A Favorite Chapter

Colossians 3:1-2

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬http://bible.com/100/col.3.1.nasb

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NASB‬

This  chapter goes on to talk about family relationships, behavior, and work ethics.

 

I like to ponder what the opening verses mean. I always thought it said we were seated in heavenly places and that got me wondering. Now that I began to write about these verses, it says Christ is seated above, at the right hand of God. Now it makes sense to me.
My husband began a class on Wednesday nights, for beginners in the faith to go through the fundamentals of our beliefs based on the Bible. He offered the class for those who’d been believers in Jesus for many years as well. He comes home on Wednesday nights all revved up because of the participation and enthusiasm of the attendees.

 

I told him if he chooses to teach on how to study the Bible, I’d like to join them at that time. He went through Kay Arthur’s book: How to Study Your Bible: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God’s Word some years ago. The book is published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR and copyrighted in 2013.

https://www.christianbook.com/study-bible-discover-changing-approach-word/kay-arthur/9780736953436/pd/953436?event=ESRCQ

 
My husband pulls out colored pencils to highlight sections within different categories. Well, I can’t really explain it, I just watched him do it. He may teach on that, he said, but he thinks he gave his copy away. ‘We’ll have to order books after we see if people are interested.”

 
Sounds good to me.

 
I haven’t blogged since last Monday I think. Not yesterday, but eight days ago!

 

Unbelievable. I started to blog six days ago and got involved with family, so I put it off. Then I began to blog on my computer and it acted up. So, I started on my phone and it got late, so I put it off. Then last night I determined to blog and I got hit with nausea which caused me to slow down big time.

 
I told my husband of my dilemma. “You need to start earlier in your day.”
So, here I am before noon typing away instead of writing before midnight. Praise God. And my guy thinks I don’t listen to him. I wonder why he thinks that. 😊

May God bless you!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Marriage Can Be Fun

My husband and I celebrated more than 40 years of marriage this month. The actual day, we usually try to go out to eat and maybe take in a movie. It’s not as easy to choose a flick nowadays because the options are not as wholesome as they were in our growing up years.

That day fell flat because we had obligations we couldn’t overlook. So, we decided to put off our date until later in the week. My husband was not feeling well, and that inhibited his enthusiasm. I offered to wait even longer, but our schedule is really full sometimes. We found a restaurant we both like in a little out-of-the-way town. Since we only stop every nine months or so, we’re always delighted with the physical changes the owners make.

My husband worked in the food industry for many years, so he especially notices when they re-pave the parking lot, put in new landscaping, add new décor, update the restrooms, etc.
Unfortunately, they must have hired a new cook, because our entrees lacked seasoning. If we stop again, maybe we’ll take the opportunity to ask if they still have the same cook and suggest a change in recipes. It’s a little awkward. We added condiments to help improve the flavor.

So, rushing to an appointment took some of the romance out of our date. We also got the chance to talk about our relationship a bit. You can bet he didn’t bring that subject up. 😊

I brought up the five love languages mentioned in the book by Gary Chapman:

found at: https://www.christianbook.com/languages-secret-that-lasts-new-edition/gary-chapman/9780802412706/pd/412706?event=CBCER1.

Our love languages are not the same, so I should remember what his choices are so that his “emotional bank account will be filled up,” when I meet that need, according to Mr. Chapman.
A few days after our anniversary, we opened our home to family for at least seven days. You might think that would interfere with our relationship, but since we enjoy our children and grandchildren so much, it actually drew us closer with the laughter and the challenges.
The youngest ones went home and now our son is staying for a few days. So, last night we drove to a bigger area to get my car looked at and watched a movie after our meal.

On the way to the car I began to hunt for my keys. They were somewhere in the mall. I thought of three places they could be, so the guys went back to our theater seats and I stopped at the concession stand. She called her boss whom alerted the cleaning crew and within moments the head cleaner removed the key chain from his apron.
It’s been a stressful week for me and for some of my friends. My mind was not in full gear. My husband said, “Well, you’ve never done that before,” after all was well. I tried to smile and then I almost cried and he shook his head gently in an it’s okay kind of motion.
It’s those kind of kindnesses that make me glad I married him.

