Wrap Up on the Road to Being a Better Wife

happy-marriageHi Mommas,

After 4 weeks of working on being a better wife we will dedicate this last part to being a better couple.

After all it takes two to tango. Hopefully things are moving along nicely for you all.

My husband and I can honestly say each of the below tips makes our marriage stronger.

1) Sex – I know it seems obvious but really  God created husband and wife with all the right parts to connect physically and emotionally. I once read this Erma Bombeck article about sex. The jest of it was,’ If you have made time to go work out (or some other task that   that you do not relish) you should at a minimum, prioritize your sex life in the same way. Even if you have to schedule it. Scheduled sex is better for your marriage than no  sex. If you are really too tired to have sex at least spend that time snuggling.

2) Read a book together – Find a great marriage book and read a bit of it each night together. Marriages take work, just like anything else. If you don’t feed, learn and grow it will wither and die. It is no different from any other aspect of your life. If you don’t know where to start I have two of my favorites at the end of this article. Just spend 5-10 minutes before you go to bed.

3) List the positives – When you get irritated instead of spiraling into a list of things that bother you make a conscious effort to think of all the good attributes instead. You both need to commit to doing this. You will be surprised how much this will change your perspective

4) Pray – Please pray together. At least once a day. Offer up prayers of thanksgiving for all you share together as well as your list of request. Also here is a great resource – 365 Days of Marriage Prayers  http://marriageprayers.today

5) QT– Please schedule a date night. It doesn’t have to be expensive or something huge. Even just a walk around the block.

GREAT COUPLE READS

LOVE LANGUAGES – DR. GARY CHAPMAN

THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE – TIM KELLER

Hopefully you have seen some changes in your marriage since we have been focusing on how to serve our husbands. Now focusing on the marriage together will help stabilize your foundation.

Please let us know if you have come up with additions to the list. What worked? What changes have you seen? Remember mommas just one small act a day (in addition to prayer) can make all the difference to a life long happy fulfilled marriage.

xoxoxoxoxo

 

 

The Men We Want Our Boys to Become

Father praying with daughter

I saw an quote the other day it read, “Finding a woman to sleep with is easy but try to find one to pray with.” It was powerful and true. I sent it to my boys. But it got me thinking. What type of man do I want my boys to be? What moral code do I really want to make sure they follow? What will set them up for success in their life? Not just the standard answers… “Man of God,” “Loving Husband and Father,” but drilling down into it what are we really trying to accomplish. What is God’s will for them? Not our will.

We have a deep responsibility to lead our children down the path of a God centered life. This will be a life of contentedness, love and fulfillment. When I think of  the men I really want my boys to become I realize this is the answer.

All of the other things will fall into place if they are God focused. If their desires are the things that God desires.

So here is our list. Let us know what you think.

1) Don’t objectify women – in today’s culture, at every turn, we are slapped in the face by some type of media where women are apparently only attractive if they are showing as much of their bodies as possible. We actually saw a billboard yesterday that was advertising bathing suits. The girl on it had literally her entire butt exposed. How can we teach our boys that if a women feels that positive attention comes from the fact that her butt is showing then she is not confident in what she truly has to offer?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body

2) No earthly relationship will make you happy – Only God makes you happy and whole. Having a loving relationship with our Father in heaven is  the only thing hat can make you fulfilled No relationship can fill that empty space in you that you try to fill with a litany of relationships, work etc.

Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3) Marriage is sacred. Marriage is meant to join a man and a woman together FOREVER for the sole purpose of building a community to share the gospel and bring people you meet as a couple to God. That is it. Marriage is not meant to make you happy. A Godly marriage will be a happy marriage, but only because you are both fulfilling God’s divine purpose for your life.

