Monday, July 20, 2009

Marriage

Over the next several weeks, my church is focusing on marriage. The pastor will be discussing marriage during the service, and we will be learning the 5 Love Languages during Sunday School to strengthen our marriages. It seems that the "till death do us part" line in the marriage ceremonies doesn't necessasarily mean "till death do us part" to a lot of people now a days.

I told my husband when he married me (at the time neither of us were Christians) that his only way out was death. Of course I followed that by telling him that it may not be a natural death on his part but death was still the only way out! On a serious note, it seems like a lot of marriages today are struggling, and I can definitely understand why. Our world has become one in which we are taught to expect instant gratification and that we deserve to be happy, even if it makes someone else miserable. Our world is destroying our ability to communicate with others.

We can instantly download movies we want to see, we can grab a bite to eat without getting out of our car, we can pay our bills without so much as talking to a single person or leaving our house, customer service is automated - no person to speak to, we text rather than talk, we email rather than call, and we sit in front of the television rather than look each other in the eye and discuss how each others day was.

We are stressed out, and looking for someone to blame it on or to fix it. Families live beyond their means so that their children can wear designer clothes or have the newest game system. Both parents work in an effort to pay the huge mortgage for the house that is to big in a neighborhood that is to expensive so that they can "look" wealthy. Few adults pay off their credit card bill monthly, and many charge until they can't charge anymore and then declare bankruptcy. Husbands and wives argue about how the money is being spent, how much is being spent, and why the bills aren't being paid. Next thing you know both are working overtime trying to catch up and couldn't tell you what is going on in each other's lives much less the lives of their children. I know this because I was there once.

We bought a house before we could really afford it, we spent to much on credit cards, my husband began to worry about money and gripe about household expenses. I spent more out of spite, he became more angry and started to work longer hours and we grew apart. Our marriage became really rocky and at times we both were counting down the days and looking for a way out. My happily ever after prince wasn't making me happily ever after.

Did you know that God actually talks about this in the Bible? I sure didn't. I had become a "brawling woman" looking for an argument, blaming our unhappiness on my husband. If only he made more money, if only we had more stuff. Proverbs 21:9 says, "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house". Isn't that the truth!

Currently my husband and I live in a three bedroom home with 4 children. Sometimes it is cramped and often there really isn't anywhere to be "alone" in the house. My kids don't have the newest game systems and couldn't tell you what designer was in style right now. But, we are happy. I am no longer a "brawling woman". We eat dinner together with the tv off every night and both my husband and I know who our children are hanging out with, what concerns them and each other, and what is going on in each others lives. He is able to be home every evening before dinner and we spend time with each other. Our credit card has been paid off and we live within our means. Sometimes that means going without. We don't have cable TV, but can still watch some of our favorite shows on Hulu. I won't be getting a new laptop any time soon, but I can still use the old desktop to accomplish many tasks.

Now, I don't know where you are in your marriage right now. You may be happier than you ever have. If not, I hope to share a few insights from the Bible over the next several weeks that will give you some things to ponder about your marriage. Today's thought to ponder is are you a "brawling woman"? When your husband comes home do you greet him with a smiling face and a willingness to listen to him, or are you waiting, ready to tell him all the things that went wrong for you? Am I saying your shouldn't share your hurts or concerns with your husband? Certainly not, but you should take the time to make him feel loved and appreciated. God created marriage for us to become "one" with each other. That means that when you argue or disrespect your husband, you are disrespecting and arguing with yourself in a manner of speaking.

Are you going to have disagreements? Most definitely. It is how you choose to handle them that makes all the difference. Rather than fighting with him, work with him to come up with a solutions. Be honest about your feelings, but do so without blame. Your husband is your partner, not your enemy.

Proverbs 21:19 says, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman". Could your marriage be better? If so, examine yourself first and see if perhaps you are a "contentious and angry woman," or a "brawling woman". If you aren't sure, then perhaps you are and you need to make some changes in how you relate to your husband. Think about it.

Love,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Humpty Dumpty

In an earlier post I told everyone about my poor laptop and the hope that it was not like Humpty Dumpty and that my computer guy could fix it. While the wonderful man from church was unable to fix it, I did take it back to Mr. Fix-it, the paid computer guy. After a day in his shop I got the bad news. The wiggle jiggle in the power cord caused an electrical arc to the motherboard and melted the motherboard rendering the laptop useless. While it will currently still power up, it does continue to arc and is a huge fire hazard if I use it. The company that manufactured my laptop 3 years ago no longer manufactures in the US. Translation, can't buy a motherboard to replace mine.