Today, when under a time pressure and because of being tired and because sometimes I just feel ornery, I interrupted him to demand he listen to me. He waited while I got my point across and then started at the beginning of what he’d been trying to tell me. After I heard him, I realized he just answered my question and so I started on my last-minute project.
Moments later I replayed our conversation in my mind and by then he was in a meeting, so I texted him instead of giving him a call and apologized for being curt with him. Later, we talked and he said, “I don’t hold on to those things.”
He’s not perfect, I’m not perfect and I guess we try to accent the positive and downplay the negative. I don’t take advantage of his good nature, or at least I try not to take his attitude for granted. He speaks up if he feels the need to, which I appreciate.
A few years back, I helped an eighty-something year-old woman with her memoirs. She said, “I believe in laying your cards on the table. People need to talk honestly with each other,” when I asked her what helped her marriage last all those years.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a widow who didn’t wish she’d done more to show her love for her husband. One lady said, “He always wanted to open an Italian restaurant with recipes that came from Italy. You never saw that kind of food in our day. I held him back. I was afraid to take the risk. He was a great cook. I could’ve helped him with the books. I would have been better off today, too.”
She sounded like she was a great wife when she shared stories of their life together. One day, I told her my husband liked steak but it was so expensive. She was 79 and I was in my 40’s. She looked at me, “Buy your husband a steak.”
So, I did and he smiled when I pulled it out of the bag.
A 90-year-old grandmother at church lost her husband of 70 years in 2016. She credits a previous pastor’s wife for advice that improved her marriage. She was told to be a “helpmeet” to her husband, to do her best to meet his needs and show him respect. She said it revolutionized their relationship. Then she tells us, “We married for better and for worse. There was a lot of better and a lot more worse, but we stayed together and it was worth it.”
She’s quiet about her grief, but occasionally it overwhelms her and then she’ll tell us she can’t wish him back. He’s with Jesus and one of their sons that passed on ahead of them, and now he’s healthy and strong in heaven.
I can’t imagine being married for 70 years, but at the age of 20, being married 40-some years felt like a long time.
I hope you are doing well. If you love Jesus, keep looking up. Take advantage of praying for others, many people need it even if they don’t ask for intercession. One nice thing about being a Christian-Jesus said He’s up there talking to God the Father on our behalf.
May God bless you and protect you from the spiritual enemy of mankind.

Mindfulness

9781594862748: Speed CleaningThis photo is from: https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9781594862748-us.jpg.

 

I thought I’d start a blog about cleaning and use a quote I got from a book in our library called Speed Cleaning. The book was published by Rodale Press in 2005 and written by Jeff Campbell and the Clean Team and copyrighted from 1985-2016. Their website sells some products for less cost than those that I bought elsewhere. I obviously don’t know the quality, but that was impressive. Their website is www.speedcleaning.com.

I can’t give the author’s exact quote, but it was about being mindful of what I’m doing when cleaning so I’ll enjoy it more. Keeping focused on where I’m standing, what is nearby so I don’t trip over it, and paying attention to what I’m doing throughout the job came up as well.

I’ve heard it said that people find fulfillment in whatever they’re doing if they give full attention to the activity (if it’s not a painful thing).

So, when cleaning the refrigerator if I concentrate on the fingerprints disappearing and a shine taking their place, the endorphins in the brain should get released, right?

On another subject, on Saturday night, I made a mayonnaise cake and when I finished it, it felt so good to see it completed and not sagging in the middle. I went to bed after blogging about it. At midnight, my husband noticed it sank to the middle but he didn’t want to disturb my rest. One of the ladies at our church is such an encourager. She told me it really didn’t look bad. I ended up running out of mayonnaise and used a substitute vegan style for the last half cup. I ran out of white sugar and used a little less brown sugar instead. It tasted the same as normal and looked similar. I ate a bit too much of it, so I put the left overs in the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s one food item I don’t want to be mindful of. I gained weight after eating it two days in a row.

Do you have something you’re struggling over? I remember reading a book on weight loss by Steve Arterburn some years back. He took time to taste his food and enjoy the meal. This is a more recent book by him that I haven’t read, but it sounds good. Lose It for Life: The Total Solution--Spiritual, Emotional, Physical--for Permanent Weight Loss  -     By: Stephen Arterburn, Dr. Linda Mintle
 This photo is from: https://www.christianbook.com/solution-spiritual-emotional-physical-permanent-weight/stephen-arterburn/9780849947261/pd/947260?event=ESRCG#CBD-PD-Description.

