Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just Like Dad

My dad has been gone from this earth for 14 years now. That is 14 years He has been home. Home in heaven where He was made to be. There are days when the reality hits me. When I wish he was here to see my kids all grown up. To meet their spouses. To play with my Grandies. To give financial advice to us.

My dad was a great husband, dad and business man. He left his family not only with a lot of knowledge about life but more importantly, a spiritual legacy.

A couple of years ago when I was visiting my mom, I found a large manila envelope tucked away in Dad's old office. It was filled with papers cut or folded in half and filled with handwriting. Dad's handwriting. They were his sermon notes.

I remember getting up as a little gire in the wee hours of the morning, tip-toeing out to his office and peeking in to watch him. He was up studying and had his bible open, pen and paper out. I would watch him study for a bit before quietly sneaking back to bed.

I was so excited to find this packet of notes, and brought it home with me. Lately I have been reading my way through the stack. There's just something special about sitting down with a good cup of coffee, my bible and study notes from my Dad. I am inspired to study through each passage of scripture myself. His studying still teaches me. I wonder if he ever thought his messages would still be touching a life so many years after he was gone.

Makes me wonder if the things I pursue, the things I am willing to miss sleep for, the ways I spend my time.... will they inspire my kids after I am gone? Will what I leave behind point them to dig into the word? I don't think my dad ever knew I was up watching him study, but what I saw taught me a lot about the importance of studying the bible and it is still pointing me in that direction. That's a legacy I want to leave. Just like Dad.

What legacy are you leaving for your kids?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happiness Is... Another Grandie

I did not post last week. It was one of those weeks. You know the kind where you finally get to sit down to catch your breath and notice there are 423 messages in your inbox? Where did the week go? Busier more than normal. But amidst the hustle and bustle of an overloaded week, came an overwhelming joy. One with two tiny feet and an adorable little face that made this Grandma's heart melt.

With a happy heart full of giddiness, I would like to introduce you to: Little Miss Emma Jane

God has blessed us with another Grandie! Yippee Skippee! Another girl!

The let the Tea Parties  begin!

So Blessed!

Before you were born

I knew I loved you.

I prayed for you too, before you were born.

And when you were born,

One look at your little face and I knew you were a blessed child.

I love you, Grandpa loves you too.

Your Daddy loves you, your mommy loves you.

And most of all… God loves you!

Some might call you lucky,

But I call you blessed… so blessed!

 A new baby brings so much happiness. And a new baby can cause a heart to reflect. Just sit, looking at that little tiny human and think. I caught her Mama doing that today. This brand new little life. So new. So fresh. So fragile. I pray for her when I hold her. I talk to her about loving God. Even though she is only 5 days old. I pray someday she will understand His love. Her need. His forgiveness and salvation. And how blessed she is.
What a blessing to be able to show Christ to these little girls God has given us. I can't wait to see what He has planned for them! It's going to be great and I want a front row seat! Blessed, indeed.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Please, Pinterest Responsibly

Please, Pinterest Responsibly

Pinterest. Need I say more? The word alone causes my heart to flutter. So many ideas. So many things I want to do or make. Good things. Things for my family.  Things for me. Gift ideas. I’m struck with Pinterest-fever. I love Pinterest. It feels like my calling in life. Soul food.
But Pinterest is bad for me, in a way. The problem is not actually Pinterest. The problem is me. I have difficulty staying on Pinterest longer than I should. I have trouble getting caught up in ideas. Things to make… bake…craft… cook… decorate… do….ideas…ideas…ideas. Ahhhh! My mind and time become consumed with all the ideas I want to pursue.
When my mind is consumed with other things, there is no room for thoughts of God. No time to meditate on His word. And truth be told, the more I allow my mind and heart to be satisfied with Pins, the less I desire God’s word in my life. When my soul feeds on the deliciousness of each Pin, my hunger for God seems to sink into the shadows.
As a child of God, my mind should be first consumed with following Christ rather than the latest and greatest boards on Pinterest. My soul should seek to delight in God. My mind should first look for ways He wants me to serve my husband and family each day rather than focusing on what new idea I can find. I should be using my time to build my faith and my home instead of building my Boards.
Ideas come and go, no matter how awesome they are. But the word of God stands forever. It has life giving power, truth and living water. It shows me how to live a godly life. I need to start there, in scripture and prayer each day and save my Pinterest-ing for the extra moments that may or may not come available.
Every time I Pinterest I loose all track of time and end up wasting time or neglecting things I am supposed to do. Before I know it, the day is gone and I have not accomplished much around my home. You too?
We need a “Pinterest Responsibly” campaign to remind us of our real calling in life. Without a clear view and reminders of our calling as wives and moms, we are likely to become women with much awesomeness on our Pin Boards but ineffective in our homes and faith.
5 Ways To Pinterest Responsibly
1. Allow yourself no Pinterest-ing until you have read your bible and prayed each day. Period.
2. Set a timer before you sit down to Pinterest. Don’t let it eat up your day.
3. Have a board full of home organization tips? Gift ideas? Workouts? Cleaning tips?  Implement one each week. (Give yourself a deadline, no Pinterest-ing until it is done.)
4. Choose 3 daily chores you love to avoid. Pinterest-ing is your sweet reward for work well done.
5. Create a board of Bible study and faith walk tips. Choose one and follow it through. When you’re through it, choose another and do it again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Obstacles to a Clean Home & How to Overcome Them

