Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day 7

Does this count as "active"?

Our last project this week was to turn off the television & get active together. This one wasn't too hard. The only time we really watch TV is late at night. And we are always running here & there, but its rarely active "together". Just our luck, youth day at church consisted of a cook out & putt putt. BINGO!

The Marriage Project - Day 6

I woke up to words straight from the heart of my beloved. This is better than a card anyday.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day 5

There's definitely something special about a man that can cook! It's even more fun when you can cook together!

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Fairs, Field Trips, & Failure

Sorry, not much new this week. Lots of questions, doubts, & second thoughts. That's ok, I tend to get like this from time to time. Just overlook me.

The local fair was this week. My kids usually look forward to this. They usually get really excited about what they can make, about what they can enter. The past 2 years, they have entered many things, have won several ribbons, & have even earned money from their creations.

This year, the enthusiasm wasn't there. The desire wasn't there. And saddest of all - the creations weren't there! We have not made ANYTHING in the past year that could have been entered.

I know that Logan distracted me from A LOT last year, but really, REALLY - nothing! This depressed me more than you can imagine. This just compounded the doubt that I already wrestle with on a daily basis.


On a positive note - we went to Latta Plantation this week for a walk through on 18th century medicine. We learned that it didn't matter if you had a simple sore throat or a condition as serious as whooping cough, a lot of people didn't survive the treatment of diseases.

Thankfully, medicine has come a long way since then!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Marriage Project - Major Project 1 Half & Half

Date night!! Those 2 words are music to so many ears. When we were just dating, the concept of "date night" varied by several degrees. But more often that not, food & driving were included.

Somewhere along the line, "date night" becomes less & less important until it is finally nonexistent. Just because we have been married for umpteen years or just because we have a house full of children does not give us the excuse to no longer date our mate.

This week's Major Project consisted of each spouse planning half of the date. Hold on now, you don't get off with a simple dinner & a movie. You need to plan your half with your spouse in mind. Plan something that they will enjoy. Go above & beyond. Plan something that will take them by surprise & knock their socks off.

My half of the date was well researched & heartfully planned out. The only hitch was my lack of timeliness & the clerk's omission of an earlier closing time. I had every intention of spending an hour at a local indoor shooting range.

Now, this is right up Justin's alley, but me.... Hah, I have NEVER even shot a gun. I have expressed interest before, but not much. I usually have a problem with picking up a gun because it leaves my fingerprints on it. Yep, I'm a fan of conspiracy theories.

So anyway, Justin was excited! .......until we found out they were closing the range in 15 minutes! UGH, really, you could have included that detail when I called. Oh well, I get an A for effort right?

Justin took me WAY out in the boonies. Up & up & round & round. I was listening for banjo music. LOL

We ended up at a local log cabin gated resort. It was beautiful! We have always liked driving through beautiful neighborhoods, seeing how all the "poor" people live.
So our date consisted of guns, deer, turkey, the mountains, a slow chilly rain, & a beautiful rainbow. All in all, I think it was a wonderful night.


Logan's First Hair Cut

I have been putting this off for as long as I could.....

Logan needs a hair cut!

I LOVE his little curls at the nape of his neck, but its getting too long & shaggy. Plus, people have started calling him a girl.

So, I guess it was finally time.....

Logan was a champ. Me, I cried.

My little boy looks so grown up now!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day 4

Today, we took full advantage of our 30 minutes of much needed "me" time. Justin went all out this time. Not only did he spring for a massage, but it was a FULL HOUR massage! WOW he sure knows how to pull out all the stops when necessary.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day 3 BONUS

Hubby got me a treat tonight too!  Whoop Whoop BONUS 

It's An Epidemic

When was the last time you hit the drive thru in an effort to save time & energy?

When was the last time you felt guilty for eating yet another piece of candy?

When was the last time you saw half naked women plastered all over a magazine cover?

When was the last time you felt envious when you saw a Victoria's Secret commercial?

When was the last time you looked in the mirror & liked what you saw?

If I had to guess, I would say the first 4 were sooner than the last one.

How sad is that?!?!

Did you know that the average woman is now a size 14? That's right ladies, I'm average!

I will never have the body I had when I was 16 & more than likely I won't have this same body when I'm 60. I am not that young girl anymore. I am a beautiful, confident, curvy woman who has carried, delivered, & nursed 3 beautiful healthy babies. My body will never be the same, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I weighed 135-145 all through high school. I wore a size 9-10. And I was told for years that I was heavy! 135 pounds! That's not "heavy", but according to some, it was too much. 

Yes, America has an epidemic. We make it way too easy to over eat & way too hard to be healthy. But, we also make women (& men for that matter) learn to hate their bodies! Hey, you don't like your nose? That's ok, just pay someone to fix it. Hey, you want a quick fix to loose weight? Here take a pill for that. Hey, you think you look good today? You don't look as good as that model on TV. Hey, you think you have a decent figure? Just wait till you try this bathing suit on.

We are all guilty of wanting to look good. And we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Then we are all guilty of feeling inadequate because we can never measure up to Hollywood's standards.

