Marriage · Refreshment in marriage · The Scenic Route · Winter

Winter Vacation on the Scenic Route

Most people probably only think of a beach vacation when the temps make the thermometer and your face equally red. But I’ve learned in the last two December’s that being at the beach when it’s cooler is a blessing! My husband and I went to Hilton Head last December and loved it. Here are a few reasons I love the beach in the winter…

  • It is the perfect respite after a very busy fall season and before Christmas arrives.
  • It’s not sweltering!
  • It’s much more modest (see bullet above!)
  • You pretty much have the beach to yourselves!
  • The cities are quiet.
  • It’s so restful!

After our first winter beach trip, we decided that we needed to consider vacationing before Christmas again so we could enjoy all those benefits. That’s exactly where we’ve been this past week. Due to the cancellations caused by Covid this year, our plans were held very lightly in our hands. We knew only the Lord would keep us well and allow us the blessing of traveling to another state for vacation. What a gift this week has been!

If you have been following my blog for long, you know that one thing my husband and I enjoy doing as dates is traveling on the Scenic Route. We enjoy taking the side roads and stopping along the way to enjoy the sights that pique our interest. Yes, it takes longer, but we love making a memory while spending time together.

Here’s a little window into our Winter Vacation on the Scenic Route ~

We both loving walking/running on the beach. Though we don’t stay side by side, we stay in touch with one another and love that we share the love of outdoor exercise.
We try to catch the sunrise every morning. The blessing of winter sunrisew is that they’re a little later than summertime! This one came up at a little after 7:00, meaning we could sleep in a little!
We had so much fun one day when we got to have lunch with new friends that we met this fall. We spent several hours in fellowship with them and it was so refreshing and encouraging!
We love visiting churches when we are on vacation. The church we visited last Sunday had communion, giving us the blessing of sharing this time together. Since Dale is a pastor, we seldom get to share this ordinance side by side! It was sweet.

Our time away simply allowed us to be together…our favorite thing! We don’t need to be entertained, we just like being with one another. We may sit in the same room in silence as we each work on projects, but we’re okay with that because we’re together. We do spend time chatting about upcoming decisions, God’s Word, plans for the future and memories from the past.

We’ve created some new memories this week on our second winter beach vacation and we are grateful for each part on the Scenic Route!

Have you ever vacationed at the beach in winter?

Family life · Marriage · Parenting

Four Lies You May Be Believing About Your Family

Four lies

One lovely evening we invited friends to come over after church.  We sat around our fire pit watching the flames spit embers upwards and the smoke billow into the night sky.  Then to get the group talking, my husband suggested we play a game called,  Two Truths and a Lie.  Each person has to come up with two truths about themselves that others might not know, and then throw a lie in there somewhere.  We were to guess which one was the lie.  Do you know what the hardest part of that game is?

It’s not hard to come up with a lie – it’s difficult to come up with two truths to share!!!!

Not only is that true in a game – it’s also true in real life!  It’s just easier for us to listen to a lie than for us to listen to (and believe) the truth!

After our game was over, the fire put out, and my week got started, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered someone believing a lie in their life! Could you identify one you might be believing about your family?  There are many, but here are four lies I think are running rampant in our homes:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. 
  2. Things will never change.
  3. My child will go through the typical phases (like terrible two’s and teen rebellion).
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!

Let’s counteract those lies with Truth:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. Once you said, “I do,” you marriage became a covenant between you and your spouse and God.  No matter the situation and happenings before you got married, God doesn’t want you to ditch this marriage – this covenant after you pledged your life and love!  He wants you to stay married and display the Gospel – Forgiveness, mercy,  and grace. When we promise to love ’til death, God desires we allow Him to work in our marriage because it IS His will.
    So today –Commit yourself to this marriage and stop thinking about what it would be like to be with someone else, or in another circumstance.  Pour yourself into this marriage like it was the first day you were married.  Make a difference in your husband’s life today!Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).
  2. Things will never change. The previous truth about marriage isn’t meant to make you feel hopeless.  To say, “Things will never change” is to doubt an omnipotent God!  He is able to do MORE than we can ask or think.  As long as you are living – there is hope, because God is also alive and on the Throne!
    So today – Trust Him to answer and intervene in your life! Keep praying, believing and watching for what an all-powerful God can do!
    Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
  3. My child will go through all the typical phases. Your child was uniquely designed and created.  They were born with an old sin nature that will need to be dealt with.  A strong-willed child needs a different kind of approach than a child who is withdrawn.  But with biblical guidance and prayer, they could completely bypass those “expected” kinds of behavior.  Every child has a will and when that will is bent towards Christ and obedience at an early age, they won’t be little angels, but could avoid much heartache they could cause for themselves.
    So today –  Train your child in God’s Word and ways.  Surround them with godly people, biblical discipline and teaching, places and activities that will be the Truth their young heart needs.
    II Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!  I know that when you’re changing diapers,  chasing toddlers all day, caring for an elderly parent, or dealing with a hard season in your marriage, you think it’s never going to end, but I’m here to tell you there will could be day when you will look back and realize how quickly the time passed!

