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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

refined by fire

Last week I posted about some relationships that weren't what I thought were. I was frustrated by the feeling that I was being judged and talked about. I've posted in the past about discovering my people problems, and realizing I don't want to be the girl who tries to please everyone. In many cases, I have had to set boundaries, and sometimes those relationships didn't stand up to a healthier me.

But my post today is about a different kind of friendship. What about the friendships we have that do stand up to trials?

The friendships that are refined by the fire instead of burned.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

This past week God has helped restore a relationship that I thought was lost. I'd been praying for this friendship and specifically asked for Him to restore it in His time, if it be His will. I also asked Him to give me peace and let it go, if it wasn't a relationship that honored Him.

He answered my prayers this week when He provided the perfect opportunity for me to speak with that person, and it was such a blessing when we had a chance to talk.

Sometimes our perceptions aren't always correct. Sometimes when we're hurting, the other person is hurting too. I've learned that we can't always expect people to know how we feel. Yes, sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes they should know better. But other times they don't mean to hurt you the way they have. Sometimes we take things the wrong way, or read too much into an assumption that's off base.

I learned that when I seek him He will answer me. This restoration was a surprise. I wasn't expecting to mend this friendship. I had accepted it as a loss. But, I was wrong.

He had other plans, and because this friendship has come through the fire refined, it's stronger.

When we become a new person there are times when our friendships are bent. They may even snap.
But, when we can be a healthier person with healthy boundaries and keep our friendships-that is a blessing. Those are the friendships that last. Those are the friendships that were real!

It's a blessing to know I have some of those too!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

some things you've been sayin'...

I love blogging! I love pretty much everything about it. The thing I love the absolute most are the encouraging words you're always leaving me.

Sometimes I think your comments get over looked. I wonder if a strong word you've spoken to me gets read by anyone else? I don't usually read through the comments on other blogs. Every now and then one will pop out at me, but generally I just leave a comment myself.

But, I wonder how many wonderful things we miss in the comments on other blogs? I know sometimes one little blurb of encouragement can turn my whole day around. It's your comments I receive that make me feel this bloggy connection.

So I'd like to share some things you've been sayin' that have meant so much.

Kelly at Meow Spoken Here left with me some powerful words that stuck with me all week long. I loved this. "Something my husband told me long ago has always stuck with me when my thinking gets off track: 'If you know in your heart that you are a good person and your intentions are honorable and pleasing to the Lord, then nothing else matters'. There will always be others that will have issues with us. How we handle it is the true test. And my pastor always says 'Assume good will'. Blessings to you!

Kay at Mama's Little Wonderland gave me some of the best kudos out there by telling me this. "For a child to be comfortable in their own skin shows great parenting skills on your part and your husbands too! Way to go Mom!"

So many of you genuinely shared in our blessing of finding that beach house...

Katina at Peaceful Divas said, "Ahhh! I love the house! It is sooo cute and girrrrrl, at the beach too? I am sooo happy for you! God sees what you are doing! He sees your faith and he is blessing you for it!"


Janet at Janet Rose said, "Your post brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful blessing from our amazing God! Congratulations on your new beach home and being closer to your family!!!"

Anna at My Cozy Corner reminded me that we never know who needs to hear something we have to share when she said this, "I needed this post this morning! It reminded me in a oh so gentle way that God is still in control and that He wants what is best for us. And provides that! Thank you!"

Katie at 3 Wittle Birds recently left the kind of comment I live for when she told she was inspired by my Love Dare journey. "I like this post. I too am struggling with broken promises. This is helpful!!! You are amazing and have inspired me to start my own love dare! Thank you for being so brave!"

These are just a few of the special things you've been sayin'! There's so many more, but I can't link them all. It's just a reminder that we can all learn from one another. We all have the ability to inspire someone! No matter what we post. Sometimes it's you that inspires me with your comments!

Have you been inspired or encouraged by your readers comments lately?