Ladies, PLEASE quit beating yourself up because you weigh more than Katie Holmes. Or because you don't have legs to the moon like Naomi Cambell. Or because you can't dance like Shakira. Or because you aren't married to Brad Pitt like Angelina Jolie is. Hey, I bet he's just as much of a slob as most men & he probably has killer morning breath too.

I could stand to lose 20 pounds & you probably could too. But, you want to know something..... Most days, I'm ok with who I am. Most days, I would rather drink a Mt. Dew than another glass of water. Most days, (if I make an effort) I can still turn heads. But EVERYDAY, I have children that love me, a God that died for me, & a husband who thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. Shouldn't that be enough!!!

We are in the middle of an epidemic & if we don't teach our daughters, nieces, sisters, & ourselves that we are BEAUTIFUL just the way we are, who will? Hollywood certainly isn't going to!

The Marriage Project - Day 3

I don't mind to cook. Actually, I like it most of the time, especially when I have my menu already planned & my kitchen is not a mess.

When I read that cooking a special treat for my hubby was one of the daily projects, I honestly didn't see anything extraordinary about it. I do a lot of the cooking anyway & Justin usually likes what I make.

What made this really special though was knowing that this was just for him!

He just made the comment last week that I hadn't made broccoli soup in awhile. Ding Ding Ding. I didn't have to put much thought into what I was fixing! I also decided to make him a cherry cheesecake because that is his favorite dessert.

As far as the part where he doesn't have to share......nope, sorry. Not in this house! We always share here! ;) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day 2

What is the single most important thing we can do for our spouses? PRAY!

Prayer truly changes things!
James 5:16 "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Today was the day that Justin & I chose to pray for each other. I pray for my husband on a regular basis. I usually pray for wisdom in leading his congregation, for strength in providing for our family, for opportunities with work, for peace in decisions he has to make, for his health, but I don't always know what is weighing on his heart & mind.

Although he always needs my prayers (& yours), sometimes, I need to remember to ask him specifically if he has any requests.

Pray for your husband like you have never prayed before! Then pray for your marriage, your children, & yourself!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Marriage Project - Day One

Mondays are crazy busy for Justin & I, even more busy than most days - at least in the evenings. Since he has fire meeting on Monday nights, we don't get to spend much time together. Since we are also in the middle of football season, that hectic pace is compounded.

After he got home from drill, we escaped out to the water stove & discussed our week & filled out the surveys for The Marriage Project. There's nothing better than sitting in front of a fire on a cold night with the one you love.

I hope your first day has gone well. Don't give up. Your marriage is worth the fight!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Revive Your Marriage - Can I Get an Ego Boost

3 down 2 to go....I'm talking about the great ideas going on over at the Revive Your Marriage blogger link up. If you haven't had an opportunity to read all the wonderful ideas flowing through cyberspace this month, I urge you to do so.

If you have read some of these posts, I hope they have been a sincere help to you.

How many parents out there praise their children for their good deeds? That's what I thought. We start at a young age telling a child "good job" & clapping our hands when they do something that pleases us. The child smiles & tries to do it again because they are seeking praise.

When we are training a new puppy, we praise it for obeying. This is the only way they learn what we consider good behavior.

Think back to when you were in school. When the teacher praised you, it made you happy & more often than not, you strived to repeat the process.

How different are we as adults? We are still looking for gratitude. We are still begging for appreciation. We are still searching for attention. We are still needing praise.

When was the last time you told your husband how good he looked? How nice he smelled? Or how he still made you a little hot under the collar?

When did you acknowledge that he mowed the grass? Changed the oil in the car? Or took the trash out?
Sounds simple, huh? But have you done it lately?

Don't think its important to thank him or to tell him how attractive he looks? Wouldn't you like for him to tell you that the house looks nice? Or that he likes your new haircut?

Trust me, he WANTS to hear your admiration, your respect, & your devotion. He NEEDS to hear it. We NEED to say it. We NEED to NEED our men.

Take a few minutes out of your super busy day & thank your husband for his efforts. Praise him for whatever help he provides for you. Remind him how you like the way he looks in those jeans. Show him the respect that he craves. I can just about guarantee that your efforts will be appreciated!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Conservation & Missionaries

Reading history on a rainy afternoon makes me sleepy! Monday & Tuesday were both rainy - very rainy! So between the rain, the pent up energy, the sass, & that dreaded 1pm crash that I always seem to have - all I wanted was some peace & a nap. Did it happen? Yeah right! I sure tried, but everyone else had other ideas. Oh well.
The "Rock" Church

We went on the soil & water conservation field trip Wednesday. I was so thankful that it had finally stopped raining (we missed the last two years due to rain). The weather was perfect. The sun was out, a breeze was blowing, and fall was in the air. The kids got to see animal skins, learn about tree growth, & see the difference in soil layers. They even learned how to witch for water ;) & some secrets used "back in the day" for finding water. Oh, & we can't forget the corny ant jokes.....What's the largest insect? A Gi-Ant. Which is the best smelling insect? A Deoder-Ant.

