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Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 6-Love is not irritable

THE DARE:
"Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life."

*This one is a bit long winded. I can't help it.

If you haven't already noticed, I'm not posting these every single day. (I can't keep to a blogging schedule to save my life), but I will post each day eventually. I can tell that the journey is about to get hard. The old bait and switch! The first five days were really fun. Then I opened the book and read Day 6.

Now this one is going to take work.

This chapter discusses how we become irritable and quick to fire when we do not take the steps we need to in life to avoid such behavioral triggers. Like stress.

"A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control. She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations."

I can honestly say that in the months past I am stressed. I have been very tender emotionally, and overly sensitive in more ways than I could count. The last few months of the past year really wore me out. Up until Christmas time, I was left feeling pretty drained. I think I even battled with some depression.

That is not to say you can battle depression and snap out of it. I didn't actually seek a doctor's opinion, but that's how I felt, and I'm starting to feel better. I don't for one second want to make light of the fact that many struggle with depression, and would probably be aghast at my "oh-I-had-depression-last-month-statement". Depression is real and serious, and it is only by the grace of God that I think I'm feeling better.

But, feeling beat down certainly takes it toll on me and my relationships. Including my marriage. Now, I also know that I'm not to blame for all of our marital problems, but doing this dare isn't about me finding ways to point the finger at my husband. It's about me taking a good, long, hard look in the mirror. In the hopes that I might be changed, and because of that change in me, my marriage will be blessed.

So, as not to point the finger, how can I make sure I'm "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19)?

Well, I have some ideas.
They're not necessarily new ideas, but ideas I need to practice with more discipline.

#1 Prayer
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace which transcends understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

When I actually make the time to meet with God and cry out to Him, it changes everything. I have a peace that really does transcend understanding. The problem is no longer mine. It's God's. He will handle it for me, and give me peace until his plan is revealed. It happens every time. This task, first and foremost, must have a greater significance in my life! It must. Or else, things will never change.

#2 Forgiveness
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which bind them together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14 

It has been made painfully clear to me this past weekend how much I struggle with unforgiveness. To be completely honest, I read day 6 on Thursday, and really had to dive into God's word in order to make some sense out of the thoughts I was having. I know God has some work to do in me in this department.

I realize that I can be bitter and unforgiving. Ouch!

Here's the kicker. Even if the unforgiveness isn't necessarily about my spouse.

This past week I had some family members treat me badly (a repeated offense by these particular parties), and I am learning how carrying unforgiveness in my heart towards anyone causes me to be short tempered, irritated, and angry. I let the actions of others (the hurtful behavior) affect my relationships at home (my spouse, my children). Ummm...that's not good! So, it's on my list to work on. I feel some relief that I'm aware of it, and can work on it. "I can do all things through him who gives me strength"! (Philippians 4:13

And this is hard to admit, but I think I stuggle forgiving my kids. Yup, you heard me. When they misbehave or give me a hard time, I have trouble getting over it, and moving forward with the rest of the day. Their poor behavior in the morning may still be affecting me in the evening when hubs gets home. By then, they're completley fine, and I'm the problem. If they have an off morning, I think I turn it into an off day and night sometimes.

Do you see how I look irritated quite often? I don't want to be the "high strung" wife. Sigh...


Here are a few gems...
"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Proverbs 21:9

"A fool shows her annoyance at once, but a wise women overlooks an insult." Proverbs 12:16

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

"The wise woman build her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1

And yes, I think I struggle to forgive hubs too. Recently, we've come up against some tough topics, and I wondered if I was going to be able to really forgive, or will I just act like I forgive him, and be completley angry if I'm disappointed? I don't know. Like I said, this is work. Even if my actions seem that I have forgiven, I know I need to work on completely releasing the situation to God. Truly giving it up to him.
Forgiveness really has nothing to do with the person you are forgiving. It has everything to do with you and God!

#3 Taking care of me
A wife and mom who is overworked and exhausted is no fun to be around. I need to take some personal steps to take care of my physical health, which I know will bless my mental health. I have little discipline in this area, but I know that the more I love myself, the more I can love others. I'd like to start jogging and eating healthier. Even a poor diet can lead to stress. Which in turn trickles down to my husband and children.

I need to allow myself some guilt free rest and relaxation!

My list could go forever, but these were the three big ones. Plus, the dare said to "start" making a list.