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Love Dare updates

Do I really know how to love? To read more about my marriage and the struggles I go through as a devoted wife to an unbelieving spouse you can go HERE. You can read other posts about the journey I decided to take through The Love Dare HERE. I'm on a journey to change my heart. Here are some updates...
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Day 19-Love is impossible

"When you surrender yourself to Christ, His power can work through you. Even at your very best, you are not able to live up to God's standards. But He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). That's how you love your spouse."

THE DARE:
"Look back over the dares from previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible for you? Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and give you the ability to love? Ask him to show you where you stand with him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination."

I'm positive I would not be the wife I am without Christ. He is teaching me to offer the same grace to others that was freely given to me on the cross. That's what going to make my marriage work. Nothing else.

Some days it does seem impossible. But...Nothing is impossible with God! (Luke 1:37)

Looking back some days have been hard. 

Over the past months we have made it through some major hurdles. Now it's time to press on! Will there be more struggles? Yes! But each step we take together builds our marriage stronger. I want to be transformed, and I want to same for my marriage.

I can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)

Day 20-Love is Jesus Christ

"He was willing to love you even though you didn't deserve it, even when you didn't love back. He was able to see all your flaws and imperfections and still choose to love you. His love made the greatest sacrifice to met your greatest need. As a result, you are able, you are able (by His grace) to walk in the fullness and blessings of His love. Now and Forever."

There is no greater love.

A friend's husband once said something to me in regards to my husband. He was once an unbeliever and his wife was once in the same position as I am today. He said, "Love him like Jesus does".

If it were not for Christ living in me, I'm not sure what state my marriage would be in.
I know my heart is changed, and even though I get discouraged, I know my husband sees it!

The enemy wants me to believe that I cannot do this, but I refuse to listen to him!

We have to be able to love our spouse with the same sacrificial love that Christ has for us, and He can give us the power to do it!

THE DARE:
"Dare to take God at His word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to pray, 'Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. But you have shown your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and you have proven your power to save me from death by your resurrection. Lord, change my heart, and save me by your grace'."

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Christ has given me a new heart and continues to teach me how to use it. I know He will do the same for you! I have to work everyday to stay close to his promises, but the old me just isn't around anymore!

Thank you, Jesus! 

Day 21-Love is satisfied in God

This is a message I believe with whole heart, and I still struggle to live it. We must find satisfaction in God alone!

People will always disappoint. Spouse included! But, when we seek satisfaction in Him, we have a peace like no other. Here's the thing-we married someone human.

"Every day you place expectations on your spouse. Sometimes they meet them. Sometimes they don't. But never will they be able to totally satisfy all the demands you ask of them-partly because some of your demands are unreasonable, partly because your mate is human...God however is not."

THE DARE:
"Be intentional today about making a time to pray and read your Bible. Try reading a chapter our of proverbs each day (there are thirty-one-a full month's supply), or reading  a chapter in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). As you do, immerse yourself in the love and promises God has for you. This will add to your growth and you walk with Him."

Without regular bible study, I would be lost. I've been a part of women's bible study now for about 4 years. God has used this fellowship and study to change my life!

Without a bible study, I'm less likely to get into the Word. I need direction when studying the bible. It's hard for me to just open it up and start reading. Connection with a study group is where I get fed. Yes, Sunday morning sermons are wonderful. But I see them as life reminders. Much needed reminders at that. But, I need to dig deeper. Being in the Bible everyday will change your life.

Seek first his kingdom and all these things will be given to you. Matthew 6:33

I'm believe that my heart is changed. I struggle with perfectionism. When I mess up in my role as wife and mom I let the lies sink in. I tend to think that my husband doesn't see anything different in me. I'm not perfect, and I never will be. That doesn't mean my heart hasn't been transformed. I get that now!

I know I'm a new creation! I'm walking in his promises!


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Feel free to join me!


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just come right and say it!

Do you ever get the feeling people are judging you and talking about you behind your back?