Hey, did you know that the black bears we have on the coast of NC are some of the largest in North America? Me neither, um, so WHY do I want to move to the beach???

Keepers this week was very enlightening. We had missionaries from Africa speak to our group. Alan & Leah Fleming have been missionaries to Kenya for over 12 years. They shared their burdens, their stories, their pictures, & their hearts. 

There's nothing that will remind you of how truly blessed you are than hearing about children only eating 3-5 times a week, playing in sewer water, & still being content with the life God has given them. Simple things we take for granted such as running water & chairs are things that they know nothing about. 

fetching water
fast food
 My absolute favorite moment was Leah talking about being tired from a long day & not wanting to go to another church. While she was busy complaining & being unhappy, the native people of Kenya were sitting on rocks having worship service. Even though they didn't have the comforts that we have, they were happy & praising God for how much He had blessed them! Is it really that hard for us to praise Him for our many blessings?!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Revive Your Marriage - Man's Best Friend

Our Wedding Invitation 
I hope that you have been blessed by this series on reviving your marriage found over at Women Living Well,  Time Warp Wife , Unveiled Wife, and To Love Honor & Vacuum. If you have missed any of the posts, please take a few minutes and read over them. I'm sure someone somewhere will have written something especially for you!

We are halfway through our posts about marriage this month. We have talked about reviving our prayer life and reviving our attitude. I have seen positive results already. If your results haven't been that noticeable, please don't give up. Your marriage is worth it!

We all love our spouses, otherwise, how could we stand a lot of the stuff that they do. ;) Most of the time its easy to love the person we promised to spend forever with. Now, don't get me wrong, some days are harder than others, but we still love them.

What's hard, too often, is liking our significant other. I've told my husband a lot of times that I didn't like him. Sometimes, I was joking because he had done something crazy or embarrassing, but I have also meant it sometimes.

Most wedding vows include some sort of "to love, honor, & obey" & "for better or worse, in sickness & health". Nobody really ever addresses liking each other.

But let me ask you, how can you continually love someone when you find it difficult to even like them?

In our society, its common knowledge that a dog is man's best friend & a diamond is a woman's best friend. WHY???

Why should we continue to buy into this?

Husbands, are you tired of having a dog as your closest companion? Wives, how do you feel about being best buddies with a cold lifeless rock?

I think its time to break the stereotype! Make your spouse your best friend. After all, they are the one who  sees you at your best, encourages you at your worst, cheers the loudest, and loves the deepest. If that's not the way your relationship works, I urge you to do everything in your power to right this wrong.

Treasure Box Moments

So, its been far too long since I exploited shared the funny, warm, often unbelievable quotes from the insanity I call life.

If someone ever tells you "it's ok, I won't hurt you." DO NOT BELIEVE THEM - especially if that person just so happens to be your brother or sister!

Shortly after waking from his nap & having powdered doughnuts for a snack, I asked if Logan needed a diaper. Austin did a sniff test & said "All I smell is doughnuts."

Logan loves it outside. While we were visiting the chickens one day, I kept saying "chick". His response... "duck". Every. Single. Time.

In similar news, Logan also calls Zoey a cat, no matter how many times I say "dog".

The Marriage Project - Week 3 Projects

Read all about The Marriage Project and be sure to follow through with the Projects from Week 1 & Week 2.

The Marriage Project

Week 3 Projects:   
>·         Look To The Example of Others ~ Who Do You Admire & Why? Talk about who you look up to. Take some time to let them know that you admire them & why.
“If you want to have a great marriage, you need to learn from those around you who have been at it a while – and still love each other.”
>·         It’s All About Her ~ Couch Time. Wives, you get to pick the show to watch. Couch time represents comfortable love.
“Life is good when I can rest my head in my husband’s lap & feel secure in the knowledge that I am loved.”
>·         Removing Obstacles ~ Getting Rid of Something that Drives Your Spouse Crazy. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle & an extra act of kindness can mean so much.
“Women are waiting to hear “I love you” while men are waiting to be recognized for the fact that they’re saying “I love you” in the things they do.”
>·         It’s All About Him ~ Couch Time. Turnabout is fair play. And no multitasking allowed. Just give him the remote & snuggle up to him.
>·         All the Kids are Doing it ~ Text or email something sweet or flirty to your love.
“If you can’t be slightly scandalous with your spouse, then what is the fun of being married?”
>·         Clean Toilets are Sexy ~ Help out with chores & take over some job that they hate for the day. Quit keeping a scorecard about what’s fair & who owes who what.
>·         What I Like About You ~ Write down 10 things you like about your spouse & share it with them. This isn’t what you love about them. This is the little things they do, say, or how they act that just makes you smile.

Major Project 3
Date Your Mate – Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun.
Men, call up another husband & plan your double date with your wives. Really blow her away with your creativity.

Bonus Project 3
Sex – It’s Ladies Night
Ladies, it’s your turn to initiate things in the bedroom. Men, be extra flirty & helpful around the house this week.

