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.” ~ Psalm 25:20


Day 27: Love encourages.

Wouldn’t we all love the perfect spouse? The one who always says and does exactly the right thing? The one who sweeps us off our feet. Knows and meets our every need before we express it. Showers us constantly with love and affection, but also knows when to give us just the right amount of space?

Well, guess what?

You aren’t Cinderella. He isn’t Prince Charming. And life most certainly is not a fairy tale!

Expecting our spouse to meet all our needs and make us happy puts impossible expectations on a human. Unrealistic expectations can only lead to disappointment. We need to accept that our spouse is human – just like us. And to choose to live in encouragement, rather than by expectations.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plan in your own eye?” ~ Matthew 7:3

Does your spouse constantly live under your microscope of inspection? Are they fearful that they will never live up to expectations? Do you constantly find yourself “having” to remind, reprimand, or nag? Or perhaps does your spouse constantly feel your silent disapproval?

When faced with constant disapproval and criticism – no one feels loved, or loving. Our natural reaction is to resist and rebel. And to harden our heart against the negative feelings we feel bombarding us.

Marriage is meant to be two flawed people coming together to encourage each other. 

We’re all human. There are times when we will be grumpy, tired, forgetful, or even thoughtless. We can focus on our partner’s shortcomings. Or… we can take personal responsibility for our own, and begin working to improve ourselves.

Don’t you want to be in a marriage where you are free to be exactly who you are – knowing you will be accepted, loved, and encouraged, even when you make mistakes?

So does your spouse!!

Let go of unrealistic expectations. Stop nit picking. Stop focusing on the negative. Start encouraging!

TODAY'S DARE: ELIMINATE THE POISON OF UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS IN YOUR HOME. THINK OF ONE AREA WHERE YOUR SPOUSE HAS TOLD YOU YOU’RE EXPECTING TOO MUCH, AND TELL THEM YOU’RE SORRY FOR BEING SO HARD ON THEM ABOUT IT. PROMISE THEM YOU’LL SEEK TO UNDERSTAND, AND ASSURE THEM OF YOUR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

So, I came right out and asked the man of the house if I place unrealistic expectations on him. He says he doesn’t feel that I do.

But as I considered the question myself I thought of a few ways I could improve in this area.

It’s a known fact in our house that no one helps with laundry because I am so nit picky about how the towels are folded and put away.


I tend to focus on how things weren’t done exactly the way I would have done them, instead of appreciating that they were done by someone else – saving me some work. This has to leave the man of the house (and the offspring) feeling as if they can't do anything right or meet my expectations. That isn't fair.

When the dishes aren’t put away exactly where I think they should go – I should be glad I had help emptying the dishwasher.

When the counter isn’t completely crumb free – I should be thankful someone helped put the leftovers away.

And if the towels aren't folded or put in exactly the order I would prefer - I should be grateful that someone else folded them and put them away to help me out.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Content: A state of peaceful happiness

I had my morning shower.  Makeup applied.  The man of the house and the male offspring were out and about to their days of work and school.  Dog, cats, and chickens were fed.  Beautiful eggs were gathered.  The sun was shining, making it look deceptively warmer outside than the actual temperature. 

As I cut potatoes and carrots to start a crock pot roasted chicken for dinner this evening, I  almost glowed with a sense of happiness and peacefulness.

And that's when it hit me - I feel completely content! And I smiled to myself.

Contentment. 

Oh, sure... there are other words that could be used to describe my mood. Peaceful.  Fulfilled.  Satisfied.  Glad.  Happiness.  I was all those things.  But I think contentment wraps it all up in to one joyous little bundle.

I found myself thinking over the concept of contentment.  How many people chase after it, trying to find it or  manufacture it - from people, things, success, financial security, fame and recognition, etc.  But I thought to myself that perhaps contentment isn't something you can find by searching or building.  Maybe it's just a place you find yourself once you realize that all those other things just aren't that important.  Maybe contentment can only truly be found once you stop searching for it and look for the joy right where you are at any given moment, in any given circumstances.



Monday, March 11, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: March 11

TODAY I AM THANKFUL FOR:

A clean kitchen
Having the laundry caught up!
The family is finally recovering from the virus we all took turns coping with over the past week
Day-quil
Easter decorations

Coloring with the grand baby
Crayola color wonder markers
Signs of  Spring everywhere - from all the robins in the yard to my blooming daffodils
Spring nails the female offspring painted for me





Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 26

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things” ~ Romans 2:1


Day 26: Love is responsible

We are often quick to find fault with others.

But what about when we look in the mirror?

We make excuses. We justify our actions. We blame someone else. Or maybe we feel superior.

Love doesn’t make excuses. It doesn’t pass the blame. It doesn’t justify selfish motives. Love admits how much room there is for improvement. Love keeps working to make that improvement and make a difference.

What would happen in marriages if we stopped blaming the other and admitted their own wrongs?

If each took responsibility for their wrongs and was willing to make corrections?

To stop focusing on what I want and focus on the needs of the other?