Welcome back! This week we're finishing our Women Living Well book club. We read chapters  19-20 & the conclusion. These 3 chapters inspired a bit of spring fever in me to tackle some dark corners of my house. But it seems there are so many reasons why I avoid doing this!  I hope this inspires you to join me in a bit of fresh spring cleaning around your house!

5 Obstacles to a Clean Home and How to Overcome Them

1950’s housewife had long hard days. She didn’t throw her laundry in the machine, set it to large load and go on with other chores. She didn’t throw the clothing into the dryer on permanent press cycle. She didn’t load the dishwasher after dinner. No, house work used to be a full contact sport and we, my friends, have it easy now.

But we tend to whine when the floors need vacuumed. Or feel like a martyr when no one has clean clothes left and we are forced to do the laundry. We put off doing dishes until they have taken over the kitchen, and we wait as long as possible to clean the bathroom – if we ever get to it! 

Why do we do this? We are blessed women. We have so many things that make house work easier. Yet we still try to avoid it. I’m not saying a house needs to be kept spotless, that is not a reality. But I do think it is our job to keep it neat and clean. Make it a place that is nice and comfortable to live in. Make it a home.

How do you care for your home? Do you clean a bit every day or let it build up until your family is leaving you notes in the dust? Do you keep up with the laundry or avoid it until there is no clean underwear in the house? Do you clean with a thankful heart or grumble and complain each time?

It often seems like I don’t have time to keep up with house chores. I do believe some women have packed their lives way too full and this possibly is true. But, for the rest of us, I think this is merely an excuse. Let’s be honest. We have time to Pinterest. Time to Facebook. Time to watch Downtown Abbey. I’m guilty right here with you, dear. I have time, you have time. Yes, we do indeed have time; we just choose to use it in other ways.

What is our problem? Why don’t we just do the work that needs to be done? It’s not a good feeling having chores hanging over our heads, knowing that they are getting bigger each day while we ignore them. We really do want a neat home. We do enjoy a clean kitchen without dirty dishes piled high. We like the feeling of all the laundry done and put away. And showering in a clean shower – so much more relaxing than lathering up in a grimy one! So why don’t we just do it?

5 Obstacles to A Clean Home & How to Overcome Them

1. Time.  You may not have an hour or two to clean up the house, neither do I.  I have minutes in my day, but I don’t have an extra hour or more to give up.  So I have to use the time I do have. Have 10 minutes before going to work? Tackle the dishes in the sink. 15 min before an appointment? Empty the dishwasher. Or throw a load in the washer. Or fold a load of clothes. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal each morning. Then use those 10 min to clean the toilet, sink and mirror. There are many tasks that take only minutes. Using your minutes gets the task be done and off the list for today! Ta-Da! What a good feeling!