The Marriage Project - Week 2 Projects

New to The Marriage Project? Make sure you read here first.
If you missed week 1, check it out here....

The Marriage Project

Week 2 Projects:

] ·         A Little Hands-On Attention ~ Give each other a 15 minute massage without expecting anything in return. Concentrate on nonsexual massage – Bonus Project #2 cannot be initiated within 30 minutes of the project.
“Servanthood is not always easy or enjoyable. It isn’t always convenient; sometimes it’s downright messy. But God encourages us all to have a servant’s heart.”
>·         It’s All About Her ~ Love, Love, Love. Men, write down 12 things you love about your wife. And leave her a love note.
“As a wife, I need to hear regularly why my husband loves me. As a husband, you’re the only one who can give that gift to your wife. Be the encouragement she needs you to be today.”
>·         Bella Notte (Beautiful Night) ~ Have Dinner by Candlelight. Plan ahead so that you actually have candles, matches, etc.
“We need to unplug – literally & figuratively – every once in a while to keep the romance alive.”
>·         It’s All About Him ~ R E S P E C T – What It Means to Him. Wives, write down why you respect your husband & let him see the list.
“It’s not about respecting your husband only if you feel like it. It’s about acting respectfully around your husband, even when you don’t feel like it or think he deserves it.”
>·         Lingerie ~ Ladies, break out or go buy the good stuff! It doesn’t have to be completely over the top, but make an effort with something nice. Men, let her know that you are looking forward to the project. She has a lot going on & needs help righting the world first.
“Imagine, ladies, if you will, that in some strange set of circumstances your husband gained control over the world’s supply of chocolate. You are around it every day – smelling it, seeing it – and he never let you have any. This is how it is with your husband and lingerie.”
>·         Check Marks & Check Mates ~ Getting The Job Done. Help complete a project around the house together.
>·         Candlelight Weather Report ~ Light a candle, relax, reconnect, & review your day. Try to keep it kid free for a few minutes. 
      “If your lives are running in completely different directions, it’s time to carve out some couple time.”

Major Project 2
Date Your Mate – Do Something You Enjoyed Before You Got Married
When you were dating, you probably had a tendency to be extra excited about things the other one enjoyed. Incorporate music from when you were dating & do something that you haven’t enjoyed in a while.

Bonus Project 2
Sex – Have The Talk
Sometime during the week (outside of the bedroom) discuss what is working, what isn’t working, & maybe any new ideas.

The Marriage Project - Week 1 Projects

Make sure you read the background info on The Marriage Project

The Marriage Project

*Remember that these projects can be done in any order & can be altered to best meet your needs.*

Week 1 Projects:
·         In Less Time Than a Bad Sitcom ~ Focus on giving each other 30 minutes of guilt free time today. This is an act of service to your spouse. Make sure you find out ahead of time what your spouse needs. Don’t assume that what you need is the same as what they need. 
“The surest way to bring peace to everyone in the household is to give just a little by putting the other person’s needs in front of our own.”
·       It’s All About Her ~ Make her a Hallmark holiday. Husbands pick out a card that declares your love for your wife.
“Husbands, your encouragement can go a long way in giving us confidence to say no to an unobtainable notion of what a wife should be and to say yes to what God has called us to be.”
·         Getting to Know You ~ Fill out the survey. Even if we should know the answers to all of these questions, this will just make it easier on the other. Save it somewhere important.
  1. Date of Birth
  2. Date of Anniversary
  3. Other Important Dates & Why
  4. Favorite Foods
  5. Favorite Restaurants
  6. Favorite Dinner
  7. Favorite Flowers
  8. Favorite Perfume/Cologne
  9. Favorite Music Artists
  10. Favorite Authors, Books, or Magazines
  11. Favorite Clothing Store
  12. Your Clothing & Shoe Sizes
  13. Favorite Starbucks Order (or Other Indulgence)
  14. Suggestions for a Special Treat He or She Could Buy

    ·         Sweet Treat just for Him ~ Wives this is your opportunity to serve your husband. Make sure it’s his favorite treat, not yours. 
    “True joy comes from learning to be a servant and serving our spouses, families, and others.”
    ·         Turn Up the Heat & Cook Together ~ Plan the menu & either cook in turns or together. 
    “Relationships are built on trust. Trust is built on experience. Experience is best built by teamwork.”
    ·         Burning Passion & Burning Calories ~ Turn off the TV & get active together. Any physical activity counts as long as you do it together. 
    “Not only are you working toward healthier bodies, but also toward a healthier marriage.”
    ·         Pray for Your Spouse & Their Requests ~ 
    “At the end of the day, we need to make sure that we are not just praying about how to live, or reading about how to live, but that we are also practicing how to live.”

    Major Project 1
    Date Your Mate – Half & Half
    You both must plan half of the date. Be creative, pay attention, & maybe try something new. This is all about pleasing the love of your life.
    “The catch? Pick the place your mate would most enjoy. It’s your job to go more than halfway in serving your spouse on your special night out.”

    Bonus Project 1
    Sex – Circle it in Red on the Calendar
    Yes, just plan it & then look forward to it!

