Turn Responsibilities into Special Events

We had the blessing of going to Michigan last weekend where my husband officiated a precious wedding for a couple that are members of our church.  The bride’s hometown is in Michigan, so that was the location for their beautiful wedding.  I lived in the Detroit area until I was 13, so it was fun to go back to a place where I have childhood memories.

The wedding itself was just magical. It snowed the day of the wedding, making it the perfect additional touch!  Isn’t the Lord good?!  Christmas weddings can be beautiful just because of the church and its decor.  Their church was a rented church, so it would be both of their weddings, not just the bride’s.  I loved that!  Plus, this church was gorgeous, as was the bride and her attendants.

holiday nights 2

After the wedding event, we had the blessing of going to Greenfield Village for their Holiday Nights.  What a fun time we had!  It was romantic, musical, cold, snowy, festive, and fun!  We absolutely loved the whole night!

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No, we didn’t skate, though I really, really wanted to!

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As we were traveling home, my husband stopped for coffee, and beside the coffee shop was a gourmet popcorn shop, Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company.  My husband slipped inside while I was in the car.  He bought three different flavors and of the two I’ve tried, I can attest to the fact that their popcorn is some of the best I’ve had!!

It was a busy weekend, but we were so thankful for all the times we had to share special memories together, such as our evening at Greenfield Village, coffee at a new-to-us place, and popcorn on the long trek home.  That wedding weekend wasn’t just special to the couple who got married, it was special to us as a couple!

It’s so important to make special events out of the things that are responsibilities.  Turn an errand to town, a trip to the grocery store, an evening at school performance or ball game by looking for the fun in each of those things.  Put your phone down.  Look at the people around you.  Stop for the caloric Krispy Kreme doughnut and hot chocolate – or the yummy gourmet popcorn!  Enjoy the brief snow flurries by getting out and watching them come down.  Hold hands with your husband while you’re out.  Do the sporadic thing that pops into your head.  Enjoy each moment.  Turn the small things into big things!

Refresh yourself and those around you by turning the little things into big, special things this weekend!

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Hiding the wind

backyard sky a

The storm that blew through our back patio left evidence of very strong winds. The porch swing was now in our neighbor’s yard. Chairs and outside decor was scattered in the grass and tall weeds across the road. We never saw the wind herself, of course, but its destruction left ugly reminders that she had passed our way.

As we stood at the door and watched the storm blow through, is it possible that we could have stepped outside and stopped the wind?

No way.

Proverbs 27:16 tells us that whoever can hide a contentious wife can also hide the wind. In other words, just as impossible as it would be to stop the wind, so it is impossible to stop a contentious woman from her unbridled actions. The next part of the verse also tells us it’s like oil slipping through fingers – you cannot stop it.

This descriptive picture is such a good warning to my own heart. I can cause much destruction in my home and in the lives of those around me if I don’t stop the contentions – the irritations – in my heart from being turned into actions and words.

May each of us guard our hearts and our tongues today so that when others around us hear our words and watch our lives, they won’t be fearful of the destruction left in their path, but they can rejoice that they were in our presence.

I love beautiful clear skies and sunny days! I pray that my influence in others’ lives will be that kind of refreshment, rather than the stormy winds that are dreaded and destructive!

We each need to ask ourselves if we are leaving devastation like the wind or delight like the sun (or perhaps we should ask those that spend time with us each day)!  We’ll need to listen with a humble heart and a willingness to change, if necessary. It wouldn’t do to blow up like an unpredicted storm!

With whom do you need to be especially careful ?  Ask the Lord to help you respond in love towards them today.

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Being Intentionally Thankful in November

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Happy November Eve!  There’s a reason I’m posting a second post on this October 31!  Read on!

As we stare into the beginning of this month in which we celebrate

Thanksgiving,

I thought it might be a good idea to think about how we can maximize being thankful for these thirty days!  It’s too easy to jump into Christmas mode and only give a nod to being grateful for all God has given us in His grace.   So, let me share a few practical ways you can focus on being thankful starting today!

