Friday, July 25, 2014

What Those Wedding Vows Really Mean

Dear 1991 Bride,

My, how lovely you look today!  You found the wedding dress in a short amount of time, pulled everything together with the help of your family and so many precious church ladies, and now your wedding day is here.

Your groom is quite handsome!  The music you've chosen is beautiful and this special day is going well.

Now, let's have a little talk.

Those words you're about to say so smoothly in your wedding vows...those aren't just words.  There's a lifetime of meaning behind them.

Take, as an example, "for better or worse."  Yes, in spite of what you think now, there will be "worse."  Most days will be of the "better" variety, but there will be the "worse" days.  Days when selfishness wins, and silly arguments prevail, and patience goes out the window, and words you'll later wish you could take back will come out of your mouth.

"For richer for poorer"...yeah, that, too.  Budgeting and sacrifices and not buying that new dress and throwing a meal in the slow cooker instead of eating out is part of maturing and acting like an adult with your money.  Enjoy the richer days, too, when they come.  But realize that "richer" encompasses so much more than money, and take to time to enjoy the shared laughter and his arm around you in church and holding hands in the car and sitting together quietly at the end of the day.

"In sickness and in health"  will mean a middle of the night ER visit for your kidney stones, his stay in the hospital with a lung disease, a miscarriage, and his back surgery.

"To love and to cherish" won't be just the romantic nights and the unexpected gifts and the fun vacations.  While those will be nice, loving and cherishing will more often involve serving each other when you don't feel like it - you washing his laundry and his washing your car, you cooking supper and him mowing the lawn.

But you won't ever be sorry that you've kept those vows.  When it's July 27, 2014, and you celebrate 23 years of marriage, you'll be so glad that God gave you him for a husband and that the commitment you make today is still being honored.


Your 2014 Self, A Married Woman of 23 Years

Happy 23rd anniversary (as of Sunday), sweetheart!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fold My Girl for Me

I read the following poem in The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot.  It's a prayer that echoes in my heart for each of my precious girls.

As Any Mother to the Savior

As Thou didst walk the lanes of Galilee,
So, loving Savior, walk with her for me,
For since the years have passed and she is grown,
I cannot follow; she must walk alone.

Be Thou my feet that I have had to stay,
For Thou canst comrade her on every way;
Be Thou my voice when sinful things allure,
Pleading with her to choose those which endure.
Be Thou my hands that would keep hers in mine,
And all things else that mothers must resign.

When she was little, I could walk and guide,
But now I pray that Thou be at her side.
And as Thy blessed mother folded Thee,
So, loving Savior, fold my girl for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

He Speaks Through His Word

Photo Source

"God's way of speaking to you and of getting at you will be through His Word.  Dwell in it, therefore.  Begin each day with a portion of it.  Pray for grace to see when He is speaking to you, and for grace to adjust yourself to what He thus shows you.  Do that and you will be a successful Christian..."  ~excerpted from a letter to Philip and Katharine Howard from a veteran missionary, shared in Elisabeth Elliot's book The Shaping of a Christian Family

Dwell in God's Word.  What a powerful thought, what a noble goal!  May I read and study the Bible so that I can be taught, convicted, and encouraged on a daily basis.  As His Word infiltrates my mind, I can live for Him in full confidence that I am doing His will.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Salutes

Erin celebrates One Six Down.  Two More Sixes To Go.

Jessica tells us How to Love Your Neighbors.

Patty encourages us For the Days When You Are Not Enough.

Jamie has 12 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood.

If you're looking for an easy and delicious slow cooker meal, try this Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings.  I made it for supper on Tuesday night and will definitely be serving it again.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Be Big or Expensive

Now that our girls are older, I often think that I have to spend lots of money and plan big activities to entertain them.  Not so.

Since this was one of our slower weeks for the summer, I wanted the three of us to do something together.  However, we've spent money on several outings lately, so I wanted an inexpensive option.  The weather was also a factor for part of the week.