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    The Marriage Project - Who's In?

    Remember when this was the most important thing in your life?
    Ok, I told you last week that I won a copy of The Marriage Project. I was so excited because the timing was perfect. Through the month of September, we have been working on reviving our marriages.

    Every one of us can use a little advice & wisdom on improving our marriage, unless your marriage is perfect (& if it is, congrats, because your the only one!). If that is you, then please, share your secrets with us! For the rest of us, please join me as we strive for a better relationship with the man or woman that we have chosen to spend the rest of our lives with.

    Have you got 28 days to devout to your marriage? The first 7 of those days aren't even "project" days, they are simply allowing you time to prepare for your Project. So really, have you got 21 days to work on something that you once agreed to be part of "til death do we part"? What's 21 days in the grand scheme of time? Isn't your marriage worth that much?

    I'm going to be using The Marriage Project, so if you can, then please purchase this book. It is less than $10 & its an easy read. If you can't afford it, don't have time, or just don't want to read it, that's ok too, because I'm going to tell you all about it. My biggest problem with this book is the fact that the author chose to use various different versions for quoting scripture. You know me, I am 110% KJV, so I have my Bible right there to read with the book, but other than that I have really enjoyed reading it.

    So, are you ready to begin your journey into "more love & laughter"?

    10th Anniversary 10-23-09
    When you are considering putting your marriage on project status, please don't think you are a failure. This is just one step in realizing that you aren't perfect & you want to make every effort towards improvement that you can. We can read every book out there but unless we put the things we learn into action, it won't benefit us any. James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." 

    We must be intentional in our efforts to make our marriage better. Don't dwell on the mistakes, faults, & failures; intentionally search out the best in your spouse & cling to that.

    What if your spouse is completely against doing this project with you? That's ok, do it anyway! The marriage project isn't about making your husband or wife better, it is about making you better, making your marriage better. 

    "This isn't just about what we can do in our marriages.
    It's about what God can do when we obey, 
    even when it doesn't seem to make a difference.
    It's about practicing good habits when the
     easy thing to do would be to go and watch TV.
    It's about loving our spouses when they're not
    lovable and when we don't feel loving.
    It's about doing what God has designed you to do even 
    when it feels as if it's having no effect on your spouse...
    because it's having an effect on you."

    Since we are working on improving our relationship, our outlook, & our attitude, it makes perfect since that we will also address s e x  Yes, people, that's right. Believe it or not, a healthy marriage MUST involve a healthy sex life. Now, if you have medical issues, then you are off the hook. But, if you are relatively healthy, then.......... Stop the excuses, we are ALL busy. We are ALL tired. We ALL have other things that need our attention. God ordained marriage. He blessed it. He created man & woman to be together. WHY else would our bodies look so funny?! Here is a new perspective from Kathi Lipp

    "If your spouse is in the mood and you're not,
    ask him or her to wait a couple of minutes. 
    Go into the bathroom and prepare yourself and pray.
    Take a shower and ask God to give 
    you the heart that you need at the moment.
    Something remarkable happens when you take 
    a couple of minutes to prepare, pray, and refocus.
    I can't guarantee it for everyone,
    but it's a strategy that many of my friends
    and I use, and it works."

    When I first told you that she wanted you to ask your spouse to wait a few minutes, how many of you instantly thought, "Yeah, maybe if I wait long enough, they will fall asleep."? Yeah, I'm guilty of that too, but go ahead & get that thinking out of your head! I never said it would all be easy, but with some effort, it will certainly be worth it!

    One last thought as you consider this. 
    "The Project is about my part, and it's not my job
    to fixate on our failures or try to solve 
    all our problems in 21 days. My job, simply put,
     is to bless my spouse. As for me, 
    I will do all I can to bless my mate,
    regardless of the response or result. 
    That's my Marriage Project."

    I will be posting the projects shortly so stay tuned & start to prepare for an incredible journey!

    I hope you join me & my husband as we spend the next 28 days on a quest to bring back what we have been missing in our marriage! Let me know how its going.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Revive Your Marriage - I Want to be a Farmer

    I don't know about you, but I don't like to clean. I mean, I R E A L L Y don't like to clean.

    I love the results of a clean house, but the effort just seems like more trouble than its worth sometimes. I spend all of this time sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, & folding laundry. Just as I sit down to enjoy the fruits of my labor, Makenzie spills a drink in the kitchen, Justin tracks dirt through the living room, Logan dumps cereal all over the rug, Austin leaves his shoes in the hall, & somehow the laundry basket is overflowing again.

    Really, but I JUST CLEANED! HOW did this happen?

    Even though I feel like throwing my hands up & quitting, I resolve to pick up the toys again tomorrow.

    What in the world does cleaning house have to do with reviving your marriage? I'm glad you asked!

    Marriage is similar to cleaning the house, tending the garden, & mowing the lawn. These are all things that need to be done. Of course, you don't HAVE to do any of this, but most people do. Sometimes we complain, sometimes we half way work at it, sometimes we put it off, sometimes we give up & start over, but most people make some sort of effort.

