10 Ways to Love Your Lover

This Sunday, August 14th, my love and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage!

God has blessed our marriage and family but it’s easy to take those blessings and each other for granted. We made marriage vows in the beginning but in our 40s I’ve noticed it’s easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of thinking and living. (I know you married folk can relate.)

I’m vowing anew “10 Ways to Love my Lover.” I was going to make 18 vows for 18 years of marriage but these 10 will keep me humbled enough, not because my husband is difficult to live with but because I’m as selfish as they come!

“…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37.

1. I’ve been seized by God’s great affection for me. He beautifies me on the inside, as my physical beauty is fading. He loves me unconditionally, despite my imperfections. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is love everlasting for me. I vow to love God in return with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

2. When we love God, we can love his people (including our husbands). I vow to love the most important neighbor in my life: My husband! I vow to treat him like a VIP! When I do something for myself, like have my nails done, take a nap, etc., remember to do something for him as well. Be intentional.

3. Loving self includes self-talk. I often find my thinking is self-critical which turns into others-critical. I have to remind myself, “I’m a fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves me and delights in me.” I vow to see myself as God sees me, so I see my husband as God sees him.

4. Fight for joy! I tend to see the cup half empty and that can frustrate my husband. I vow to find joy in the moment and the simple pleasures of life.

5. Fight for passion and intimacy! With two teenage boys in the house and a busy life, these times can be hard to come by. I vow to fight for passion and intimacy.

6. With that said, I vow to give my husband my best. When he comes home, I will step away from the computer, kitchen, whatever, and give him eye contact. I won’t halfway listen to how his day went but truly give him my best attention and even my best kiss!

7. I vow not to compare. It’s easy to look around at other couples and think they have a better relationship, job, car, dog, yard, life…. The grass is not greener on the other side and the American dream is just a façade to what really goes on behind the closed doors of other’s lives.

8. I vow to be grateful. I have been blessed with a sweet home and a husband who has worked hard allowing me to nurture our home and family for 15 years without working an outside job.

9. I vow to respect my husband verbally and with my attitude. I vow to verbally compliment and encourage my husband at least once a day. Difficult issues always have to be communicated but they can be sandwiched between two compliments.

10. I vow to pray for my husband physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” There is a very real enemy that wants to destroy marriages and families. I vow to be aware in prayer for my marriage and family.

I don't like my hair in this picture. See I'm already fighting being self-critical!

 

What are some vows you can make to better love your lover? I encourage you to make some vows today!

Thankful Thursday – Gone Fishing!

Counting to One Thousand Gifts, I am thankful for 224) “FISH!” And for 225) DaySpring generously giving me this pictured wall hanging of a carved fish (or ichthys) made from beautiful mango wood. The carving detail and overall beauty of this solid piece makes it ideal for anywhere in the home.

Instead of hanging it, I placed it on my entry side table as a symbol and statement of faith.  Joshua 24:15b says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” This verse is my heart’s desire, and this ichthys speaks that desire to all who are welcomed in my home and family.

The ichthys (which is the Greek word for “fish”) was the early Christian’s symbol of faith.

Fish are mentioned many times in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Several of Jesus’ twelve disciples were fishermen. He commissioned them with the words “I will make you fishers of men.” Thus Christianity began.

According to New World Encyclopedia, some say (but it is not a proven fact) the fish symbol protected societies of Christian congregations by keeping their meetings secret from persecution by Romans in the first century. The symbol would point the way to ever-changing meeting places. They developed a symbol which would readily be recognized, and which they could scratch on rocks, in advance of a meeting, on tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes. One ancient explanation, still popular today :

“…when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company. Current bumper-sticker and business-card uses of the fish hearken back to this practice. The symbol is still used today to show that the bearer is a practicing Christian.”

I enjoy decorating and gift giving with symbols of faith of such deep meaning. That’s why I enjoy DaySpring’s (in)spired deals, where they have exclusive deals and beautiful product.

Not only did DaySpring give me this Ichthus for review, they are allowing me to do a GIVEAWAY for YOU! A $20 coupon giveaway!

