How I’m Simplifying My Life and Finding Peace

How many of us look longingly at a photo of an Amish horse and buggy and think to ourselves, “Oh, if only life could be so simple!”

Amish Horse

 

Ah for the simple life! The words themselves conjure up images of sitting in the tall prairie grass with the wind blowing my hair, watching the clouds scuttle by. Or perhaps the simple life is sitting by the beach reading a book. Or relaxing by the fire chatting with friends!

My husband has this amazingly simple bedtime routine. When it’s time for lights out, he gets up, uses the bathroom, brushes his teeth, turns off the lights and goes to bed.

That’s it!

My bedtime routine looks something like a two-hour drama: get things ready for breakfast the next morning (this includes, but is not limited to, things like putting my Bible at the table and a few Kleenexes, getting my teacup ready and preparing the coffeepot for the next morning), cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing the sink, getting dressed, taking out my contacts, brushing and flossing teeth, saying goodnight to everyone in the house (which tends to lend itself to another flurry of demands…”Mom, can you…?”) and perhaps FINALLY turning off the lights and going to bed!

His routine is simple.

Mine is not.

My routine is terribly, almost painfully complicated.

I’ve been taking part of the 21 day Go To Bed Challenge, which I like a lot better than the Rise Up Early challenges. (Not that I mind Rising Early, but I prefer rising early and being Rested, rather than exhausted!) So I’ve been working on tweaking my bedtime routine. I’ve discovered that it really can be a whole lot simpler than I tend to make it.

For some odd reason, I seem to enjoy complicating things.

Perhaps it a bit of perfectionism, or maybe pride (which is at the root of perfectionism!) but the tendency to complicate matters goes for lots of things – not just my going to bed routine.

For example, what about God’s Will? His Will is very simple. It’s determined by my role in life as a child of God, wife, mother, homeschool parent, grandma, child, pastor’s wife, and missionary’s wife. If I merely do what I am supposed to do in these roles by taking responsibility in these areas, I will be doing God’s Will by “doing the next thing.” This may involve simple things such as making my hubby some tea, putting on some laundry, or by correcting some papers for my homeschool students.

But I tend to complicate matters by doing other things…making unnecessary phone calls, spending time on Facebook, reading blogs, or even just shopping … just because I feel like doing something else.

So here are some things I’m doing differently this year:

  • I’m streamlining my priorities. I’ve boiled my life down to only 5 Things I really need to do:
    1. I alone am responsible for my relationship with God.
    2. I alone am responsible for who I am, to become all I can be.
    3. I alone can be Kevin’s wife.
    4. I alone can be my kids’ mom, and my grandkids’ nana.
    5. I alone can manage my household.
  • I’m saying a lot of “No’s” to anything that doesn’t fit in those priorities.
    1. This means saying no to a lot of invitations for other activities
    2. This means not checking Facebook every time I turn around.
    3. This means not watching, listening to, or reading much that doesn’t help me grow.
    4. This means scaling down on my time I spend working out.
  • I’m investing my time – and my Christmas money! – in things having to do with those priorities.
    1. I bought a new Bible this year, the AW Tozer Bible
    2. I bought several new books, including The Incomparable Christ, How to Get Things Done in Less Time, etc.
    3. I’m taking time to read.
  • I’m trying to schedule Free Time into my day
    1. Time to relax
    2. Time to meditate on all the things I’m reading
    3. Time to play games with the kids
    4. Time to create. I haven’t actually created anything yet, but I have some thoughts, and that’s a lot better than it has been in the past.

It’s this amazing ability to complicate matters that can get me in the biggest trouble! So this is my goal lately. To simplify my life. From my bedtime routine to my morning routine to my Quiet Time with God, my desire is that my life will be simple, and that it will simply glorify the Lord.

And that’s what life is all about.

 

Do you tend to complicate things? What are some things you can simplify in your life? How do you do it?