I believe it’s an updated version of the book I read with more offerings: exercises and other beneficial information.

I hope you are keeping your eyes on Jesus in this world with the turmoil and with the good. I heard my daughter read some Psalms today after telling me she’s concerned about her elderly and much loved cat. He’s not eating well. God’s Word is a comfort. She’s experiencing His peace in the midst of her trial.

May God bless you.

Could You Ever Become Homeless?

 

The Sign Painter(Photo from: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Davis-Bunn/45097965 )

I recently read The Sign Painter by Davis Bunn, copyrighted by T. Davis Bunn in 2014. It’s the story of a woman with a five year old daughter. The summary offered by the publisher states: “A young mother struggles to get back on her feet after a devastating loss leaves her and her daughter alone and living on the street.”

 

Howard Books published this tome; they are a division of Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

 

I know a lady that lost her husband to a deadly disease and the medical expenses wiped them out. She moved to New York from Florida because she lived in the northern state as a child and as a young adult at least. I don’t know what happened to cause her to live on her own once her husband passed away. She has some family in the area.

 

It took some time for this friend of mine to regain her footing. She went from one place to another. Now, she has her own apartment and she volunteers in a handful of places to be of use and to fill her time. A Christian auto repair person discovered she didn’t have a car, so they’ve leant her one to use. This family pays for everything for her except the gasoline. She beams with gratitude.

 

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book, but Davis Bunn is one of my favorite authors. He tells a story with people based on real events in our world in such a compelling way that I knew I wanted to engage with the characters. I just waited a couple of days after I got the book to adjust to the idea. I didn’t know what the novel was about from the title. I chose it based on the cover and the author.

 

I’m on the third book in the series by Jim Cymbala called Fresh Power. The first two books are entitled Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and Fresh Faith. Dean Merrill is the co-author of the volumes and Zondervan published Fresh Power in 2001 and it was copyrighted by Jim Cymbala in 2001.

Fresh Wind, Fresh FireFresh FaithFresh Power(Photos from: (https://www.christianbook.com/fresh-power-jim-cymbala/9780310251545/pd/251540?event=Christian-Authors|1006349)

Fresh Power is a non-fiction book documenting the ability of the Holy Spirit to move on people’s hearts and lives for the good. The life events that drew some to Christ seem so overwhelming, yet a way opens up for them to find hope and practical steps that kept them on a new path.

 

The Sign Painter is a fictional account of individual’s becoming desperate and it shows how they cope with their plight. Some choices work out well. Some folks turn to people and habits that only make things worse. The Sign Painter represented real quandaries that could come our way. I don’t think I’d ever have to live on the street, but one never knows. Many homeless never dreamed they’d end up without a postal address and/or a job.

 

When I see what a person does in trying circumstances, I’ll wonder why they took that action. It seemed clear to me that they were heading for trouble. I don’t know the whole story. Oftentimes, I don’t have permission to speak into their lives. That’s the benefit of reading life-like situations in books. It gives me time to meditate on how I might handle certain situations. Davis Bunn’s book had a number of questions about the novel for those interested in participating alone or for a book club to ponder after the end of the story.

 

If you haven’t read Davis Bunn’s books or Jim Cymbala’s real life anecdotes, you might want to try them out. You never know how God may use them in your life.

 

May God bless you.

Thinking for Life

Our ladies’ Bible study started working on the book and study guide by Joyce Meyer called Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind. I’m using the book I bought some years back published by Warner Faith, New York, NY, Boston, MA, and Nashville, TN in 2002 and copyrighted in 1995. The Study Guide was copyrighted in 2000 and published in 2002 by Faith Words, Hachette Book Group, New York, NY.

Battlefield Of The Mind 2-in-1, Book and Study Guidephoto from https://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=Battlefield+of+the+Mind&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

(This is the most current book that one of our ladies bought at a brick and mortar store. The copyright is 2017 and it’s the book and study guide combined.)