Just subscribe to my blog and make a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, May 22. On Monday, May 23 I’ll announce the winner!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Traditions With Our Crazy Fam


Each Thanksgiving weekend we have a tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree with my brother’s family. We’ve made many memories from standing with children in a field of trees during a thunder and lighting storm, to kids throwing up in a borrowed truck, and many more.  And if you know me well, I always have a camera in hand to document the memories!

This year brings a new addition to the family–my niece’s husband, Ben, and the same laughter and fun that is always had.

The Newlyweds

Zach taking pleasure in how he is inches taller than me

My boys

The tree house at Spring Creek Growers

The kids almost all grown up

Cousins

Nephew Luke

Cute Tori

“Stop! You’ll poke your eye out!”, is what we often hear ourselves saying!

The newlyweds again!

The year of the thunderstorm Chad was just a little guy and he thought we were all going to die. This year Chad was the Stump Dog.

He won most every challenge!

My bro, Wayne & his wife, Kim enjoying the crazy kids

As they get older, the kids start showing their individualism. So now when we take pictures we say, “We’ll do a posed pic and then do whatever you want.” Zach chose to lay on the ground with Hudson standing firm.

The newlyweds first tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tricycle Races!

Boys will be boys!

And the winner is Ben!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always on the lookout for a photo op

Hay stack fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo op!

Newlyweds again!

Posed

Whatever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call me later!

And sometimes our memories are educational. Zach was enamored with making corn meal. He says he’ll never look at corn meal the same way again, as it took about 10 run throughs of the same batch of corn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to end our tradition, we always eat at Mel’s Country Cafe, where Meems & Pops met us this year for burgers, chicken fried steak and fried catfish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Heart for Home

“You want to play house?”  Do you remember engaging your friends with that question, as a girl?

Today I’m playing house on this beautiful day and decorating for fall.

When I was a little girl, I’ve loved playing house and cuddling my baby doll after changing her clothes several times, and playing with my toy kitchen and tea set.  Now that I have a real family, I still play house by spending time with my family, cooking some delicious (some not) new recipes, and rearranging furniture and decor into comfortable, welcoming environments. (Notice the dust on the top of the entertainment center. Dusting is not as fun as decorating.)

Playing house and creating home have always been at the core of my heart.  It gives me the warm feeling that fresh baking bread gives a home.  What seemed complex in the day is less stressful in the aroma of bread and home.

But creating home is more than aesthetics, good food, and sweet aromas.  Some definitions of “home” are: A safe place where a person can find refuge and safety or live in security; an establishment where somebody who is in need of care, rest, or medical attention can stay or find help.

Creating home for me is providing an environment that gives my family a heart for home.

For example, my husband loves music.  Something as simple as having jazz or classical music playing when he comes home from a long day’s work instantly uplifts his spirit and draws him into home and family.

My boys also want to unwind from a day at school.  Allowing them to have a snack and kick back for a time, creates in them contentment and more of a willingness to move on to responsibility.

Another way I create home, and a heart for it, is to give my boys a safe place to fail.  There have been many times my guys have failed outside and inside the home. But they need a safe place to run to.  Instead of condemning them for arguments, a bad grade, or poor judgment, I’m “learning” to use these times as teachable moments and natural consequences, allowing them to see their failure and find restoration and security.

I have driven my family crazy nagging, whining and complaining.

My former approach with my husband was to unload all my emotions and frustrations when he walked in the door.  He would then immediately escape to the 3 foot x 3 foot toilet room–not the ideal picture of home we all want.

With my boys, my former approach was to immediately crack the whip on chores, school work, and practicing their musical instruments.  However, I would find them sneaking about trying to find a secret place to relax.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way, these unproductive tactics don’t work.

By unloading on and nagging my family, I was taking away their sense of security and refuge they so desperately needed from the sometimes cruel world we live in.  I wasn’t using my God-given wisdom and understanding to create a sense of home.  Instead, I was annoying like a continual leaking faucet (Proverbs 19:13).

I am learning that as I watch over the details, responsibilities, and affairs of my home, I can create a safe and loving environment that gives each of us a heart for home.  Now that’s the sweet aroma of home!

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young…”  Psalm 84:3