This day was hard for me. I guess that's why it actually took me three or four days to get some clarity on the topic! I'm more interested in life change and learning than I am with keeping to a calendar. If I don't post each day on a set schedule, it's for good reason. God isn't done telling me what he wants me to get! If you're taking the dare along with me, I urge you to not care about the days being back to back. It's that you do them at all that matters, and I for one, plan on getting through all 40! Even it takes longer.

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***Read about why I'm taking The Love Dare HERE. Wanna join me? Come back and comment with a link to your post. I'd love to hear about your journey! To read any of the other Love Dare posts just click on the label "The Love Dare" at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!





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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 5-Love is not rude

THE DARE:
"Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only."

As soon as I read this I thought, "How in the world am I going to get hubs to answer this without asking me why I'm asking him?" Because he has no idea what I'm up to with this whole Love Dare, I just know he's going to want to know why I all of sudden I want him to tell me three things he doesn't like about me...

Who does that?

So I've put it off long enough. I just got off the phone with him. He's at work. Busy. Not sure if it's the right time to ask, but oh well. When exactly is the right time to ask this???

I decided to just nonchalantly throw it out there in a call I needed to make to him anyway.

"I called about those medical bills. We can just toss them. The balance on them is zero."

"Oh, awesome!", he says.

"So, how's your day?", I ask trying to drag out the call long enough to figure out how I'm going to word my question.

"Ok. busy." Perhaps I should let him go. It's like ripping off a band-aid. Just do it!

"Well, if you had to pick three things about me that irritate you what would they be?", I ask this as if I'm asking him when he's getting off work.

"What? Why are you asking me that?" Oh geez! Here we go.

"Oh, just answer. The first three things that come to mind."

"I don't know. That's a loaded question. Have you been watching Oprah?"

I laugh. "Just try. I know one without you even telling me."

"What is it?", he says.

"Yelling."

"Yeah. That's irritating.", he confirms.

"Ok, you try. Two more."

"Ummm, I hate it when you clean the shower and don't put a new wash rag in there for me. Then when I go to take a shower, I don't have one."

LOL! "Ok."

"One more."

"Ummmm...when you got to the bathroom with the door open. I hate that!"

I bust out laughing, as I think about typing that.

"Ok, thanks, babe."

Well, what's more rude than your wife using the pot with the door open??

I'm not modest, I can't help it.

I'm always trying to talk to him, and he's always running in the other direction.

This was the funniest day so far! I cannot imagine what he thinks I'm up to. He's probably scratching his head right now.


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***Read about why I'm taking The Love Dare HERE. Wanna join me? Come back and comment with a link to your post. I'd love to hear about your journey! To read any of the other Love Dare posts just click on the label "The Love Dare" at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!



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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 4-Love is thoughtful

THE DARE:
"Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them."

I would have to say this one wasn't that different from any other day. Hubs and I talk throughout the course of the work day quite often anyway. It wouldn't be that out of the ordinary for me to call and see how his day is going. However, I don't always ask if there is anything I could do for him.

I made a point to do this, and he simply said, "No."

He didn't wonder why, because I guess I'm not a terrible wife, and it wasn't weird that I would do that. 

Something I am seeing with just this first round of tasks is that deliberately puting my husbands needs above my own is making a difference in me. In my attitude.

This day's chapter started out with two words.

"Love thinks."

I think I need some retraining in "thinking" about my husband. Not just about him, but his needs, how he feels about certain things. I need to make more of an effort to put myself in his shoes.

I guess the word I'm looking for is thoughtful! Duh! That is the day's title. Love is thoughtful.

I can see how puting thoughts of my marriage and my spouse first can really make a difference. It changes the dynamic of the day when I'm thinking of him, and not me.

Hmmm. Maybe the authors of this book are on to something?

A verse keeps coming to mind as I type this.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will." ~Romans 12:2

I think being truly thoughtful requires a renewing of my mind. A transformation. I'm not someone who always thinks of themselves. Really, I'm not. But, I do think it's human nature to think of ourselves. Day 3 talked about how selfishness is part of our human nature. We can't help it. We need to be transformed into the likeness of Christ to be able to love like He does.

That's what I want.


***Read about why I'm taking The Love Dare HERE. Wanna join me? Come back and comment with a link to your post. I'd love to hear about your journey! To read any of the other Love Dare posts just click on the label "The Love Dare" at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!










