Wednesday, January 28, 2015

3 Truths About Love and Marriage

Love isn't all Hallmark moments (the cards or the movies!), but having a loving marriage is one of the most fulfilling relationships we can have.

Here are three truths I'm learning about love and marriage.


1.  If it's cultivated, love grows.  It's been over 23 years since we stood at the marriage altar.  I really loved my husband that day, but the love I have for him now is so much deeper and richer than it was back then.  I know more about him - his character, his strengths, his weaknesses - and with that knowledge has come a greater appreciation for him.  Doing life together means working through disagreements, planning for our future, sharing disappointments, and having fun together, which are just some of the elements that have helped our love grow.

2.  Love is so much more than a feeling.  That mushy, romantic, emotional feeling - while it has its place! - isn't what keeps you going when you deal with a job loss or sit beside your husband before a surgery or grieve together over the loss of a loved one.  That love is full of dedication and commitment, a decision of the soul to be there for each other no matter what.

3.  Love takes work.  Love isn't easy; it can be messy and involves the hard work of self-sacrifice.  It's a daily action of putting my husband's needs ahead of mine (or at least trying to) and working together for what's best for both of us.

What other truths are you learning about love and marriage?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Salutes

If you have a few minutes, watch Rachel Cruze's vlog 5 Things I've Learned in 5 Years of Marriage.

Melissa has a printable Home Goal Sheet that would be very helpful if you're wanting to change some things in your home this year. 

Jackie shares Easy 2 Ingredient Cloud Dough - this looks like such fun to play with!!

I thought we needed a special sweet treat on Monday, so I made this Deep Dish Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie.  Yes, it was good!

Crystal let us know that Amazon Prime membership is just $72 on Saturday only (normally $99).  We signed up for Amazon Prime this year, and I'm still debating whether or not it's worth it for our family.   If you want to give it a try, I'd certainly sign up while it's "on sale!"

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's What Dads Are Made Of


Start with a heaping cup of love.

Toss with equal parts patience and wisdom.

Mix in two tablespoons of heroism and two more of hard work.

Blend with answers to off-the-wall questions, the ability to fix anything that breaks, and willingness to play dolls or trucks, as the situation dictates.

Add a scoop of self-sacrifice, the ability to drive long distances without falling asleep, and sprinkle in a sense of humor to taste.

Top with bedtime hugs and tickles, cover generously with heartfelt prayers, then bake for a lifetime.

And to a man who's a prize-winner in this recipe category....

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

God Can Do What This Mom Cannot

I have a shelf (or two) full of parenting books.

The desire of my heart is to raise Godly children who know and love their Saviour.  Yet sometimes I rely too much on what I think I can do as a parent and forget to recognize that ultimately it is God Who must work in the lives of our children.
"We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God's love and trustworthiness."  from Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
As our girls grow older, I'm realizing more and more how little I can accomplish in their hearts and how significant is the working of God in their lives.  I can't save my children; I can't make them good little Christians. Oh, I can impose rules that make them look good on the outside, but only He can change their heart.  Only His Holy Spirit power can convict them of sin, whether for salvation or for repentance.  Only He can lead them in His perfect will.  If my children turn out well, it's ultimately because of God's grace, not my good parenting.

The authors I quoted above share this thought as well.
"We are always to do our best, striving to be obedient and to love, nurture, and discipline them.  But we are to do it with faith in the Lord's ability to transform hearts, not in our ability to be consistent or faithful.  Seeking to be faithfully obedient parents is our responsibility; granting faith to our children is His."
So where does all this leave me as a mom?  On my knees, praying for God to work in the lives of my children, for His glory and their good.

Monday, January 19, 2015

God's Words on My Walls

"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee; the LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." Numbers 6:24-26
God gave these words to Aaron, the priest, and his sons to use in blessing the children of Israel.  As I read this passage a few weeks ago, I thought how appropriate it would be as a blessing for our family.

