Books On My Tables

A wonderful book is a treasure.  I love to read, and I’m always on the search for a new author or title to check out. While there have been years when I was busy with homeschool that I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted, I pretty much always have a “book going.”

It only seems fair to share my treasures with you! So today I’m sharing three books that are sitting on my coffee tables that I’m currently reading and LOVING! They’re different enough that I can read all three at the same time.

Book 1a

Adorned – This is one of those books that every woman needs to read – and then reread at least every other year.  Titus 2 is the backdrop for all the teaching and instruction found here.  It’s practical, convicting, helpful and challenging.  She addresses both the older and younger women and ends each chapter with a list of questions for each.  My copy is covered in yellow highlights to help me remember these essential truths for my life as a woman who loves and desires to live for God.

For my girls’ birthdays this year, I gave them each two copies – one for themselves, and one to give to an older woman they could ask to go through it with them.  This book is best when shared with at least one friend.  Do your spiritual life and your female side a favor and read this!

book 3a

The Most Important Place on Earth – This book about the home was written by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s husband years before they were ever married.  His first wife died of cancer, and he and Nancy married nearly two years ago.  Robert is an excellent, compelling writer.  I have laughed out loud as he shared many tales from his own home life.  He wisely shares the ingredients needed to make our homes the most important place on the earth.

I got my copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.  There are updated versions that have a cover that’s current to today, but the message is one that will be relevant for all time.  I highly recommend this book, and am thankful that my sis recommended it to me! Thanks, Dianne!

Book 2a

The Cave, The Cabin and The Tattoo Man – This book also came from my sister, who has met the author, Tim Callahan, from Kentucky.  To read the title you might be surprised that I’m reading it, but the story is precious.  It’s a fiction book based on the author’s growing up years, which happen to be the same era in which I grew up.  Hence, the illustrations and pictures he paints take me back to my own childhood days.

This is the story of a little boy who stays with his grandparents during the summer months.  He helps them with the little grocery store they owned.  He fishes in their pond so well that he is the envy of all the grown men, and he gets himself into precarious situations during his free hours.

When I need a book to just take me away on a little vacation, this is the one I’m reading…for the second time.  This is a series, too, which is fun.  I love knowing there is one to follow!

I hope you’ll check into reading at least one of these suggestions.  They’re all worthy of your time, and in my opinion, much better value than anything television has to offer!  Autumn is nearly upon us, and aren’t fall and winter the best times to snuggle in somewhere comfy with a cup of coffee and read a compelling book?!

Do you have a treasured book you’re reading?  Please share in the comments!  I’ll need some new titles soon!

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In-Laws and Out-Laws – Part 1

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Someone has said…

Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning handsprings or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.

A huge part of the difficulty that can come to a marriage is dealing with the In-laws.   You see, when a girl says, “I do,” to a man she loves, she is also saying “I do” to receiving his family.  She takes them on as her own family, and of course, he takes hers as well.  But that isn’t always the easiest job in the world.  There are so many variables as to why that’s the case, but I’d like to address what to do in order to make those relationships better.

I’ve been both a daughter-in-law and am now a mother-in-law, so I can speak a little to the female side of these relationships.  Tomorrow I’m going to speak to the mothers-in-law.  But we’ll look today at being a daughter-in-law that would honor the Lord and also be a blessing to the other side of her family.

  1. Give your in-law’s names – When I was newly married, I had a sweet father-in-law who oddly enough had been (and still was) my boss at the school where I taught.  He was also my pastor.  Now all of the sudden, we were related!  That was a strange transition to make!  My mom gave me good advice before my wedding.  She said, “Start calling your in-law’s by the name you choose right after you’re married.  It will sound like it’s bouncing off the walls when you first say it, but keep on saying it. It will get easier.”
    My husband and I had decided to call one another’s parents as we do our own, Mom and Dad.  When you have parents of your own that you treasure and love, it’s hard to throw that title to someone else, but these people were parents to the man I’d given my life to! Could I not “adopt” them as my second set of parents?  So, after the honeymoon, I needed my mother-in-law’s attention and I had no choice but to say it – “Mom…”  It was just like my own mother had warned me.  It seemed like I had shouted it into a megaphone!  But I kept on saying it until it became as natural saying my own name.
    It can be so difficult to give your in-law’s a name that instead, you refer to them as only pronouns.  Love them enough to give them a name – Mom and Dad, Bob and RuthAnn, Mom C., something! It’s so much kinder than “her” or “him!”
  2. Give your in-law’s the benefit of the doubt. If you’re questioning their actions, their absence, or their words to you or your husband, just step back and don’t assume anything but the best.  Instead of asking, Why does your mother only call you and ask about the holidays?  Don’t I count?  Assume that he is the one who could answer her questions.  Then you make an attempt at saying, Hey, I hear you’re wondering about us coming for Thanksgiving.  We’re looking forward to it. Do you have a minute that we could talk about what you’d like me to bring?
    It’s a tendency to get offended, but sometimes if we build a bridge for communication, it will make things easier the next time.
  3. Give your in-law’s time to be with their son without you.  Don’t feel offended that your MIL would love to spend time with your husband.  Instead, help that to happen.  When my in-law’s came to visit us for Christmas, I always tried to encourage my husband to take his mom out for breakfast one morning.  They could talk and spend time together, and I know she appreciated having her son to himself for a couple hours.
    (Tomorrow we’ll discuss what happens if this need becomes obsessive for her!)
  4. Give your in-law’s time with your whole family.  Holidays can be downright dreadful if there are not wise decisions about where and when the holidays will be spent.  Going back and forth to both families is exhausting and sharing that holiday with only one side of the family can be hurtful.
    Our solution to that is to spend Thanksgiving with one side and Christmas the other.  Then the next year do the opposite.  Birthday’s, Mother’s Day and so on can be handled in the same way – back and forth.
  5. Give your in-law’s the same kindness you’d give your own parents.  Most husbands aren’t good at remembering to buy gifts and cards for their mom once they’re married.  Why not consider it your duty as his wife to remind your fella to buy a card for his mom for Mother’s Day?  Or you pick out the card and gift for her birthday and let him sign it for both of you.  She’ll recognize his handwriting and will be elated that he remembered.  Only you will be the wiser!  The point is, be sure to do the same kind acts for your in-law’s as you do for your family.
    In the book of Ruth, we hear Naomi saying to her two daughters-in-law:
    Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
    Both Ruth and Orpah had shown kindness to their mother-in-law and she was fully aware of it!
    Could that be said of you and me?  Take the high road and show kindness. Be first to do it.  Do it even if it’s not returned.  What to do?