Ephesians 5:31-32 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

4) Marriage is hard work. It is not meant for selfish people. It is not meant to fulfill your personal needs. If you find your person you want to dedicate your life to, you become selfless. You make concessions happily without expectations.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, …

5) Pray in all circumstances. Especially in a relationship. from the beginning and throughout your entire relationship. There is no greater way to build lasting intimacy. There is no greater gift you can give your children

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing,

6) Your children are on loan to you. Once you have children you are their steward. They do not belong to you. They are not here to fulfill your unrequited dreams. They are here to become men and women of God and spread the gospel.

Psalm 127:3  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

7) Work hard when it is time to work. God designed you to provide for your family. It is plain and simple. You do not have the option to have a poor work ethic. Work with integrity.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

8) Choose the Godly path. If you are not sure what to do choose the hardest answer. It is always the right one. The hard one is the holy spirit is leading you towards the right choice. The enemy makes the wrong answer the easy one.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

9) Be true to yourself and everyone around you. Being honest is sometimes the hardest choice but it never is a bad choice. Jesus never gave a politically correct answer only an honest one.

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Proverb 19:1  Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

10) Take the high road… every time. The immediate gratification you feel from retaliating is not worth the soul sucking  that comes from it in the future. Bite your tongue. Choose grace. Pray your way through your anger

Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

11) Be kind – Choose to be kind in every circumstance to every person. Not everyone may thank you or respond the same way, but what good comes from being unkind? You just feel cruddy about yourself. This is another one of those soul sucking things.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

12) Assume the best in people – so much of the time if you show them kindness they will come around. Even if they are cranky. Think of those stories you hear about how some driver who cuts you off is running late to pick up a child or on their way to the hospital. You never know the story. Assume the best and you will all be better off for it.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

13) Be courageous Stand up for what is right. Even if it means loosing a relationship. The only relationship that really matters is the one you have God

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

14) Fellowship and Church are imperative – you must continue to grow in your relationships. Especially your relationship with God. No greater joy in life can be found than by walking hand in hand with God. You are the spiritual leader in your household.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

15) Be aware of the gifts God gave you. Be grateful for them. Focus on those gifts and why God gave them to you. Put them to use to glorify Him. Don’t waste your energy focusing on the gifts you don’t have.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

16) Forgiveness – since we continually are receiving forgiveness we must do the same for others and especially for ourselves. We will make mistakes every day of our lives. Sometimes really big ones that hurt others. God forgives you the moment you sin. He wants you to forgive yourself too. Learn from your mistakes but don’t continue to self flog.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

If we were able ensure our boys become men who try to live and love the way Jesus did then we are leaving a legacy I would be proud of.

What is important to you mommas? Anything we missed in the list? Let us know. xooxox

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Spring Fashion for Women Over 40

Hellooo Mommas,

Spring is almost here. It is the weaning season in fashion, weaning you from bulky layers and clothes that cover the parts we do not like to the time before summer where you end up showing almost all the parts you don’t like.

This is the season where you can still have some camouflage while you realize that summer is quickly approaching and that you should probably start exercising again.

Here are the hot trends this Spring

The 70’s scene is back. Frankly I like this style. Lots of fun to be had here. Plenty of age appropriate looks that still look fresh and hip.

70s

 

 

 

HOT SPRING COLORS – 

Beautiful Blues – All shades, but with an emphasis on the darker blues

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Blush  – oh how I love this color

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Most pastels – think Easter Egg colors

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Gingham – It just screams spring

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The Shirt Dress – I love this look on other people. I have not found one yet that works for me but I am still trying because I think it is super cute. If you are not a teeny tiny person you can always wear this style with leggings which is fab)

shirt dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

All White – crisp and clean

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Polo Style Shirtsf81b7d7a4791a7d0d90ccb09a811869d

 

 

 

 

 

Military Green Jackets – Lightweight but can keep you warm on a brisk spring evening (plus they are darling)

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Bold Florals –  not your little house on the prairie fabrics

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Mother Earth Kismet IPA

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I am really liking this Mother Earth Brewery. I need to make it a point to visit them soon. I have been very pleased by each of their offerings

If you like the Nelson IPA from Alpine I think you will like this little find.