As a result, my blog posts are going to become very limited until I can replace the laptop. My desktop computer is in a room that isn't Baby A proof, or Baby A friendly. So computer time will be limited to her nap times. During that time I will be primarily updating and working on the church website, making blogging secondary. I will continue to share any patterns that I create, but scripture cards, recipes, and freebie posts are not going to be a weekly occurrence until I can get something better worked out.

In the mean time, I hope that everyone is blessed with a wonderful summer, if you have children get down on the floor and play with them while you still can. Take the time to look around you and enjoy the world that God created and the beauty that surrounds you. May God bless each of you!


Love,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Read Along

My laptop is home again. Unfortunately, like Humpty Dumpty, it could not be put back together again. At least not yet. It seems I am going to have to break down and take it to a computer repair shop and cough up the $100 to get it fixed. So, until then I will continue to wiggle jiggle the power cord and cross my eyes, raise one hand in the air and stand on one foot while leaning to the right so that I can charge the battery! (Seriously it isn't quite that involved, but it does get aggravating!)

Now that I am posting again I have to recommend a book to everyone. I am a HUGE reader. I love to read and I used to read a book or two a week. Now it isn't quite as many, but I still read every night before bed and can't imagine going a day without reading something for pleasure. My kids and I are currently reading
which is a fictionalized telling of the life of John based upon Biblical information and independant sources. We are studying it together and it is a great catalyst for some interesting discussions and really makes John into a person for them. It is the first in a series called the Jesus Chronicles which includes many of the people that surrounded Jesus. We aren't very far into it yet, but we are really enjoying it. This book, however, is not the one that has prompted me to start a new series of posts that will be titled "Read Along".
A few months ago my husband started coming home from work telling me that the customer had informed him that I needed to read a book. It would come up in conversation once he began to talk to them about his beliefs. The conversation would then turn to family and somehow it would come up that I am a reader. (He is not!) At first, I paid no attention to it. I rarely buy books. I am blessed to have a father who not only is an avid reader, but can afford the hobby, often spending over $100 a month buying books. He in turn mails large boxes of books to me when he finishes them. Currently I have a bookshelf, a large rubbermaid tote, and two cardboard boxes of books that still need to be read and he has another set of books ready to mail up! So when someone suggests I read a book I look to see if I have it, and if not I file the thought away.
Then more and more of his customers began telling him about it. Finally I pulled out my 50% off coupon for the bookstore and went out and bought it. I read it in 3 nights and cried every time I read it. The author of the book really opened my eyes to how a relationship with God looks. It touched my heart and changed me. I can't give you a lot of details without ruining the book, but let me tell you... you really should read this book! What book is it?


If you read it, or you have already read it, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Don't leave spoilers, but let me know if it affected you and if so, how.

Love,


Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday, no musings

Good morning all. Just wanted to stop and let you know that I have no musings or scripture card to post today. My laptop has finally given up it's battle with Baby A. Ever since she began to pull up and walk she would come over and pull the power cord out of the laptop, whether it was in my lap or put up. As a result the internal mechanism has become loose and you had to wiggle jiggle the cord to get a connection so that it would charge. It has given up it's battle and surrendered to my 11 month old.

Fortunately, a great guy at church has volunteered to take my battered trusty friend and attempt to put it back together again. Hopefully this story ends better than Humpty Dumpty did. The down side is that currently I am stuck using the dinosaur computer that is slow as molasses. I dare not try to put together a scripture card for fear that it will take up to much operating memory and freeze the system. That would mean the hours of work creating the card would be lost and I am just not patient enough to face that. So, no scripture card this week.

I hope to get my laptop back on Wednesday so I can update the church website and get freebies up for Friday. I do have a possible recipe for Wednesday. Trying to decide between the healthy one or the junk food one. What do you think?

Have a great week!
Love,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thank you Lord

Yesterday felt like a very long day. It started out on a bad foot and seemed to just get worse as the day went on.

I woke up later than I wanted to in order to get H and J to Summer Academy which meant we were all rushed trying to get ready to go. The kids function even worse under pressure than I do so that made getting out the door lots of fun. On top of that it was raining. That meant that I wasn't going to be walking with my new friend which really bummed me out as I enjoy spending that 30 minutes talking with her in the mornings.

I returned home after dropping of H and J, put a load of laundry in the washer and had just settled down with a cup of coffee to catch up on emails and attempt to work on the church website when I got a phone call from Summer Academy. I won't go into details but lets just say that I had told J that if he had any more problems in school that he would not be returning the previous day and now he does not get to finish summer academy. The initial problem was not his doing but his reaction to it was and it was not acceptable in my household for him to have behaved that way.

Baby A wouldn't sleep until just before I had to leave to pick up H from school. So I left her at home with K and quickly ran out to pick up H. That afternoon seemed to drag on. J was supposed to be cleaning his room and didn't do it correctly which meant when my hubby arrived home he was not in a good mood and really wasn't happy with J. Baby A woke up and was inconsolable. When I was feeding her she got food all over her new outfit and then her bowl of food spilled all over the carpet. At that point I quit. I looked at my hubby and informed him I was done and I walked away from it all.