This doesn’t mean one spouse is a doormat who takes all the blame all the time. It’s just about owning up to your own shortcomings and doing your best to make things right from your end.

Ask God to show you where you have failed in your responsibility. Admit when you’ve stumbled and ask forgiveness. Correct your offenses and repair the damage.

TODAY’S DARE: TAKE TIME TO PRAY THROUGH YOUR AREAS OF WRONG DOING. ASK FOR GOD’S FORGIVENESS, THEN HUMBLE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO ADMIT THEM TO YOUR SPOUSE. DO IT SINCERELY AND TRUTHFULLY. ASK YOUR SPOUSE FOR FORGIVENESS AS WELL. NO MATTER HOW THEY RESPOND, MAKE SURE YOU COVER YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IN LOVE. EVEN IF THEY RESPOND WITH CRITICISM, ACCEPT IT BY RECEIVING IT AS COUNSEL.

I hate admitting I’m wrong. I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid it. I’ll even twist when I’m wrong to make it seem like even though I was wrong, I wasn’t reeeaaally wrong. Because of that little piece of my personality, this dare was a huge challenge for me. There was a lot of praying going on! It certainly wasn’t easy – or fun.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 25

“What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:10

Day 25: Love forgives

Unforgiveness is like a prison. But not a prison for those who have hurt us. Not a prison for those who have wronged us. Not a prison for those who have wronged us. The only one held captive by our failure to forgive – is us. We are trapped by the bitterness and anger we hold onto.

Freedom is within our reach. We just have to let go of the hate, the pain, the anger, and offer forgiveness.

We may feel the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness. We may feel they owe us an apology. We may think they need to pay for what they have done. We don’t want to let them off the hook.

Forgiveness isn’t about absolution of blame.

It isn’t about leaving yourself open to more hurt.

It isn’t about forgetting what happened or pretending it didn’t hurt us.

It’s not about winning or losing.

It is about letting go. Letting go of the anger and the responsibility of judgment and making someone pay – and releasing it to God.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ Says the Lord.” ~ Romans 12:19

TODAY’S DARE: WHATEVER YOU HAVEN’T FORGIVEN OF YOUR MATE, FORGIVE IT TODAY. LET IT GO. JUST AS WE ASK JESUS TO “FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS” EACH DAY, WE MUST ASK HIM TO HELP US “FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS” EACH DAY AS WELL. UNFORGIVENESS HAS BEEN KEEPING YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE IN PRISON TOO LONG. SAY FROM YOUR HEART, “I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE.”

I thought and thought about today's dare - and honestly could not come up with a single thing! Not one tiny hurt for which I need to forgive the man of the house. 

I did pray for God to examine my heart and show me any areas where I might be harboring some anger or bitterness and to give me a forgiving heart.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's My Mother's Day!

I wanted to take a moment today to celebrate my mother.  Won't you please join me in wishing her a very happy birthday?

Love You!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 24

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever” ~ 1 John 2:17



Day 24: Love vs. lust

We want more.

Despite God’s promises to provide us with all we need – we want for more.

We constantly think we could be happy if we just had _______.
We lust after many earthly things – possessions, sexual fulfillment, power, money.

Lust is in direct opposition to love. Lust is never satisfied. It only leads to longing for more. Something new. Something different. Leading us to constantly see fulfillment in earthly things instead of seeking God.

Lust is “a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill”.

Lusting for power, money, people, or things can destroy marriages, families, and your relationship with God.

To escape the lies of lust – focus on being grateful for all God has given you. You’ll find that your heart is so full of the many blessings God provides – you won’t have room to be hungry for more!

TODAY’S DARE: END IT NOW. IDENTIFY EVERY OBJECT OF LUST IN YOUR LIFE, AND REMOVE IT. SINGLE OUT EVERY LIE YOU’VE SWALLOWED IN PURSUING FORBIDDEN PLEASURE AND REJECT IT. LUST CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO LIVE IN A BACK BEDROOM. IT MUST BE KILLED AND DESTROYED – TODAY – AND REPLACED WITH THE SURE PROMISES OF GOD AND A HEART FILLED WITH HIS PERFECT LOVE.

You can read more of my thoughts on lusting after things and seeking fulfillment through things other than the Lord in my post “I Could Be Happy If…”.

I have also been keeping a gratitude journal for several months, and sharing some of it with you here in my series of posts “A Spirit of Gratitude”. It is important to focus on all the blessings you have, all the things God has given you and you will realize you are content. Seek God, and you won’t need to chase all the other things you think will fill that space. He will provide and fulfill you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

And Then I Look In The Mirror



I keep saying I still feel 26 years old. 

In fact, I often say I am now (and always will be) 26 years old.

I still feel like I did when I was 26 much of the time. 

And then I look in the mirror...


Sometimes I'm still shocked when I don't see my 20 something year old face looking back at me. 

But the truth is that somewhere in the blink of an eye that 26 year old young woman was 17 years - and an entirely different person - ago.

This woman is most definitely not 26. She has a few more lines across the forehead, and is starting to notice a few around the eyes and mouth. She is carrying more weight than she did at 26. She has more aches and pains that that 26 year old ever knew. She has an occassional hot flash. 