    Think back to something you did two years ago.  Perhaps it was a significant birthday, a special vacation or a wedding.  Doesn’t that seem like FOREVER ago?  Life is fleeting.  Children grow up. Changes smooth out eventually.  So  what do we need to do?  Learn to enjoy today.  Look for the blessing in the opportunity before you.

    When my mother-in-law had lung cancer, I cared for her in Hospice care in our home.  During those long days, I was exhausted and felt very overwhelmed and wondered how I could keep going. But in six very short weeks, she was in heaven and I was thankful for each day we got to care for her and spend time with her.  I look back on that time and it seems so short!  I don’t remember the hard things nearly like I remember the blessings!  I remember reading Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven to my mother-in-law.  I remember the night my husband and I got to go to a Bed and breakfast for a night away to rest in the middle of this time, and I remember the blessing of friends who helped by bringing meals, and came and sat with her so I could attend church.  Nothing on this earth lasts forever.
    So today – In the midst of long work hours that your husband is pulling, leaving you alone, or while you’re waiting for God to bring you a spouse, or while you’re cleaning up chocolate milk from the walls and floors, look up and find something for which you can be thankful! Look for the blessings and keep a mind on the truth that the clock is ticking!  Remember, too, that Christ could come at any moment and it will ALL  be over, and forever more we’ll be rejoicing!
    James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Thinking the Truth takes intentional effort.  Keep your heart focused on that which is right.  As Jesus said, The truth will set you free!

Refresh yourself with truth about your family,

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Making a Marriage Last, Part 2

Last week I shared some of the many ways my husband demonstrates his love to me. Not only is it a great blessing to me, it’s also a nudge to me to keep my own demonstrations active each day we’re married. I promised I would share at least five more ways he demonstrates his love towards me – gestures that make a marriage strong and lasting. So, let’s go!

Yep, these roses were a recent gift from my sweet husband.
  1. He protects me. Last week while I was taking my morning walk, I called him, alarmed at a car driving slowly up and down my country lane. Minutes later he sent me a text, “You okay?” When I didn’t answer within 30 seconds, he called me to ask the same question. He doesn’t smother me, but he lovingly protects me with gestures that remind me I’m not alone in life.
  2. He reminds me that he wants to spend time with me. Recently we realized that our mornings were getting consumed without us getting to spend time together first thing in the day. He asked if we could rearrange our morning routines so we could have that time together before the day got too busy. Wow, that spoke volumes to my heart. After 39 years, he still wants to spend quality time together!
  3. He still enjoys just having fun together. We play games, sing love songs in the car, ride bikes, go on picnics, hold hands while walking, share our meals together at the table, talk and share our hearts, enjoy a sappy movie, and laugh lots.
  4. He is such a servant leader. He constantly takes a back seat to his own needs so he can serve me. No matter how I refuse or want him to put himself and his own needs first, he always serves me first. He seats me at the table, opens the car door for me, brings me my morning coffee, carries anything I have in my hands, makes sure I have breakfast, the best seat, or whatever the pressing need is at the moment.
  5. He points me to our Heavenly Father. This is truly the greatest way to keep a marriage strong. Without the Lord, any marriage is weak because we’re depending on our own flesh. So every day Dale guides me spiritually. He shares what he is reading, what he’s praying for me and others, and he lives out personally what he talks about. He has shown me so much about how to live the Christian life with boldness and joy. He has helped me grow towards Christ in incredible ways.

Not only am I thankful for my husband’s loving demonstrations, I’m rebuked by them. I often say, “I don’t do nearly as much for you as you do for me.” Trying to out-do your spouse in loving gestures is a good thing and a good way to make your marriage last!

What could you do this weekend as a simple reminder to your spouse of your love for him?

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Making a Marriage Last

These posts are 99% written with women in mind. I want to encourage the hearts of women. HOWEVER, today’s post is not just a time to be grateful for my husband or just to help women, I also hope to encourage men in their role as the helpmeet to their wife. So perhaps you could send this post on to your brother or other men in your world. I trust this will strengthen marriages!