2. Schedule.   Without a schedule, things can get pretty cruddy before I even notice and then the chore requires a lot of elbow grease to come clean. I don’t like to use elbow grease. I’m a wimp. And I don’t want to chisel away at the soap scum in the shower for 45 minutes. I want to be done in 10, so I clean my shower and tub every Friday night before I hop out of the shower. It takes me less than 10 minutes, its easy to clean because nothing has built up and my shower always looks clean. I don’t loathe cleaning the shower anymore. Creating a schedule for your home will help you stay ahead of housework and get it done while it is still in the easy-to-handle phase. There are many books and blogs out there that have excellent ideas. When I was 12, I read “Sidetracked Home Executives” and put my sister-in-law’s house on a card file schedule for cleaning. I learned so much from that book and how daily maintenance can keep chores from piling up, which makes less work. Work smart, not hard. Oh, ya!

3. Organization. An unorganized and over-stuffed house can leave me feeling overwhelmed. I don’t even know where to start and it is easier to close the door and walk away. “Everything in its place” is a good rule of thumb to keep your house clutter free. But first everything needs a place. Clean out your overstuffed closets, crooks and crannies. (A project that looms ahead of me this year.) Create a place for each item. Get rid of the things you don’t have room for or you no longer need. If this idea has you breaking out in hives, hire someone to come in or enlist a friend to help. You can do it- start with one step at a time and keep going.

4. Priorities. Truth be told, many times we just put many other things above caring for our home. Our homes should be a priority. Not the priority, but a priority. There are lots of other things you do each day that are more important, but don’t forget to put your home in there with your priorities.  I have to write “vacuum” or “bathrooms” on my to-do list or those tasks get lost in the sea of other things that need my attention. A perfect, spotless home is not the goal, but a neat clean one is. It won’t stay that way with a family living in it, but by using your little bits of time – 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 5 minutes or so- you will be able to keep up on the mess.

5. Family. Our families can make it difficult to keep a home neat. Mud tracked in… school papers on the counter…coats on the couch…dirty dishes left on the coffee table… Enlist their help in your goal to have a neat home. Teaching your kids to be neat is a good character quality that will help them long into adulthood. Have a total toy pick up before lunch, supper and bed. Teach them to put things away. Teach them to help with household chores and the importance of caring for their home. A 4 year old can match socks out of the dryer and put them on the beds in the right rooms. A 2 year old can put the silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer. A 6 year old can wash bathroom counters and sweep the floor. Look for ways to involve your kids. They will acquire valuable skills and develop a work ethic they will use the rest of their lives.

With spring approaching (It is going to show up, isn’t it?) and the newness to life brings, now is a good time to give your home a makeover to match that fresh spring air.  What tips and tricks do you use to help you stay on track with your home? I’d love to hear your ideas – leave a comment!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Making Your Home A Haven

Welcome back! We are almost finished with our book club. We have been reading Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.

This week we read 3 great chapters (16-18) on homemaking, but for lack of time I am just going to key on the one topic that is near and dear to my heart. Making your home a haven. One of the most important aspects of your role as wife & mom is the responsibility to set the atmosphere in your home. Making your home a special place for your family. A place they love to be.

What makes your home a haven? The answer to that question will be different from mine. No two families are exactly the same. And it may change with different seasons and stages of your family life.

When our boys were little, making our home a haven meant allowing it to be a place where they could kick a soccer ball, wrestle with their dad, run and even ride small tricycles (yes- in the house!). I kept breakables packed away, d├ęcor to a minimum, and understood it was a time in our lives for those 2 little rambunctious boys to be boys.

As our kids grew, it meant having space, things to do (swimming pool, trampoline, pool table…) and lots of food for them and their friends to enjoy. It meant not minding the noise and mess of a dozen middle school boys or giggling little girls running through the house and yard.

Now, with my kids all grown, making my home a haven is where my husband gets a back rub after a long day, grandies can come over and be spoiled, and we can gather for family dinners.

What is important to your family? Peace and quiet? Social gatherings with lots of food? Space to develop hobbies? Make your home a place where they love to be and feel free to explore interests. A place where they know they belong, where they can share their struggles and receive godly advice.

You, as the mom, play such an important role in this. Your personal mood sets the tone each day. Are you fun to be around or grumpy much of the time? Are you encouraging or critical? Involved in their lives or distracted with your own? Stressed out or relaxed?

It’s so easy to get so engulfed in life and forget that one of the most important things we can do is create a loving, happy environment for our kids to grow in.