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Monday, January 24, 2011

Go to sleep!

My 6 year old doesn't go to sleep by himself.

I'm only in the mood for constructive criticism. Feel free to tell me what a fantastic mom you think I am, or tell me that your kids don't even have a bedtime. You just let them stay up all night.

Most days I love to snuggle up and lay down with him. He's a cuddle bug. He keeps one little arm on you all night. He loves a good pillow talk session. So many memories of funny things he has said have been said while going to sleep.

If he doesn't want one of us to lay with him, he wants to lay with us.

He knows if you get up, and calls you back right away.

"Mommy, why did you leave?"

"Oh, honey, mommy just needed to go potty. I'm back, go to sleep."

He's got this phobia of robbers and kidnappers. Yeah, I don't know where this came from, but it's a real worry for him. He always wants to know if our doors are locked?

"Oh, honey, there are no robbers or kidnappers coming. You're perfectly safe. Go to sleep."

He has never gone to sleep by himself. For years we just let him fall asleep on the couch, and then we'd move him to his bed once he was asleep. It wasn't like we let him stay up late. He literally fell asleep on the couch, no matter what was going on, by 8:00 every night. It was the easiest thing. We'd just move him, and go to bed.

But then, he got bigger, and we wanted to do a home experiment to see how long a couple could go without sex implement the whole bed time thing. He was going to be starting school, and needed a better routine.

"Pumpkin, it's time to stop talking. You can tell me all about it in the morning. Go to sleep."

Now look what we've done! We're stuck in there all night. By the time we finally get him to sleep sound, we're so tired we just end up falling asleep too.

Yawn..."Baby, mommy's really tired. Go to sleep."

So here's the deal, kid.

Mom and Dad need some mommy and daddy time.

Mommy is starting to dream of other men in her sleep, and that's not good.

So could you please go to sleep?!

"Mommy, is it time to get up yet?"

...Sigh, "Good morning, pumpkin."


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 3-Love is not selfish

THE DARE:
Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care about something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments , buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today."

"What?", I say as my husband is staring at me with this strange look on his face.

"I'm just trying to figure out why you're being so nice to me.", He says.

Haha!! Just for the record. I'm usually a nice wife! Geez...

"Because I love you.", I say as I give him a kiss, and walk off smiling. 

I got him a new coffee maker! He needed it. Ours broke last week, and he's been manually making coffee for four days by boiling water, and then pouring it through the coffee grounds. What?? That's right. Yes, he's been doing that!

I also picked up some chocolate! He loves chocolate! And...I got him four new shirts. One dress shirt and three t-shits. It was fun thinking of him today. It was fun surprising him. It was especially fun to see him wonder why.

I can be pretty selfish sometimes.

It's nice to intentionally make the choice to think of my husband and not me.

"Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

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***Read about why I'm taking The Love Dare HERE. Wanna join me? Come back and comment with a link to your post. I'd love to hear about your journey! To read any of the other Love Dare posts just click on the label "The Love Dare" at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a tough pill to swallow

This is a hard post to write. It's something I'm not proud of. I hate that I feel the way I do, but I can't help it. It goes against what I know God has tried to teach me. It's totally hypocritical.

I've been texting back and forth with my sister for months about her trying to find a new house. She has a beautiful family of 6 and has outgrown her humble abode. It seems she has finally found her dream house, and they will be closing in just a few short weeks.

It's gorgeous. It's a 5/3 with a pool on an acre of beautiful property. I'm so glad she found what she wanted. So happy for her.

But there's a part of me that isn't happy about this news. I'm happy for her. But, I'm finding that every time I hear about her move or the new floors she's thinking about picking out, I'm sad.

Sad because things don't look like that for us right now. Frustrated because I feel like I can't even relate to what she's saying. The last thing I'll be doing this year is shopping for a newer, bigger house. We're barley hanging on to the shoebox we have.

My husband works hard. Just as hard as anyone else. Why can't he find that "too good to be true" customer or account? Why can't we get our break?

I am jealous. I'm having trouble finding joy in the happiness of others. What the heck is wrong with me?
I told you I'm not proud. I'm just being honest.

Last year was one of the toughest years financially for my family, and it continues to linger in 2011.

The point of this post is not about our circumstances, but my inability to be happy for someone I love dearly at a time when she is super happy. How shallow could I possibly be?

I keep going through all the "whys". Why do some people seem to have it so easy? Why are we struggling when so many around us aren't? Why us?

