Friday, November 4, 2011

Living a biblical womanhood

I love that there is SO MUCH in the bible about how we as women should live our lives. This one is something we see all the time, and is big in our culture today, but is not good for right living. It's hard to remember at times, but so beautifully true!
“Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let it be the inner person of the heart with the imperishable quality of gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of the Lord.” 1 Peter 3:3,4
I want people to see my inner heart, rather than my outward appearance! It's so hard, though, to remember this, when the world focuses so much on outward beauty and wealth. Models all over magazines and billboards, making a living from having good looks. Actresses being judged on their weight and clothing. And it trickles down to us normal women too. We worry about our hair and if we're thin enough, pretty enough, classy enough. Are we wearing name brand clothing? Do we get our hair professionally done? Manicures, pedicures, facials. It's all so exhausting, yet all so important to our society today. I am a part of that as well. Please do not think I am not concerned with these very things. But looking at this verse makes me think "I want people to see my inner light". To say "Caroline has a really kind heart". I love jewelry. I have a bunch of big rings. I love big bold rings and bracelets. But I have stopped wearing them as much in the past year. I started to feel that maybe my wearing such big "bling" may make others feel lesser than me. Maybe they want to wear big jewelry but can not afford it. (by the way, I have gotten most of my rings at Target and Boscov's..we're not talking $$$$ jewelry here). I started thinking, what if my wearing name brand, fancy clothes all the time, was hurting other women's egos. So, I try to dress more modestly for the most part. I try to think of the other women I care so much about, that are struggling with their finances because of life situations. Would I want them to go home feeling like they wish they could dress better, or have nicer things? No. I really would feel bad knowing I did that to someone else.

No matter how you dress, or how much jewelry you wear, make sure others see your love, kindness and light of the Lord. That's the lasting image you want to leave them with!!
Peace to all you wonderful women out there!! <3

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cleaning My House

I am not the most organized person. I try, I really do. I am good when it comes to planning events and trips, I am good at compiling detailed lists for tasks, packing, chores, etc. When I make lists for myself (To-Do) I can stick to it, and follow it. But I don't always remember to make a list each week. And since the start of homeschooling this year, any to-do listing, or regular cleanings have gotten all jumbled up and all together forgotten some days!
I have started, this week, to get back in to what I used to do. Which was designating 1 room of my house per day to a detailed cleaning. If I sit back and look at my house as a whole, it is OVERWHELMING. Where do I start? How much do I clean? I don't know about you, but my little ones are like tornadoes with their toys!! So, I would look at the house as a whole, straighten it up and never get time to do the deep cleaning.
This week I decided on Monday to clean my kitchen. So I did the dishes, Cleared off surfaces and wiped them down GOOD. I cleaned the surface of my oven. I organized and de-cluttered. I swept and mopped the floor. I wiped down cabinets. And when it was done, it was SPARKLING!! That felt so good. Now the rest of my house? Not so awesome. BUT I know if I take it room by room, that particular room for the day gets the real attention it deserves. Today (Tuesday) I cleaned our sun room/ play room. I swept, I dusted, I wiped down surfaces, organized, de-cluttered, moved toys around, cleaned up our school desk. Now I have 2 rooms that are immaculate in my house!
Hopefully by Friday most of the rooms in my house will be clean as they should be!
I read today on another woman's blog that I follow hallee the homemaker about laundry. Laundry escapes me! I can wash it, and dry it easy! But the folding and putting away...that's a different story. I do not like folding and putting away laundry. We do not have adequate closet and bureau space. It's just a real chore to do. But Hallee had suggested in her post, that you devote a day to it. Like I am doing with the rooms in my house. I am going to give this a go. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, I will be able to train myself to do the laundry right!
And I found this quote today, which is so perfect for this post - Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. -  Perfectly said!!
Peace to all you hard working women out there!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Bash 2011!!

Good Morning! My name is Caroline and I am a Happily serving wife and mother. I was not always a believer. In fact, I grew up sort of being afraid of the church. When I met my husband I was a sort of believer - meaning I believed there was SOMETHING out there, just not sure what. My husband was raised Catholic, but also never attended church. When we met we knew instantly that we were soul mates. We used to dream together about our lives and the things we would do. Together we have had 3 wonderful kids (14, 6 and 4), been through tragedies, wonderful times, and have grown SO MUCH in our Christian faith. I feel so blessed that the Lord stood by me, and guided me to the life we have now.
I am a very old fashioned kinda gal. I believe very strongly in old fashioned family values and morals. I did go to college, but chose to stay home for my family. I home school my two younger children ( and I am working on my 14 year old!). I love teaching! I am also a Sunday school teacher AND I help teach the confirmation classes at my church. I think a woman staying home is the MOST IMPORTANT JOB a woman can have! To manage and run a household AND properly raise children is a hard job! But oh so worth it!!
I absolutely love to bake! In fact, I feel the Lord spoke to me about a year ago, to try and make all I could from scratch. I started a blog about this called TheDIYGourmet . Since then I have not bought any cookies or bread. I have been busy with homeschooling, and don't update as often as I would like, BUT Please check me out! I believe that God has spoken to my family to be prepared for times ahead. I think learning to cook as much as humanly possible from scratch will be crucial!
I also love to knit (though I am still an amateur), trying to learn to sew, I love to exercise and eat healthy, am ALWAYS yearning to learn more about God. One of my BIGGEST passions is to soak up all the information (and pass it along) on how to be a Godly wife and mother. You can never have a TOO good marriage or be TOO good of a mother!! I enjoy camping and family hiking (this activity can save your family! It did mine!!).
Thank you so much for stopping by! I will be checking out many blogs myself! Peace to you all!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just Spreading the Word