  1. I’ve signed up to join Revive Our Heart for the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge.  You have to sign up before November 1!  So I’m posting my blog a day early so you won’t miss out!!  This will help me to really be intentional in being thankful!
  2. Show your family gratitude.  I’m re-doing something I’ve done in the past to show my husband know how grateful I am for him.  I drew this simple tree on the bathroom mirror.  Each day I’ll add a leaf stating one reason I thank God for him.  The first year I did this my husband said he was going to Lowe’s to buy a bigger mirror!  It made me smile, because I knew it had hit a chord in his heart.  I love him too much not to let him know exactly why!thankful tree
  3. Chalkboards are great ways to express daily thanks.  Set one on the counter of your kitchen and each day have your family write another thing for which they can give thanks.
  4. Or you could draw a tree on a chalkboard, like my bathroom tree and add leaves of thanks, like below.
    chalkboard thankful tree | NoBiggie.net - love this!
  5. Keep a thankfulness journal in which you only write your thanks – no requests.

Let’s be intentional every single day this month to be thankful to the Lord…He is the Giver of everything and He deserves our praise!

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Five Friday Favorites

We had our first really cold day of fall this week!  It came just in time for Trunk or Treat at church, making it a fun fall activity!  I made these costumes up for my husband and me.  I thought since he’s my other half, it was perfect!!

Dale and me

Life has been so enriched with these precious little boys in our lives.  They are growing and changing so much!  They’re imitating…

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and learning and rolling and growing…and stealing our hearts!

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Fall also means Pumpkin Roll!  Here was the first one of the year!

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To be a part of a group of praying friends is a HUGE blessing in my life.  These ladies are my prayer group.  We have cried, rejoiced, laughed, and prayed so much in the last couple of years.  Wow.  We are rich, indeed!  We got to celebrate a birthday of one of these precious gals this week.  What a joy to rejoice that she is God’s gift to us as a sister in Christ, a friend, and prayer partner!

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What fun activities have been a part of your week?

Do you have a group of women you pray with?  I’d so encourage you to ask God to give you at least two or three!

Refresh your life this weekend in God’s house!

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Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

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There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

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Setting the Dinner Table

A part of every day life is eating a meal.  So, too, is the need to set the table.  I’ve heard many women say they don’t really know how to properly put the silverware and tableware out.  Is it just being too fussy to set the table?  No!  But if you don’t know what to do, fear not; it’s not something that requires lifted pinkies or tea cups!

My video today will show how to set a simple table, making it pretty enough for company, but also perfect for your family.  Don’t let them have your leftovers (no pun intended!). Make them feel special by making mealtime an event.  It’s really up to us to make the table pretty, and this simple video will give you a few ideas to show how.

 

What centerpiece do you have on your table right now?

Refresh your family’s dinner table!

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The Healer of the Family

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This coming Wednesday in Pioneer Club I get the joy of teaching a Bible lesson I’m not sure I’ve ever taught. As I’ve pondered this Bible passage, I’ve realized how important this little two-verse story is!  It’s the story of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law being sick with a fever.

But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

.And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Mark 1:30-31

So why would this be in the Scriptures?  Why should we tell the children this story? Why do you and I need to read it? I believe it’s because it speaks volumes about the care we should have for our family.  Just as this family looked after the needs of this mother who was sick, we need to put the same kind of efforts into our family relationships.

  1. They loved her.
  2. They wanted to do the best thing for her.
  3. They got the best care for her needs.
  4. She showed her gratitude by serving.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful a message of family life as God intended it.

Loving, caring, giving, gratitude – all attributes every Christian family should have.

But so many homes today are filled with fighting and bickering, bitterness and grudges.  The thermostat in the home is set at the high temperature of STRIFE.  Heated discussions., sassy children, and hot words of anger fill the rooms instead of love, forgiveness and kind deeds.

James  3:16 says,

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Confusion.

Every evil work.

Is that what we want inside our home?  If we allow strife, that’s what we  will get.

I have a sad memory  from years ago of a grieving family who were at the casket of their mother.  She was now in heaven, and the family knew there were bitter feelings they had never reconciled.  This family had “solved” problems with shouting matches, that of course did no good.  Now their mother was deceased, and their hearts were hurting, filled with regret, and sorry they hadn’t taken care of it before she closed her eyes in death.

Standing at the grave of a loved one is not the time to make peace. It’s today.  Don’t let strife and confusion and every evil work typify your family.  Instead, allow your relations to  enjoy the forgiveness you received at the cross.  Life is too short and family is too precious.

Let’s be like Simon Peter and lovingly go get the best help we can for our family – let’s run and find Jesus!  We must bring Him in on each situation and problem.  We must care for the needs of our parents, siblings, and children, forgetting our own.

Does your family have a need?  It can be met in Jesus.

(Tomorrow will be continuation of this post.)

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