The Beauty of Silence

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

 

It’s an elusive time of day for me…that time of stillness and silence. I only find it when I rise early, and come to the front window to watch the sun rise. It’s a time of stillness and silence that resounds with the opening hues of the day.

 

It is in this time that I find my Lord’s presence. He waits for me there in the shadows of the dawn, and I rise early to go find Him. In the Beauty of Silence, He is there, with His splendid glory and infinite strength. I lean upon Him, and gather strength for the upcoming day.

 

In the Beauty of Silence I find my Lord’s infinite wisdom. His Word waits for me there on the table, and as I open it in the stillness of the morning, the dew of His gracious Words fall from the pages to my heart. I learn from Him, and gather guidance for the brand-new day.

 

In the beauty of silence I find my Lord’s mercy. His gracious forgiveness is new every morning; great is His faithfulness! The balm of His healing love comes from His heart to mine, and I gather hope for the rest of my day.

 

Life is busy; life is noisy. But for just a few moments, I enjoy the Beauty of Silence.

Healing From a Wreck

All banged up

All banged up

 

“…I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26

 

Looking back to my childhood, I sometimes wonder how I survived. I could fill a book telling the stories of ongoing stupidity my brothers and sister and I engaged in.

 

Well, this day was no different. My sister and I were coming home from what we called a “bike hike,” which was nothing more than riding our bikes about a mile away to the Kmart, wandering around for no reason at all (shopping without money – the best kind!) and riding back.

 

I was riding behind my sister on the way back, and when I saw her turn up a road, I decided to take a shortcut…to ride down a dirt hill, over a three foot dirt hump, behind the ball fields and up to the house.

 

I spotted that hump from the top of the hill. I got this unbelievably wonderful idea, and I knew it was my day to shine! I began peddling faster and faster, putting the bike into high gear and screaming down the hill. I’m going to hit that hump as fast as I can, I thought. I’m going to go higher than EVER this time!

 

We had gone over that hump many times before on our bikes, to enjoy the rush it gave us to zoom over it, sometimes with one wheel off the ground. But this time will be different, I thought. THIS time, I’m going to FLY!

 

And fly I did!

 

I hit the brakes just before hitting the hump, hoping desperately to slow my speed a little. It may have done something, but not enough. I hit that hump like a jet coming off the runway, and I catapulted up into the sky as though I was taking off for New York. My flight was short-lived, however, and I flipped in the air, landing on my back in the gravel, with the bike coming down on top of me – banging its gear shift into my head, neatly slicing my eyebrow in two with a 1 ½ inch gash.

 

Did you know that head wounds bleed like crazy? I shakily got to my feet, and had no idea why I couldn’t see out of my right eye. Instinctively I put my hand up, and when I pulled it away, it was covered in blood!

 

Convinced I had lost my eyeball, I somehow staggered to a friend’s house close by. The rest of the day was like a blur, but I somehow managed to get plastic surgery and 22 stitches! It seemed forever until I finally got to go home.

 

Now it was time to heal.

 

The damage had been done, and I was wounded. I needed time and healing.

 

We all have wounds we deal with, and at different times of our lives we all need healing. When I think about healing, there are a few things I remember.

 

  1. I needed someone to help me. I couldn’t get to the ER myself. I couldn’t even see right, let alone figure out how to get help, so I needed a friend to help me home so Mom could take me to the hospital.

 

There are several times in my life that I remember being terribly wounded, and each time I lost sight. Not physical sight, but spiritual sight. I was in an awful state, and could not get to help by myself. In each of those cases, the Lord used a friend or even an entire church family to love on me and speak words of comfort and strength. They took the time to care, and to pray for me. I couldn’t imagine where I’d be now if it weren’t for their concern and guidance.

 

  1. I needed a physician. I needed someone who had the expertise to take the broken pieces and stitch them back together. I couldn’t do that by myself. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do or how.

 

It was during those times in my life when I was most discouraged that I needed God so desperately. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we don’t need Him other times. In fact, we need Him ALL the time – but during a time of distress and anguish He wants to be our Great Physician.