    If we look at our marriage as another "job" that we have to do, we will never see the results we are truly looking for.

    Do you know someone who is a terrible house keeper? They are constantly tripping over things left laying about. They are always misplacing things. They only clean the areas that they know other people see. The garbage has been piling up & there aren't any clean dishes in the cabinets. The place is a wreck! It would be less work to sell the place & start over. Do you like to go visit them? Me neither.

    This marriage is on the verge of divorce. The couple no longer cares what goes on inside their "home". They don't see the need to make any effort any more. They think that their home is too far gone to worry about any more. What's the point, right?

    Have you ever driven by somewhere & you realize that the yard has been mowed again? Does that make twice this week? I have. They live right down the road from me. They are outside in the yard every. single. day. They never rest from working on the lawn. They even pick up trash on the other side of the road because it makes their house look bad. Do they ever rest? Are they ever satisfied?

    This marriage looks good to everyone. Everyone that is, except the people living it. They are always looking for something wrong. They are always trying to fix things. They even look at other marriages to compare with their own. They are looking for perfection.

    Don't you just love summer gardens? Nothing beats the taste of a home grown tomato after a long hard day! Did that tomato just poof into existence? Yeah, don't we wish! Thought, preparation, time, effort, money, & sweat went into getting that ripe juicy tomato to the table. The ground had to be tilled & fertilized months in advance. The fragile plants had to be picked, handled, & planted with care. They had to be constantly watched over for too much heat, too little rain, deer, rabbits, & bugs.

    When the tomatoes finally start to ripen, you have to pick them almost daily. Then, what in the world do you do with all of them? A good farmer cans them of course. Canned tomatoes, salsa, relish, spaghetti sauce, & tomato juice can all be enjoyed for months after the last plant produces if the farmer plans properly.

    Even though farming is hard work, the farmer loves what he does. He can be proud of his sacrifice & share his harvest with others.

    Doesn't this sound like a happy, healthy marriage? We labor day after day. We plan, prepare, protect, & provide for the ones we love. We fight for & sometimes fight with our partner. After continual effort & exhausting conditions, we get to enjoy our significant other.

    Are conditions always perfect? Hah, hardly ever. Are circumstances less than ideal? Yeah, a lot of the time. But, do we give up? Or do we keep plowing away at the field while keeping the harvest in mind?

    I don't know about you, but I need to spend a little more time in my garden!

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Revive Your Marriage - Heads & Hearts

    Have you remembered to pray for your husband this week? Have you seen a difference in your marriage? Have you seen an improvement?

    Did you have good intentions to pray more but maybe you forgot or you got too busy? It's ok. This starts a whole new week & you can try harder!

    But, that's not all you need to do this week. You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?

    I want you to revive your attitude.

    WHAT??????!!!!! There's nothing wrong with me! It's all his fault!

    How many times have we said that? How many more times have we thought that?
    But seriously, let's think about this.

    Most of the time, we have a real problem admitting when something is our fault. It's so much easier to believe that we are right.

    What's more is that not only is it not our fault, but we, as women, are equal to men now! No more being submissive, no more waiting on a man, no more being seen & not heard.

    But, what are God's ideas about this?
    Ephesians 5:22-23 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

    For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: 
    and he is the saviour of the body.

    God wants us to openly admit when we mess up. He wants us to confess our faults to Him as well as admitting our mistakes to those we have wronged.

    God also still desires that the man be the head of the household. This doesn't actually mean the ruler. This more of a cornerstone, the foundation.

    When He put Adam & Eve together, He made Eve out of Adam's rib. He didn't pick Adam's foot so that Eve would be less important than her husband or his head so she could be in charge, but his rib so she would be close to his heart.

    Think about this ladies. It is God's plan for our men to be in charge. I understand that this idea is not very popular, but most often what is right isn't what is popular.

    I haven't always believed this. I didn't even want to say "love, honor, & obey" in my marriage vows. I did say those words though & I'm glad I did. God has brought my way of thinking slowly around to His way.

    If this is a new thought for you, go slow.

    Start with prayer. Pray for your husband. Pray for yourself. Pray that God will show you what His expectations for your marriage are. Then act on it. Be the first to apologize. Pick up his dinner plate just to be nice. Ask him if he needs anything. Rub his feet.

    If your husband is truly the head of your family, then you can take your rightful place as the heart. 

    Who knows, once you allow (or nudge) your husband to take his rightful place as the head of the family, God may remind you just how much you love each other!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Distractions, Dreariness, & Doctors

    Can you tell from the title of this post just how much we got accomplished this week?! Yeah, not much & I don't foresee any reason to change just for tomorrow.

    Just like any other time, I started out with good intentions, but then life happens. Monday was Labor Day, so my plan was to do school but just not a full day. Well, after a few subjects, my hubby came home & we called it a day. Tuesday just as soon as we started school, a friend stopped by to talk. Of course the kids were far more interested in what we were doing than what they were supposed to be doing. Then my brother in law called needing me to watch my nephew since public school was still out. Yeah, sure. Wrap it up. The day is done.