Hello! I have a couple things for you to check out! One is for The Fuel Project. There is a DVD out entitled "Know your Enemy" that they put out, that you can view in little parts on Youtube. There are SO many, but they are worth your time, TRUST ME! Go to: The Fuel Project to check these out.  Very interesting and thorough information.
The next is this particular article from Glen Beck: Glen Beck being prepared . I think God has spoken to a lot of Christian's all over to be prepared for SOMETHING (don't know exactly what) in the near future. The Lord spoke to us last year in January. And we have found since that SO MANY people have "heard" and felt the same things.
Just wanted to share those two things for you now. Thanks for stopping by! Peace to you all!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oops, I did it again.

My husband left on Sunday for a week. I am out of sorts. I miss him so completely when he is gone, and feel an ache for him to come home from work every evening. Saturday was a day from hell. You know the kind, nothing you planned on doing works out. Things go wrong, and you get on each other's nerves.
We had an argument. He said something I took to heart. He didn't mean to. Let's face it, Men are different aren't they? Wonderful, but different. I took it to heart and decided to not let it go. I had the option to let it go. It was my choice to make. But I decided to hold on tight. And remind him through the day about what he said and more and more reasons why it hurt.
I tried to enjoy our last evening together (for a week), but that stupid comment kept getting in the way. Excuse me, I KEPT LETTING it get in the way. I took it to bed with me. They say you should never go to bed angry. That night I had a nightmare that he left me. I have those dreams often when we fight. But this night was different. This night, instead of waking in the morning to him and talking things over, I awoke to "I have to go, I'll see you Babe." I felt sad. Why couldn't I have just let the comment go? Enjoyed that Saturday, even though the WHOLE DAY didn't go as planned (not even one bit).
We briefly talked. He left.. I can not wait to see him again. To make up.
These men are our spouses. Our life partners. The loves of our lives!! Don't let silly comments (not even meant to hurt) get to you. Don't let them ruin your day. Love your husband like he's going away from the week, every day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Persuing your husband

Oh man, it's been so long since I have posted a single thing! Life around here has hit warp speed, and my free time is so little these days! I have started homeschooling my middle daughter. My youngest joins in sometimes, and my oldest goes to school. We have girl scouts, confirmation and volunteering at our church, choir, and a homeschool co-op that we do weekly, or bi-weekly.
I love homeschooling! But it has made me busier than ever! I will start posting again, promise! But in the meantime, please check out a blog I LOVE called Time Warp Wife. She is having a marriage challenge and is on day 6. I love reading her encouraging posts, and I love reading new ways to improve my marriage (I mean, really, can your marriage ever be TOO good?). Maybe some of you could use her wisdom right now. Maybe you are perfectly happy. Check it out either way!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How to fight

This morning my Husband and I had an argument. It started out as a conversation, that got a little tense and before we knew it we were arguing. Not necessarily even about the original subject either. That was thrown in there a little, but it was mixed with things brought up from the past, and character flaws brought to attention. The typical argument between 2 people that have been together for a while.

How easy it is to lose your temper. To just let your anger flow easily through you. That's how I used to be. Feeling backed into a corner, like a wild animal ready to what it took to win the fight. But I've learned through the years that is NOT the way to fight. You need to stand up for what you think is right, but do it with love. You need to take your husband's ques as to when you're starting to go too far. When you make him feel backed in a corner, and then back off. You need to step outside of yourself and look at things as clearly as you possibly can. I have always thought and fought with my heart an emotions. Now I try to use my head as well. You need to keep the situation under control. You need to be able to stop and say "I am mad at you right now, but I love you very much".
Today I was done with the argument. Done hashing it out. Over it. So I said "You need to go to work. Have a good day. Love you" and walked away. But it didn't "feel" good. Did I really send him off to work in a loving way? Not really. He probably felt like it was aggressive and fake. I didn't hug him or kiss him goodbye. And I don't want my life to be like that. I want my loved ones to know that no matter what, I will always love them. Even if I'm mad.
So, I opened the front door and went outside, waiting for him to drive past.  He looked a little shocked like "what are you doing out here??". I told him that no matter what, he shouldn't go off to work without a proper goodbye. I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him and to have a good day. I could tell he felt more at ease, and a little more settled. Because no matter if we just argued, when it came down to it, we are a team and a good couple and will always love each other. As long as we remember how to fight! Peace!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Becoming More of A Minimalist

