Making Excellent Choices

I prepared for a Military Wives’ Bible study on this topic, and, although we had to cancel it due to sickness, I still think it’s important to learn how to make excellent choices. Today’s post (and the Bible study) is based on the book by Terry Chappell, The Choice is Yours. It’s an excellent resource! …and, no, that’s not a paid advertisement, I just love their stuff!

 

First, let me congratulate the winner of my giveaway: Kerry!! I’ll be in touch with you in the next few days to get your address! Congrats!!

Making Excellent Choices

 

Our family doesn’t often go to Burger King, but when we did a few months ago, we were astonished at the new soda machine they got not long before. After placing my order and getting my cup, I walked up to this “one machine makes all” sort of machine, and stared at it for awhile. Finally, I began timidly pressing buttons, and it wasn’t long before I got what I wanted – Diet Mellow Yellow! I know, it’s not quite as good as Diet Mountain Dew, but it’s the best they had.

We live in a culture that caters to our choices. Baskin Robbins has its 31 flavors, Burger King tells us to “Have it Your Way,” and even the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine has over 100 drink choices! I checked the Sonic website, and according to them, they have 1,063,953 fountain and slush choices!! (Not like I will go there and spend about $3,000,000 to try each one of them!)

We need to understand that the choices we make today affect our happiness tomorrow.

The POWER of Accumulated Choices

When I was 16, my Dad bought an old mail Jeep which had the steering wheel put back into its proper location. But the inside of the jeep was just a boring steely gray, and one day I had the bright idea that I would paint it a nice sparkly blue. I went to KMart, and with my own money, bought one can of blue spray paint. Excitedly, I came home and began spraying the inside. It looked great…until I ran out of spray paint about 1/4 of the way through! Paint was a bit too expensive for my measly income, and I was not at all prepared for how hard painting really was….so it remained 1/4 painted until the day it was sold.

Just as each ignorant or foolish choice in a project leads to an undesired outcome, so each choice in our lives leads us in a direction. In the end, our lives will reflect the series of choices we make.

The GUIDES to Excellent Choices

The GPS is a sort of guide as we travel, but we’ve had our share of mishaps with those guidance systems. Once all 9 of us were in the 15-passenger van, driving through Texas, when we realized the road was getting a little rough. It eventually turned into a dirt road, and then two tracks through a bumpy field, and finally no pathway at all! We found ourselves following the GPS right into the middle of a ranch!

Navigating through life can be a challenge. But thankfully, God has given us two infallible guides:

          GOD’s WORD

                    Our own reasoning can often be based on our emotions, and can often lead us astray. (see Jeremiah 17:9)

          The HOLY SPIRIT

John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

When we obey the Spirit with the things we say, it can be very helpful. For me, it’s so tempting to say, “I told you so!” but holding my tongue is better than that feeling of being right.

The best planning begins with the end in mind. Think of your future, and what you would like it to hold. A strong walk with God? A fulfilling marriage? A happy family? It all begins as we choose today to be guided by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit!

What are some other guides God has given us? If you have some ideas to share, leave a comment!

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

What Kind of Tater are You? (devotional for women)

Today’s post is a light-hearted devotional for women for a favorite spring pasttime, gardening. As we plant our gardens, let’s be thinking about the Tater family. I wonder…what kind of Tater are you? What kind am I? Something to think about.

sprin devotional for women

sprin devotional for women

One of the things I’ve missed for those 17 years of being on the road was having a garden. I had a garden while we lived in PA in the early years of our marriage, but once we went on the road in 1993 I was confined to a tiny houseplant…or was it a busplant? Anyway, I was thrilled this year to be able to break some new ground and put in some strawberry and broccoli plants.

Now, in the past, I’ve grownthings like carrots, beans, peas, and even potatoes. I thought it was amazing that a potato is actually also a potato seed! You can take a potato and put it in the ground, and it will sprout up and turn into a potato plant, and from that potato, you can get 6 or more potatoes! When I lived in Texas and it was time to harvest the pototoes, though, I discovered that potatoes were perfect places for fire ants to build their ant mounds! Boy was I surprised when I pulled on my first potato plant and found, not just potatoes, but fire ants!