Then I realized that we hadn't done a game day in quite awhile and thought I'd see if that still appealed to them.

When I mentioned it at breakfast, they were excited!  We took turns choosing games to play and had a fun afternoon.

Just like we'd done previously, we interspersed game playing with a little work, focusing on cleaning out their closets.

Here are the games we played.  [Amazon links are affiliate links.]

Bakers Dozen

Strawberry Shortcake Princess Hide and Seek


Scrabble Turbo Slam

Classic Pit

Disney Princess Old Maid

The afternoon was a great reminder that even at 13 and 11, spending time together - even just at home playing games - is what's important. not how much we spend or how big the activity.  Now I'm inspired, so I think we might have an "at-home" spa afternoon and do pedicures and fancy hairdo's!

What games do your kids like to play?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Keys to Having Caleb's Spirit

"But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it." ~Numbers 14:24

Photo Source

Moses sent twelve spies into the promised land to search it out.  On their return, ten of the twelve spies told of the difficulties the Israelites would face in conquering the land.  Caleb was one of two who encouraged the people to go up and take the land.  

What was different about Caleb?  What was this "another spirit" that he had?

In the surrounding verses, I found three qualities Caleb had that I think may have contributed to that spirit.

1.  Caleb had faith in God.  "The Lord is with us," Caleb say in Numbers 14:8-9.  "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us."  Caleb understood that God would give the people the strength to complete what He had commanded them to do.  He had faith that God would accomplish His will.  Do I have that same faith?  Like Caleb, do I claim the promises of God to see victory in my life?

2.  Caleb was obedient.  "Only rebel not ye against the Lord," Caleb says in verse 9.  In recounting this story in Joshua 14:8, he says, "Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God."  There was nothing halfhearted about his obedience; he did it fully.  Do I listen when I feel the Holy Spirit impressing something on my heart?  Do I choose only the commands I want to obey or do I ask for His help to do the difficult things - like loving my enemies or putting others' needs ahead of my own?

3.  Caleb had courage.  "Neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not." [Numbers 14:9]  It takes courage to live the Christian life.  Our choices are usually the opposite from what out culture embraces.  But Caleb had God's perspective - if He is with us, who can stand against us?

Let's see if we can follow these same principles and develop a spirit like Caleb's!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let It Be Life That Takes Us

On Saturday, we attended the 80th birthday party of a wonderful man in our church.  It was a sweet celebration of him and all that he means to family and friends.

The same day, I read the following quote from Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
The old man smiled. "I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived."
I wonder how often I let fears or anxieties or pressing tasks or stress take away my living.

Whenever God calls me to heaven - at whatever age and by whatever means - I want to have lived, really lived.

To have embraced what He put in my path, and faced the challenges, and celebrated the joys, and mourned the griefs, and climbed the mountains, and felt the sunshine on my face, and slowed for the simple pleasures, and heard the still small voice, and loved my family with all my heart, and served Him for all the right reasons.

Let's not fear the dreadful disease or the car accident or the weather disaster that might take us from this life, but let's fear drying up and shriveling away and not really living, but merely existing.

Let's choose to live today!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Salutes

Faces painted while attending our traditional July 4th minor league baseball game

Kathie lists 6 Signs of Maturity in Your Kids.

Here's a theme I keep returning to....Lindsey tells us The One Thing You MUST Do This Summer.

Chastity gives tips for Keeping Your Marriage Alive With a Toddler.

For a long time, I've been looking for a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe that doesn't contain oats (since our oldest daughter doesn't like that texture).  I've tried a good number of them, but nothing was quite what I was looking for.  This week I tasted one of Molly's chocolate chip cookies and I can say my search is over.  I haven't made them myself yet, but I sure hope they turn out exactly like hers did 'cause I'll be one happy camper!

It's been a busy week here with our nightly Vacation Bible School, but we're praising the Lord that it went well.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!