    Wednesday welcomed in a very sick baby. Logan kept a high fever all day long. He just laid around, slept, & whined. So off to the doctor we went. After checking his ears, a negative Flu test, a negative RSV test, & no other easy answer, blood was drawn & urine was taken. Let me just tell you that neither was easy! I hated having to put him through all that torture, but he was so miserable that we needed to find the root of the problem. And then he got a shot of antibiotics. UGH

    I checked on him every 3 hours during the night, and thankfully, he stayed fever free. He seemed on the mend.

    Today was the first meeting for Keepers of the Faith & for 4H so, I did a huge parenting "no-no" and we risked it. Logan did ok most of the day. He was still whiney, but no fever. The kids had fun. We started learning Away in a Manger in sign language for Keepers and played carnival games in 4H.

    The past few days just haven't been hunky dory for me. Everything seems to keep going wrong & it just escalated today. Tear after tear has been shed today over circumstances, misunderstandings, wrong decisions, cross words, too many irons, & burdens shared.

    I arrived on time (with 2 minutes to spare) for Keepers only to quickly realize that we were meeting somewhere else (A L L the way across town) so now I was 20 minutes late. We had planned to eat lunch with my dad, but that fell through due to time constraints & location, so I was scrambling at 1pm to figure out a new plan. Oh yeah, those free personal pan pizzas would be great until the employee almost dropped them. Whew, that was close, but I wasn't fast enough to stop the boxes from sliding across my seat & spilling into the floor. Ok, so at least my floor wasn't THAT dirty. So after not nearly enough time (according to the kids), we had to scramble out the door for Logan's doctor appointment.

    10 minutes down the road, my "check gauges" light comes on & the thermostat is too high. Really? I don't have the time or the energy to deal with this today I pull over, call Justin & leave a message, call my father in law, & call the doctor's office to tell them I will never make it on time. After guessing that I can probably make it home, I start down the road again. I only get about another 5 minutes before I have to pull over again. This time, I wait for reinforcements. 20 minutes later, my father in law pulls up, followed shortly by my husband who was very surprised to see us considering he was also heading home from Wilkesboro and didn't know I had tried to call him.

    After a few gallons of water, my Suburban was good as new.....nope, just kidding. But I did make it home & then back & forth to Logan's doctor. If you are new on the scene, you have missed to 3 months (A L L summer) that my Suburban was in the shop getting a brand new engine & costing us over $2300. Then after being home for 3 days, it needing a new water pump.....yeah, well, it obviously needs another new water pump. At least it was still under warranty.

    Man does my head hurt!

    In the midst of all this junk & my woe is me party, I saw a bunch of geese in the pond on my road & God reminded me how He takes care of the sparrows & that He knows my every need before I even ask for it.

    Matthew 2:26 "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Revive Your Marriage - The Marriage Project

    I just found out I won a giveaway over at Joyful Mothering. Yeah, I'm so excited! I never win anything.

    This is perfect timing, since we have all just started working to revive our marriages. I have been watching all the posts on Facebook about The Husband Project but I haven't read the book yet, so I'm slightly in the dark. Christin Slade was giving away one of four different books on her blog. They all looked like helpful ideas, but God knew that I needed The Marriage Project most.

    I can't wait to get my hands on this & start using it!

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Revive Your Marriage - Are You Up To The Challenge

    I guess I should have started here, but yet again, I got a little ahead of myself. Oh well....

    When I happened across this link, I decided I would take a few minutes to participate in the Revive Your Marriage blogger series during the month of September. After I read more about it & read a few of the posts that were being written from the heart, I knew I needed to ACTIVELY participate in this challenge.

    This can not just be looked upon as another blogger opportunity. This is an open request from God. I haven't been able to get the thoughts concerning it out of my head.

    I had already been dwelling on my marriage lately & how I might could improve our relationship even before I came across this challenge. Now, I'm not saying there is anything "wrong" with my marriage, but sometimes we all get in a rut & get caught up just living day to day without taking much thought about what or why we do things.

    We, as mothers, put so much effort into our kids, that too often we lose sight of our husbands. If it were not for our husbands (usually), we wouldn't have our kids. After all, God created Adam & Eve first. Then sometime later came Cain & Able. Dwell on that thought for a few minutes. If God had wanted us to put ALL of our energy into our children, don't you think He would have created them first or at least at the same time. 

    I know so many couples that rarely ever take dates anymore without their kids. When they do, they find that they don't have anything to talk about. That amazes me. What did you talk about when you were dating? How good he looked? How much you loved him? Hey, guess what, tell him. He still wants to hear it. What are you going to talk about when the kids are grown & have lives of their own?

    You claim that you & your husband don't share the same interests anymore. Did you really share the same interests back then? No, but we made an effort to do things just to please each other. He's loves football, but you can't stand it. Take a few minutes to curl up on the couch beside him. Its ok, you don't have to like it, but show some effort that you want to be with him.