 

At our Bible study we enjoyed the Scriptures and the insights Joyce gave us. We also got a chance to talk and consider how the Word applies to our lives. One of the ladies is barely in her 90’s and she’s been a Christian for decades. When Joyce Meyer spoke of Satan’s schemes, she was a bit horrified. Even though I’m sure she’s read in 1Peter_5:8 , (KJV) that we need to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

 

What I hold on to is the fact that God is the Great I Am, and Satan is His defeated foe. Not that the devil doesn’t have power. He has the power on earth that mankind gives him by following the evil one’s ways and rejecting God’s ways. Yet, he cannot do anything beyond what God allows. There is our free will to consider as well. Ah, it’s a complicated business in the supernatural. The supernatural realm lasts forever; this time on earth for us is short in comparison.

The Screwtape Lettersphoto from https://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=Screwtape+Letters&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

 

So, I got talking about C. S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters. It’s a lead demon teaching a less experienced demon the subtle ways to fool people out of faith in God. This elderly lady had heard of Professor Lewis’s tome, but “didn’t think it amounted to much.”

 

Now she’d like to read it.

 

The Bible talks a lot more about God than the devil, yet it mentions hell much more than heaven. I don’t know if it’s because God knew people wouldn’t really believe in hell after a time and He wanted to be very specific about the torment there, or if it’s because He couldn’t put into words that we could fully comprehend about the wonder of heaven and being in His presence. Our brains do not compare to the all-knowing God’s capabilities.

 

I know one thing. I had to close the door behind me so I could stop listening to the television set because I kept getting drawn into a progressive story. That’s one disadvantage of Netflix. Once a series leaves the viewer on a cliffhanger, it’s a matter of moments before the next show comes on if the person so chooses to watch the next one, unless it’s the end of the entire series or the last one of the season. Some might consider that a benefit, and occasionally I enjoy not having to wait to see how things turn out, but it’s easy to lose an hour or two or three and realize important things got left undone. It’s like a drug and don’t I know that Satan loves it when I’m not writing about Jesus and the hope He gives the world.

 

I’m looking forward to continuing our study of The Battlefield of the Mind because it’s already got me thinking about the way I may ponder myself right out of the will of God. “Write a book on marriage,” I thought God whispered to my heart. Then I decided if there were so many out there what did I have to say? We’re all unique and King Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun in the book of Ecclesiastes when he was feeling down. There may not be anything new under the sun, but one person’s insights may reach a couple when another writer’s ideas didn’t touch their heart at all. If God did indeed tell me to write on marriage, then I need to obey. It’s imperative for me to seek Him to see if I heard correctly from Him or not.

 

I spoke to my husband about this show that sucked me in tonight. A young couple constantly miscommunicates. I’m mumbling, “Why didn’t he say something to her?” I turned to him, “They never talk.”

 

He said to me, “There are some people that are just like that.”

 

I then said to him, “I guess that’s why we’ve been married for forty-one years, because we talk.”

 

Today he vacuumed the rug and I made a point of saying it looked nice, because that’s important to him. He doesn’t whine or ask for compliments. I just notice that if he points out, “At least I got the carpet cleaned today,” in reference to not getting something else done, that if I say, “Yeah, it looks great,” his body language changes. Maybe his shoulders get pulled back and he stands a little taller.

 

If I don’t feel like telling him thanks because I’m tired or self-absorbed, sometimes I make myself be considerate because I’d be polite to a stranger. Why not be kind to the man I love?

 

I hope you’re having a great day. May God bless you.

 

 

 

 

Visiting a Friend

I had a chance to visit a friend today and I took her sister along, because she doesn’t drive. This is my second time in a few months going to see this lady who used to attend our church. She lives in another town now after experiencing a stroke. She worked hard to get into an apartment. With the help of a couple of aids, she’s able to manage. She even hopes to continue to improve enough to get her car back. She said today that when her health returns she won’t need workers to come to her home for help with household and personal assistance. I think she’ll miss these people, but she won’t mind being independent again. I think she has some time before she’s self-sufficient again.

I got to know her sister better this time. In the book, Univited by Lysa TerKeurst, published by Thomas Nelson with their imprint Nelson Books, Nashville, TN which was copyrighted in 2016, there is a section on page 228 entitled, ‘What’s It Like to Do Life with Me? Assessment.”

I told the ladies in our Bible study that they might want to take advantage of that segment and since it sounded personal to go ahead and do it at home. I fully intended to go through it. Maybe subconsciously I didn’t want to do that, I don’t know. It’s been months.