I’m not sure what you call a potato seed, but let’s talk for a minute about different kinds of potatoes in the home.

1. Dic-tater – She’s the one who tries to run everything her own way, and refuses to let her husband lead.
Now, the Bible says we are to “guide the house” (see 1 Timothy 5:14.) That word “guide” literally means to run the household, or to manage family affairs. In other words, once her husband has set a direction for the home, it’s her job to make sure that direction is followed on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, however, it’s easy for Mrs. Dic-tater to think she’s in charge of everyone, hubby included, and if things are not done her way, she gets fuming mad!

Let’s not ever forget the Bible mandate, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

2. Ro-tater – She’s never consistent with anything. One day she’s happy, and then for no reason, another day she’s down in the dumps. Now, being a woman (read that word “hormone junkie”) and being hypoglycemic (read that as “extremely sugar sensative!) I know that physical things have a lot to do with how we feel. But there comes a time when we need to come to grips with our feelings and not let how we feel dictate our day, orour families.

Mrs. Ro-tater is never consistent with her children. She disciplines in irritation one day, and the next laughs at the very same offense! Little Johnny has no idea what’s right and what’s wrong, and becomes very insecure. Children need to have limits, and Mrs. Ro-tater doesn’t seem to realize this. She’s too busy riding her waves of hormones and sugar to pay much attention to training her children.

I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (see Hebrews 13:8) and, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6a) The Lord deals with us in consistency, and we would be more Christ-like, and less like Mrs. Ro-tater, when we are consistent as well!

3. Sweet-tater – She’s through and through a sweetie. She’s different than the rest; she’s formed from a totally different mold. She’s not a dic-tator, or a ro-tater, or an agi-tater or a speck-tater, but she is kind, loving, peaceful, gentle, good, full of faith, meekness, and self-control. In fact, she is different because she is filled with the sweet Spirit of God! (Galatians 5:22-23)

She’s thinks more of others than of herself (see Philippians 2:3,) and strives to teach her children consistently. While she rides the same hormone waves everybody else does, she doesn’t let it alter her behavior, and if the waves get really rough, she does what she can to let folks know that she needs a little time to take care of those waves, rather than just blowing up.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to try to plant sweet taters this year, too, beside my strawberry patch and broccoli. And while I plant them, I’m going to ask The Lord to help me be full of the Holy Spirit, so I can be more Christlike like Mrs. Sweet-tater!

Question: How many other members of the Tater family can you think of? Can you think of any more things you could add to this devotional for women?

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

The BEST Way to Get Your Family to Help

This is our next-to-the-last post in a helpful series called The More Organized Me! During the month of January, I’ve been writing various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed any of our posts, you can find it here!

 

thebestwaytogetyourfamilytohelpblogbutton

Funny thing; I started running because my young folks attended a youth meeting and they were sent them home with a copy of the book, “Aerobics,” by Dr. Kenneth Cooper . Who read the book? Mom. Who started running? You guessed it – Mom! The kids didn’t read the book, and they didn’t get the “running bug,” and they didn’t start a running program.
Fast forward a few years. The other day a lady asked me, “I noticed running seems to be your ‘family thing.’ So how do you get your kids to run, too? Do you make them run, or do they just do it on their own?”

I thought of how almost all of my children run, and enjoy it. Lord willing, some of us are training for a half-marathon this year! I smiled and told her, “No, I don’t make them run, they do it because they want to. I guess they saw me running, and saw how much I liked it, and decided to join me!”

And that’s how it is with getting your kids to help around the house. I had spent years griping because no one cared about the house but me. No one would help me, so nothing got done. I had my lightbulb moment in 2001 when I first found Flylady, and she helped me work on my disastrified house bit by bit. I worked 15 minutes a day, all by myself, refusing to complain – and got the place in order over time. It was wonderful!

Now, after years of doing things myself, the kids can see what’s out of place and what’s not. They’ve learned how nice a room looks when the bed is made, and they enjoy living in an orderly home.

