Family life · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Rest · Sabbatical

Fun, Family and Finishing Strong

Who doesn’t love a week full of fun and family? That describes our last week of sabbatical so well, but it’s also a reminder of a truth I hope to pass on to you. Stay tuned.

You might think that 30 days of sabbatical would fly by, but the Lord answered my prayer and allowed it to go nice and slow. What a blessing that was! We enjoyed each day to the max and allowed ourselves time to rest, spend time together as a couple, and focus on what the Lord wanted to teach us as we got ready to head back into ministry.

When we got to the last week, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. My husband did a fantastic job planning our celebration and took me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Oh. My. Goodness.
What a special time it was!

The food was amazing!

The setting was gorgeous!

We got to take our time and enjoy every bite and every minute. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! We cried as we shared memories from our 40 years of marriage during the meal. I told my husband they were going to think we hated our food because of our tears!! It was a truly magical day, full of love for each other, fun times and many blessings!

Ready for our dinner at Ruth’s Chris!

This last week allowed us to enjoy an early July 4th celebration with Paul and Whitney in their adorable small town. It was so patriotic and fun!! There was beautiful music, Uncle Sam on stilts, and parachutists jumping out of airplanes with flags making for a great event!

We went home early in the evening, then later drove to a parking lot nearby to enjoy their fireworks. It was perfect!

We also got to see Paul in his work setting, which was super fun.

The last church we visited was Paul and Whitney’s. What a blessing to worship together and hear the sound preaching of the Word! After the service we went to a lovely little restaurant, The Bleu Porch, in their town and enjoyed a fabulous brunch! My Stuffed French Toast with warm Blueberry Sauce was delicious, but having brunch together as a family was even sweeter!

We spent the last few days at some quiet spots – lakes and mountains vistas – where we could reflect about what the Lord had spoken into our hearts. We did much journaling so as not to forget our lessons and the changes we each needed to make.

This mountain view is more amazing than this picture shows!

Now here we are nearly a whole month later! I’m enjoying the new schedule the Lord guided me to practice. My days and weeks are full, but the Lord is so gracious to allow times of rest just when I need it most!

Even without a sabbatical, we can each find times to rest. Even when dinner is not Ruth’s Chris, but grilled hot dogs, we can find time to be together as a family! Simple events can bring the fun life needs when days are tough. Ladies, we’re often the one who needs to create the fun, so let’s get planning! We need one another!

I’d also encourage you to find regular times to unplug, be still, and listen to the Lord through His Word and in prayer. We are not meant to run on empty without time with the Lord and minimal time in His Word. We need Him!

What do you have planned to refresh your heart? How will you refresh your family?

Unplug and have some fun family time this weekend!

Refreshment in marriage · The Scenic Route

Memories On the Scenic Route

Why travel the busy interstate, full of traffic, construction zones and high speeds when you can take a gorgeous, slower paced scenic route?

That’s the philosophy my husband and I have taken on! Oh, the gorgeous scenery we have enjoyed on the Scenic Route! Beautiful old barns, kayakers on rushing rivers, rainbows over country churches, and hot air balloons skimming open fields are just a few of the sights we have seen.

Our third week of Sabbatical was not without more scenic routes and beauty! I’ve pictured some of them here in this post.

Travel can really be an illustration of how we approach every day of our married lives! Sadly, I believe too many marriages are daily on the Interstate. Both the husband and wife are each in their own “cars,” driving over the speed limit, hurrying to the next thing on their agenda.

Occasionally they may pass their spouse and give a thumbs up as they keep traveling independently on their journey. Every now and then their lives may merge onto the same road, but not long after, a construction zone interrupts their unity and it’s back to stop-and-go once again.

This is not a fun way to travel, and it’s an even worse way to live out married life!

When you’re on the Interstate, it ‘s necessary to get off at a rest area when you’re weary. Marriages need restful times, too! I’m thankful for the rest our sabbatical allowed us. Not only did it strengthen our ministry, we were also able to pour into our marriage. We did lots of reminiscing – thinking back to the days when the Lord brought us together.