The flavor – Slightly Bitter, Citrus, Lemon, Grapefruit

Style – IPA

Scent – Citrus & Pine

Pour-  Medium orange color with a frothy white head

Body – Medium body, average carbonation

ABV – 7.2%

Finish – Creamy, slightly bitter, not much alcohol on the back end

Cheese Pairing – Cheese – Horseradish Cheddar would be bomb with this

Food  This would cool a spicy Thai or Indian dish beautifully

4 out of 5 stars

4 out  of 5

 

How To Be In the World Without Being Of the World

angel_devilThe world is a tricky place. Much of what society has deemed acceptable is not what God sees as acceptable. There are many facets of our society that have at best,  taken sinful behavior and turned it into something totally normal or at worse celebrate it.

 

I am as guilty of this as anyone. In fact I commit just about every sin every day, I covet, I speak ill, I complain, I curse, I could go on and on. It is so easy to justify these behaviors because they are so common, they are so accepted and worse yet excused. I say a curse word because I am frustrated, I watch Magic Mike because I love Channing Tatum,  I complain about a co-worker because they didn’t live up to their word……

They just don’t seem sinful because everyone thinks they are OK.

I know my cherubs deal with it all the time too, but as they get older the dilemmas become more difficult. We were confronted with one of these moral dilemmas last week.

I was dropping off laundry for one of my high school cherubs. I saw a giant box of condoms. So I say, “Hey what is with the big box of condoms” to which he replies “Oh, I am selling them at school for $1 each. I make .75 per condom. People are too embarrassed to buy them and I figure if they are going to have sex anyway I am protecting everyone and making a profit. It is a win/win and I do it off school property so I can’t get in trouble” He followed it up saying he has made $15 this week.

Honestly, at this point I am slightly horrified, yet impressed. It was very entrepreneurial thinking and he is right; kids are going to have sex, he is providing a service, it is not illegal, it is not unhealthy, in fact, it is pretty responsible and he obviously thought it through.

I didn’t know how to respond.

I knew it bothered me on a gut level but I couldn’t figure out why. Everything he said was correct. In fact it was hard to argue with his logic.

He asked if I was angry.

I told him I was not at all angry but I needed to think about it. (I did tell him I was impressed with his ingenuity and entrepreneurial thought process.)

So I asked around. I asked my husband what he thought, I asked some friends at work, I asked some gals from my bible study.

98% of the people I spoke with only had positive things to say..  “Wow, how clever.” “I don’t see anything wrong with it”

The 2% that felt icky about it couldn’t really put their finger on why they were uncomfortable with it either.

Now mind you, I am not at all an uptight person when it comes to sex. In fact I really like sex. We have a very open dialogue about sex with all of our cherubs.

So why was this rationale, responsible act bothering me?

I prayed on it,(which is what I should have gone to straight away.)

I was trying to figure out a moral dilemma based on a world with skewed morals. I looked to the bible for the answer. The great thing about the bible is there is no grey area. God is pretty clear on what is right and what is wrong.

In fact it is easy to know the answer. It is almost always the hardest choice. That’s because the holy spirit has your back. The holy spirit guides us towards things of God and away from things of the world. We just have to choose to listen.

I asked him to pray on it, to listen to his gut. If he felt fine after doing that I wouldn’t say anything else. I have no idea how it is going to play out, but he is getting old enough to forge his own path and learn from his mistakes.

I do know that it was an “aha” moment for me. I need to check my behavior. I need to figure out how to live in the world without falling prey to being of the world. I need to stop and take inventory of the things that I allow because they seem ok, when I know deep down they are not.

If I get confused I can just read my bible. The answer is right there.

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

 

Week 4 on the Road to being a Better Wife

 

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How goes it mommas? You are on week 4 on the road to being a better wife. Have you seen any changes in your marriage?