I didn't want to go to church that evening. I wanted to stay home and hide in my bed under the covers and feel sorry for myself. I was embarrassed at my son's behavior, frustrated that Baby A was crying and I couldn't figure out what to do to console here, aggravated at myself for the mess I had created. I truly wanted to just call the day off, go to sleep and start over in the morning. However, I packed up Baby A's diaper bag, pulled myself somewhat together, and with my husband I packed my children into our van and went to church. I, after all, had obligations. I had things I needed to pick up and questions to ask a few people that I knew would be there that evening.

I went into the building carrying all of this emotional baggage. I didn't feel like worshiping God. I didn't really want to be there. I am sure that you have been there at some time or another yourself. Our Wednesday night services are different than those at any other church I have been to. We have a simply prayer and praise service in which we sing 3 or 4 songs, our pastor gives a "Pipe Tobacco Sermon" (one that is short, sweet, and you can stick it in your pipe and smoke it!), followed by prayer, and then more singing. The first few songs I sang the words but really didn't feel it. Doug gave his sermon, which I missed part of due to Baby A deciding that she needed to have her diaper changed. But during the last set of songs, this one came up:


And as I sang the words, I felt my emotional baggage start to fade. Yes it had been a difficult day for me, but in the grande scheme of things, I had so much to be grateful for. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I began to count my blessings. H leaned into me and put her arm around me, reminding me that even though my children may not always make the best choices, they are really good kids with great big hearts. I looked beside me and saw my husband, who has time and again shown me that he would do just about anything for me and my children and that he loves me with all of his heart. I looked around the sanctuary and saw all of the people that God has allowed into my life that have started to mean a lot to me. I had a new church family that was honest, sincere and really cared about each other. It truly felt like family. God has blessed my family with financial security, new friends in my neighborhood for both me and my children, and a wonderful, happy life.

I left church last night with a renewed spirit. God used my little church and that little song to show me that I am truly blessed, even when it seems like everything is going wrong. There is a reason that He tells us not to give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). He knows our hearts and knows that there will be times that we feel overwhelmed, depressed, alone or many other negative emotions. He also knows that we can encourage each other, through song, through His message, or even the simple act of fellowship. So I share this with you so that you will know you are not alone. Each of us have bad days, but know that God knows how you feel, and that even in the dark times, you still have much to be thankful for!



Love,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wecipe Wednesday

Hope that everyone is having a great week! It's been pretty good for us so far. Monday and Tuesday my hubby was able to get home from work early, which meant we were able to spend some time together. (Yeah!) The kids are tickled because we went to a friend's house Tuesday and they got to play in the pool after Summer Academy. (Thanks so much for inviting us over and feeding all of us! We had a great time)

Baby A didn't much care for the pool though. I think she might have been okay if I had gotten in with her, but me in a bathing suit is not a pretty sight right now! I pulled mine out of the dresser and tried it on. The top of it doesn't hold me in as well as I would have liked, and the bottom of me is LOTS bigger than I picture it being. Time to get serious about the weight loss thing.

Okay, those of you reading this I need you to chime in on something for me. Hubby and I were reading a Bible trivia book with the kids. It says that David killed Goliath with a sword not a stone based upon I Samuel 17:51


"Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled."
However, the verse before that says,

"So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David."

I truly believe that the Bible is infallible, and these verses can be read either David slew Goliath with a sword or a stone. So here is my question to you, sword or stone and why? Before you begin, this is not being posed to start any arguments. If you choose to leave a comment, do not attack either view. If you comment is hurtful it will be removed. Let's remember that our purpose is to build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11) and not to destroy others faith because they see something differently than we do. (Romans 14) That being said, I look forward to your responses.

Now for today's "wecipe". Today is more of a seasoning than an actual recipe. It started as a sparkpeople recipe for "Sticky Chicken" but I tweaked it some. I use it on grilled chicken, fried chicken, roast chicken, etc. I especially like to use it to season chicken for salads. ( Place on chicken breast cut into bite size pieces in a sauce pan, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and about 1 tbsp of seasoning. Cook over medium heat until water evaporates and chicken is no longer pink. Be sure to stir often. This is enough to serve over 2 salads.)

1 part celery salt
2 parts paprika
1 part cayenne pepper
1 part onion powder
1 part dried thyme
1 part white pepper
1 part garlic powder
1/2 part black pepper

Mix together thoroughly. I make large batches of this and keep it in a shaker, but you can use a teaspoon as your measurement and that will make enough to season a roasting chicken.

Hope the rest of your week goes well!



Love,
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