 

I had no clue how to put myself back together. I only knew that I hurt – bad. But our Great Physician, Jesus, who knows all things and has given “balm in the Psalms” for my life, knew just what I needed, and through His Word those healing balms were applied.

 

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly,

 

  1. I needed time. Time to rest; time to heal. Time to take in nourishment; time to strengthen. It was not a time of activity or great accomplishments; it was a time to step back and let others run things for a while while I recuperated.

 

Healing takes time. It doesn’t happen in a minute, or a day, or even overnight. Those times of severe discouragement were times that I needed to just pull back and let others take care of things for a bit, while I rested and received the nourishment from the Word.

 

Perhaps you are discouraged right now. Maybe your marriage is not all you had hoped it would be. Maybe it seems like your finances will always be short, or maybe you have a wayward child who is causing you heartache. Don’t give up – look around you for someone who can lift you up and bring you before the Great Physician. Take time in His Word – as much time as you can – and allow Him to put your pieces back together.

 

Remember, Healing takes time. God can do it. He specializes in the impossible.

 

How has God helped you through a difficult time?

My Courageous Journey

 

tumblr_nvnlt0mCG31u60tx6o1_1280

I’ve been bumbling around for years on this blog, trying to find what they call my “niche” in writing. I’ve come to the conclusion I may just never find it…I may just have to “write,” and see what comes out. It’s a bold and daring endeavor – bleeding my heart all over a page and putting it out for all to see. It’s just another Courageous Journey I need to take.

 

I’ve taken many trips over the years, and each one of them is full of inconveniences, difficulties, and sometimes heartaches. There is not a time I jump into the van without some amount of fear of the future. After all, the roadways seem littered with wrecks anytime I venture out of my normal circle of routine.

 

Each trip requires a bit of reckless abandon – that inner faith in the Lord, knowing that this is His Will for me, and that these miles ahead will be full of His service, and hopefully ultimately His glory. And every time I get in the van for another thousand-mile-journey, my thoughts are the same: I have no idea what this trip will be like, or where I’ll end up, but, Lord, I’m holding Your Hand through this.

 

But no journey in my life has been so courageous as that of being a wife and mother.

 

I entered marriage with the silliness of a 19-year-old, the seriousness of an elderly woman, and the fear of a patient heading for surgery. I had no idea what the future would hold – I only knew that the One who held my future could be trusted.

 

I entered motherhood a bit wiser, but still scared as a baby bunny hiding from a hungry hound. Of course, I had no clue what trials and hardships awaited me through this journey…how could I, at only 21? But I strongly felt that the One who knew all things would guide me as I sought His Will and Word in training my little ones, and I knew He wouldn’t let me down.

 

I now enter into what they call the “mature years” of my life, eyes wide at the prospect of a body which refuses to cooperate and a mind that no longer thinks as clearly as it once did. I tremble at the possibility of future limitations and ailments, all of which come with the passing of time. And I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt…that He who has everlasting strength and lives forever can come under me with His Everlasting Arms of strength and escort me into His Presence with the feathery echo of celestial wings.

 

All along the path of this Courageous Journey, I find myself nestled deep into the arms of the Wonderful God who can do all things. I have learned, all the way from the very beginning, that He is Able!

 

May the Courageous Journey of my life bring even just a pinch of glory to my Wonderful Saviour, who is All in All to me.

 

What sort of things have you learned on your Courageous Journey??

 

Emergency Rooms and God

Emergency Room!

 

My daughter was in a lot of pain – in fact, to the point of tears, and she’s not one to cry easily. I wrestled with what to do. We had already taken her to the doctor and tests were done, but the results were not in yet, so there was probably nothing to do but wait. Oh, how I wished there were some way to make her more comfortable during this time!

 

My options were to either wait, and pray that she could endure the pain, or take her to the ER to try to speed up the process of getting relief. In the end, after much prayer, we decided to go to the ER, so I saddled up the car and we headed to a neighboring town.