We even had the blessing of spending time in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, because, like many young couples, part of our honeymoon was spent there. We were thankful for time to sit, to talk, to dream about the future, and thank the Lord together for the blessings of the past.

Is your marriage on the high-speed Interstate, or have you taken the time to get off and enjoy the scenic route recently?

You don’t need a sabbatical to travel the scenic route! Find a spot where you and your spouse can watch the sun set. Go to the lake with a picnic supper. Drive together down a country road with the windows down and your old love songs playing on your Amazon app. Make some new memories on your own scenic route.

It’s your choice which route to take – both as your travel and as you live out each day of your marriage.

Interstate or Scenic Route. Which are you on today?

Refreshment in marriage

The Marriage Walk

On June 20th, my husband and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary! Here’s a post about marriage that doesn’t give false ideals, but realities in its day-to-day struggles.  I hope it will encourage your “marriage walk.”

As my husband and I were taking our daily walk yesterday, I took some pictures and realized that our marriage is a lot like the walk we take each day.

  • Marriage takes discipline – I make a choice to walk each day, and I make a choice to love my husband. As I add a walking routine to stay fit, I must also make investments in my marriage. Spending time together, planning time away, talking to and listening to one another are all important disciplines.
  • Marriage takes hard work. This first street we walk is a steep hill. Some mornings I think it’s steeper than others – it’s hard work! A good marriage takes hard work. Every day you climb past your own desires and meet the needs of your spouse. Every day you push forward instead of staying where you were yesterday. It might be exhausting some days, but it’s worth the effort!

  • Distance can intrude a marriage – Sometimes we jog a bit on our morning “walk” – that’s why he’s way ahead of me in the picture below! Some days in marriage there comes a distancing – an icy shoulder, a curt word, and the separation becomes greater and greater. When we’re out walking, someone has to take the initiative to wait for the other to catch up, or the slower one breaks into a run to be able to be side by side again. This is getting right in marriage; getting back together. It’s the humbling of one or both that makes that happen. “Only by pride comes contention.” Proverbs 13:10

  • God’s plan for marriage is beautiful – Part of our walk is beautiful. This road is full of views that I never tire looking at! It’s what spurs me out of bed and into my walking clothes! I can’t wait to hear the quiet and see the beauty. Remembering what the Lord desires my marriage to be, and the picture I have of that in Scripture makes me press on. I long for my marriage to be all that God intended. It pushes me to the Word and prayer, because I know in myself I cannot be the godly wife God wants me to be. If I want my marriage to be beautiful, I know I need the Lord’s enablement!

  • We must keep eternity in view – Yesterday we ran quite a bit. I got really tired and I was so relieved to see my home come into view! Keeping my eternal home in view will help my marriage too. It will help me to encourage my husband each day and pray that he will be a godly man. It will make me desire to make it easy for him to serve God instead of resisting what he wants to do in our home and family. It will make me remember that rewards are then, not now. It will remind me to be faithful to this ministry of my marriage.
I thank the Lord for a godly husband who loves the Lord and desires to live for him. I am privileged to be his wife. It’s been a great walk!
What part of “The Marriage Walk do you need to focus on?  Ask the Lord for His help, then strap on your shoes and get moving!

With a thankful heart,

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role

Conversational Respect in Marriage

A young man who had recently lost his father was asked by a friend,

“What were your father’s last words before he died?

“My father didn’t have any last words,” the son replied. “Mother was with him right up ’til the end!”

We laugh at a cute little story like that, but the sad truth is, that scenario is lived out in many, many marriages.