Before I begin, let me say "This is not my home" in this picture. But doesn't this room give you a quiet sense of calm and relaxation? A sort of peace in simplicity? Me too!!
The economy is crazy. Where it's headed is uncertain, and times ahead are looking rough. The times are calling for us all to start getting comfortable with what we have. And to not have so much of it.
 I have always been a minimalist of sorts. I have always had a few (very good) friends. I don't like clutter. I don't decorate a whole lot.
But I realized over the years I have accumulated STUFF. In fact, I didn't realize HOW cluttered my house had gotten, until I went to a good friend's house who is even MORE of a minimalist than I am. And the open spaces of her house, the bare walls here and there, the simple furniture (they also have no TV, which I whole heatedly admire!). It made me realize "I've gotten away from my minimalist roots." I had gotten sucked into the consumerism mindset, and was all about buying.
So what I decided to do was go through my house, room by room. Not only de-clutter, but REALLY cut down on the AMOUNT of things I had. Bare walls are OK. Bare tabletops (ie: no centerpiece - GASP) is OK too. I even got my kiddos involved. They gave away a BUNCH of toys they just didn't play with anymore. I went through clothes, pictures, decorations, tables, kitchen utensils, etc and either put them away to sell, or GAVE THEM AWAY!
It feels very clean, easy and calm having your house de-cluttered. I like being a minimalist, because there's less to worry about.
This mind set will also help you out in the coming debt crisis. Being happy with what you have, or being satisfied with getting by with only as much as you need is such a healthy feeling!! Hopefully I'll inspire someone to cut back on what they have/consume, and maybe to give it away to helps others LESS FORTUNATE than themselves. It's something that Jesus called us to do. "Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." ~ Mathew 19:21

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's been a while, Friends!

I realized tonight that it's been a while since I last posted! Summer started, school let out and I really got busy! I have been focusing on my kids, and my house and play dates. It's exhausting! And that's why I haven't blogged in a little while. It's so important for us to soak our children in. They grow up so fast, and these carefree summer days can be used to take adventures and spend real quality (and quantity) time together. I've decided to teach my little ones to climb trees, fish, hike and camp. I want them to learn simple skills and know that playing means more than video games.
I am also thinking about trying something a little different in the coming months. There are a few blogs I really admire and follow and I am thinking about interviewing them. Picking their brains, getting their thoughts on marriage, children, and being a Godly woman. Hopefully I can start this soon. I am also doing posts about cooking from scratch on my other blog The DIY Gourmet , come check me out there!
What is everyone doing this summer to soak in their kids?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Time Can Save Your Family!

When my oldest daughter turned 13 and entered into Junior High, I had no clue things would be so rough. I was not prepared for how things would go this past year. I remember back in middle school (which was 6th, 7th and 8th grade for us) life got very rough. Friends you had in elementary school were forming cliques, brands of clothing started to matter, and boys and girls were noticing each other. I had a really rough 3 years. But not as rough as my daughter. Now in Junior High (7th and 8th grade), there are not only the above things mentioned, but text and cyber bullying, drugs and suicides. There are so many distractions that make it hard to focus on your education, your family and really everything! My little girl started to change. She started to distance herself from us. Keep her problems to her self. Not want to hang out with the family. We tried to get her involved in family time, but it was a struggle.
This summer we decided to go fishing with the kiddos. My 13 year old was required to go. The mention of going was met with "Eeew, Gross! Fishing!?" and "I don't want to go, I'll be so bored!". I was THRILLED to see her having a good time with us once we got there and started casting out. She fished. She tanned. She played with the kids and helped them find crayfish and bugs. We have been fishing 3 times since, and there is no more "Eeww", or "I don't want to". Now the announcement of fishing is met by "Let me go get some stuff to bring!", or "I hope we find a turtle!".
What started out as a day of fishing yesterday, catching nothing, ended up being a family adventure! We were at a state park and decided to put our fishing gear back and start walking trails through the woods. We walked and walked and walked together, laughing and skipping and taking in the beauty of nature. Before we knew it, we had no idea where we were! It was so quiet and so green! The birds were singing loudly. We found a stream in the middle of it all. My 6 year old brought her net with us and we walked around the stream, getting our feet wet, catching minnows. It took us an hour and a half, but we walked all the way around the lake and back to our fishing spot! It took some team work and maps, but we did it!
I realized yesterday, that since we have been doing these family fishing trips, things have changed again for my daughter! Because we started doing these family days, she now CHOOSES to sit with us while we're watching t.v.! She chooses to laugh and play with us, when the little ones are being silly. She smiles more. She's getting closer to Daddy again. The summer has been great so far, because there is no school drama. But I would hope we are setting up a foundation for the fall that will help strengthen her when drama does come her way. We are planning to get a tent and go camping together as a family soon. That would have been met by "Eeew, I don't want to be outside". But now is met by "I want to go! I can't wait!!".
If you have a tween or teen struggling, that seems to be pulling away, I think family days (quiet days that really enforce time together and maybe even team work) will really pull them out of their shell and bring the whole family back together. Peace to you all!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Being your husband's Help Meet

I read a wonderful article today over at Joyful Mothering about our role as a wife. This was not a new concept to me, and it's something I try to practice everyday with all my heart. However, lately I have been feeling tired, overwhelmed and just maybe a little bored. I've thrown a few pity parties for myself. I am ever so grateful for the inspiring blogs I read by Christian wives (and mothers) that bring me back to focus. So many times have I felt out of it, not quite myself, and I get an inspiring blog about how to clean your house, or how to spend real time with you kids, or ones like the post today and I think "yes, I've been slacking. Time to regroup and get focused!".
Hop on over to Joyful Mothering and read this great message today! Peace everyone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Love Dare Challenge

Hello everyone!
I just wanted to let you guys know that I will be postponing the rest of the Love Dare Challenge due to lack of participation. It's no biggie, and if there is interest in the future, I will surely start it back up again!
Peace to you all, and have a great week!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Love Dare day 7

First of all, I'm, wondering how everyone is doing AND how many people are following along? I haven't heard much from anyone, and I just want to check in to see if I should go forth, or take a break and try again? Anyways, here's day 7, Good Luck!