 

Being a Saturday, the Emergency Room was bustling. We registered and took our seats, not knowing how long it would be before she could get some help. We didn’t know it at the time, but all told it would be about 6 hours before a doctor saw her!

 

By the time we finally left, she was a bit better…and it was quite late!

 

“That’s just how it goes when you go to the ER,” I explained to her. “You just have to be prepared to give up the rest of your day!”

 

I thought on the way home of my Lord, and how approachable He is.

 

When we have an emergency, He is always available!

 

We can get immediate access – no signing up, no waiting to be seen by a triage nurse, and no having to go through a dozen secretaries to get to Him!

 

We see the One who knows exactly what the real problem is – no taking blood tests, asking a score of questions, or needing x-rays before He knows for sure what’s going on!

 

We can get immediate help for our problem – He is able to fix it right then and there, either through fixing our own attitudes or working in the situation. (Of course, sometimes He chooses NOT to fix the problem right away, if He knows that we will become more like His Son because of the situation.)

 

I’m so thankful that my God is approachable, accessible, and able to help!

My God is Able!

Hebrews 4:16

 

How have you found God to be faithful? Has He done anything special for you lately?

An Audience of One

An Audience of One

Who’s Out There??

 

I sing for an audience of One.  Whether I sing in the shower, or sing in church, or record a CD, I sing for an audience of One. It is He who deserves my song, and my heart so willingly gives it. He desires it, and even gives me the strength to sing and the words as well as the tune. I sing for an audience of One.

 

I work for an audience of One. Though I cook for my family, wash my family’s clothes, and take care of our home, I work for an audience of One. He who has given all for me is deserving of my every minute, my every last bit of energy, and my every waking moment of work. I work for Him, and He is an audience of One.

 

I write for an audience of One. If I write a blog, or a book, or just write a prayer, I write for an audience of One. He is the One who looks at my writings, who scrutinizes my words, who sifts my heart. He it is who decides what is worth writing and what isn’t, and He it is who gives the “go-ahead” or says, ”Stop.” He is my audience of One.

“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lam. 3:24

When You Struggle to Spend Time with God

AwesomeBlogBaton

 

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)

By the time my youngest son was born, my body was trashed. I had had 8 pregnancies total, and the last 3 children were born within 5 years. I had been exhausted during my pregnancy, and still felt incredibly tired, all the time. One day the scale scared me, and I decided I would let those numbers rise no more! The very next day, I took a walk. It was only 15 minutes, but it was something.

From there, I expanded my walk to 30 minutes, and then began jogging for one of my minutes. Each week I jogged another minute, and by the end of 9 months, I was actually jogging 20 minutes straight! …and I felt better than ever.

One of the things that was hard for me – besides learning to breathe – was the time it took to get back into shape. I am a homeschool mom, and have 7 children. That means a lot of laundry, and a lot of paperwork. But I needed to get myself into shape in order to better serve the Lord and my family, so I took the time, and I walked, ran and worked out.

And that’s the way it is spiritually. We can’t be in any sort of spiritual shape with just a wave at God in the morning, or a casual glance through the Scriptures on our way somewhere. It takes time to grow.

WHY WE NEED TIME WITH GOD:

We need His wisdom – “The entrance of Thy Word giveth light…”
We need His strength – “Without Me ye can do nothing…”
We need His presence – “If thou go not with us, carry us not thence…”
We need a relationship with Him – “When Thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

WHY WE DON’T SPEND TIME WITH GOD:

Busy
Selfish/Don’t feel like it
Perfectionism – if I can’t spend an hour, I’ll not spend any time at all…

Last week, someone asked me for some tips on having good devotions, because it was an area they struggle with. I know it has often been a struggle for me over the years, and it’s a common problem with many people as well. So I told them some of the pointers I’ve learned over the years, and things that have helped me.

This week, when I talked to her again, she excitedly told me, “I’ve grown so much this past week! I feel like I’ve actually been closer to the Lord than I’ve been in awhile, and I’m able to have good prayer times. And I’m so much less stressed! It’s simply amazing how a brief time in the Word of God and prayer energizes my day!”