Just even typing that statement makes me seem paranoid. But, sometimes you just know. You can tell by the "elephant in the room". The air is cold, and it's just plain awkward.

I wish people would just come right and say what they have already said behind your back. It would make everyone else a whole lot more comfortable. I could have the chance to retort (if I even wanted to), and everyone else could relax a little! Even the person who's placing judgment could use a little less energy.

It must be exhausting to keep up with what you've said, and who you've said it to.

I can't do anything about it. If I were to confront these people, my allegations would simply be denied, and I would be confirmed the "problem" source in the relationship. I just try not to care, and try not to think about it.

I have honestly prayed that God would simply release the thoughts from my mind all together. If there is something He thinks I need to know, then He'll reveal it. If not, I will have to get over it. I won't waste any more time thinking about it.

I don't care what people think about me OR what they say. I just wish they would have the guts to say it to my face.

What people think or say about me doesn't make those things true. Most of the time people pass judgment without even having all of the information. Their opinions are based soley on assumptions.

I've realized how I have judged others in the past for things I really didn't have all the information on, OR better yet, things that are none of my business. I guess the best way to drive this lesson home in my heart is to go through it myself from the other side.

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Linking up this venting session with Shell at Things I Can't Say. It's the best free therapy out there! :)



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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is that for a girl or boy?

"Is that for a girl or boy?"

This is what we hear every single time we pull through McDonald's. You know the drill. They have two kinds of toys. One is for a girl and one is for a boy. Here's the thing. Quite often the toys could be interchangeable, and my boy wants the "girl" toy. So I'm stuck saying "girl" at the drive though. It's annoying!

Why can't they just say, "Do you want a Littlest Pet Shop or a Hot Wheel?" Or "Would you like a Beanie Babie or a Superman with your Happy Meal?"

Why do kids have to be defined all the time? Why isn't it ok for my son to play with whatever toy he wants?

Yeah, I know. Littlest Pet Shop is typically a "girl" toy. It's on the "pink" isle at Target. I know. I know. But if my son wants to play with those cute little animals, then so what!

Here's some facts about my son, who couldn't be more "boy"!

*He loves Hot Wheels, dinosaurs, and monsters.
*He likes to get dirty in the backyard.
*He loves to play video games.
*He plays T-ball.
*He runs with the best of 'em at P.E.

Here's some more facts...

*His favorite colors are pink and purple.
*He has a purple hoodie he loves to wear in the winter.
*He actually owns a pair of purple flip flops, and sports them like it's nobody's business!
*He plays T-ball with a hot pink bat.
*He has a Princess Peach cover for his DSi-it's pink!
*He loves animals-no matter what package they come in! Webkinz, Littlest Pet Shop, Beanie Babies, you name it!

Do these things make him girly? Absolutely not! When we bought those purple flip flops, I tried to steer him away from them. I actually said, "Honey, those are not really a boy color." He replied matter-of-factly, "Mom, I DO NOT care what other people think!"

He's six. He has this natural comfort in his own skin that I admire and love. He's like the happiest kid on the planet!

He really meant it to. He really could care less if someone says something about his stuff. We have a  friend. He's a cop, macho, sort of redneck-ish. Great friend we love dearly, but he would never let his son have the kind of pink and purple freedom we have allowed.

He came by the other day. Deputy uniform and all. He noticed my son's pink DSi cover with a blaring image of Princess Peach on it. He said, "Who's game is this?" his tone was real...You have two boys. What in the heck do you have this in your house for?

My son spoke up boldly professing his ownership, "It's mine! That's my favorite Mario character!" His facial expression was all, "Duh! Princess Peach is awesome!"

My husband patted him on the back with a smile and said, "I love you, son."

 Well, then.

We'll take the "girl" toy, darn it!


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Monday, March 21, 2011

God is so good!

Well, my bloggy friends. I cannot stop smiling! Many of you know of our recent decisions to move, and are aware we've been house hunting. This is no easy task! However, on Friday, God answered my prayers with a new beach house!