Love Believes the Best
[Love] believes all things, hopes all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7
In the deep and private corridors of your heart, there is a room. It’s called the Appreciation Room. It’s where your thoughts go when you encounter positive and encouraging things about your spouse. And every so often, you enjoy visiting this special place.
On the walls are written kind words and phrases describing the good attributes of your mate. These may include characteristics like “honest” and “intelligent,” or phrases like “diligent worker,” “wonderful cook,” or “beautiful eyes.” They are things you’ve discovered about your husband or wife that have embedded themselves in your memory. When you think about these things, your appreciation for your spouse begins to increase. In fact, the more time you spend meditating on these positive attributes, the more grateful you are for your mate.
Most things in the Appreciation Room were likely written in the initial stages of your relationship. You could summarize them as things you liked and respected about your loved one. They were true, honorable, and good. And you spent a great deal of time dwelling on them in this room … before you were married. But you may have found that you don’t visit this special room as often as you once did. That’s because there is another competing room nearby.
Down another dark corridor of your heart lies the Depreciation Room, and unfortunately you visit there as well.
On its walls are written the things that bother and irritate you about your spouse. These things were placed there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and the disappointment of unmet expectations.
This room is lined with the weaknesses and failures of your husband and wife. Their bad habits, hurtful words, and poor decisions are written in large letters that cover the walls from one end to the other. If you stay in this room long enough, you get depressed and start expressing things like, “My wife is so selfish,” or “My husband can be such a jerk.” Or maybe, “I think I married the wrong person.”
Some people write very hateful things in this room where tell-off statements are rehearsed for the next argument. Emotional injuries fester here, adding more scathing remarks to the walls. It’s where ammunition is kept for the next big fight and bitterness is allowed to spread like a disease. People fall out of love here.
But know this. Spending time in the Depreciation Room kills marriages. Divorces are plotted in this room and violent plans are schemed. The more time you spend in this place, the more your heart devalues your spouse. It begins the moment you walk in the door, and your care for them lessens with every second that ticks by.
You may say, “But these things are true!” Yes, but so are the things in the Appreciation Room. Everyone fails and has areas that need growth. Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal baggage. This is a sad aspect of being human. We all have sinned. But we have this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes while putting our partner’s failures under a magnifying glass.
Let’s get down to the real issue here. Love knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists.
But love chooses not live there.
You must decided to stop running to this room and lingering there after every frustrating event in your relationship. It does you no good and drains the joy out of your marriage.
Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. It refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions. And when our worst hopes are proven to be true, love makes every effort to deal with them and move forward. As much as possible, love focuses on the positive.
It’s time to start thinking differently. It’s time to let love lead your thoughts and your focus. The only reason you should glance in the door of the Depreciation Room is to know how to pray for your spouse. And the only reason you should ever go in this room is to write “COVERED IN LOVE” in huge letters across the walls.
It’s time to move into the Appreciation Room, to settle down and make it your home. As you choose to meditate on the positives, you will learn that many more wonderful character qualities could be written across these walls. Your spouse is a living, breathing, endless book to be read. Dreams and hopes have yet to be realized. Talents and abilities may be discovered like hidden treasure. But the choice to explore them starts with a decision by you.
You must develop the habit of reining in your negative thoughts and focusing on the positive attributes of your mate. This is a crucial step as you learn to lead your heart to truly love your spouse. It is a decision that you make, whether they deserve it or not.
Today’s Dare
For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Love Dare Day 6