I remember once when we were on vacation, a woman and her husband were seated near me as I read at the poolside.  The husband’s phone rang, and based on his (loud) conversation, he was talking to one of their adult children.  The entire time this man was on the phone, his wife was telling him something he needed to say to their child.  It was almost hilarious.  The poor guy could hardly express his own thoughts into words because his wife was feeding him lines the whole time he was on the phone.  I’m guilty of doing that on a bit of a smaller scale, but it’s still wrong.

Why is it wrong to talk over our husband, or talk for him?  I believe it’s the respect issue that comes into play.

How is respect shown when we remind him what to say, correct what he just said, or talk for him when he’s being talked to? The truth is, we are showing disrespect instead!

Respect is seen when we:

  • Give our husband a place of honor.  In conversation, that place is to be still while he’s talking.  We shouldn’t correct, interrupt, or answer for him.  He is not our son – he is our husband.
  • Wait for him to answer – even if it seems like he’s NEVER going to come up with what he’s wanting to say.  Many times he doesn’t speak because we are impatient and jump in too quickly.  I’ve watched a man literally forming the words and begin to answer, but never be able to say his thoughts because the wife couldn’t wait that long!
  • Wait for him to finish talking with the other person before we share our thoughts or question.  If he’s talking to someone else, we wait, then perhaps motion that we would like to add a thought or question, then wait for him to let us know when he’s able to listen.
  • Think long and hard about the need to correct him – even later.  Unless it’s a serious faux pas that he needs to go back and make right, does it really matter that he said it was three years ago when he built the barn out back, but you know it was four years ago?!  Ask if it’s something you can just let go of, and if it is, then do it!
  • Learn to listen.  Be quiet and listen.  Nod.  Smile.  If he’s telling his infamous joke again,  let him have his moment of glory and don’t spoil it by exclaiming your disgust or disapproval.

Many husbands that don’t talk in marriage learned not to bother after years of disrespect from their wife.  Show your husband honor in conversation and let him have the last words!

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Three Things You Can Do Today To Improve You Marriage

improve Your Marriage

Like any relationship, marriage can get into a rut.  It sounds the same as when you hit those rumble strips on the interstate.  It’s irritating, and it makes you move over, but often it’s not long before you hear that roar again.  Why?  Because you’re kind of daydreaming your way through your marriage.

It’s easy to “fall asleep at the wheel” and not make the efforts in your relationship that you used to make when things were new and fresh.  But I have good news for you today!  If you’re still breathing and your husband also has breath, things can change TODAY!  Let me make three simple suggestions – all that are doable today and cost nothing except your intentionality!

  1. SMILE DAILY (use your lips and your eyes to smile!)
    When he walks in the door.  Smile.
    While you’re listening to him.  Smile.
    When you’re telling him about your day.  Smile.
    When you see him across the room.  Smile.
    It’s easier to be too busy to even look up at one another.  It’s easier to furrow our brows and scowl.  SMILE instead.
    A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.  Proverbs 17:22
  2. MAKE MORE DEPOSITS INTO YOUR MARRIAGE THAN WITHDRAWALS EACH DAY
    Deposit a compliment instead of criticism.  Instead of fussing about the negative thing you’re thinking about, give a compliment of something in which he made you proud.
    Deposit help instead of looking to receive help. I believe husbands should help their wife, but what would happen if we volunteered to run an errand, lift a load, or do a chore for him?  Would we look like Christ in our sacrifice?
    Deposit affection instead of pulling away physically and emotionally.  Put away that cold shoulder, little peck, or icy back.  Pull the wall down with the warmth of your affection.  
    Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
  3. PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND FOR AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES EVERY DAY.
    Pray about the things that irritate you.
    Pray about the weaknesses in your relationship.
    Pray for his burdens, pressures and obligations.
    Pray for your hearts to be knit together stronger than ever.
    Luke 18:1 – Men (women) aught always to pray and not to faint.

Dear wife, I’m convinced that if we would practice these three initiatives DAILY we would have happy husbands, which would equal happy wives, and that boils down to a happy marriage!  Try it and tell me about your results!

Refresh your marriage TODAY!