Here are the things, plus a few others, that I shared with her last week:

WHEN WE’RE STRUGGLING TO SPEND TIME WITH GOD:

1. Decide that you WILL have devotions every day. It’s something non-optional in your day. It’s a decision already made. Not, “Do I have time for this? But, “I’m going to find time for this.”

2. Plan your day around it. Having a quiet time with the Lord before the day begins is the best time to do it. As Elizabeth Elliot says, If you can tell the Lord that morning just doesn’t work for you, He will help you find another time.

3. Prepare for it the night before. I’m a tea-in-the-morning person, so the night before, I fill the hot water dispenser with water, put a tea bag in my cup, and measure out the sweetener. I lay my spoon beside my cup, and cover it with a small wooden lid (it conveniently says “tea” on the top!) and I set my Bible at my table where I have my devotions. I even go so far as to get my breakfast ready the night before, because I’m usually so hungry in the mornings. It’s so easy just to pour my hot water, go to my seat and get out my Bible.

4. Plan your time. Strive to spend at least 15 minutes, if you’re just starting out. Soon you’ll find you want more!

5. Reduce interruptions. This is what kills the average Mom during Quiet Time. Notice I did not say “Eliminate interruptions!” If you have children, especially small ones, interruptions are a part of life.

a. But one way you can reduce interruptions is to simply get up 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the fam. That way you can have a bit of uninterrupted time with the Lord before having to face the demands of the day.

b. When the children get up, let them know you’re spending some time with Jesus, and you don’t want to be interrupted. We assume they know what’s going on, but I know when I was a kid, I was clueless to everything going on around me unless someone looked me in the eye and told me point-blank.

c. Use a Bible app that plays Bible out loud. That way the children know you’re having your devotions, and they’re less likely to interrupt you if they hear Bible playing.

d. For prayer time, try to go to a separate room, or assume a praying position (perhaps on your knees, with your eyes closed) so folks know you’re praying.

i. When the little ones come up and start banging on you, “Mom, Mom, Mom!” look up from prayer & hold your finger up and tell them, “Mommy’s praying right now. I’ll talk to you in a few minutes.” Then proceed to ignore them, unless of course it’s an emergency. You won’t be praying for hours, so there’s no real danger of true neglect!

ii. Resort to hiding, if absolutely necessary. When we lived in a motorhome, we had all 7 children in about 320 square feet of living space, and it was completely IMPOSSIBLE to get alone. So I did the thing that Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, used to do – pull a blanket over my head. (She used an apron, but the principle is the same!) Funny how it is – it’s almost as if I disappeared!

6. Keep it Simple! We can easily complicate things by insisting that we have a journal with us and write in it daily, etc. but its best just to keep your Quiet Time as simple as possible. Last but not least, if you’re still having trouble…

7. Take a Media Fast – media may not be morally corruptive, but it does have a moral impact because of the things we could…& perhaps should – be doing instead.

One year in our travels, we were privileged to park our bus by a rather large church that had a gym attached to it. “Why don’t you come by the gym tomorrow morning? I’ve got a class I’m teaching, and you’re welcome to come work out with us,” the pastor told us after the Sunday evening service. I was trying to get more in shape, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I showed up early the next morning and joined their group. There were about 5 other ladies, all older (considerably!) and the pastor. He led us through a short warm up, and then we started the workout in earnest.

I know I wasn’t very much in shape, but I was quite a bit younger than those other ladies. I thought for sure I could do all those moves…but they showed me up! Those elderly energizer bunnies kept on going, smiling the whole time, while I slogged through the simplest maneuvers.

I went away from that workout sweaty, exhausted, and most of all, I learned something very important: never work out with elderly women! They work out like their very lives depend on it!

I talked with my elderly father about it a few days later, chuckling at my own lack of fitness, when he told me something that arrested my thoughts.

“They work out like their lives depend on it, because they really do!” he replied.

I thought to myself, My devotional time with the Lord should be like that…I should have my Quiet Times as though my life depends on them…because it really does!