"Love is not irritable"
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. -Proverbs 16:32
Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive. How easily do you get irritated and offended? Some people have the motto, “Never pass up an opportunity to get upset with your spouse.” When something goes wrong, they quickly take full advantage of it by expressing how hurt or frustrated they are. But this is the opposite reaction to love.
To be irritable means “to be near the point of a knife.” Not far from being poked. People are irritated are locked, loaded, and ready to overact.
When under pressure, love doesn’t turn sour. Minor problems don’t yield major reactions. The truth is, love does not get angry or hurt unless there is a legitimate and just reason in the sight of God. A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. Rage and violence are out of the question. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercise emotional self-control. She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations.
If you are walking under the influence of love, you will be a joy, not a jerk. Ask yourself, “Am I a calming breeze, or a storm waiting to happen?”
Why do people become irritable? There are at least two key reasons that contribute to it:
Stress. Stress weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invites you to be cranky. It can be brought on by the relational causes: arguing, division, and the bitterness. There are excessive causes: overworking, overplaying, and overspending. And there are deficiencies: not get enough rest, nutrition, or exercise. Oftentimes we inflict these daggers on ourselves, and this sets us up to be irritable.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. This means you must balance, prioritize, and pace yourself. Too often we throw caution to the wind and run full steam ahead, doing what feels right at the moment. Soon we are gasping for air, wound up in knots, and ready to snap. The increasing pressure can wear away at our patience and our relationship.
The Bible can help you avoid unhealthy stress. It teaches you to let love guide your relationships to so you aren’t caught up in unnecessary arguments (Colossians 3:12-14). To pray through your anxieties instead of tackling them on your own (Philippians 4:6-7). To delegate when you are overworked (Exodus 18:17-23). To avoid overindulgence (Proverbs 23:16)
It also exhorts you to take a “Sabbath” vacation day every week for worship and rest. This strategically allows you time to recharge, refocus, and add breathing room or margin to your weekly schedule. Establishing these kinds of extra spaces will place cushions between you and the pressures around you, reducing stress that keeps you on edge around your mate. But there is a deeper reason why you can become irritable –
Selfishness. When you’re irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). Some people are like lemons: when life squeezes them, they pour out a sour response. Some are more like peaches: when the pressure is on, the result is still sweet.
Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule. But selfishness also wears many other masks:
Lust, for example, is the result of being ungrateful for what you have and choosing to covet or burn with passion for something that is forbidden. When your heart is lustful, it will become easily frustrated and angered (James 4:1-3). Bitterness takes root when he is provoked (Ephesians 4:31). Greed for more money and possessions will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires (1 Timothy 6:9-10). These strong cravings coupled with dissatisfaction lead you to lash out at anyone who stands in your way. Pride leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation.
These motivations can never be satisfied. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things.
Love will lead you to forgive instead of holding a grudge. To be grateful instead of greedy. To be content rather than rushing into more debt. Love encourages you to be happy when someone else succeeds rather than lying wake at night in envy. Love says “share the inheritance” rather than “fight with your relatives.” It reminds you to prioritize your family rather than sacrifice them for a promotion at work. In each decision, love ultimately lowers your stress and helps you release the venom that can build up inside. It then sets up your heart to respond to your spouse with patience and encouragement rather than anger and exasperation.
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.
 This is pretty self explanatory with the kiddos too. How easy is it to react badly when your are frustrated and your kids are behaving badly. Or you've told them time and time again to NOT do something, yet they do it again. Take a deep breath, and a step back and THEN lovingly react to whatever needs your attention and discipline. You'll be so glad you did!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Love Dare Day 5

Day 5
Love is not rude
He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.
—Proverbs 27:14
Nothing irritates others as quickly as being rude. Rudeness is unnecessarily saying or doing things that are unpleasant for another person to be around. To be rude is to act unbecoming, embarrassing, or irritating. In marriage, this could be a foul mouth, poor table manners, or a habit of making sarcastic quips. However you look at it, no one enjoys being around a rude person. Rude behavior may seem insignificant to the person doing it, but it’s unpleasant to those on the receiving end.
As always, love has something to say about this. When a man is driven by love, he intentionally behaves in a way that’s more pleasant for his wife to be around. If she desires to love him, she purposefully avoids things that frustrate him or cause him discomfort.
The bottom line is that genuine love minds its manners.
Embracing this one concept could add some fresh air to your marriage. Good manners express to your wife or husband, “I value you enough to exercise some self-control around you. I want to be a person who’s a pleasure to be with.” When you allow love to change your behavior—even in the smallest of ways—you restore an atmosphere of honor to your relationship. People who practice good etiquette tend to raise the respect level of the environment around them.
For the most part, the etiquette you use at home is much different than the kind you employ with friends, or even with total strangers. You may be barking or pouting around the house, but if the front door chimes, you open it all smiling and kind. Yet if you dare to love, you’ll also want to give your best to your own. If you don’t let love motivate you to make needed changes in your behavior, the quality of your marriage relationship will suffer for it.
Women tend to be much better at certain types of manners than men, though they can be rude in other ways. King Solomon said, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (Proverbs 25:24 niv). But men especially need to learn this important lesson. The Bible says, “It is well with the man who is gracious” (Psalm 112:5). A man of discretion will find out what is appropriate, then adjust his behavior accordingly.
There are two main reasons why people are rude: ignorance and selfishness. Neither, of course, is a good thing. A child is born ignorant of etiquette, needing lots of help and training. Adults, however, display their ignorance at another level. You know the rules, but you can be blind to how you break them or be too self-centered to care. In fact, you may not realize how unpleasant you can be to live with.
Test yourself with these questions:
• How does your spouse feel about the way you speak and act around them?
• How does your behavior affect your mate’s sense of worth and self-esteem?
• Would your husband or wife say you’re a blessing, or that you’re condescending and embarrassing?
If you’re thinking that your spouse—not you—is the one who needs work in this area, you’re likely suffering from a bad case of ignorance, with a secondary condition of selfishness. Remember, love is not rude but lifts you to a higher standard.
Do you wish your spouse would quit doing the things that bother you? Then it’s time to stop doing the things that bother them. Will you be thoughtful and loving enough to discover and avoid the behavior that causes life to be unpleasant for your mate? Will you dare to be delightful?
Here are three guiding principles when it comes to practicing etiquette in your marriage:
1. Guard the Golden Rule. Treat your mate the same way you want to be treated (see Luke 6:31).
2. No double standards. Be as considerate to your spouse as you are to strangers and coworkers.
3. Honor requests. Consider what your husband or wife already asked you to do or not do. If in doubt, then ask.