That's right you heard me...a beach house! After much prayer and consideration, we have made the decision to move from our current area to the beach. Here's a little sneak peek at the little slice of heaven. It's an old home, built in 1966, that has been completely renovated inside and out. It's a 3/2, split plan with a huge yard (you cannot see in this pic), a giant patio, and a another sitting area/garden type lanai. It's gorgeous inside!

Behind this picture are just 3 homes, and then...SAND! You can hear the waves crash from my porch! We have just a tiny bit more space in the new place then we do here, and get this-the rent is less than my mortgage here! This home-in this location-at this price-is a miracle! I know God hand-picked it!

We almost didn't stop, because I thought for sure it was NOT in our price range. I'm so glad we did.


It's a walk to the beach, about 2 minutes from my grandmother's nursing home, and about 10 minutes from my parents' home. I can't believe I'm going to be able to see my grandmother everyday!

We are in shock at the thought of being back at the beach in this stage of our lives. Hubs and I both lived over there when we were very young and irresponsible. Those days were more "party" days, if you will. Taking our family back there now is going to be amazing!

My husband can come home from work, and grab his board for a quick session. Free time for me has just been redefined! Grab a chair, a book, and escape for an hour! Now if I want to be alone, I'm stuck going to Target!

The boys are so excited! I know there is a large homeschool community there, and I have some ideas on a church. We'll continue to pray for God's hand and guidance. But, they are ecstatic! Our backyard is protected turtle mound. When we were there signing the lease there was a turtle walking right through the yard. They flipped! Just think of all the cool marine science activities we are going to be able to do...sigh...

We have an opportunity to go anywhere! My boys are not tied to a school, so why stay in an area we really don't like? We love our life here. Friends, church, and the daily activities we are involved in. That part I'm sad about. But, God will provide what we need no matter where we are!

It's been quite the journey surrendering to his plan. At first, there was NO way I was going to move the kids far. I wouldn't even consider it. He has really transformed my heart these past few weeks. Just imagine what we'd all be missing out on had we not let Him lead.

OH! I am singing his praises. He has given me more than I could have asked or imagined!


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21




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Friday, March 18, 2011

flowers that never die

My sweet grandmother recently made a permanent move to a nursing home. At first I was devasted by the news. The fact that shes getting older, and slowing down at such a rapid pace is hard for me to see. I wish I could keep her here on this earth forever...

Although I thought the move to the nursing home was going to be a downer, she seems to be very happy there. Praise God!

I wish we could visit her more. Right now, I can only get over there about once a week. It's not far, but it's just far enough. It's not something that we can do everyday. A visit there doesn't last long. The boys start making her nervous after about 20 minutes. A visit starts to wear on her quickly, so we keep them short.

I wish I lived closer to her. If we lived closer, I'd be able to stop by every day. We'll have to see what God has planned there. We're contemplating our move to be over that way, so we'll see what happens. (There's actually lots to share about our move. another post. another time.)

In the meantime, the boys and I will visit her as much as we can.

She can't have real flowers in her room. They irritate her allergies. So I decided to make these. Flowers that never need to be watered. Flowers that never die...

paper mache vases
(mix: 1 cup flour, 5 cups water, boil for about 3 minutes)
ooey gooey fun!


Once the vases dry (1 day) paint and decorate. 
tissue paper flowers
(tissue paper and pipe cleaner)
I googled this youtube video for instructions.
The finished product-one happy Great Grandma!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Love Dare days 17 & 18

Day 17: Love promotes intimacy

THE DARE:
"Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. make them feel safe."

So, this day wasn't that monumental for me. It spoke about being a safe haven for your spouse in spite of your past or secrets. I would have to say we score high on the marriage scale on this one. Woo hoo!

There's plenty to know about each of us, and we both know all there is to know about each other! Probably too much. LOL We were friends before we were anything else, and by that point in the realtionship he knew it all. Good and bad about me, and vice versa.