    1. Call them.
    2. Send a text to check on them.
    3. Send them pictures of your children.
    4. Send them pictures of your husband!
    5. Pray for them.
    6. Love them with words
    7. Love them with your time.
    8. Love them with actions. A card, a gift, a loving gift of your time.

It would be hard not to love a daughter-in-law who responds with those kind of actions.  I didn’t always do that. I struggled, especially in our early years.  But I thank the Lord for the good relationship he gave me with my in-law’s over time.  Ladies, sometimes the hardship in the in-law relations can make them look like outlaw’s, but if we make the effort, we could very easily turn things around for God’s glory and we daughters-in-law could be remembered as favorably as Ruth was.

What’s your best tip for responding as a daughter-in-law? Who has a great daughter-in-law that you’d like to brag about?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for tips for the Mothers-in-law!

“Picture Perfect” Lives

Wow! Yesterday a few hours after posting my pictures of our Thanksgiving on my blog, I had gotten over 800 views! It’s pretty amazing to me how much people enjoy seeing pictures of what others do, how they spend their vacation, their free time, or their family time. But it’s true. They do. I do. We’re curious.

There is a danger, however, that I think we should be aware of. It’s the danger of making assumptions. We look at pictures on blogs, Facebook or Instagram, then we start processing what our eyes see. We might assume that:

  • They never struggle with “stuff” like we do.
  • They’re well-off.
  • Their life is easier, better, or happier than mine.
  • They wake up gorgeous and never have a “bad hair day.”
  • Their family life is perfect.
  • They never work.
  • Their house is perfect.
  • They have no inner struggles, hurts or losses.

I won’t go on, but I think you get the picture (pun intended!).

None of those statements are true, of course, but we often let ourselves go on believing it’s so until we’re ready to jump off the proverbial bridge.  It’s at those moments that we need to do two things –

  1. Stop looking in-between the lines.  This means to just look at the picture for its face value.  Is their tree decorated beautifully?  Don’t assume that “everything is always perfect at their house” just because their tree is lovely. What isn’t pictured is the mess from the ornament boxes, the pine needles on the floor everywhere and the crying child in another part of the house.  No one has a perfect house all the time.
  2. Start thinking the truth.  Everyone has difficulties, every marriage has to work through issues from time to time, everyone struggles and needs the Lord and His Word.

So, the next time you slide your way through pictures, be aware of what thoughts are going through your mind and “stop” and “start” with the right assumptions!

Lovingly,

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Comparison Kills

Growing up as an identical twin, comparisons were as inevitable and as sure as the sunrise. Anyone that didn’t know my sister and me well would line us up side by side and look at one and then the other. “She’s a little taller. Oh, She has a mole under her left eye. Her face is fuller (never what any girl wants to hear!). Her eyes are rounder.” On and on it went until they could find a feature that would allow them to “tell us apart.”

Unfortunately, however, most females don’t just compare themselves to their sisters for the sake of identification. It continues through the years as a part of our very worth. In the teen years, we compare ourselves to our peers, where we wish “our hair was straight like ______’s, or curly like _____’s”. We also wish we had more of a personality like the popular girl in the youth group or at school. Then we grow up and compare ourselves to other women. Her weight, marital status, number of children, spiritual gifts and talents, career, and fashion are all put on the scales of comparison and leave us most times feeling like we just don’t measure up.

The result of comparison is never good. If we come out on the “short end of the stick,” we feel worthless. If we come out ahead, we deal with pride. So what is a woman to do? We must do the thing that is necessary any time we want to know the truth – Look into God’s Word!

Being 4’9′ made me always feel inferior. I’d compare myself to my tall friends and wish my life away that I was their height. Then when I heard a message on Psalm 139 in my early 20’s, the Lord finally brought me to the place to accept everything about the way the Lord made me.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.

I was no mistake, no funny joke to the Lord. He designed me this size, and His creation is not bizarre or wrong, no matter if others would laugh or tease. How could I look into the face of my God who created me “fearfully, wonderfully, and marvelously” and tell Him He made a mistake when He planned my height?

Height is trivial. But then so is…

  • Your nose
  • Your teeth
  • Your body build
  • Your hair type
  • Your number of talents

The issue is, will we use what we have for God’s glory? He used

  • Small statured Zacchaeus
  • Young David
  • Paul with his thorn
  • Left-handed Ehud
  • Tempestuous Peter
  • Doubtful Thomas

What do you wish you could change about yourself? If it’s part of God’s design, learn to accept it and determine to be useful for the Lord’s honor. Comparing yourself to others will result in death – death of your usefulness, death of your spirit. You are just the way God purposed. Instead of living with comparison that kills, enjoy spiritual life that invigorates!

P.S. And do twins a favor and don’t line them up for your comparison. Let them be the individuals God designed them to be. In time you’ll learn who’s who as you get to know their personality. (I was the ornery one!)

Lovingly,