    I also know several "couples" (& I use the term loosely) that choose to stay together out of comfort & simplicity instead of love. My heart breaks for them. Living a life of habit is no way to really live. When one person wants to make it work, but the other is determined to do whatever they please, only misery can follow.

    Remember who the man was that used to make your heart flutter? He's still there. Hey guess what, the woman that used to drive him wild is still there too. Somehow, they have gotten lost under too many take out dinners, nights of falling asleep in the recliner, & taking turns shuttling the kids between activities. You just need to find those people again. Years of comfort & routine tend to make us forget why we started this journey in the first place.

    Is this still the man you want to grow old together with? Or are you secretly longing for a way out? Are you satisfied with your everyday life? If not, check in with me periodically throughout the month as we try to encourage each other to improve life as we know it.

    Every Monday, we will be addressing a different topic, so share your thoughts, your progress, & your growth.

    September 3rd – Revive Your Prayers
    September 9th – Revive Your Attitude
    September 16th – Revive Your  Friendship
    September 23rd - Revive Your Praise
    September 30th - Revive Your Sex Life

    I challenge you this month to step out of your comfort zone. Step away from your routine. Open yourself up to something bigger & better than what you are now. Take a deep breathe, think about where you are & where you would like to be.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Revive Your Marriage - When All Else Fails, Pray

    I must admit that I take my marriage for granted. I'm sure that I'm not the only one either.

    I know that Justin loves me with all his heart & I know that I love him with all my heart, but do I tell him enough? Do I show him enough?

    When I saw this blog series, I KNEW it was something that I needed! I need help bringing back the spark in my marriage. I need help remembering all the things I love about him. I need to be reminded why I was so crazy about him all those years ago.

    I am going to make a more conscious effort to pray for Justin this week. I want to put his needs in front of mine for a little while.

    I know that we live crazy busy lives & I have so many things going through my head at any given moment. But Justin has a lot on his mind as well. He has a family to provide for financially, physically, emotionally, & spiritually. He has a congregation to lead & encourage. He has a career to continue, classes to attend, & boys to coach. He also has an example to set.

    Won't you join me in praying this week? Pray for me as I pray for my husband. Most importantly, pray for your husband & your marriage as well.

    Its sad that as I was looking for a photo to share on this post, this was one of the few I found. Don't get me wrong, I love this picture, BUT it was taken 2 years ago. Maybe (hopefully) I will have a few more before this month is up! ;)

    James 5:16 "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    He's Still Working on Me

    I have an old VBS t-shirt that says He's still working on me. I like to drag it out every now & then as a reminder that "it took Him just a week to make the moon & the stars, the sun & the earth, Jupiter & Mars. How loving & patient He must be because He's still working on me."

    On any given day that you swing by my house, I can assure you that you might find cookies & cereal crushed up on the floor, toys recklessly abandoned, the contents of a drawer haphazardly emptied, books scattered all over the table & most likely the couch as well, dirty dishes in the sink, the trash can over flowing, last nights pot still on the stove with the remains of supper still in it, the kitchen floor in desperate need of mopping,  several loads of laundry covering my bed, several more loads hiding my bathroom floor waiting to be washed, 4 pairs (or more) of shoes just begging to be tripped over on the front porch, Logan in his pajama shirt & diaper, Austin without his shirt on, Makenzie with her hair in knots, & me with my hair falling out of the half attempted pony tail. And most of the time, you will notice many of these things, if not all of them, at the same time.

    I love company and I welcome you to stop by, but if you want to save your sanity & enjoy a peaceful environment, you might want to call first. Um, 2 weeks before you want to come over should be sufficient. At least then, we can all be dressed & presentable & I can have a pathway cleared to the couch. I might even find room for both of us to sit down on it. But, if you are brave of heart & don't scare too easily, then, by all means, live dangerously & come on over!

    God has a lot of work left to do with me. I want to spend more time in prayer, studying my Bible, playing with my kids, & teaching them life lessons. I want time alone with my husband & time alone by myself. I want to squeeze in those 3 miles again during the baby's nap. I want to enjoy the beauty in simplicity & lose myself in a book. I want a vacation & a bigger house. I have a business that needs tending, hairbows that need creating, tutus that need making, & a blog that needs writing. I have meals to cook, everything to dust, laundry to wash, shirts to iron, coupons to clip,  & groceries to buy. I have animals that need feeding, a yard that needs flowers, a pond that needs filling, & ants that need killing. I have football games to attend & cheerleaders to coach. I have diapers that must be changed, a 7th birthday party to plan, & a 10 year old attitude that needs adjusting. I have a new congregation of people looking for support from their pastor's wife. I have lessons to plan, devotions to read, & Contenders to lead. I have bills to be paid & not nearly enough money to cover our needs & our wants. I have friends to see & memories to make. I have burdens to bear & encouragement to give.

    As you can see, I have a lot on my plate & no where near enough room for it. God has a purpose for my insanity. He is working a miracle in my life. I can't see the final picture now, but I know, one day, I will finally become all that He wants me to be. Until then, don't expect perfection because you won't find it here. Love me for who I am, with all of my faults & failures.

    I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

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