By the way, it’s the same way with spiritual things – if we live for The Lord with joy, even if no one else seems interested in living for Him, one of these days they will see how wonderful it is to live for God, and they will want that for their own lives. You won’t have to make them read their Bibles, because they will want to on their own.

The bottomline? Model the behavior you want to teach. Our actions speak a million times louder than our words…and if our actions and our words mesh together, it is a powerful lesson indeed.

Makes me want to go for a run!

Special Announcements:

  • Check out my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

The Very BEST Stress Buster!

This is the final installment in my series on Stress-Free Living! This year, we’re approaching the Holidays with a different attitude – not one of worry and stress, but one of peace and gratitude! With God’s help, we can do this! If you’re new to the series, you can find the other posts here.

 

The boy had been walking for 36 hours in the cold rain and was exhausted. He tried to find a place to spend the night, only to be turned away because of his skin color. Tired, cold and hungry, he found the only refuge he could: a small hole in the wooden sidewalk. The hollow beneath the sidewalk was warmer and dry, so the boy was finally able to rest.

While he laid there under the sidewalk, he listened to the passers-by walking unknowingly on top of him. He wondered where they were going, what they were thinking. Did they have families close by? Did they have a boy his age? What were they going to have for dinner? After awhile, the boy began to pray. Although many people would have considered his shelter repulsive, Booker T. Washington had much to thank God for. He laid there and thanked God for this shelter, his opportunity to get to school and get an education, and for the strength to get there.

He didn’t know it at the time, but someday he would become one of the greatest men who ever lived. Never forgetting where he came from, Dr. Washington devoted his life to helping his fellow African Americans live successfully.

Are you approaching this Christmas tired and exhausted? Do you feel that you simply cannot go another step? Are you weary of the perpetual rush of people hurrying about to finish up their last-minute shopping? Do what Booker T. Washington did – find the nearest hole and go and pray.

In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”

One of my most favorite poem is found in the book, Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Cowman. Not surprisingly, it is for December 23, right before Christmas:

 

I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without every trying to trust and pray?

Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:

Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother’s breast,
He knows all about it—the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;

Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed—
You’ve given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.

– by Ella Conrad Cowherd, from Streams in the Desert

Oh, how many times these verses comforted me in my mother-exhaustion! How many times my overwhelmed spirit found solace in these words. So you, too, my friend, can find rest in the arms of an understanding Savior when you’re overwhelmed.

So when you find yourself tired, exhausted and stressed, find a hole and go pray. But if you’re too tired to pray, find a hole and rest in the Arms of Jesus.

Question: What are some ways you handle stress?

Special Announcements:

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Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and NOW it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right! Lydia did a great job in putting that on, didn’t she??

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

 

 

A Mom’s Motto: “Semper Gumby,” Always Flexible!

As a mother, I’ve learned over the years to be prepared for just about anything, at any time. It’s not unusual for my husband to say, “Hey, let’s go to Taco Bell. Can we leave now?” Rather than responding with a wail, “I can’t leave right now, my hair’s not done!” I enjoy being able to say, “Oh, yes, that sounds like a great idea! I’ll be ready in just a minute!” This often requires being ready for the day as soon as humanly possible, so as not to miss anything. (Besides, being in the ministry means that anyone can come over at any time and for any reason, so it’s a good idea to be ready!)

The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fi,” meaning “Always Faithful.” Well, I think the Mom Corps motto is, “Semper Gumby,” Always Flexible!” Be ready for anything, because anything can – and often does – happen!

I remember the time we were meeting a famous preacher in a southern state. Right after the formal introductions, one of my children decided it was a great time to get sick, and threw up right then and there! (So much for good impressions!)

Kid puking in a formal situation? Been there. Take someone to the ER in the middle of the night? Yeah, been there too. In fact, any mom has had ample opportunity to experience upheaval and disarray!

Here are some thoughts to help us mothers be Semper Gumby!