What are some habits that you have learned that help you have good Quiet Times with the Lord?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

My Necessary Death

blogbaton

This is a bit of a knock-off from the Bible Study I’ve been having with the military wives here. Technically, the subject is parenting, but I’ve found that I can’t talk about true Biblical parenting without bringing out one important concept – death, and how it is necessary! Sounds weird, but I think you’ll see what I mean…

It was a bittersweet moment, and I knew it would be. When I said goodbye to my daughter and she turned to go into the airport, I knew it would be for a long time – perhaps for good. I smiled on the outside, but cried like a baby on the inside.

Since then, she’s had her struggles, her ups and downs, and I strain at the temptation to jump into the van and drive the thousand miles to comfort her, to hold her hand, to pray with her. But I can’t now. All I can do is try to give comforting words over the phone, and pray…and pray, and pray.

Every time a child leaves home, a part of me dies.

When I began having children, I knew it would be this way eventually…but I didn’t know it would be THIS way. I knew that having a family would require death to myself, but I didn’t expect a thousand deaths. I didn’t expect the daily internal turmoil that I face with every sunrise. And having a large family simply amplifies the pain.

Jesus spoke time after time of the necessity for death to occur, to give place to new life.

Luke 9:22-24 23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

I’ve spent many a sleepless night, wondering why it seems death must be so dramatic, so final. But when the Lord kindly gives me a glimpse of the new life that comes forth, I realize that without this death, there would be no life, and life is what I want. Yes, life is what I NEED.

My mind goes back to the labor room, the delivery, and the bleary-eyed first months of my daughter’s introduction to our home, and I realize that it’s been death all along that’s given birth to new life. The endless hours of potty training, the struggle to learn phonics and the never-ending task of learning times tables sap my mental energy, weary the body, and dull the emotions. A few insistent gray hairs raise their flag to memorialize my struggle.

But it is necessary that a part of me die, that she could grow and have the fulness of her life.

Death is always dogging my heels, but life is right behind. And life, like a precious waterfall, comes down from the Lord in His gracious kindness, His wonderful mercy.

And so I embrace death, as it is the necessary path to life. Like Christ’s death for me provided new life, my personal death to myself and to my own control of my life brings ever-widening blissful goodness from the Hand of God. He shows me His Heart, and I see His own personal death on the Cross as a means of new life. To embrace His cross, to embrace His death, and to take up my own cross and die my own living sacrificial death is to embrace life, love, and eternity.

Lord, help me learn to die well…daily… so that I can live well, and glorify You.

Maybe you know what it’s like to die to yourself, and you’ve seen the new love that comes as a result. Tell us about it! We’d love to hear your stories!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Hope for a Better Marriage

Commitment, work

Hope for a Better Marriage

 

Two years ago, we purchased a repo home which had been abandoned about five years before that. The original home’s owner was very meticulous, and the yard and landscaping had been very well maintained. Flower beds were carefully planted and tended, beautiful dogwood trees spaced evenly around the yard, with some myrtle trees sculpted like mushrooms. There was even a little kidney-shaped pond by the bottom step of the back patio. We’re told that at one time, it was one of the most beautiful yards in the entire area.

But the meticulous owner finally passed away, and his home fell to a yard butcher. The little pond became muck, beautiful dogwood trees were cut down, whole flower beds ripped out, and even the sprinkler heads were uncerimoniously mowed down.

Then something happened, and the house was abandoned. A water leak, a ruined floor, walls turned to mush and then removed, and a partial clean-up left it in deperate condition. And that was just the inside. The yard suffered as well.

In order to keep the whole neighborhood from going downhill, Mr. Bill the neighbor faithfully mowed the front yard. When we bought the house, the flower beds were totally overrun, the bushes were a tangle, and there were gaping holes where stumps of dogwoods quietly rotted away. We had a big job to do.

