Blessings and Lessons From 35 Years of Marriage

Surprise post on this Saturday! Let me add this one from last year that includes other truths about marriage that we all need to be reminded of – myself included!

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35th a
It feels surreal that today my husband and I are staring our 35th anniversary in the face.  Of course all the math plays out perfectly – the ages of our girls, the number of years we have lived here and there, and our years in ministry.  It’s just that it seems to all have happened while we had our heads turned, if you know what I mean.  Nonetheless here we are, and to say that it’s a HUGE blessing would be an understatement.

When Andy on The Andy Griffith Show asks Floyd what he knows about love, Floyd retorts,

What do I know about love?!  You can’t cut hair for 30 years and not learn something!”

Well, neither can you be married for 35 years and not learn something!! As I pondered our years together, I’ve thought about what I’ve learned.   Here are some of my…

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Summer Fun Series (Day Three)

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Summer Help for Moms

When I went to Walmart this week it dawned on me very quickly that school is out for some children and will be coming for others in the near future. How did I know? Mothers in the aisle of the stores already had that pinched look on their faces. I could hear frustration in their voices as they repeated what they’d already said to their children more than once since arriving in the store. I heard –

“I don’t have money for that.” “I’ll buy you a little toy if you’re good.” “Get out of the middle of the aisle where people are trying to push their carts.” “You’re not thinking!”

For some moms summer break means having the children under foot for three months – and that is thought enough to curl their hair without the aid of any iron or rollers! Having a plan in place will help make the summer months one to enjoy instead of dread. Here are a ideas for summer activity that will give your children and you some special times together:

Coin Adventure

Turn an ordinary neighborhood walk into an extraordinary adventure. Pick a time when you have nice weather and a bit of time to spend. As you and your child step out the front door, flip a coin. If its tails turn left. If its heads turn right. Continue this at every corner. You never know where you’ll end up! This is a great opportunity to giggle with your kids and enjoy some chatting.

Be Prepared

Fill a large laundry basket with a good playground ball, a jump rope, and roller skates, hula hoop and some side walk chalk. Fun times are waiting with these items!

Slide Test Drive

This simple activity will keep a child busy for quite awhile! If you have a swing set with a slide in your back yard.Place a bucket or dish pan at the bottom of the slide. Have your child place a toy car at the top of the slide and see if it will roll into the bucket. Ask him /her which cars were successful, which one failed and why they think that was the case.

Scavenger Hunt

Have a hunt with your kids or help plan one for the neighborhood gang.
You’ll Need:
A list of common house hold objects that you know you have. Each team or child will receive a list and a bag for the items (make the lists before gathering the kids).The lists can contain anything: A dandelion, rock, Pill bug, worm, leaf, ball, roller blade…Pre-readers will need pictures. The object of the game is to be the first team to find and retrieve all of the objects on the list. Play inside or outdoors.

Refrigerator Box House

No tree for a tree house?Just go to your local appliance center and ask if they can spare a LARGE box. Let your children design there “fort” and you can cut the doors & windows with a utility knife.Paint and decorate the outside using poster paints and sponges or brushes. Fabric scraps and a stapler can be used for curtains. If kept under cover this retreat will last all summer. Don’t for get the “keep out” sign.

Tent Time

Kids love to play in their own tent space. You can do it without the hassle of pitching a tent.Use a plastic tarp over the clothesline with stakes at the corners. Cover the floor with a blanket or sheet.Provide a picnic lunch, board games and other activities for the little campers. Using this instead of a real tent will prevent damaging the lawn. Kids can use it all summer long for a relief from the sun.

Special Treats
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If there’s an ice cream truck that rolls through your neighborhood and causes whining among your brood because there’s not money for it, purchase some special treats ahead of time (they’re much cheaper at the store!). When the truck comes into your neighborhood pull out your affordable treats. You and your children could even make the treats – ice cream sandwiches with your homemade chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies would be super good!

Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches are a Summertime staple!:

Check out this web site that has some super-cute Disney-themed games, food ideas, and crafts.

Bible Time

Why not host a Bible club in your backyard? It doesn’t have to be a huge organized thing. Invite the neighborhood children (and their moms), have a Bible story, songs, maybe a craft and a little snack. Who knows what impact this could have in your neighborhood? While giving the children the Gospel, you’re also providing a break for those moms for an hour – they’re bound to appreciate that!