Watch yourself for a week. What does your family see? Are there areas can you improve? How can you be more encouraging? More fun? More involved? More relaxed? Make a plan, and begin to grow these qualities in your heart. Be a blessing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Keepin Your Cool and Choosin Your School

Hey! I'm glad you're here joining us for another week of the Women Living Well book club!

Chapter 14 I’m Gonna Blow My Top! I love the quote this chapter starts off with.

                The secret of healthy conflict resolution isn’t taking a you-against-me stance, but realizing it’s all of us against Satan- he’s the real enemy.” Lysa Terkurest

Ever been there? Your frustration gets the best of you and you find yourself yelling at your children. Again. We’ve all been there. It’s easy to lose our temper with our children at times. Frustration is a daily emotion we moms have to battle. Why won’t they listen?.... I just want some peace around here! …We’re running late, and you lost your shoes again?! ….Why do you always have to fight with each other?  We feel the weight of running a home, caring for kids, balancing the checkbook and cooking, cleaning, laundering- all part of an unending list. At times the emotions just boil over and we respond to our kids in less than kind tones.

We so easily get the battle confused, we end up fighting our comrades rather than the enemy. It is not a battle between us and the little ones. We are on the same side. We know this in our minds.  It is a spiritual battle fought in the heart. To be fought alongside our family and against Satan. 

He wants you to see your children as the problem. He wants you to feel justified in using unkind words and a harsh tone. He wants you to believe you deserve well behaved kids, to be on time, to have peace and quiet. He doesn’t want you to see your selfish motives that creep out in daily life.  Most of all, Satan doesn’t want you to guide your children down the path towards relationships with God.

So when we find ourselves steaming from the ears during a long day and reacting rather than acting right, let’s be honest with ourselves and call it what it is. Sin. There, I said it. That’s actually the only way to freedom. If it is my fault, I am the one who can change it. The ball is in my court and I get to choose how to deal with it. Oh! But how to change! It’s so hard!

The good news is that God doesn’t leave us hanging here, girls.  He gives us very practical, doable steps.

Ephesians 4:20-24 Put off the old self, be made new in the attitude of your mind, and put on the new self

Ephesians 4:29-32 Use no unwholesome words, instead, use words that are helpful and build up
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger and be kind, compassionate and forgiving

Galatians 5:22-23 Grow the fruits of the spirit: patience, kindness, gentleness

Romans 12:2   Be transformed by renewing your mind

Galatians 6:9 Do not grow weary in doing good, remember that this will all be worth it in the future

So next time you feel frustration welling up inside, stop yourself. Mentally put off the selfish desire in your heart. Pray and ask God to help you put on gentleness. Kindness. Patience. Ask Him to help you make your words helpful and kind to your little ones. Most of all, don’t grow weary. It will be worth the work and time you are putting in. Then do this over and over and over. Repetition renews the mind.

Ch 15 Schools of Thought There are many different choices in schooling your children. And I am a firm believer that there is not one way that every family should choose. In fact, we did not choose only one for our family. We have sent our children to Christian school, public school and have homeschooled. Why did we switch? In each season of our life, we chose the best school arrangements for our children considering certain criteria. The criteria we used to make our decision included the location we lived, the job my husband had and our goals for our children.

No matter how you school your children, it is work. You are still the parent. You are still ultimately responsible for them before God. It is your job to be sure they are learning all they need to, academically and spiritually. You cannot count on the Christian school to teach all the biblical knowledge your children need. You cannot count on the public school to teach them all the phonics they need. And in homeschooling you are solely responsible for it all, but you can tailor each subject for each individual child. There are benefits and drawbacks to any of the choices. So choose the one that fits your family the best.

I personally loved homeschooling because it provided an awesome opportunity for to really build strong relationships with my kids, especially in the younger years. It provided opportunities for my kids to learn self-discipline, time to work on hobbies, and freedom to go to the jobsite with their dad, or to lunch with Grandma.  Things we would not have had time to do if they were in school all day.

Schooling is not really the issue. It is a necessity in the midst of training and teaching them. As a mom, the main goal to filter all decisions through is raising them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. Raising our kids is serious business and there is no room for fighting over which schooling option is better than the other. So no matter where your kids learn phonics or algebra, lets join forces and pray for those kiddos. There is a battle for their souls raging all around them no matter where they take their spelling test or eat lunch. Let’s lift them up in prayer every day so they will have the spiritual strength to fight the good fight.



