How To Make Your Home a Better Place, Part 2

 

The young man thought carefully about the words his mother said, mulling them over and over in his mind.

 

She told the children, “Live your lives so that the world will be a better place for your having been in it.”

 

“…make the world a better place.  …make the world a better place.”

 

What could I do to make the world a better place? he wondered.  Then the thought struck him:  Why not start at home?

 

So the young man began by helping his widowed mother by selling lemonade on street cars on his days off school.  On school days, as soon as he came home from school, he carried in the firewood, swept the floor and did all the dishes.  Eventually the young man got a job, working his way up and incredibly became one of the first male editors of a very successful ladies’ magazine.

What did the young man do?  He started to make the world a better place by starting to make his home a better place.  In my last post How To Make Your Home a Better Place, Part 1, I gave three easy ways any one of us can do to instantly improve our homes.  Now, there’s even more I can add:

 

  1. Smile a little bit every day.  If you want to make your home a REALLY better place, smile a LOT!

Research shows that when we genuinely smile, there is a vast improvement in the atmosphere in that place.  Of course, this doesn’t count for those “get-rich-quick” kinds of smiles, but for sincere, heartfelt smiles that speak heart-to-heart.  So, wrap your children and husband in smiles every day!

 

2.  Greet every one in your family with a cheerful greeting every morning!  If you forget, just say something cheerful to them as soon as you remember!

The first five moments of any personal interaction set the tone for later interactions.  If a mother growls at her children first thing in the morning, it will surely be a rough day.  Conversely, if a mother greets her children after school with a smile and a snack, it can be remembered for decades.  Keep those first five minutes of every interaction positive and upbeat!

 

 

 

3.  Declutter a little bit every day!

This is one I struggle with on a regular basis.  Living in a motorhome, I look at each item and say, “But I really do need that!”  For me, though, I need to be truly brutal.  I need to remember that every piece of “stuff” I get rid of leaves more room for LIFE!  Let’s not stifle our families by smothering them in things.  Be willing to get rid of things so you can have a life!

 

Starting at home, the young man made the world a better place.  So did his sisters and brothers – all thirteen of them!  One of his brothers eventually became a founding father of a new country in South Africa, while another became a well-loved pastor.  Still another saved the life of a drowning sailor, who later became a famous explorer.  His sisters, too, made their mark on the world, each in a different way.  While one inspired her husband through his writing ministry, another faithfully stood by her man while he ministered from the pulpit.  Still another son sat wisely on councils of his land, and another daughter spent her life working among the blind.  In all the family, there was not one which did not, in one way or another, beginning at home, make the world a better place.

 

“Live your lives so that the world will be a better place for your having been in it.”  Let’s start at home!

 

Perhaps you can think of more, many more.  Please share them with us!

The Uncle I Never Knew

...a day to remember

 

I can never forget the words I saw on a sign on Camp Pendleton:  “When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”  This beautiful Memorial Day, let’s remember those that aren’t here to enjoy it with us, because they gave their future for us.

“Don’t you worry about me, little sis, I’ll be back,” Eddie smiled at his sweet sister and straightened – actually, tilted – his lieutenant’s cap while his mother looked on.  Though she was only fourteen, his sister June knew that he was headed back out to war.  Even if he did call it “a cushy job,” it was all the same to her – war.

Giving his sister a playful squeeze, Eddie pecked his mother and strode out the door, letting the screen slam behind him.  June bit her trembling lip as she noticed her mother jump at the ominous sound.

photo credit

 

It was 1945, and America was still fighting the Second World War.  With many of his friends, Eddie left college where he had been majoring in engineering to join the Army Air Force.  He had already completed 56 missions as a navigator over the hump, and had just a brief time of leave to visit his family before he headed out to the Pacific.  This time, instead of being in the hostile China-Burma theatre, he was navigating a plane to rescue downed pilots. Yes, his navigator’s job on the PBY was a cushy job, compared to flying the Burma-India hump.

photo credit

 

After a few weeks, June came back from the mailbox smiling.  “Mom! It’s a letter from Eddie!” she let the screen door bang as she entered the kitchen where her mother was preparing supper.  Soon the two were seated at the small kitchen table, reading.  “Right now, I’m on a small island called Iwo Jima.  It didn’t take us long to set up camp.  After all, all there is here is the airstrip and fine black sand! Our tents are on the top of one of the mountains overlooking the airstrip.”  Again, he reassured his mother, “don’t worry about me; I’ve got an easy job now.”

photo credit

 

When Eddie and his crew reported for duty the 13th of August, they received word that a pilot had gone down in the Sea of Japan.  Within minutes, their unarmed PBY and their two escort P-51s were in the air, headed for the coordinates they had been given.

What happened next has been the subject of conjecture for the past fifty-five years.  It is a known fact that the PBY found no pilot or wreckage in the area they were told to go to; the escort planes must have gone ahead in search of him, thinking perhaps they had been given incorrect information.  Regardless of what happened, by the time they got back to the PBY, it was down, sinking quickly, and surrounded by burning fuel.

Though the war was to end in two days, Eddie was never coming home.