I watch people close to me, and even people not so close. I see success (worldly success, anyway) in the homes they own, or the cars they drive. The jobs they have. I wonder how they are making it in this economy? How can they afford that? How can they eat out every night? How can they have that kind of birthday party? What are we missing? I feel alone in a world that seems to be recovering from the economic crash, yet we're still lagging behind.

In my heart I know that these things are not what God considers success, but in my flesh I can't help but want things to be easier for us sometimes.

I don't have the luxury of shopping, eating out, or just planning a day out whenever I want. I have to strategically plan expenses. Consider the cost of gas. Say, "No, I'm sorry we're not able to make it." to events I would otherwise like to go to. No manis or pedis for me right now.

(I'm sickened by my selfishness. I realize there are people in this world that have WAY WORSE CIRCUMSTANCES! People have no food, or a roof over their head, and I wonder how I can be aggravated about my problems??)

I have so many blessings in my life. They are not taken for granted. Can't you be grateful and frustrated?

We're taking steps to make things better financially, but it's going to be a long road. It seems like we're light years away from where I thought we'd be. In some aspects, we're starting over.

It's a tough pill to swallow.

Today I'm just bummed that times are hard for us, and it's hard sometimes to see things going great for others.

I know it's wrong.



If you feel like pouring your heat out too, head over to Shell's place. She's better than fabulous!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 2-Love is kind

THE DARE:
"In addtion to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness."

Thank goodness! I get a chance to redeem myself from yesterday.

First off, I didn't say ONE negative thing. Not one! No thinking out loud about life, no exhausting thoughts on our finances, just plain positive!

Woot woot!!

Now on to this act of kindness. I didn't want to spend any money. Hubs is like the money police right now, and wouldn't have appreciated a gift or anything he would have seen a price tag on. At first I was stumped.

Then I decided to keep it simple.
I simply tried very hard to beat him to all of the tasks around here. He's always so helpful. Especially right now, because business is so slow. He's home a little more than usual. I know he feels pressured to try and pitch in. Yesterday he helped me clean out closets for God's sake! He's a dream when it comes to helping with the kids, and household stuff, and I appreciate everything he tries to do to give me relief.

I just did what I do, and what I knew he would try to do without saying anything. I gracefully tried to have it done before he could even think about doing it. It lent to a very peaceful day. Later, he ended up getting called to a job (thank God), so the rest of day proceeded as usual.

Tonight I baked him a cake. Since this gesture can easily be mistaken as something I did for the kids, I decided to pull one more trick out of my bag.

Sexual favors. That's right, you heard me!

Today I think I managed to be kind and unexpected. check.
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***If you want to read why I'm taking THE LOVE DARE, go HERE.

Take The Dare!
Grab this button and comment with a link back to you.
I'd love to hear your stories!


P.S.
I'm joining Mamarazzi in what she hopes will be a bloggy revolution! Enable those emails already! :)
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Day 1-Love is patient

You can read why I'm taking THE LOVE DARE HERE.

THE DARE:
"The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret."


How did I do? On a traditional grading scale of "A" being the best and "F" being the worst. I'd say I got a C. Really.

It just happened to be a day that we had a behavior issue with my oldest. Although we didn't necessarily disagree on the issue, we still had some heated discussion. It was a negative topic, and one I find myself easily frustrated over. I wasn't complaining or nagging, but expressing my deep frustration with my son's behavior. We've been struggling with this lately, and yesterday I found myself saying things like, "I can't do this"! I didn't wait until I was calm to speak, and it escalated the situation.

I did have the ability to step outside of the discussion to see my actions weren't exactly God honoring. I then tried to calm down, and turn the discussion around or at least put it on hold until I wasn't upset. I was able to do at least that. It made what could have been a blow out, just a short heated discussion.

Throughout the rest of the day I tried to simply be aware of my words and my tone.

This was hard for me, because I talk too much!

I found I caught myself thinking about how my words will effect my spouse. Should I say that? and Oops, I shouldn't have said that! It wasn't walking on egg shells or anything, but just a healthy awareness of my own actions and words. You know the concept. Think before you speak...ahem...a concept I'm not so good at.