Today’s Dare
Ask your spouse to tell you three
things that cause him or her to be
uncomfortable or irritated with you.
You must do so without attacking them
or justifying your behavior. This is
from their perspective only
For the kiddos, because maybe instead of asking your children to name things that you do that are uncomfortable to them, maybe you can apologise for a behavior that you knew was wrong. Maybe you over reacted to something they did. Maybe you yell more than you'd like (I find myself yelling at my kids because I feel like they never hear me, though this ISN'T the right response all the time). Whatever it is that you wish to apologise for, explain why it was wrong to act that way and ask them for their forgiveness and act out how things should have gone. This will help THEM to act in a situation. Peace!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Love Dare Day 4

Day 4
Love is thoughtful
How precious also are Your thoughts to me. . . .
How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them,
they would outnumber the sand. —Psalm 139:17–18
Love thinks. It’s not a mindless feeling that rides on waves of emotion and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that loving thoughts precede loving actions.
When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. You spent hours dreaming of what your loved one looked like, wondering what he or she was doing, rehearsing impressive things to say, then enjoying sweet memories of the time you spent together. You honestly confessed, “I can’t stop thinking about you.”
But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, yourself. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate.
But the fact that marriage has added another person to your universe does not change. Therefore, if your thinking doesn’t mature enough to constantly include this person, you catch yourself being surprised rather than being thoughtful.
“Today’s our anniversary?”
“Why didn’t you include me in that decision?”
“Don’t you ever think about anyone but yourself?”
If you don’t learn to be thoughtful, you end up regretting missed opportunities to demonstrate love. Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a loving relationship.
Let’s be honest. Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget the rest of the world. Whereas this can benefit him in that one arena, it can make him overlook other things that need his attention.
A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. She can talk on the phone, cook, know where the kids are in the house, and wonder why her husband isn’t helping . . . all simultaneously. Adding to this, a woman also thinks relationally. When she works on something, she is cognizant of all the people who are somehow connected to it.
Both of these tendencies are examples of how God designed women to complete their men. As God said at creation, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). But these differences also create opportunities for misunderstanding.
Men, for example, tend to think in headlines and say exactly what they mean. Not much is needed to understand the message. His words are more literal and shouldn’t be over analyzed. But women think and speak between the lines. They tend to hint. A man often has to listen for what is implied if he wants to get the full meaning.
If a couple doesn’t understand this about one another, the fallout can result in endless disagreements. He’s frustrated wondering why she speaks in riddles and doesn’t just come out and say things. She’s frustrated wondering why he’s so inconsiderate and doesn’t add two and two together and just figure it out.
A woman deeply longs for her husband to be thoughtful. It is a key to helping her feel loved. When she speaks, a wise man will listen like a detective to discover the unspoken needs and desires her words imply. If, however, she always has to put the pieces together for him, it steals the opportunity for him to demonstrate that he loves her.
This also explains why women will get upset with their husbands without telling them why. In her mind she’s thinking, “I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him. He should be able to look at the situation and see what’s going on here.” At the same time, he’s grieved because he can’t read her mind and wonders why he’s being punished for a crime he didn’t know he committed.
Love requires thoughtfulness—on both sides—the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks.
A husband should listen to his wife and learn to be considerate of her unspoken messages. A wife should learn to communicate truthfully and not say one thing while meaning another.
But too often you become angry and frustrated instead, following the destructive pattern of “ready, shoot, aim.” You speak harshly now and determine later if you should have said it. But the thoughtful nature of love teaches you to engage your mind before engaging your lips. Love thinks before speaking. It filters words through a grid of truth and kindness.
When was the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? What’s the next event (anniversary, birthday, holiday) you could be preparing for? Great marriages come from great thinking.
Today’s Dare
Contact your spouse sometime during
the business of the day. Have no agenda
other than asking how he or she
is doing and if there is anything
you could do for them.
Also, just pop in your tween's room, or snuggle up to your little one and ask them "how ya doing"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Starting Another Blog!

I am starting ANOTHER blog here on blogger, but NOT deleting this one. My new blog is in ADDITION to my existing blog. My new blog is called . I made the challenge to myself 6 months ago to try my HARDEST to make everything I could for my family from scratch (we're talking food right now). I had a few girlfriends tell me that they wished they could do that, and I decided to start a blog sharing recipes and tips on how to make everything you can from scratch! I will also allow people to leave comments about their favorite foods they eat out, and we'll see if they can recreate them! You don't need fancy equipment or a culinary degree, just a desire to eat a simpler diet, void of additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG AND high fructose corn syrup. My recipes coming up this week will be homemade apple butter, bread (white and cheddar cheese) and old fashion oatmeal muffins. Won't you follow me on my journey?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Love Dare Day 3

Day 3
Love is not selfish
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor. —Romans 12:10
We live in a world that is enamored with “self.” The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.
If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. Unfortunately it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. You can see it in the way young children act, and often in the way adults mistreat one another. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. Yet you cannot point out the many ways your spouse is selfish without admitting that you can be selfish too. That would be hypocritical.
Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for our mate? The answer is a painful pill to swallow. We are all selfish.
When a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities in front of his wife, that’s a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that’s a sign of selfishness. But love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Loving couples—the ones who are enjoying the full purpose of marriage—are bent on taking good care of the other flawed human they get to share life with. That’s because true love looks for ways to say “yes.”
One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you do even a good thing to deceitfully manipulate your husband or wife, you are still being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself.
Love is never satisfied except in the welfare of others. You can’t be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say “no” to what you want so you can say “yes” to what they need. That’s putting the happiness of your partner above your own. It doesn’t mean you can never experience happiness, but you don’t negate the happiness of your spouse so you can enjoy it yourself.
Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritize the well-being of your mate, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love. The truth is, when you relinquish your rights for the sake of your mate, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage.
Nobody knows you as well as your spouse. And that means no one will be quicker to recognize a change when you deliberately start sacrificing your wants and wishes to make sure his or her needs are met.
If you find it hard to sacrifice your own desires to benefit your spouse, then you may have a deeper problem with selfishness than you want to admit.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Do I truly want what’s best for my husband or wife?
• Do I want them to feel loved by me?
• Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?
• Do they see me as looking out for myself first?
Whether you like it or not, you have a reputation in the eyes of those around you, especially in the eyes of your spouse. But is it a loving reputation? Remember, your marriage partner also has the challenge of loving a selfish person. So determine to be the first to demonstrate real love to them, with your eyes wide open. And when all is said and done, you’ll both be more fulfilled.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Today’s Dare
Whatever you put your time, energy, and
money into will become more important
to you. It’s hard to care for something
you are not investing in. Along with
restraining from negative comments,
buy your spouse something that says,
“I was thinking of you today.”