Mamahood Messups

Welcome to the Women Living Well book review!
I missed a chapter last week - oops! So I thought I would do a quick catch-up right now!
Chapter 13 Mamahood Mess-Ups
Ever feel like a failure? Like you are the only one who doesn’t have it all together? Wonder how all the other moms do it all when you can barely do much right? Feel like your kids are the worst? Why won’t they sleep? Or eat their veggies? Or refuse to keep their clothes on? Or get potty trained?
Ever feel like giving up? Wishing for your old life where you got to sleep through the night, only had yourself to get ready in the morning and never stepped in mac and cheese on the floor or spilled grape juice? Some days mamahood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We get disappointed and discouraged. We wonder if we will ever have a normal life again.
When you brought that little bundle of joy home from the hospital, you envisioned happy days filled with laughter and love. You wanted to be a happy family. Then the sleepless nights started. And next the terrible twos. This mamahood thing isn’t all you expected it to be.
Key word: expected. Expectations get us into trouble. They set our hearts up to be disappointed. They set our minds up to be frustrated. Struggles and hurdles will happen. That’s just life. But they aren’t all for nothing. God can use the struggles to grow us. Just as that little bundle grows and matures. So are you. As you parent your child, God, your heavenly Father, is parenting you to mature. And He uses the struggles to do it. Consider them opportunities to grow. Divinely designed opportunities.
As your children grow, you see more and more the character in their hearts. You see areas in their lives, attitudes in their hearts and viewpoints in their belief system that need removing, refining or redirecting. You are training little hearts to have a God-oriented world view. And it’s a process that takes much time and slow progress. Progress. Look for progress, don’t expect perfection. Just like God parents you.
Don’t let your heart get discouraged when it seems you’re making little to no progress. Ask your Father how He wants to grow you through this time. It may be that He is growing you more through a particular time than your children. Keep on keeping on, Mama. You will see the progress down the road.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Are You Using Your Gift?

Welcome back to the book club! We are reading through the book Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.
This week we're reading chapters 11 & 12

Chapter 11 The Influence Of A Mother The first paragraph contains two very good questions that each mom should sit and ponder over a good cup of coffee. (Especially on a cold winter day!)

                “Do you know how powerful your influence is?”

                “How do you use that influence?”

As a woman, you have a gift of influence. What you say and do and how you say or do it makes an impression on those around you.  It’s an awesome thing. But it is essential that you use it to influence others in a Godly way.

Those little people living in your home – the ones who don’t sleep through the night…put their shoes on the wrong feet….and have messy rooms… they are greatly influenced by you. What you do and say to them and around them matters. Big time.

This influence you have will do just that – influence- whether or not you have a plan. You need daily input from God to be able to have output that will lead those little ones toward a relationship with God.  Think of your children like sponges. Soaking in whatever is around them. This leads into another question in this chapter.

                “What are your children soaking in from you and from the music, television or friends you choose to bring into your home?”

Take time to really inspect what you do. What you watch. What you listen to. Who you hang with. Does it show your young ones that God is most important in your life? That the best part of life is your relationship with Him? That honoring God comes before anything else?

Chapter 12 is right on the heels of 11. Parenting In The Digital Age Just like what you watch and listen to affects your kids, what you allow them to listen to and watch also affects them.  Satan has so much opportunity to get into your children’s lives with all the sources of media available. It is a huge responsibility as a parent to monitor the input into their lives.

Another good question is posed:

                “Will the world change your children or will your children change the world?”

You want to raise your kiddos right. You want them to follow God. To put Him first in their lives. Satan desires exactly the opposite for them, and he puts up a good fight. One you have to engage in daily.

Set standards for your kids. Biblically based and with an attitude of love. Then enforce them. Don’t be afraid if you are not popular for this. That’s ok. You’re not parenting to be popular, you’ve got a serious job with eternal impact.

Know what they are watching. What games they are playing. What they are listening to. What they are saying. Who they are talking to. And how much time they are spending on mere entertainment. How is it affecting them now? How is it affecting their attitudes? Their outlook on life? Their view of God? Their relationship with God? Their work ethic? How will it affect them down the road?

Is it encouraging selfishness? Allowing laziness to grow? Lowering their standards? Making sin seem normal and ok? Feeding an appetite for the world? Choking out a hunger for God?