I tried to respect his time while he was studying by keeping the kids at bay, and thanked him for something kind he'd done for me. A simple "thank you" goes a long way! Here I am the one who is supposed to be experimenting on him, and he's cleaning out my youngest son's closet! All I could say was, "Thank you." I kissed him, and hugged him, and he held me. I love this guy! Thank God he makes it easy to love him.

If anything, I realized how much work it is to truly show patience.

So, even though I don't think I mastered being 100% positive on a day with a rocky start, I did make a conscious effort to try. Because of this effort, things probably turned out better. We were still able to have a pleasant day in spite of the rough start.

I'll take it. And in fact, after writing this, I wonder if I didn't deserve a "B"?

The day's assignment was wrapped up with a verse that's close to my heart, and one the God has been trying to teach me.

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." ~James 1:19

***Some of you have expressed an interest in getting this book, and joining the LOVE DARE. Should I put up a linky for us to share our journey and stories with one another? I think I would definitely find encouragement in seeing how you all are doing, and I would love to see how this project blesses your families!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

do i really know how to love?


Last week at church the message was about love. I felt so convicted.

After the sermon, I wondered if I really know how to love?

I mean, I know I love my husband, my children, my family and friends. I'm not questioning if I love, but, how I love. Do I know how to love like God loves?

We read from 1 Corinthians 13. He took us line by line through these verses, and a familiar passage was made fresh for me. I realized I have a lot to learn about the kind of love God intended for us to share with others.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 tells us that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.

I thought about the people I've struggled to forgive. I thought about all of my relationships, and questioned how others can see God's love through me.

And of course, I thought about my husband. I've been talking a lot about my marriage lately, and one thing I know God is teaching me through the Bible studying I've been doing, is that first and foremost, I need to focus on Him, and the work He's doing in me. Not my husband.

I need to learn how to love others like God loves me, and I want others to feel that love from me. I want others to see my life reflect God's love for them. I want to be a vessel God uses to show others they are loved.

My husband is the most important realtionship I have. I want to learn how to love him like God has planned.

As I read through each line of these verses above, I began to see how some of my actions reflect the exact opposite of what God calls me to be as a wife.

Valentine's Day is coming up, and it's the perfect time to work on this love thing. Most days I think I've got it all wrong.

I've downloaded a copy of The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick to my kindle, and plan to work through the 40-day journey. I decided to get this book for two reasons. 1. It begins by breaking down the scripture passages that spoke so strongly to my heart last week (1 Corinthians 13), and 2. It's short reading each day with a little "homework". The tasks are designed to put the day's reading into action. Men are physical. I know that it's going to bless my marriage to love on my husband with some direction from this book, and God's Word.

It's my own little secret Valentine's Day experiment. He won't know I'm reading it. I plan on blogging about the journey, and sharing how God uses it to bless my marriage.

I bought a copy of the book when it came out last year, and then put it to the side after the first couple of days. Hubs and I had just watched the movie and I felt cheesy doing the assignments. I felt like he would catch onto my tricks since he'd just seen the movie. I thought it wouldn't have the same effect. So I gave it away.

Now I would actually like to see what happens when I work through the tasks without him knowing what I'm up to.

I want God to help me learn to love like Jesus does, and I want my marriage to flourish because of it.

So, I'm taking THE LOVE DARE.



To read more about my journey as a devoted wife to an unbelieving husband click on the label "unequally yoked marriage" at the bottom of this post.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Go away, Mom!

It was 7:06 am. Time to wake up. I went into his room, and pulled down his covers, and snuggled up next to him. It was freezing in the house, and I wasn't quite ready to wake up until the heat kicked in a little. I thought I'd lay there next to him for a minute and be lazy. Let him be lazy too. It would be a sweet, snuggly, way to start our day.

As soon as I squished in next to him he said, "Go away, Mom!". Not only does he tell me to go away, but he tells me with his new low voice which is almost unrecognizable. So what are you saying, kid? I can't snuggle up with you anymore?

Sigh...On to the next attempt to give my big man some attention.

It's so hard to connect with him at this age. It's all on his terms. He calls the shots, and I have to be ready to accept at any given moment because they are fleeting, and pass so quickly.

Last night we went to our first Student ministry worship service at our church. It was awesome. But, I still can't believe he's big enough to go! I have my reservations. The topics are pretty mature sometimes, and I'm nervous about that. But, I can't keep him in a bubble forever. I would rather he be exposed to the world while he still lives under my roof, than wait until he's on his own. Making his own choices, making his own life.