Now just let me say, I can not always buy things for my loved ones that say "I love you". BUT I also think that leaving love notes, or making things can show you love someone just as much! I like to leave my husband love notes in his lunchbox (which I will probably do for this dare), and maybe I will draw or color the kids each a picture or a card to say "I love you". Kids love that kind of stuff, knowing you made something especially for them. Another GREAT idea, but not as "instant" as this is buy a card today and send it in the mail to your children. Oh how they LOVE to receive mail!! Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Love Dare day 2

How did everyone do on day one of our Love Dare challenge? That first one, for me, is (luckily) and easy one. I'm a pretty easy going, live and let live kinda gal. Are you ready for the next challenge? Here we go!

Day 2
Love is kind

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other proactive. These two sides of love are the cornerstones on which many of the other attributes we will discuss are built.
Love makes you kind. And kindness makes you likable. When you’re kind, people want to be around you. They see you as being good to them and good for them.
The Bible keys in on the importance of kindness: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3–4). Kind people simply find favor wherever they go. Even at home. But “kindness” can feel a little generic when you try defining it, much less living it. So let’s break kindness down into four basic core ingredients:
Gentleness. When you’re operating from kindness, you’re careful how you treat your spouse, never being unnecessarily harsh. You’re sensitive. Tender. Even if you need to say hard things, you’ll bend over backwards to make your rebuke or challenge as easy to hear as possible. You speak the truth in love.
Helpfulness. Being kind means you meet the needs of the moment. If it’s housework, you get busy. A listening ear? You give it. Kindness graces a wife with the ability to serve her husband without worrying about her rights. Kindness makes a husband curious to discover what his wife needs, then motivates him to be the one who steps up and ensures those needs are met—even if his are put on hold.
Willingness. Kindness inspires you to be agreeable. Instead of being obstinate, reluctant, or stubborn, you cooperate, you stay flexible. Rather than complaining and making excuses, you look for reasons to compromise and accommodate. A kind husband ends thousands of potential arguments by his willingness to listen first rather than demand his way.
Initiative. Kindness thinks ahead, then takes the first step. It doesn’t sit around waiting to be prompted or coerced before getting off the couch. The kind husband or wife will be the one who greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. They don’t require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need, then make your move. First.
Jesus creatively described the kindness of love in His parable of the Good Samaritan, found in the Bible—Luke, chapter 10. A Jewish man attacked by robbers is left for dead on a remote road. Two religious leaders, respected among their people, walk by without choosing to stop. Too busy. Too important. Too fond of clean hands. But a common man of another race—the hated Samaritans, whose dislike for the Jews was both bitter and mutual—sees this stranger in need and is moved with compassion. Crossing all cultural boundaries and risking ridicule, he stops to help the man. Bandaging his wounds and putting him on his own donkey, he carries him to safety and pays all his medical expenses out of his own pocket.
Where years of racism had caused strife and division, one act of kindness brought two enemies together. Gently. Helpfully. Willingly. Taking the initiative, this man demonstrated true kindness in every way.
Wasn’t kindness one of the key things that drew you and your spouse together in the first place? When you married, weren’t you expecting to enjoy his or her kindness for the rest of your life? Didn’t your mate feel the same way about you? Even though the years can take the edge off that desire, your enjoyment in marriage is still linked to the daily level of kindness expressed.
The Bible describes a woman whose husband and children bless and praise her. Among her noble attributes are these: “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). How about you? How would your husband or wife describe you on the kindness meter? How harsh are you? How gentle and helpful? Do you wait to be asked, or do you take the initiative to help? Don’t wait for your spouse to be kind first.
It is difficult to demonstrate love when you feel little to no motivation. But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness.