Today, with my friends’ sister, I could see that she acted exactly the same way I do at times. This morning, my husband pointed out some things I do way differently than he does. He didn’t criticize; he just talked about the traits and said he didn’t understand the reasoning. For instance, “Why do you take the long slower route to see the lake when you’ve seen it so much already?”

Then I got thinking about the chapter or the addendum at the end of Mrs. TerKeurst’s book, and I thought maybe God wants me to look at the questions and ponder what life looks like with me to my husband. I’ve heard it said many times that God loves us too much to leave us the same.

When I consider God’s rules, I can see that people around me and I will benefit if I follow His commands. Sometimes it’s easier to say, “Yes, Lord,” than at other times. The result is always the same. When I get around to doing it His way, there is peace, joy and satisfying results. Usually, I receive some kind of blessing I didn’t expect afterwards, too. Not that I can predict what God will do. I know Jesus says in the Gospel of John that if we love Him we will obey Him.

My husband tells me and others that he used to do things right for his parents because he wanted to please them. He loved them and respected them. He wasn’t afraid of his folks, although his dad disciplined and he didn’t want to be at the receiving end of that action. His dad used corporal punishment, but he never went overboard.

Well, I’m not going to look into what it’s like to live with me for a couple of weeks at least. I have company coming and I want to get ready for them. I think I’ll put it in my planner for a quiet day when I find a few moments alone.

I hope to see another gal in July. We spoke on the phone last week. It can be months or years apart between seeing my friend, depending on lots of things. There are a handful that are so deep in my heart, it’s as if we were never apart.

I hope you are well. May God bless you.

A Plan Set in Motion

The rain drops sit on my husband’s windshield as if they’re glued droplets of glass.

I’m in the car waiting for him so we can catch a new action movie at the theater. Of course, I just made a cup of Rooibos tea, so I put it in a travel mug and I’m determined to wait long enough so I don’t burn myself on it.

Even the side windows’ rain drops are defying gravity. Hmm.

Anyway, I set my Life Plan from Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy’s book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want on paper today. The tome is published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI and copyrighted by the authors in 2016.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want  -     By: Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy

(photo from https://www.christianbook.com/living-forward-proven-drifting-life-want/michael-hyatt/9780801018824/pd/018820?product_redirect=1&Ntt=9780801018824&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCG )

I copied the author’s empty ideal week template with Monday – Sunday across the top and time from 5:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. on the left column. I looked in their book at an executive’s schedule which didn’t match my lifestyle. He started about that early. I’ve heard my husband say I don’t even know there’s a 5:30 in the morning. Which I deny vigorously. I’ve been on vacation or headed to a meeting that required me to be in the car by 5:30 a.m. probably three times in my life. 🙂

I digress.

I copied the light green weekly sheet and started to put in my meetings and schedule for work and exercise, etc. My Sunday ended up on a second page and I just realized I never filled that one out, so after I blog I’ll go back to that sheet of paper.

The evening hours suggested family time, reading, planning and I grabbed that idea for me. I’m tired of blogging at 11:00 p.m. and then reading others’ blogs which gets my brain charged up and then I get to bed at 1:00 a.m.

So today, I figured 5:00 p.m. to start preparing a meal, then eating, and then cleanup. Time with family & reading & an early bedtime sounded great. When my husband asked if I wanted to go to a movie, I looked at my plan. Family time, etc. beginning at 5:00. So I said, “Sure.”

I read my Bible earlier in the day, ran some errands. I usually mark my calendar for shopping and stuff on Friday but today I realized that I really do my running around on Tuesdays. So, my ideal week reflected that.

I want more time to write than I planned, but if I’m consistent with what I chose, the words should add up. If my husband has meetings, I can grab pen and legal pad or sit at the computer when he’s away during family time.

I’m looking forward to a more structured life. Even if curveballs come my way, I have a reference point for decision making.

I forgot to schedule hobbies in, my lowest priority. I may have to sneak some time on the weekend.

I’ve been praying for wisdom and today I felt as if God’s Spirit whispered to me, Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, and knock and the door will be opened for you.

What a wonderful God He is!

May God bless you.

Disappearances

My husband called to see if I could find a necessary receipt to prove we’d paid for something. Then I got online so I could let the agency know we’d paid. I looked at the clock and two hours had slipped away.