I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel safe in his knowledge of my past, and I feel confident that he would say the same. I think that in itself is intimate.

Day 18: Love seeks to understand

The Dare:
"Prepare a nice dinner at home, just for the two of you. the dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you've rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate."

This day's reading was interesting. It spoke of how we should never stop studying our spouse. Seeking to fully understand them at all times. Claiming that many of our differences are because we simply do not understand each other. I'd have to agree.

"Consider the following perspective: if the amount you studied your spouse before marriage were equal to a high school diploma, then you should continue to learn...until you gain a college degree, a master's degree, and ultimately a doctorate degree. Think of it as a lifelong journey that draws you ever closer to your mate."

I liked this analogy. I'm a student at heart, and thinking about it this way really hit home. How much time do I spend truly spend getting to know my husband?

I think about all the ways I've changed (opinions, thoughts, perspective, beliefs, motivations, goals, etc.) since we've been on this journey of life and marriage together. Surely he has changed in many ways too.

Do I really know him and understand him?

This dare is one I can't just do on a whim. I had to plan something when the boys would be away. This Saturday night the boys will be at my in laws spending the night, and we'll have the night to ourselves. I have some ideas to make the evening really special. I'm kind of excited about this one! I will keep you posted (no pun intended).


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***Read more about my Love Dare journey by clicking on the label at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sometimes you just need to hear it.

Yesterday I was sitting at P.E. chatting with some friends while our children ran around in the hot sun. I know, we're terrible. I got a text message from hubs. He doesn't ever text me. He's text challenged, and doesn't even have a keyboard phone, so it's a drag for him. He's getting better about it, and keeps talking about how he's gonna break down and get a phone from this Century. We'll see..

When I noticed the text alert and opened it up, this is what a found.

This picture with the text "Love you."
It may not seem like much, but as soon as I saw it, I cried. I did. I cried.

Sometimes you just need to hear it, and I needed to hear it right at that moment.

No matter what we're going through, where we've been or where we're headed, we're doing it together.

Love is enough.

I'm learning a lot about my marriage and what we're capable of making it through these days. The truth is, we can make it through anything. It may take work. It may bring me tears of frustration some days, but today, I'm overflowing with tears of joy.

He's sweating at a job site somewhere in the Florida sun, and passes this beautiful rose, and...thinks of me. I know, I know...sappy. But, I need sappy right now. As he's sweating and aggrivated he stops to snap a picture of this and text me two words. "Love you." Do you know how long it took him to type that?

That simple text was a perfect reminder that we will make it. God is good!


Happy anniversary to my sweet bloggy friend Shell! Her Pour Your Heart Meme is 1 year old today! Like almost every Wednesday, I'm linked up with her to share a piece of my heart with the blogosphere.


P.S.
For those of you that are following, The Love Dare updates are going up tomorrow! House hunting and blogging don't mesh well. I wish I had three times the amount of time I do! Thanks for all of your encouragement through the longest 40 day journey in history. Hey, at least I'm getting through it!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 16-Love intercedes

Day 14 was tough. Broken promises really stink!

Day 15 was tougher. I still have a job to do.

Day 16-Love intercedes.

I wish I could type the whole day's reading in this post. It really spoke to me about what I need to be doing. Less taking to my husband and more talking to God. Here's a few tidbits...

"You cannot change your spouse. As much as you may want to, you cannot play God and reach into their heart and mold them into what you want them to be."

"There is no guarantee that anything in this book will change your spouse. But that's not what this book is about. It's about you daring to love. If you take the Love dare seriously, there is a high likelihood that you will be personally changed from the inside out.  

"Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse's hidden faults? Do you really think it's for endless nagging? No, it is for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you."

The Dare:
"Begin praying today for your spouse's heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse's life and in your marriage."

I needed this reminder to pray for my man! The areas of prayer are personal. The bottom line. Get on your knees for your spouse! Thank you Lord, for this much needed reminder.

intercede: verb.
to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition.