Word reached his home not long after the war was over.  June sobbed uncontrollably at the lonely kitchen table, while she heard her very reserved and quiet father down in the basement banging and wailing.  The wails, sobs, and cries coming from the basement pierced her soul.  She would never be the same again, and neither would her parents.

June, my mother, told me this story many times, but never without a tear in her eye.

Eddie is the uncle I never knew.

We remember with reverence and gratitude those who have given up their tomorrows so that we could have our today.

“Thank you” seems so little, but we do earnestly and sincerely thank…you.

 

How to Stay {Happily} Married

photo credit

…or, Building a Strong Marriage Wall


“Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

 

This week, like a knife in the gut, I learned that a friend had gotten a divorce. 


The strangest thing about it is that the husband is a fine Christian man, and they had a desire to serve the Lord.


How can two people who love the Lord not get along so badly that they get a divorce?? 


My husband and I have been talking at length lately, discussing the road so many people travel which leads to divorce.  It appears as though a pattern ultimately lead to the demise of the family.  For now, however, let’s talk about


                How a wise woman can build her house


Imagine a man building a wall.  Brick by brick, piece by piece, he lays down first the foundation, and then the first layer, and the second, and so on.  He works with a smile, knowing this is for his family, whom he loves dearly.  It may not be perfect, because he’s only young and has never done this before, but his heart is in it, and it is his own personal labor of love.


Soon his wife appears.  He looks at her with a grin but stops when he notices her frown.  Striding to the wall, she points at it and sneers, “What’s this?  A mess??  What are you thinking?!?  I can’t believe you would try to build a wall using those bricks!”  She begins pulling at the blocks, berating him at the same time.  He drops his head and slowly walks away, shoulders drooping.


That woman is fast on her way to tearing down her house, and living in low-income housing with no protection whatsoever.


How can this marriage be saved?  What can be done to help this situation?      


Here are some ideas my husband and I thought of for building a strong marriage:


1.        Don’t tear down the wall your husband is trying to build.  Simply have a little self-control and keep your  mouth shut.

  This is where a direct line to God is really wonderful!  You may not be able to say anything to anybody, but does that mean you have to leave it festering inside?  Of course not!  Does that mean that nothing will ever be done about the situation??  Of course not!  Why not take your frustrations too the Lord, who can turn the rivers!  (see Proverbs 21:1)

 

2.        Decorate the wall!  Make the most out of a less-than-perfect situation!  So your man wants to start up a new business, and you have to sacrifice to help come up with the needed money.  You may even think he will fail!  The wall seems crooked and out of fashion.  That’s ok; make the most of it!  Support your husband, be his cheerleader!  Determine that you will be happy, no matter what, because happiness is not in happenings, it is in the Lord.  Decorate that wall, crooked though it may be, and your good taste and cheer will be the driving force behind his success.

 

3.       Admire the good that he does – out loud!  (And don’t forget to feel his strong muscles every once in a while!)  J   It sure does add some honey to the romance.

 

 

4.       Praise for effort, not performance.  Thank him for his hard work on a job or around the house.

 5.       Support him by making good meals and greeting him nicely dressed.  No hair-rollers when hubby comes to the door!

 6.       Visit him while he’s involved in his projects; sometimes you can even co-labor with him.  For example, you could bring him iced tea while he’s mowing the grass. 

 7.       Ask the Lord to help you build up your marriage and not tear it down.  Marriages do not fall apart in a night, and they do not get built in a night.  Be willing to take some time to work on it and wait patiently for the rewards. 


The rewards may be long in coming, but they will come!  After all, where will you be in ten years?  Determine that you will be happily married (to the same man, of course!). 

 

Let’s do what we can to build up our marriages.

 

Maybe you have some more ideas.  Share them with us!

 

 

 

 

Welcome!!!

Hello!  This is Sharon, Lisa’s 17-year-old web-designing daughter, and I just wanted to say thank-you for stopping by the new blog!!!

I’ve been working on it for a while and I’ve done a lot of experimenting (this is my first time designing with WordPress) so you can blame the design, functionality and navigation entirely on me, okay? 😉  Please leave a comment and let me know if you can see something you think could be improved or have an idea, whatever it may be!  I would LOVE to hear from you!  🙂  I may also be starting a blog design business in the future, so…if you like what you see?  😉

Thanks for visiting The Courageous Journey.com!!!  {and by the way, the best browsing experience is when you’re using…well, anything but Internet Explorer! :)}

 

(And just because I LOVE QUOTES, I’ll share with you one of my favorites!)

 

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

– Steve Jobs

Mother’s Day!

What a wonderful day to celebrate our mothers! God has been so good to me in giving me a wonderful mother – in fact, when the kids tell me that I’m the best mother in the world, I tell them that I couldn’t be the best mother because I had the best mother in the world!!

I had a wonderful day with my four children at home. I got presents, cards, lots of hugs, and lots of expressions of love!

I also got texts, phone calls, and cards from the three older kids as well. What a joy to be a mother of this particular group of people. Surely I am blessed beyond measure.

I hope all you mothers (and mothers to be, like my daughter-in-law, Brooke) had a fantabulistic day, full of love and great things.

If your family did anything special for you, please share it with the rest of us!