I went to the library today and got rewarded with a dark chocolate candy today because I “got caught” reading. While my friend dished out the sweet morsel, she got serious. I waited a moment and then she said, “*Marcy passed away at the end of April.”

“I’m so sorry to hear your mom is gone. I loved your mom.”

“Me, too,” she said.

I’m invited to her memorial service at the place where her mom worked because she loved it there and it seemed appropriate to her daughter and Marcy’s  boss is all for it. They had a lot in common.

Later in the day I did some typing for someone and the last time I worked, I put the info from the flash drive onto my computer. I thought, I don’t really need to do that, but there’s no harm in it and I think I have lots of room on the hard drive to save it.

Tonight I decided to type for at least an hour and when I searched for the thumb drive it was gone. I didn’t search high and wide because I didn’t want to waste time, but I couldn’t believe it wasn’t where I normally store it. After I post this, I’ll look slowly and thoroughly and if my husband is up I’ll ask him to check. He’s been known to find things that are in plain sight that I’ve not been able to see when it was right in front of me.

Sometimes I get ideas to do things that don’t make perfect sense to me and then I realize that it saved me stress and I thank God that I did that.

Well, I need to cut this short because I’m busier than normal because I prayed for work and God answered that prayer the very next day. Now, I have a commitment to do the work.

Speaking of commitments, I usually attend a Bible study on Fridays, but my husband’s cousin who has been sick for a long time now, gave up the fight and he’s no longer with us. I’d like to attend the funeral. I guess I’ll have to see if someone is willing to fill in for me on short notice or I’ll have to stay home and send my condolences with my husband.

A friend of mine tried to find me once and I was missing from all the normal places I might have been. Finally, I was able to answer her voice mail. She said, “I thought you got raptured and I missed out on it.”

I laughed and told her I was pretty sure if I got raptured, she would too. If there truly is a Rapture, when it occurs, there’s going to be lots of folks disappearing.

At the second coming of Christ, Jesus said to be aware and to be ready, for He is going to return like a thief in the night in Matthew, chapter 24.

May God bless you!

* Not her real name

We’re All Unique

Over the years I’ve noticed married couples and how they interact. Every couple is unique in their own way. One of the sayings in Proverbs gets me thinking every time I read it:

Proverbs 30:18, (KJV):  There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Pro 30:19  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

(photo from images search yahoo.com, for married couples)

We visited a couple in their eighties and nineties, she and he respectively and she asked how we came to meet and date. Then I asked how they met and when did she know he wanted to go out with her. He glowed when he spoke about her and told us he has a good wife. She worked in a small restaurant and he kept coming in for coffee. One night she got stranded there and was trying to come up with a way to get home. He offered to give her a ride and she didn’t feel comfortable with that until her co-worker vouched for his character. Since she trusted her co-worker, she accepted his offer and the rest is history. 🙂

At a marriage enhancement group of some sort, many years ago, we attended because I convinced my husband that we should go. He told me we were okay, but I felt there’s always room for growth. He’s a nice guy, so we went. We wrote in notebooks about our feelings and what can I say, I’m a writer. I would have about a page and a half for each category; he would have about three sentences. Then we had to exchange our notebooks and talk about them. For him, this was akin to torture. By the end of the weekend, I felt sorry for him.

I’ve shared here before that he and I see the world differently. He’s opposite me in lots of ways. Even our upbringing wasn’t the same, although we both came from parents that loved us and worked hard to provide for us and we learned to work for a living, too.

He was brought up in a rural town, and I grew up in a city. He’s athletic, I’m not. His parents didn’t attend church. We went every Sunday and for the first eight years of school I attended a religious school. He got straight A’s in school, not I. Well, there are other areas of differing interests, but I’ll stop here.

I think what helps our marriage is our willingness to step into each other’s world. If he wants to watch basketball, I’ll watch for a while. I may even watch the entire game and enjoy it. When he wants to watch some kind of wrestling match or no-holds- barred Eastern world fighting, I may notice for about twenty seconds and then I leave the room. I’ll get busy doing something I want to do and then later he’ll look for me and we’ll do something together. He started watching a series on television about a Canadian Mounty and a schoolteacher falling in love based on stories set in the early 1900’s and he now likes it. The occasional catching of criminals and the horses appeal to him more than the relationship stuff, I’m sure.