Don’t forget to pray for your marriage every morning.

 

 

Get the oil changed in his car.

Spend whatever day you don’t have to jump out of bed in bed. Just 15 minutes of snuggling. Your stuff will all be waiting for you when you get out of bed.

Blow off his to do list this weekend and go bowling (or something else fun.) The to do list is never done and will be waiting when you get back.

Shave his face – If you haven’t done this it can be pretty hot

Bite your tongue – when he says something annoying just don’t respond and don’t hold it against him, let it go.

Watch your wedding video or go through old photo albums together – enjoy reminiscing

Bring lunch to his place of work – make sure it is his favorite food or have something sent in (like a pizza)

11 Things We Did Right (by the Grace of God)

family-640x385Yesterday I posted about the things I wish we had done differently or the things we shouldn’t have freaked out over. Today I want to share the things that worked out.

Let me preface this by saying I take no credit (OK I take a little credit) but most of the credit goes to God.

These are mostly the things I was throwing darts at in hopes that they would work.

I am so grateful they did.

  1. I am glad we insisted on manners.Please & thank you.  Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Shake their hands when you meet. It matters in life and it is a lesson that stays with them.
  2. I am glad I read Love Languages for my marriage and my children – this is truly life altering information.
  3. I am glad we are the house where everyone comes over. Play dates, sleepovers, movie night, taco Tuesdays. You get to know their friends. It keeps you close with your cherubs even as they get older. It provides a safe space for them.
  4. I am glad we insisted on Family Days and Technology Free Sundays; this worked until high school This was totally worth the battle. No phones, no computers, no video games. If we watched TV it was together as a family. It is not possible now due to multiple things but it established a good foundation.
  5. I am glad we had friends who had older children. It is always good to have someone who has been there and done that to turn to for advice.
  6. I am glad we gave each of them a ditch day with mom every year. Once a year (provided they are doing what they are supposed to  in school)  We  drop off the others at school and keep one with us. We do whatever they want, lunch, pedicures, park, laser tag etc. It is special one on one time.
  7. I am glad we taught them about healthy food. How to read labels, how to gauge the nutrition of food. This helps once they are on their own making their own decisions.
  8. I am glad we trust them until they give us a reason not to trust them (this is not a comfortable thing to do but it has paid off.)
  9. I am glad we have always talked openly about sex. Our rule was we will answer any question about sex as long as it is not personal. This has kept the lines of communication open and the conversations are not uncomfortable.
  10. I am glad we gave them chores and taught them it is important to contribute to the family. Of course the price you pay for this is that it isn’t done the way you like, but it is worth it.
  11. I am glad we raised them in the church. Knowing that God is in your corner is the biggest gift you can give your cherubs. I had a friend who once told me that God loves our children so much more than we do (which is amazing since we love our children so so so much) so when we mess up God is there to hold them in His arms. God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose you to be stewards of your child. He knew that you would be the perfect person for this particular gift

 

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Learn From My Mistakes, parenting advice from a weathered momma

o-MOMS-AND-KIDS-facebookNow that I am on the back-end of parenting I look back at all the things I used to stress over and they seem silly. At the time I lay awake at night fretting over a litany of mistakes, issues and questions.

It went by so quickly. I wasted many hours second guessing and feeling guilty. Below is a list of total wasted time and energy that I hope you will take to heart.