I hope you’ve enjoy these three days of Summer fun!

Come back tomorrow for Couples’ Summer Date Night ideas!

I LOVE summer! Hope yours is a great one!

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Summer Fun Series (Day Two)

Here we go – another list of fun things for children to enjoy during summer months:

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This clever treasure box, which is organized around the principle that anything goes, has ample room for plastic bags of beach sand, seed packets, subway tokens, maps, sea glass, photos, finger paintings, invitations or even a tiny book of best friends’ autographs.

box

Start with a sturdy cardboard box (one with a lid), which your child can label with his name and the date. As he amasses odds and ends, he can tuck them inside or, if he prefers, glue some onto the outside of the box. To give the box a durable finish, brush on a coat of white glue thinned with water or cover with Con-Tact paper.

Make Homemade balls:

balls
CRAFT MATERIALS:
9 (11-inch) balloons (for 3 balls)
Funnel
2 1/4 cups of dried lentils
Scissors
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Stretch the first balloon by inflating it halfway, holding it closed for about 30 seconds, and deflating it. 2. Place a funnel in the balloon’s neck and gradually pour in 3/4 cup of lentils, pushing them in as you go. The balloon should be firm but squeezable. 3. Snip off the balloon’s thick rubber lip. Cut the neck off a second balloon and gently stretch the opening. 4. Ease the second balloon over the filled balloon, tucking in the neck as you go. 5. Cut the neck off the third balloon, stretch the opening, and ease it over the other two. Repeat this process to make a set of three balls, or however many you’d like.
How about making some cute cupcakes on the day your grass gets cut? What a yummy reward!  Or make these for a great Father’s Day treat! This idea was on Family Fun web site.

lawn mower cupcake
RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate-frosted cupcakes
Coconut, flaked
Green food coloring
Hershey’s Nuggets
M&M’s
Frosting
Black licorice laces
1. For each cupcake, mix a handful of flaked coconut with a few drops of green food coloring. Press a chocolate-frosted cupcake into the coconut to cover. 2. The mower is made with a dark chocolate Hershey’s Nuggets body, brown M&M’s wheels, and a red M&M’s engine, held in place with dabs of frosting. 3. Shape the handle from a piece of black licorice lace, then insert the ends into the cupcake.

Make a simple version of homemade ice cream –

What you’ll need:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Ice cubes

How to make it:
Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

Tips:
A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don’t increase the proportions more that that — a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy.

Don’t forget some of the good ol‘ standby summer fun things, such as:

  • Hopscotch on the driveway
  • Hula hoops
  • Sprinkler or water hose jump rope
  • Cardboard boxes – find a refrigerator box and let the kids make a playhouse or puppet stage
  • Make Popsicles
  • Play hide and seek just as it’s getting dark. Use flashlights to tag!
  • Don’t forget the library. There are so many fun things to do there!

Enjoy…summer’s going to be gone before we know it and we’ll be pulling out the sweaters!

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Getting to Know Me

Since this is the beginning of my Summer series, I thought we’d start with a little “Getting to Know You” post!

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Let me tell some details about myself you might not know:

  • I am an identical twin.  I was the bossy one…imagine that.  (Sorry, Dianne!)
  • I was born in Michigan and lived there until I was 13 and we moved to KY.  The rest of my life I’ve been a Southern girl and love that very much!
  • My husband and I have been married nearly 36 years (as of 20th of June).  He is 17 inches taller than me! Someone told us yesterday they used us as a couple to teach their kids opposites! Hmmm… Well, they do attract, don’t they?
  • Fire and I have a lot of stories.  One was in my bedroom, one was at a wedding.  Three have been in a kitchen…and I teach women how to cook.  Yikes!!
  • I love chocolate, but I only eat it a bite or two at a time.  My girls get annoyed at finding chocolate in my kitchen drawers that has turned white from age.
  • I loved writing stories when I was in elementary school and my 4th grade teacher encouraged me to keep writing.  I won first place in a creative writing contest in high school, writing a story for children called, What’s Up In the Sky?
  • My grandmother grew up in England.  It’s my dream to visit there some day.
  • I grew up playing softball with my dad, who pitched fast-pitch for our church team.  Even at my small stature, I could knock the ball over the heads of those in the field.  That was pretty impressive in elementary school!!
  •  My first official job was cashier at Hardees – that was in the day before computer-like cash registers that told you how much change to give!  My mom sat down with me and showed me how to make correct change.  My next job was bus-girl at Holiday Inn restaurant.  My twin sister had the far more glamorous job as hostess! 
  • The only season I don’t love is winter.  I’m an outdoor girl!
  • I have always had an herb garden in every home we’ve lived in.
  • I’ve only gone for about 3 months of my life that I didn’t own a cat…or have the cats owned me???  