As a homeschooled child, he needs to be connected with other kids his age. There's a whole world out there. Even though there's so much to be worried about as a parent, there's a lot of blessings waiting for him too. I don't want my fears to hold him back.

He still  needs me though. He didn't want to go to worship alone last night. Not like I would have let him anyway! I need to scope things out first. See how things are run. See what types of kids are there. See what the leaders are like. Check out the other parents. Even though I don't want to hold him back from the world I want to be a wise parent. There's not gonna be any dropping off yet. That's okay. Parents are encouraged to come, and there were a TON of parents there last night. Which I love. It was a great message, and it was special to worship with my son. It was a good night.

He's nervous about getting involved. He doesn't know many of the kids. He's shy. It's an intimidating group. The music is pretty loud (awesome to me) and he's not used to the crowd. It's hard for him to meet new people.

But...he got something from the message last night. He was able to apply it to his life in his own words.

I got something from the message last night.

We talked about some of the events that are coming up, and possibly getting involved. I started to tell him all of the pros. A chance to build relationships. A chance to bond with some of the kids. A chance to serve Jesus. I started to hear my overbearing mom voice kick in, and I felt like it was annoying.

I realized something this morning. I need to pray for my son more, and talk less. God has a plan for him. He doesn't need my help in "talking him into anything". He can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. No amount of pep talk can do what God can do through prayer. He'll get invovlved when he's ready, and it will be God's perfect timing. Not mine.

Last night when we checked in we filled out the registartion cards. Each of us had our own. Mine was very parent-ish. Contact info and so forth. His asked some questions for him to mark as it applied to him.

I saw he checked "I want to get rooted in my faith."

Enough said.

I just need to let go.


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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

church shopping

We got married in October of 2003. On December 9, 2004 my youngest son was born. The Lord had blessed me with a wonderful husband, another healthy child, and life was good. But I knew something was missing.

I had this desire to get the kids in church. After all they really needed "character building skills" and "values".  After all, you got theses things at church.
*sarcasm, sarcasm*
I had NO idea what I needed!

Co-parenting with God was a foreign concept to me. My oldest son had been enrolled in a christian private school for preschool, but now that he was in public kindergarten he wasn't getting any Bible lessons. ...ahem...Learning about the Bible was something you did on Sundays, so we'd have to find a church to do that. ...cringing at my thought process of the past...

Well, hubs was not on board for church shopping. Could you blame him? Oh, well. So, the boys and I went out to see what the world had to offer us on a Sunday morning.

Sometimes my oldest and I would go alone, because I didn't want to drop the baby at any old nursery. No way! I would wait until I found somewhere I loved. Somewhere I was really comfortable before taking that step. So hubs would stay with the baby, and my sweet 6 year old and I would go church shopping.

Church shopping...what an exhausting process!

We found several places. Sat through many sermons that didn't offer anything special. Some boring, some all hell fire and brimstone. I felt like a teenager again. I felt like a stranger. an outsider. I also couldn't help but feel like a single mom too, because no one knew me, or why I was there with a 6 year old alone. He would often sit with me, because I wasn't about to drop him off with strangers either. After awhile of no luck near by, we decided to try a friend's church that was a longer drive. Not a fan, but at least there would be friendly faces there.

That lasted a little while. Long enough for me to feel comfy about bringing the baby to the nursery. I even volunteered a few times to serve in the nursery. It was a nice church. Not too traditional. Both young and old. The sermons weren't boring. The music was nice. But something was off. After just a few short months, I started to see gossip, and it touched my friend and her family. It was awful, and I was totally turned off!

We never went back.

Soon after that, I was discouraged. I didn't want to drive a long way, and it seemed like there wasn't anything special about any of the churches in our area.

Then one day, I got a phone call from my SIL. She mentioned that her friend, who lives near me, found a church she LOVED! It was in the building stages and set to open soon. They were currently meeting at the local middle school, but once it was built they would be less than a mile form our home. She had great things to say about it, and I decided to try it. We'd give it another go. Sigh...

It was Easter Sunday 2006.

Little did I know, through the love of God, this church would change my life, and the life of my family forever.

We've been there ever since.