I loved my husband dearly when we got married 39 years ago, but every day he makes me fall in love with him over and over! He is not perfect, and we have our times, like every couple, but he is such a blessing to me every single day. There have been times I’ve kiddingly asked,

Am I dying? Why do you treat me so well?!

I totally do not deserve it, but I am very aware of God’s blessing and grace in my life in the form of my dear husband, Dale. It’s all the little things that make a marriage last the long haul. It’s the daily investments that make it stronger and give one another security in the relationship.

This week I’ve been “following him around” and snapping mental pictures of the many ways he is a blessing to me, of the ways he invests in me and our marriage. He had no idea I was doing this, and this is not our anniversary or my birthday. The things I’m going to share with you are normal for him. This is how I “caught him” pouring into my life…

Love is…
  1. Sentimentality – He leaves “Love is” cartoons for me all over the place. For years he has been cutting them out of the paper and putting them in my purse, my suitcase, on the mirror, the fridge – everywhere. They are always so sweet and speak into our marriage so perfectly.

2. Help with the housework – This is our home, our laundry, our messes and he so graciously and willingly offers help with some of the chores. I usually always start a load of laundry each morning, but if he sees that it has stopped, he will put it in the dryer or fold it if it’s finished. He also vacuums most of the time, which is a huge blessing. It really does make me feel like this is a dual-occupancy, rather than just me keeping all the wheels going.

3. Spiritual leadership – I’m so grateful for the times we spend in the Word together. He has been intentional about reading from God’s Word and a devotional book together, usually in the morning (it’s hard to make it happen later in the busy day!). He also prays with me each night before we go to sleep. Many times he has taken me by the hand to pray with me about a burden or pressing need in my life. What a blessing this part of our relationship is!

Washing Dishes

4. Help in the kitchen – He always cleans up the kitchen after every meal. He appreciates my efforts to cook, and this is how he expresses his gratitude.

5. Help with decisions – I’m the world’s best with coming up with “great ideas!” He’s so good about getting excited with me about a plan I have to rearrange furniture or re-do a room. This week he visited a furniture store with me as I was looking for a new sofa for our family room (more about that in another post). He was patient. He helped me think through what would be best in that room. So many times, he just helps me think. I may be trying to decide what to do in my already busy day, or how I can minister in a certain way, and he will very easily come up with a 1,2,3 answer. I tease him that it’s always a three point answer, given his calling as a pastor! But his input is always so helpful. Also, he’s okay if I decide to make another choice. That takes humility.

I have at least five more reasons he gives me to love him more every day, but you’ll have to come back next Friday to read those!

What does your husband do that is investing in your marriage? I hope you tell him often how grateful you are!

If your husband needs help with these areas, pray. Also, ask God to help YOU pour into his life and your marriage and watch what happens!

Refresh your marriage with what you can contribute to your marriage today.

Celebrations · Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Anniversary Moments

Our 39th Anniversary is tomorrow, June 20th. How in the world?!

We started our celebration on Tuesday when we had a spur of the moment opportunity to go to Pigeon Forge and stay at the Wilderness Wyndham for four nights! Yes, please!! This was a special blessing after our summer vacation got cancelled, due to the virus. We had been praying the Lord would open up a time for us to be able to celebrate our anniversary and this was the perfect get away!

We had no specific plans – only be together, rest and celebrate US!

This Wyndham has lots of fire pits on the property and with the temps dipping into the 60’s, we took advantage of the warmth of the fires!

Morning coffee and devotions

Our favorite restaurant is Pottery House Cafe. Due to Covid, they have put outdoor tables in front of the restaurant in addition to their back patio. One table was put inside the gazebo. We didn’t know it at the time, but each of had asked the Lord if He would be so gracious as to allow us to be seated at that table. After our 30 minute wait, our names were called and they headed straight towards the gazebo! It was so beautiful and romantic. It also protected us from the sprinkles that came while we were eating our meal. The Lord is so kind to us.

Pottery House Cafe

My husband suggested we come up with 39 of our favorite memories during our time away. He recorded each one on his phone. How special it was to recount so many blessings of dates, trips and special moments over the years. God has been faithful through all the years in the good and hard times.

We don’t do events in the area, we just pick a spot for our main meal, shop a little, sit and enjoy one another and the place where we’re staying. We read, journal, nap, chat, and create more memories.

If that sounds boring to you, you’re terribly wrong. Spending time together is what we got married to do. He’s my favorite person and “we like us.”

Here’s to many more memories!

Did your vacation get cancelled, too? Pray about how the Lord might open up a time for you and your spouse to get away and watch what an almighty God will do!