Teach them how to be wise with media. Don’t just make rules. Don’t just tell them. Teach them why. Help their hearts to grow discernment so they will be able to guide themselves when you are not around. Teach them the reasons some things are not good for them to see…hear…watch…play. Teach them not only the difference between right and wrong but also between profitable and the things that waste their time or stunt their spiritual growth. Teach them to be wise in how they use their life…for self or for God. Equip them for life. For a life that honors God.

I sit here thinking how to end this in a catchy way. But my heart wants to keep writing. The importance of this can’t be communicated enough in one little post on one little blog. Prayer. That is how this should end. Prayer is your greatest weapon of defense against Satan’s fight for your children. Pray. Pray. Then pray some more. They are really God’s kids after all. You are the one He chose to raise them. To teach them. To point them back to Him. Pray that He will give you wisdom as you model and teach. Pray that he will show you how to use your gift of influence in the lives of the young ones you tuck in each night.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All I Wanted Was Happily Ever After

Welcome back to the book club! We are reading through the book Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.

This week we’re reading chapters 8,9 and 10. “Banishing Bitterness to Find Happily Ever After” and “The Completing Him Marriage Challenge” (part 1 and 2).

Happily Ever After…. Who doesn’t want that? We dream of it, we long for it, Disney has made millions off of that desire. And it’s what filled our minds as we said “I do.” At least that’s what I had in mind. I thought marriage would be wedded bliss.

But the fairy tale dreams in our eyes sooner or later wake up to reality. Prince Charming isn’t really so charming after a while. And, well, if we have to admit it, we aren’t so much Cinderella-like all that much anymore either.

But wait. You married that guy because you thought he was The Man. You giggled when he grinned at you. You wanted to impress him, to help him, to attract him. Somewhere in the daily chaos of life that gets lost, especially when you throw a kid or 4 into the mix.

We forget that guy is so great because it is easier to see the underwear left lying on the floor, or the dirty dishes left on the coffee table, or that he forgot to feed the dog… again.  But a question we should be asking is: What is his side of the story? Does he still see that wonderful girl he married, or is she often overtired, disheveled and critical?

Often, marriages look more like tug of war than teamwork. Competition takes the place of complimenting. Critical attitudes take place of caring. And is seems we aren’t even on the same team most of the time. How did we end up this way?

Marriage was invented by God right there in the Garden and designed to be a blessing in our lives and a picture of Christ and the Church. I want my marriage to be a blessing in my life and in my Knight’s. I know you want the same for yours. But if we don’t work on keeping it that way, it will turn out very differently.

Let’s say you wake up tomorrow and your head will barely lift off the pillow. You. Are. Dead. Tired. Ugh. You think to yourself: “I’m so tired…. I can’t make it through the day… The kids are going to drive me crazy…. I need a nap…. I don’t have the energy to clean…” and so you drag through the day just barely hanging on to existence.

Now let’s say that when you wake up groggy and dead tired, that you choose a different approach to the day. Mentally. What if you thought to yourself: “I can do this…. It’s only one day… I can make it… I can get moving and enjoy the day… I can do this and tonight, my bed is going to feel oh, so good!”

We both know that the day would indeed go better than the first scenario. Attitude is everything. Attitude steers your actions. Attitude steers your moods. Attitude steers your motivations.

What if you approached your marriage that way?  It makes a difference if you wake up next to Mr. Not So Charming or if you wake up next to Mr. Charming. It’s the same guy, but the difference is in your attitude.

Push aside negative and critical thoughts about Prince Charming and focus on his good qualities. Can’t think of any? Think back to why you married him in the first place. Build appreciation for him in your heart. Build respect for him. Build closer intimacy with him. Build a life with him and share his priorities. Wedded bliss may not always be so blissful, but when we change our attitude, bliss will show up among the chaos of reality.