I was excited to find these verses as a print on Etsy.  I found an inexpensive mat and frame at Target and my husband hung it on the wall in our living area.

Beyond that, I want to make this an ongoing tradition in our family.  For years, when my mom mailed me a card or a letter, she would include the words of 3 John 4, " I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."  I want to do the same with this blessing for our children.

Numbers 6:27 says, "And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them."  It's exactly what I want for our family - God's blessings! 

With this print on the wall, we can now see God's words of blessing every day.

Do you have any Scripture posted around your home?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Salutes

Celebrating Homecoming activities at our older daughter's school last Friday

Maryann has 12 Bathroom Organization Ideas.

Here I'm writing about how to extend grace to others, and Aurie's showing me how it's done in Thankful for Grace.

Katie shares what to do When You're in a Holding Pattern.

Annette has 7 Things Your Kids Need to Hear You Say.

Rhoda's featuring a beautiful home in her Feature Friday:  All Things Heart and Home.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Modest Fashion at eShakti

Want to send me on a frustrating errand?  Have me go shopping for a modest dress for my 14-year-old daughter.

While we occasionally have success at Dress Barn or JCPenney, it's often difficult to find a dress that fits well in the top and is long enough at the bottom.

A few weeks ago, I read about eShakti on Olivia's blog, Fresh Modesty, and she highlighted some really cute styles from their website.

What immediately drew my attention was that you can customize many of the dresses according to your preference.  When ordering standard sizes, you can modify the neckline (on some styles), type of sleeve, and the length of the dress.  Alternately, you can put in your exact measurements for a totally customized dress.

I bookmarked a few that I thought my daughter would like, then called her in to look at them.  One of her favorites was this Faux Leather Trim Poplin Dress.

However, we ended up ordering this Banded Stripe Poplin Dress.  I ordered her normal dress size, added cap sleeves, and chose below-the-knee length.

It arrived a little less than two weeks later and we are thrilled with the dress!  It's 100% cotton, has a side zipper and pockets, and fits her very well.  The below-knee-length hits the bottom of her knee.  (They do have a mid-calf length if you like a longer dress.)

Some of their dresses are a little pricey, but I've been watching the site and they seem to have sales frequently.  And I got a great deal on this dress, because I signed up for their e-mails as a new customer and got a gift code for $35!

If you've never shopped at eShakti, you can also get a $35 gift code by registering at eShakti with my eShakti referral link here!   (They are not paying me to write this post, but I do get a small referral fee if you sign up through my link.)

I'm already planning to shop at eShakti when we look for spring (and Easter) dresses!

Have you ever shopped at eShakti?  Where do you like to shop for dresses for yourself or your girls?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Peek at My Gratitude Journal

The gratitude journal I started a couple of years ago has 3,465 entries.

That's not because I'm great; it's because God is great and, by His grace and with His help, I can recognize the blessings that surround me.

There are days when it's harder to think of gifts to list, when the problems may seem greater than the blessings.  But that's when I need the list most, to bring my focus back to where it should be.

While maintaining this journal isn't on my goal list like it was last year, I'm still adding to it nearly every day.  It's a practical way to highlight God's grace.

While I don't list this many items every day, I wanted to share just a sample of entries from yesterday of things for which I'm thankful.

  • sweet texts from my husband who's out of town
  • a Christian hairstylist with whom I can talk about God and His Word
  • remembering to be thankful even when I slopped a big blotch of coconut oil on a favorite jacket, which will now be reduced to "around-the-house" wear
  • sharing Sweet Frog frozen yogurt with my younger daughter, using a gift card she won in Awana
  • a piano book we'd ordered for my older daughter arriving in near-record time
  • an encouraging phone conversation with my mom
  • safety while driving on a drizzly day
  • a young lady coming forward in last night's revival service and the opportunity to share with her the gospel and hear her pray for salvation

Eight gifts from an ordinary day, made extraordinary because of His grace.

What's on your gratitude list today?