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To read more about my marriage and journey through a spiritual mismatch, click on the label below titled unequally yoked marriage.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

thoughts of year round homeschooling

Last year was our first year homeschooling. We followed a traditional 180 day calendar with all of the same breaks you would get in PS. As a new homeschooler, I pretty much followed the PS calendar in our county. I didn't have the confidence to completely break away, and found it was easy to use as a guide. I also needed to stay with the PS system, because last year I opted to test my oldest with the state. We took our summer break and got right back to it this past August.

No we're well into our second year. I am shocked at some of the things I have found that I've changed my mind about in just one year on the job. For one, I made the choice to teach outside of standardized testing! I forgot why I started this whole HS thing to begin with, and had to remind myself that I was doing this to teach in ways my son needed. If that meant I had to teach outside the box a little, then darn it, I had that freedom! I found the God given confidence to step away from traditional methods, and started looking into some other curriculum choices that better suited him. Making this choice immediately put us on our own calendar. Nice! Me likey.

After getting a taste of stickittothemaniosis (please tell me you've seen the movie School of Rock, and are familiar with this medical term.), I am finding freedom in so many other choices exciting!

I've been thinking a lot of teaching year round. I find that my kids do much better when sticking to a schedule, and even when we do take a summer break I have to spend a lot of time in August reviewing not only the material, but working hard to get back into a routine. It effects their behavior, attitude, and so many other things. What would it be like if we never had to regroup?

I haven't really put much thought into how this would look for us, but I want to start doing some research on the topic. I know right off the bat it would take some pressure off of our curriculum. For example, instead of a five day work week, perhaps we move to a three day work week? Perhaps I could shorten the day all year? I don't really know? I haven't done any of the math on how the hours would actually compare, but it's a thought.

Because, really, we can do whatever we want.

I've also thought about continuing the curriculum calendar in the traditional 180 days, and choosing unit studies over the summer. That way the kids are studying something they are really interested in, but can apply all of the skills they've learned all year to these studies.

I have often thought my oldest would be the perfect candidate for year round schooling. He has difficulty with change in routine. He gets very emotional and stressed after long breaks. I find that during the summer, I want to do something structured with him just to keep him from getting bored, which often leads to some depression for him. Year round schooling could possibly be another way to accommodate his needs?

I'm really just brainstorming, and I am really interested in hearing about what you do as homeschooling moms throughout the year. What does your calendar look like? Have you tried schooling year round? Does it work well for your family? Why or why not?



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Friday, January 7, 2011

What happens when I don't blog?

My last post was 7 days ago! I cannot believe it. I have to say the down time from the computer has been nice. I woke up this morning thinking of all the things I did with the time I wasn't blogging. It's not monumental, but I think there's s few things that wouldn't have gotten done otherwise.

First of all, we started school after a long winter break. This isn't making the list because I always do this. But we took a light approach to getting back into the swing of things, and I'm pleased with our week!

Without further ado...

1. Cleaned out and organized my garage. This was a chore! Now I have bins organized and labeled, and it doesn't stress me out when I walk out there to put in a load of laundry.

2. Read my first book of 2011! I read the last page of Mockingjay last night. For anyone who doesn't know, it's the last book of the Hunger Game Series, by Suzanne Collins. Awesome books! Weird, but interesting. The first two were page turners. I had to fight with the third one. It dragged a little for me, but the last chapters made it all worth it. 

3. Spent more time in prayer and reading my Bible. I found myself doing the right thing more. I like to read blogs in the morning with my coffee. But, as I stepped back this past week, I found I had coffee with God. It's so much better! I plan on scheduling posts more, and even monitoring my time spent online a little.

4. I had time to reflect and think. Through my God time I had time to reflect and think about the new year. This year I am reclaiming my Joy! I have resolved to live purposely with joy! Instead of focusing on the obstacles, I am considering them pure joy. I will make an effort to simply be more joy-filled. For my family. for myself. Allow myself to get silly, crack jokes more. Smile more. Life is short.

5. I journaled a handful of blog post ideas. Even though I haven't posted, I have still wanted to! So now I can schedule those posts throughout the next week, and feel more organized in the blogosphere.

6. Meal planning! I stink at meal planning and cooking for the family. I can cook. I enjoy cooking, but I struggle with the weekly meals that everyone can enjoy. I'm not sure if everyone will enjoy the meals (haha) I planned, but at least I planned them!

I'm feeling good! What have you been up to this week? Have you been feeling the need to step back, and reevaluate? Isn't it just natural at this time of year?

Wishing all of you the blessings you can stand and more in 2011!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
~James 1:2-4