Always pray and don't give up! ~Luke 18:1

Worry about nothing, pray about everything! ~Philippians 4:6-7

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
~Matthew 7:7



To read more posts on my Love Dare journey, click on the label at the bottom of this post.

Take the Dare!




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Day 15-Love is honorable

  Day 15: Love is honorable

I was having Bible time with my youngest yesterday morning. This weeks theme for his lessons is "God is Love". At the end of the lesson there is a little conclusion and a few questions. This was the wrap up...

"You will learn in the Bible that love is patient and kind. When you love someone, you will always be kind and think about how they feel."

It's amazing how I can learn from a kindergarten Bible lesson. I needed this reminder yesterday. I needed to be reminded that I'm called to the right thing no matter what my spouse does. I needed to forgive him for letting me down. The truth is, I know he's more disappointed in himself right now than I ever could be.

The question at the bottom of my son's lesson was "What will you do if you love someone?"

His answer. "I would give them a hug."

So simple.

My husband needs to be loved on. He needs a "hug". This is an opportunity for me to offer him the same grace that is freely given to me through Jesus Christ. If I can't show him this grace how can ever expect him to see Jesus in me?

At the end of the daily reading in The Love Dare it says,
"With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults-past and present-I still choose to love and honor you. that's how you create an atmosphere for love to be rekindled. that's how you lead you heart to truly love your mate again. And that's the beauty of honor."

THE DARE:

"Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes."

I'm choosing to be a better listener. This is something that really bothers hubs. He always says I never listen to him when he's talking. It's true. I'm a terrible listener. I can see how it may come across that I don't respect him.

As a gesture to show I do actually hear him, I went shopping yesterday and picked up a new razor for him. He has been complaining that he doesn't like the one he has for a couple of weeks.

From now on, I'm making it a personal goal to put distractions aside aside when he's speaking to me. Put my crackberry down, ask the kids to give me a minute, stop stirring the pot the the stove, turn off the water at the sink, etc.

I'm a big multi-tasker, and sometimes it's easy to get caught up in what I'm doing instead of really listening to him. I just need to stop what I'm doing for a minute and give him my full attention.

Right now he needs to know that I do still respect him.

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To read more posts on The Love Dare, just slick on the label at the bottom of this post.
Take the Dare!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 14: There's no delight in broken promises

Day 14: Love takes delight

THE DARE:
"Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend time with your spouse. Do something he or she would love to do or a project they'd really like to work on. Just be together."

So it's happened. Today is the day I am supposed to write and tell you about something fantastic I planned to do with my man. But instead, I'm left with the update that he has broken a promise to me, and I'm deeply dissapointed and left with no motivation to do anything for him. 

It was bound to happen during this challenge. So what do I do now?

I think the best thing I can do is tell you that I'm struggling. I can be honest and tell you that our marriage and life is not perfect, and I'm left standing at a road block.

I hate broken promises. Especially this one.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the slippery soap

I have a dear friend who told me once about an episode of Dr. Phil she saw. I'm not a die hard Phil fan and neither is she, but this particular episode stuck in her mind, and the analogy she shared with me is something I've often thought about.

I never saw the episode myself, but I guess he compared a need to control things with grabbing a bar of slippery soap. The harder we grab onto a bar of wet soap, the more it's going to slip out of our hands.

Just like trying to control life makes us feel like we're loosing our "grip".

I dropped a bar of soap in the shower last night, and I was so aggravated when I kept trying to pick it up, and that sucker kept slipping right out of my hands. Over and over! I couldn't help but think of this analogy.

I'm reminded everyday lately that I have no control over anything. God has control over everything.

I do believe we have some control. But, it's the control he allows us. Like our ability to make choices. Of course, responsibility plays a huge part in our lives. Our choices are within our range of control, and we have consequences for them. But, ultimately it's God who has a plan for us. I'm learning I have to be willing to follow Him even if His plan is not my own.