She also has another child.  And a grandchild.  She has years more of life's lessons behind her.  She is older.  She is wiser.  And in many ways better. 

So, while it's OK to still feel 26 - it's also OK to be that older woman in the mirror.  She's pretty great too.

I wonder if when I'm 60 I'll be saying I still feel 43?  And then I'll look in the mirror...












Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 23

It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7

Day 23 – Love always protects.

At the risk of dating myself… I went through my teen years loving some Pat Benetar. One of my old favorites of hers is a song that says “Love is a battlefield”.

Our marriages shouldn’t be a battlefield – full of anger, fighting, and pain – between husband and wife.

But there are battles we must be willing to fight to protect our marriage and our spouse.

The enemy has many tricks and plans to tear marriages apart. We see their effect on marriages around us every day. We must be alert for dangers and prepared to fight to defend what is ours.

Watch for unhealthy influences. Things that can bring potentially destructive content into our minds and our homes. Things which drain precious time from our families. This may be an addiction such as gambling or drugs. But it can also be hobbies, habits, even work. Anything that takes up most of our thoughts and time, stealing the life from our marriage. It is important to always keep a balance and remember our priorities.

We also have to look at those around us. Do our friends have good attitudes toward commitment, priorities, and marriage? Or do they undermine our marriage with negativity?

Never speak negatively of your spouse in public! We women are particularly guilty of this. Husband bashing seems to be a favorite past time in many female circles. Your job is to protect and defend your husband. To respect and support him. Not to shame or expose weaknesses. His secrets are your secrets. (Unless those secrets are dangerous to them, to you, or to your children!)

We both have roles as protectors:

Husbands are the head of the household. God calls them to protect against things that might bring harm to his wife, his family, and his marriage. This requires a strong mind and heart.

Wives – they can’t do this without our help! We must guard our heart against things that distort our thinking and cause us to place unfair expectations on our husbands. We must do our part to make our husband feel strong, appreciated, and respected.

TODAY’S DARE: REMOVE ANYTHING THAT IS HINDERING YOUR RELATIONSHIP, AND ADDICTION OR INFLUENCE THAT’S STEALING YOUR AFFECTIONS AND TURNING YOUR HEART AWAY FROM YOUR SPOUSE.

Hmmm… influences, addictions, or other things which might be hindering my relationship with my spouse.

This dare had me thinking of so much.

It had me thinking about how even seemingly innocent things can steal time and energy from our family and our marriage.

It made me consider how as a family we have greatly reduced our television times in the evening to spend more time together and getting things done around the house instead of staring mindlessly at the screen.

And it made me think about how careful we have to be to be sure our marriage relationship is one of our top priorities and that we give it the time and attention it deserves instead of taking it for granted and letting other things get in the way of nurturing our spouse and our marriage.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: March 2

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Jellybeans
The grand baby laughing as his grandpa shuffles cards
Playing cards on family game night
A cup of coffee on a cold afternoon
Listening to male offspring lauging with his friend
Gathering eggs in the morning
The smell of chili simmering on the stove




Friday, March 1, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 22

“I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.” ~ Hosea 2:22

Day 22: Love is faithful

As Christians, love is the very root of who we are. We began with love.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus spoke of love, saying: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself."

Love is supposed to be the thing that sets us apart from others. The thing that helps others recognize us as followers of Christ. What we are to seek. To strive for. And to share.  We are even called to love our enemies.

So, what do we do when we don’t feel love in return? When we feel neglected or rejected?

God loves us even when we turn our back on Him.

When we refuse to speak to Him. When we reject His commandments and ways. Still He loves us!

Yes, He may chastise or discipline us as we live in doubt and sin. When we don’t trust Him. But He waits patiently, always loving us until the moment we confess our wrongs and turn back to Him. He is there to welcome us with open, loving arms. Forgiving and loving us in His great mercy.

To love like Christ, we must love even when our affections don’t seem to be returned. When the love isn’t being “earned”. When we don’t feel as though our love and the things we do to show it are being appreciated.  Still we choose love.

TODAY’S DARE: LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT A FEELING. IT IS AN INITIATED ACTION, NOT A KNEE-JERK REACTION. CHOOSE TODAY TO BE COMMITTED TO LOVE EVEN IF YOUR SPOUSE HAS LOST MOST OF THEIR INTEREST IN RECEIVING IT. SAY TO THEM TODAY IN WORDS SIMILAR TO THESE, “I LOVE YOU. PERIOD. I CHOOSE TO LOVE YOU EVEN IF YOU DON’T LOVE ME IN RETURN.”

I consider myself tremendously blessed that the Man of the House makes loving easy. He makes me feel loved. He returns my affections.

There are times in life when we just don’t feel very loving. Maybe it’s a bad mood, maybe it’s “that time of the month”, maybe we just aren’t feeling appreciated and wonder if it’s worth it. During those times, I want to make the decision to chose love. And to show it.

“I have chosen the faithful way.” ~ Psalm 119:30

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