A year later, after many sweat-hours, 5 stitches, and a few tears, I sat on our back patio enjoying the fresh evening summer breeze. The cardinal who lived in one of the newly-shorn bushes by the patio was chirping goodnight as the shadows lengthened in the small grove of trees beyond the neatly mowed yard. I watched as the bat came out of the forest and began his erratic flapping in the darkening sky, and sighed with contentment listening to the spring peepers and their chorus in the sweet little pond.

It had been a big commitment, and a lot of work, but it was worth it.

I thought about my life. Buying a home wasn’t the only big thing I’ve ever done. Isn’t marriage an even larger one?

Having a Happy Marriage requires commitment. Your relationship doesn’t end the moment you say “I Do.” In fact, it’s just beginning.

Having a Happy Marriage requires work. Now we need to remember, work is a good thing! Some people say that work is part of the curse in Genesis, but Remember that Adam was created to “dress and to keep” the garden. It was his job, his responsability. And woman was created to be a help meet (or fit – a helper who is perfectly fitted for the job) to the man. So work is not bad. Work is your life’s calling, so let’s work on our marriages.

Having a Happy Marriage requires growing closer to God. Have you ever heard of a love triangle? Well, here’s a different sort of one: Imagine a triangle with God at the top, and the husband and wife on each side of the bottom. As the husband and wife get closer to God, they naturally get closer to each other. I heard that illustration many years ago, even before I was married. My husband and I have just had our thirty-first anniversary, and I found it to be absolutely true!

A better marriage = HOPE, and hope is a beautiful thing.

A happy marriage is like a dogwood blooming in the spring, a neatly manicured lawn, or a beautiful little shimmering pool. It may take commitment and work, but it’s well worth the effort.

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Our Most Unusual Thanksgiving

Our most unusual Thanksgiving happened, not unusually, while we were on the road. This particular season our schedule was very different.

Travelling in a 15-passenger van, our family was on a short deputation trip to the Pacific Northwest. Late November found us in cool rainy Oregon, with its beautiful rocky coastline. It was simply gorgeous. However, the beauty and romance was lost on our travel-weary family as we were deposited into a small, slightly furnished apartment and promptly forgotten by the church members we had our meeting with. As soon as we settled into the place, cold and dreary settled into us.

I looked around at the kitchen and sighed. No oven. No stove! How in the world could I prepare and Thanksgiving feast for my family of 8 (my youngest had not yet been born) with none of the normal conveniences?

Is it possible?

Rooting through a few cupboards, I made a huge find: a crockpot! Rummaging around a few minutes longer revealed a few plates and cups, one measuring cup, a can opener, and an electric skillet. Hmmm….this may take a little bit of creativity, but I think I can make it work.
Shopping was a bit difficult. How do I find a turkey that will fit in the crockpot? Or do I fry it? Maybe I should only buy half a turkey! After much looking, thinking, and even some praying, I finally settled on a small turkey which I hoped would fit! After all, we couldn’t have many leftovers since we had to hit the road again just a day or two after Thanksgiving.

After I chose the turkey, the next few dishes were easy – just buy a premade pumpkin pie, some Bob Evans’ mashed potatoes, and some dinner rolls, and that part was taken care of! But the stuffing and the green beans would be a bit troublesome. With the only remaining cooking item was an electric skillet, it meant that I would have to do them both of them in it…just one at a time.

Thankfully, with a little wedging, that small turkey did fit in the crock pot. The beans and stuffing came out of the skillet in rapid succession, and we were able to sit down to the most unusual, but wonderful, Thanksgiving meal!

Was the turkey better than usual? No, and I couldn’t brag about the stuffing, either. But we were together. And, yes, we were quite thankful!

It may not have been home, and it certainly wasn’t the traditional roast turkey (after all, whoever heard of turkey in a slow-cooker??) but we had much to be thankful for.

And that small, slightly furnished apartment got a little bit warmer and brighter.

Have a warm and bright holiday, remembering God’s goodness and enjoying His blessings.

Now it’s your turn: Share with us your most unusual Thanksgiving memory! Leave a comment below!