So there are a few fun facts about me!

This spring while attending a ladies’ retreat at The Wilds, I met several women who told me they read my blog regularly.  That was such a blessing to hear!  Will you leave a comment and tell me how you found out about my blog, or how long you’ve been reading, or how we met?  I’d love that!!

Do you have a guess as to which one I am in the picture above? =)

Stay refreshed this weekend by attending a Bible preaching church!

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Family Friday – Mother’s Day Dilemnas

That holiday is approaching.  You know, the one where our family bows at our feet, singing our praises for the sacrifices of

  • laundry at midnight
  • science projects aided
  • homemade cookies baked for classroom parties
  • wounds kissed and cleaned
  • A patient, listening ear always ready to fix a relationship problem.

Okay, maybe not.  In reality, likely not.  Not if you still have children in your care.  Not if you’re a single mom.  Not if your husband is caught up in the pressures and stuff of life.  But I’m not here today to shake my finger at them because it’s so easy to forget.

I admit forgetting, too.  As a little girl, I was pretty much only focused on what my mom could and would do for me. Because she was so consistant, I came to expect a hearty meal every day at 5:00, clean clothes in my dresser, hugs when I was mistreated, and words of wisdom to guide my life.  It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized how much was sacrificed in order for me to possess that kind of home environment.  It was then that I really learned to say thank you to my loving mom.  I began to comprehend how truly blessed I was.  Every Mother’s Day since then, it’s been my goal to express to her how grateful I am today for all she was and still is.

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So let me stop to say, Mom (Millie Ray), thank you for all you did to make home so special.  Thank you for the meals you prepared that were both delicious and graciously served.  Thank you for taking the effort to decorate our home and keep it clean, and also teach me how to do those household tasks.  Thank you for sacrificing your own career so you could be home for us.  Thank you for loving God and making sure I knew Him, too.  And thank you for loving my dad and showing me that marriage was for keeps.  I appreciated it as a child, but today I once again say thank you and I love you!

To all you readers who are moms, I say, enjoy Mother’s Day by not expecting anything from your family.  Put your thoughts on your mom, or some other woman that the Lord has put in your life to encourage you, love you and support you.  Be grateful for them.  Do something to show your gratitude.  Stop and thank the Lord for your children.  Keep your focus on gratitude, rather than on your expectations. I learned this the hard way!

This is one holiday that makes me hurt for some dear women.  To those of you who wish you were a mom and find pain on this day, I say I’m sorry, and even greater, God understands and sees your grief.  Remember that He is a good, good Father, and don’t doubt His love because He has withheld this from you.

To those who didn’t have a loving mom, I say, God saw, God knows, and that is the reason we needed a Savior.  He gave us His son so we could all understand the greatest kind of sacrificial love.

To those whose mom or child is in heaven, remember that we’ll be joining our loved ones sooner than we think, never to be separated again. I love to think about what my daughter, Ashley is enjoying in heaven at this very moment!

Let’s allow Mother’s Day to find us showing our families that our greatest desire is God’s, “Well Done,” and that the joy of His comfort is enough for every pain in our hearts.  There are many coming behind us that need to learn from us that holidays are man-made, but the joy of being a Christlike woman is God-made!  That’s a gift that only He can give us, and that is enough!

Find refreshment in Christ!

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Taking a Week Off

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Happy Monday, everyone!  Wow!  I had a wonderful weekend full of fellowship, old friends, new friends, family time, teaching from God’s Word, and lots of fun and laughter!  I can’t wait to share it all with you!

But…first a little rest. I’m going to take a week’s vacation from blogging, but don’t forget me!  I’ll be back next week with recipes, ideas, and pictures of what I’ve been up to!  If you’re not following my blog yet, you could hit “follow” and you’ll get an email when the next post is up.  My mind will keep coming here this week, but I’ll resist the urge to write and save it for seven days from now.

I pray you’re having a great day.  Stay refreshed, and I’ll see you next Monday!

Lovingly,

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