Today’s Dare
In addition to saying nothing
negative to your spouse again today,
do at least one unexpected gesture
as an act of kindness.
Also, ask your children "what can I do for you today?" OR maybe even better "What would you like to DO today?" That will make them feel special and important too!
What is desirable in a man is his kindness. (Proverbs 19:22)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Love Dare Day One

Day 1
Love is patient
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love. —Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is. Those pillars are patience and kindness. All other characteristics of love are extensions of these two attributes. And that’s where your dare will begin. With patience.
Love will inspire you to become a patient person. When you choose to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger. You choose to have a long fuse instead of a quick temper. Rather than being restless and demanding, love helps you settle down and begin extending mercy to those around you. Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm.
No one likes to be around an impatient person. It causes you to overreact in angry, foolish, and regrettable ways. The irony of anger toward a wrongful action is that it spawns new wrongs of its own. Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, it usually generates additional problems. But patience stops problems in their tracks. More than biting your lip, more than clapping a hand over your mouth, patience is a deep breath. It clears the air. It stops foolishness from whipping its scorpion tail all over the room. It is a choice to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions to control you, and shows discretion instead of returning evil for evil.
If your spouse offends you, do you quickly retaliate, or do you stay under control? Do you find that anger is your emotional default when treated unfairly? If so, you are spreading poison rather than medicine.
Anger is usually caused when the strong desire for something is mixed with disappointment or grief. You don’t get what you want and you start heating up inside. It is often an emotional reaction that flows out of our own selfishness, foolishness, or evil motives.
Patience, however, makes us wise. It doesn’t rush to judgment but listens to what the other person is saying. Patience stands in the doorway where anger is clawing to burst in, but waits to see the whole picture before passing judgment. The Bible says, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
As sure as a lack of patience will turn your home into a war zone, the practice of patience will foster peace and quiet. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (Proverbs 15:18). Statements like these from the Bible book of Proverbs are clear principles with timeless relevance. Patience is where love meets wisdom. And every marriage needs that combination to stay healthy.
Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it. It gives you the ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.
But can your spouse count on having a patient wife or husband to deal with? Can she know that locking her keys in the car will be met by your understanding rather than a demeaning lecture that makes her feel like a child? Can he know that cheering during the last seconds of a football game won’t invite a loud-mouthed laundry list of ways he should be spending his time? It turns out that few people are as hard to live with as an impatient person.
What would the tone and volume of your home be like if you tried this biblical approach: “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
Few of us do patience very well, and none of us do it naturally. But wise men and women will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage relationships. That’s a good starting point to demonstrate true love.
This Love Dare journey is a process, and the first thing you must resolve to possess is patience. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s a race worth running.

Today's Dare
The first part of this dare is fairly
simple. Although love is communicated
in a number of ways, our words often
reflect the condition of our heart. For
the next day, resolve to demonstrate
patience and to say nothing negative
to your spouse at all. If the temptation
arises, choose not to say anything. It’s
better to hold your tongue than to say
something you’ll regret.
Also try this with your children. Now, obviously some behavior has to be corrected, however, try to CHOOSE your words ever so carefully. Express them in a gentle, loving way as best as you can. Good Luck with day one and peace to you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The challenge is on!

I'm happy to say that I got enough response to go forward with The Love Dare challenge! So starting Monday I will post the days "Dare" and after you finish that day, come back and leave a comment telling what you did for your spouse (and/or kiddos) and I will do the same. See you Monday! Peace.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Love Dare Challenge

Has anyone ever seen the movie Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron? My husband and I saw this movie a year or so ago, and I bought the book, The Love Dare. We don't many issues in our marriage, really at all. But I think there's always room for improvement AND no harm in trying something new! I never got to finish this book, because life got busy. I was curious if anyone would want to take this Love Dare Challenge with me? I will post the dares daily, and you can follow along! I'll have everyone post comments about what they did and we can all share, and maybe get some new ideas! If you are interested, please leave a comment below! Peace!

Erasing Hell

I found this video today from a blog I follow called Time-warp wife .The vidoe is called Erasing Hell, and you can find it here - . I encourage you to watch it. It is really down to earth and raw. It's a little long (like 5 minutes or more - which for us mommies with little kiddos IS long to be watching anything!), but SO WORTH WATCHING. Also, if you get the chance, check out Time-warp wife, it's one of my very favorite blogs to read! Peace to you all, and hope you had a nice Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blessings From God

I have been feeling somewhat ill lately. I have felt a little down because I was unable to do much for a few days. I know we all need breaks from time to time, but I am not an idle person. I like to be there for my kids. I like to have my house in order for my husband, when he comes home. I like having a good dinner prepared and ready for the family by 5 pm. And I was really not liking that I couldn't clean much, excersize much or play with the kids much. Yesterday I was feeling better, and today even better! I really thought that my kindergartener didn't have school today. I didn't send her in, only to get a phone call from the school saying she was abscent! Oops. Today I really had the urge to take my kiddos out, since I had not been feeling well. It's a hot sunny day and I just felt like we needed to be outside somewhere. So I took my kids to this big pond (they call it a lake). There is a sidewalk that goes around the whole pond, and there are always people walking along the path. Today we took our (little) dog, because I know he thinks the ducks are the weirdest things. He likes to chase them. I could only stay for an hour or two. I had so much work to catch up on. As it turned out, we had a DELIGHTFUL afternoon! We walked twice around the pond and played on a playground. On our second loop around the pond we saw 3 pairs of ducks with the TINIEST baby ducklings. Oh they were so sweet. We saw a HUGE water snake! My dog scared it out of the weeds and it swam into the water and hung out and watched us (as we watched it). Then as we walked a little further I found a bullfrog in some shallow water! I was so excited for my kids to get to see these animals (that you really don't see every day) all in one day! I felt that God really blessed us with the beauty and wonder of his creations today. I felt so grateful for that time together, checking out the pond and the animals. When we got home we looked up the animals to see all their statistics (turned it into a homeschool lesson!), and looked up pictures of bullfrogs and water snakes. Such a cool day! Thank you God for the simple beauty of nature, and please let us never take it for granted. Peace to you all!