Chapters 9 & 10 are filled with a 10 day marriage challenge. I have read many wife challenges and truth be told many are sappy and not anything my husband would even like (like taking him on a picnic – just not his style). The 10 challenges presented here are good. They are aimed at your heart and attitude. Aimed at growing respect for your Mr. and putting him first. It’s a challenge I actually recommend if you’re up for it – let me know how it goes!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Knight and His Maiden

Welcome back to the book club! We are reading through the book Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.
Chapter 6 The Time Warp Wife As a wife you were created to be the helper. That Knight in Shining Armor you live with? Yep. You were created to help him. Created to help and called to respect and follow, as well.
To some women that sounds like the dark ages and even seems repressive. But it’s right there in scripture and when we live God’s way, it’s anything but repressive. It’s actually freeing and fulfilling. To live the role you were created for.
This helping, respecting and following (aka submitting- didn’t want to scare you!) are not what many picture. It is not barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. It is not being a servant and staying silent.  It’s actually more like you and your Knight are on the same team, you have the supporting role and when one wins, you both win.
Much too often instead of trusting God that His way is right and embracing this role, we attempt to take the lead rather than follow. We tend to take charge rather than submit. We dis his opinions and dismiss his wishes. We tend to expect him to help us (“I’ve had a long day!) rather than looking for ways to help him (“He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself!”).  We must remind ourselves often, he is not your helper, you are his helper.
Your Knight is not the same as anyone else’s. His Maiden is not the same as anyone else’s either. Therefore, there is no list to define for us exactly what being a helper requires. Watch your Knight. What things does he need? What does he like? What puts that cherry on top of the sundae of his life? What can you do to make his life better? What can you do to make his day great?
One of my favorite passages in this chapter is this: “Remember, your husband got on one knee and proposed because he liked how you made him feel. Most likely, you made him feel like a good man, able to conquer the world with you at his side. Does he still feel that way?”
Almost sounds fairytale sappy, huh? But we miss it. We miss the fact that this relationship we call marriage is meant to be a special bond. A blessing in our lives. We get caught up in household chores (or fighting over them), kids, and busyness of life and we forget to actually stop and care for the one that means the most.
Embrace the role of helper. Tune out the voices in society that tell you otherwise. God’s way is true and right. Go love on that Knight.
Chapter 7 Marriage In The Age Of Media The topic of protecting your marriage is one of my passions. I can’t tell you how many nights of sleep I have lost after hearing of a marriage breaking up. It tears me up inside. Its so sad. And so preventable.
Satan loves to break marriages apart. He loves to take marriages down from wedded bliss to mere existing under the same roof. No one is immune to this and I can’t express how important it is to protect your marriage. The arrows come flying from so many different directions. Your biggest line of defense is your mind and heart.
That’s where media comes in. Media is everywhere. It used to be only on special occasions or at special times, but now it is intricately laced into our lives. It’s not that media is bad, it is just one more tool Satan uses to turn our hearts away. And since media is a constant presence in our lives, we are wise if we arm ourselves.
Chapter 7 discusses many different aspects of media, but the one that has always been the biggest struggle for me is the discontentment it can create.  The Grass Is Greener Syndrome. You know what I mean. You’re walking along and then you see it. That lush grass. So green. So soft on your feet. It smells so fresh. This is what you’ve always wanted, what you’ve dreamed of. Not the dry, brown, crunchy stuff in your own yard. Your heart whines just a bit. Why, oh why, can’t I have that!
And so you pull up a chair. And grab a glass of iced tea. And you sit and gaze a while. And wish. And covet. And grow more discontent. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, your own yard is dying of thirst, getting even browner, if that was possible. Wondering why you don’t come home and water it. Trim it. Make it pretty. Sit by it and gaze on its green lushness.
But by this point, you don’t even care about your own lawn. In fact, you’ve grown irritated with it. Why can’t it be more like this lawn? How did I end up here, anyway? I deserve better, don’t I?
It’s so easy to see what someone else has, to envy the life they live. It’s easy to compare your marriage to someone else’s and feel that you come out on the short end.  But what if you used your energy to  water your own yard. What if you took the time to fertilize it? And invested in landscaping? Soon you would be enjoying that iced tea in your own yard and content with what you have.
Your marriage is just the same. It can become dry, brown and crunchy. Without effort put in, your marriage will seem stale and old. But what if you breathed some fresh life into it? What if you decided today to do something every day to build it up. What if you purposefully thanked God each day for something about your Knight?
It would show. Trust me. It would show in your attitude. It would show in your actions. And it would show in your contentment. Most of all, it would show to your Knight.
What keeps your heart aimed at contentment? What are ways you help your Knight? Got a plan of action, dear Maiden? I’d love to hear it.

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