We agree on the major things in life. We both love God and pray for others to know how much God loves them. We view money and the use of it pretty much the same. Sometimes we compromise if there’s a limited amount and we both want something at the same time. He’ll get what he wants this time, and I’ll get what I want the next time, or vice-versa. It usually works out. We talk about financial disagreements when we’re not exhausted and cranky.

Our differences balance us out when we listen to each other. Every marriage has ups and downs, but I learned over the years to give him space when he needed it. If I needed to confront him over something, I usually prayed beforehand and I waited for the right time to bring it up. When he ran into problems at work, I didn’t talk that day. I didn’t wait too long, but I wanted us both well rested and less stressed when I brought up a touchy subject.

My aunt and uncle told me the secret to their successful marriage was the respect they showed each other. As an older adult, she decided to go to college. She told him he had to keep up with her on the learning curve so they didn’t grow apart. He agreed to, so they talked about the new concepts she encountered. She actually ended up becoming a college professor for less than ten years if memory serves me, and it didn’t seem to hinder their relationship.

One time we stopped for ice cream at a roadside stand and she told him to choose the flavor for her. He tried to get her to pick the kind she liked the best. When he came out carrying a cone without her favorite ice cream, she pouted and frankly I don’t think he even noticed. She got over it soon enough, but I thought, my mom wouldn’t have tried to get my dad to figure out her choice.

We’re all unique and interact differently. She was an only child and they never had children, so she liked to be pampered once in a while. She didn’t demand a lot, but I suppose like all of us, once in a while she was selfish.

She kept a tidy home, worked outside the home and sewed clothes and doll clothes for us – her nieces. She was like a second mom to us, my brothers and sisters.

May God bless you. If you’re married, it’s worth it to work at your relationship for your sake and the sake of the many people that know you and care about you. I’ve heard it said that divorce is worse than losing your spouse due to death.

When I consider things from my husband’s point of view and we communicate clearly and kindly, things go better at our house. He’s good to me, too. He tries to understand where I’m coming from. We’re all works in progress is what I figure.

Do you have some ideas for solidifying a marriage that I didn’t mention that are appropriate for any audience? I’d love to hear from you.

Curtailed

Occasionally I look at my life from an objective viewpoint, or as much of an objective viewpoint as is humanly possible. Lately I’ve noticed that people I saw regularly have been moved out of my life. I don’t see some due to sickness, some from changed circumstances so their time doesn’t mesh with mine much, and some from their lack of interest. I decided that there are seasons in life when people are nearby and seasons when they’re gone and then it changes, and they’re back again.

It doesn’t feel that way right now. I wonder if the Lord is trying to get through to me and I’m not hearing Him. Recently, when plans are made or opportunities come along, the door gets slammed shut. Not all of them, but some of them. I’ll make plans and move along to fulfill them and then someone calls and cancels. My husband and I accept invitations and then work demands more of him than he expected and he tells me we can’t go. Then one of us picks up the phone and apologizes. Either the Lord is trying to get through to me or He’s helping me to adjust to variations so I can be flexible.

On the other hand, I’ve also noticed how He orchestrates my steps. I’ve been on my way somewhere and think that we’re almost out of bread. I have time to stop at the store. Once there, I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they need to know something I can answer, or I need advice or prayer and they’re there for me. I’ve seen it over and over again with different situations.

Today I intended to spend half the day at home doing chores. My husband and one volunteer have been working hard to get handicap bathrooms into our church. We’ve moved more than once in our lives, so I’ve learned how to paint. I intended to offer to help paint tomorrow. Then I realized they were painting today and my husband looked tired.  So, I ended up staying there to paint and another lady joined me. I got hungry before he did and the helper, an expert contractor actually, agreed that he could eat as well. I ordered pizza with my husband’s approval and that blessed the man that has so greatly blessed us. My husband calls this volunteer “The boss” because his level of expertise in building far surpasses ours.

Others have volunteered as well, but not as steadily.

Maybe the reason I feel like a bird whose wings have been clipped every time my expectations get dashed is because God wants me doing things for others that are more important than what I’m aiming for. I enjoyed painting today and getting to know a couple of people better.

I don’t have anything to complain about, I just feel a bit off-kilter. 🙂

I guess that’s a part of life.

How are you doing today?

May God bless you!