  1. The #1 thing I wish I had done differently was play more. I was so busy doing “stuff” that I thought mattered at the time. I have said “Not now I am busy” around a million times. I have gotten better at this, but I missed many a game of hide and seek or Lego making because of a to do list. The to do list never goes away but the cherubs do.
  2. They will give up their binky, thumb or blanket without you having to make it an issue. No one goes to Jr. High with any of those things.No one becomes a bad person because they kept a security device a little longer.
  3. I wish I had let them fight it out more. This was mostly self-preservation because the arguing drives me to the brink of insanity (sometimes over the brink.) But I wish I had let them work it out with less interference from me. I have started employing this technique a few years ago and it has ironically cut down on the bickering.  I am surprised on the direct correlation of how little I care = how little they care.
  4. I wish I had taken more one on one time with my husband – I was so caught up in raising little ones he took a back back back seat. My cherubs would have thrived just as well if we had gone on more dates.
  5. I wish I had gotten more exercise. This is about getting away, getting your head on straight, taking a break. We all feel better if we go on a walk or do yoga. I always felt like I shouldn’t be away because there was homework, dinner, practice (insert any of your to do list here.)  They would have turned out the same way if I had taken a half hour to go for a walk.
  6. I wish I had prayed out loud more. I pray all the time in my head but I wish I had been more vocal in front of my children
  7. If you are running late they look fine if their clothes are wrinkled, really no one notices. In fact if they go somewhere in Spider-Man PJ’s no matter where you are going (even church) most people think it is cute. Is it really a battle worth fighting?
  8. Someone close to you will say something hurtful about your parenting. Just let it go. If they are right change your behavior, if they are wrong stand strong in your conviction and don’t let it eat at you. I have had occasions where someone tells me something that may or may not have been true.It bothered me for far longer then it should have. I lay awake at night second guessing. Don’t do that. Turn it over to God and let him handle it.
  9. No one is scarred because the house was messy. In fact having one less thing to nag about probably was a good thing.
  10. If they stink at a sport as a child it doesn’t mean they will stink at it as a teenager. All those times I fretted because my cherub was the one looking for 4 leaf clovers during the soccer game were wasted hours. They all play sports in high school just fine.
  11. The complete lack of desire to do homework works itself out. Provide the quiet space to do homework. Be available for questions. If they don’t get it done let them suffer the consequences. I used to drive myself crazy with one of my cherubs trying to engage him. Over the past couple of years I have just let the nagging go. We are all happier and he is doing fine. I am not saying to intervene is there is a problem but all the years of almost rupturing a blood vessel when it took him hours to get through first grade homework were completely wasted energy.
  12. If they are exhausted let them sleep in on occasion. It is only elementary/Jr High school. Missing an hour will literally do nothing harmful.
  13. In fact everything in elementary and Jr High ends up ok. The dioramas, school projects, book reports are all pretty irrelevant in the overall scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong they teach them great study habits, research skills and get them set up for success but how they look doesn’t matter. Just ensure your child is doing their best work. Don’t sit up all night “fixing” things or managing the project for them. We all know the projects that were done by parents. Those kids get the same grades as the kids who did it themselves. It really is about the effort not the quality.
  14. Let them go hungry. If they don’t want what you made or “forget” to eat breakfast for the tenth time they will be fine. I know the rationale “What if they can’t concentrate”? “What if they pass out from hunger”? They all make it. I promise. A little discomfort is a good thing sometimes. I bet they won’t forget breakfast an 11th time if you let them go to school hungry.
  15. We were total food Nazis. We stressed over the sugar, fat, soda, non organic whatever. Honestly it was all for naught. Now that they are mobile and have their own money they eat whatever they want. They drink Starbucks.  Go ahead and provide 3 squares a day plus healthy snacks but don’t freak if they have a soda at a birthday party.
  16. They will sleep by themselves. I know there is all kinds of advice on sleeping with parents vs. sleeping by themselves. Each child is so different. We chose to let ours get into bed with us whenever they wanted (personally we loved this snuggle time.) they all grew out of it on their own. No long term damage.

There is a country and western song called You’re Gonna Miss This. Part of the chorus goes “You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back, you’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.”

Speaking from experience I can vouch for that sentiment. What do you want to see when you look back at these years? How do you want them to remember their childhood?

You cannot look at any mom geared publication and not find an article on how hard parenting is. They all write this because it is true mommas!

Parenting is hard and you will make major mistakes – give yourself a break.

If you love and care for them your cherubs will be fine.

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