1. Plan, but expect some plans to change. Rarely do things go as planned. But does that mean we should throw planning under the bus? Oh, no! We should always have a plan, but be flexible enough to know that if  (maybe I should say “when”) our plans get changed, we don’t go into spastic caniptions and cause a small nuclear explosion in our home!

2. Let Go! Let go of perfectionism. Until we get to Heaven, nothing will ever be truly PERFECT. We will always have acne (even in your 40’s?? Oh, yes!) spots, cellulite, or scars, and someone will spill milk on your nice new carpet. If we let go of our perfectionism, we can slow down enough to enjoy the ride of Life.

3. It’s OK! Remember that God hasn’t gone on vacation, leaving His throne empty! Or worse yet, leaving it to be inhabited by a slew of sadistic and sour Algebra teachers! (Wouldn’t that be horrible??!!??) God is still on His Throne, and He knows what He’s doing. Yes, bad things do happen, but the Lord will eventually turn it to good.

4. Slow Down! Your schedule has just been deleted and completely over written. Take a deep breath and realize that some things will just need to change today.

I did that just the other day, in fact. I had my day all planned out to get everything done, but something came up in the middle of the day that required about 4 hours of my time. Zip! Out the window goes all those plans! So, I did a  little rearranging, and rescheduled some of those activities to be done at a later time, and, although it wasn’t ideal, it did work out ok.

If I would have stressed over the change, it would’ve made everyone in the house grumpy, and you know what that means: If I kick the dog, the dog bites the cat, and the cat swipes the baby. The baby cries and irritates mother….again!

So next time you’re faced with deletion of your schedule, hold up your spatula and shout with pride, “Semper Gumby!” and know you’re in the fellowship of millions of other Flexible Moms who face the very same thing every day!

 

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

 

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!

In this book, there is:

    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

My Husband Socks Me in the Eye Every Night

Sneak Peek: Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT!! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED! “Friends, come praise the Lord with me!” 

Lord willing, I’ll be uploading the Kindle version within the next few days!

 

 

OK. The dirty secret is out. My husband socks me in the eye every night.

You see, I hate sleeping with any sort of light in the room, so I put something over my eyes to keep any light out. I discovered that the very best thing to put on my eyes at night is one of my husband’s dress socks…the thick ones, of course (the thin ones are too light, and just don’t feel right!)

So every night he “socks me in the eye…” or rather, he lets me use one of his beloved dress socks to cover up my eyes at night. In fact, I’ve been using his socks for about 25 years…so long that he just automatically knows what socks I like and gave me a whole bag of his old “singles.”

So what does that have to do with marriage? Everything! You see, we all have our odd little idiosyncrasies – our little preferences for a thick sock rather than a thin one, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the end rather than at the middle, or pulling the toilet paper off the top of the roll rather than the bottom .

My husband learned long ago to just accept my little oddities as a part of me, and to not try to change me, but to let me learn and grow on my own. So he smiles at me, shakes his head, and gives up some of his own dress socks for my whims, letting me use them every night.

Just as we have our own little preferences (and we want our husbands to indulge us) so our men have their own preferences. Ladies, it’s to our advantage to bless him by allowing him to have his own little idiosyncrasies and not trying to change him.

How to Learn to Live with Idiosyncrasies:

1.       Don’t try to change your spouse. It’s very common for newly married couples, or even those that have been married for a while, to have it stuck in their head that it’s their responsibility to change their spouse. This is all despite the fact that often it was those very differences that drew them to their spouse in the first place. However, somewhere along the line, they concluded that their own way is the “right” way (though in reality it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether the toilet paper comes off the top of the roll or the bottom!)

 

 First, let me say that those differences have been there longer than you have been part of his life, and they’re not likely to go away just because you don’t like them. One of the very best things you can do for your marriage is to stop trying to change your spouse.

2.       Show them that you love them, not just despite their idiosyncrasies, but also FOR them! Forgo all nagging, huffing and puffing at their oddities, but even accept or learn to laugh at them. They can be “inside jokes” in your relationship. Remember that the thing that is so weird about the other person actually has some very special merits to it. Though it will never mean as much to you as to the other person, it does help you to pick up on some of those things, and espouse them as your own.