I don't know what God has around the corner for me and my family, but I'm willing to surrender the slippery soap.

It's only when I fully surrender to him that I will begin to walk in the abundant life he has for me.

I'm willing to let go and let God.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

making memories in midst of life's messes

Friday night my niece and nephew spent the night for my little man's very fist sleepover. What I thought was going to be a lot of work, turned out to be little work at all. It was so much fun! Seeing the joy on his face all night warmed my heart. They all had a blast!


It would normally be like me to shy away from extra stuff {like sleepovers} while we have so much on our plate. But, living life is so much sweeter!


Nothing replaces the memory of a good time!

If we stop living life in the midst of life's messes, my kids will be the ones that suffer. I want to build memories full of joy and laughter no matter what we're facing. I want them to look back at this period of our lives and see that it was full of joy, laughter, and love. Even if life was hectic! It's the best way I can teach them to stand up to life's trials.


 The only way these memories will be made is if I choose to make them. Even if it's a little more work than usual. The payoff is sweet bliss!



Consider it pure joy, my sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
 James 1:1



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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Love Dare-Day 12 & 13

Day 12: Love lets others win

THE DARE:
"Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell him you are putting their preference first."

Seriously, this one was hard. As you can see from the next day's challenge, I love to be right. It took me forever to make it through a day where I actually completed this task. Believe me! Several days went by before I could remember to do the right thing, and have something to post. Sad, I know.

But, yesterday hubs completely aggravated me. I wanted to snap at him, and hang up the phone. Really. But, I just said, "ok". I'm sure it was clear I was mad, but I just wanted to get off the phone before I said anything else. I let it go, it really wasn't something worth fighting about, it was just the way he had handled it. He just wasn't very nice. But, I let it go.

 Later, he called to apologize! Hmmm...is this how it's supposed to work? I see...me likey!
It's amazing what can happen if we try.


Day 13: Love fights fair

THE DARE:
"Talk to your spouse about healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to fight by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs."

Well, since I don't really want to sit down and have a talk with hubs about this, I decided to set some rules for little ole' me.

1. Don't try to have the last word.
2. Don't raise my voice.
3. Don't try to be right.
4. Do speak in a loving tone.
5. Do listen more.
6. Do take a deep breathe (or ten!) when I'm mad.

We'll see how it goes because, I love to be right, have the last word, and yelling is my worst quality. But, these are also things that need to change in me.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13

****To read more posts on The Love Dare just click on the label at the bottom.








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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

People.

People.

People can lift you up and let you down.

They can be a bridge or a road block.

In the past year I've come a long way in the people pleasing department. God has really opened my eyes to do this in the past year. He's taught me to break free from the chains of co-dependency, and walk with him. My walk in this department is sometimes a daily battle. I can see what God wants for me, and often I have to make the choice to take the narrow road. They don't call it narrow for nothin'!

Worrying too much about what other people think of me, or how I may be judged has been at the root of many of my relationships. I can honestly say that I've had to go through my own personal sifting. I had to put some of my relationships to the test (so to speak) to understand if they were really healthy for me.

In some cases it even meant setting new boundaries in some of my oldest and dearest friendships, and in other cases, setting up boundaries that should have long been in place with family members. I've had the blessing of experiencing that most of my relationships could stand up to a healthier me. Who knew?

I've also had the heartache of learning that a handful of my relationships were solely based on the effort I put into them. Once, I came to a point in my life where I realized it just wasn't healthy for me to continue the relationship the way it had always been. Which, was built on a foundation of my own co-dependency. Those are the relationships that have been hard to see weren't ever really that strong to begin with.

It's amazing how fast they can stop.

It's even more AMAZINGly hard when those relationships are actually family. The kind of relationships you must keep active, because you're called to do so, but "active" has a new look. Learning how to continue these relationships in a way that's healthy for me is hard, to say the least. I've seen that if I set boundaries and don't try to please them, there's almost no relationship whatsoever. Interesting.




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