For example, I often pick up on some of My Beloved’s unique humor, phrases he goes around saying, or songs he so cavalierly mangles. They say that imitation is one of the finest forms of flattery. It sends a signal to the other person that they are very valuable to you and cannot be replaced. It gives a feeling of security in the relationship.

3.       Remember that you have your own idiosyncrasies that your husband puts up with. The other day I walked into the bathroom, saw the lid up, and thought to myself in a huff, Why does he always leave the lid up?? Instantly, the Lord brought another thought to my mind, He could just as easily say to me, Why do you always leave the lid down?? I had to smile at myself, knowing that some of the things I do probably seem quite odd to him, I just don’t think of them that way, because I think my way is not only the right way, I often think of it as the ONLY way!

Harping at him will never change him. Loving him in spite of his oddities will. Or maybe they won’t – but I’d rather be happy in an enjoyable marriage than miserable in a horrible one.

What does your husband put up with? What are some of your oddities? Rather than concentrating on what we have to put up with, let’s look to ourselves and think about what HE has to put up with, and thank him for his patience.

For me, when I snuggle into bed with one of my hubby’s socks (clean, mind you!) I enjoy knowing that my husband loves me in spite of my oddities. And do you know what? I know he has some too, and I love him anyway. That’s cozy enough to sleep on.

So what are some idiosyncrasies you’re willing to tell about? Don’t embarrass your husband, but it’s ok to tell about your own. Also, is there some other tidbit of helpful advice you have for younger ladies who have difficulties dealing with their husband’s oddities?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • If you missed my announcement at the top of the page, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!
  •  In this book, there is:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Why I Choose Joy (& Why Complaining is Toxic to Your Family)

 

When my husband contracted Lyme Disease over 20 years ago, we didn’t realize the many long-term effects the disease would have on him. One of the more serious effects is a weakened immune system. If there’s an illness floating around, he is unfortunately the one in the family to get sick first. So to combat this, he takes extra vitamins (and extra precautions) than some of us.

I read a saying once that said, “It’s not that the outside influences are too strong, it’s that the inside fortifications are too weak.”

It reminded me of the verse, “ . . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”(Nehemiah 8:10c)

 

Joy is a powerful influence for good, and a deterrent to evil. Being one of the very first fruits of the Spirit, true inner joy is a quality that Satan despises. It is so powerful, in fact, that the Lord says that it is your strength!

In raising godly Christian young people, joy in parenting is a must! It is like raising a tall, stout wall of defense in the lives of our children. Many of the second-generation Christians I interviewed told of their parents’ joy, and the impact it had on their lives.

While in the northwest one spring, I met Shari, a young assistant pastor’s wife with two small rambunctious children. Her late father was the pastor of a mid-sized country church, where her parents had ministered for 20 years. Shari, a fourth generation Christian, is part of a remarkable family with all six adult children serving the Lord. Her parents’ attitude was that serving the Lord was the best thing in the world.

“My parents simply loved serving the Lord,” she told me. “They truly enjoyed everything they did for God, whether it was soul-winning, bus visitation, cleaning the church, counseling, or anything. It wasn’t just ‘working in the church.’ To them, it was serving the Lord, and it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I guess I grew up thinking the same thing. It seemed to me to be the best thing ever; it was all I wanted to do with my life.”

Shari’s sentiments were not at all unusual. A vast majority of the godly people I talked to felt exactly the same way. In fact, 98% of my respondents said their home was happy!

Let me remind you that these young people know why they are now serving the Lord. It is not rocket science, nor is it merely a theory; it is the principles of Scripture lived out in the lives of their parents that made all the difference.  In some cases, like Shari’s, we see generation after generation of joyful Christians that have impacted the world.

I was quite surprised to learn that the vast majority of my 2nd Generation Christians felt very strongly about these caustic characteristics. They felt that:

 

Complaints are poison.

Unthankfulness is cancerous.

Criticism is corrosive.

 

Does this mean that these folks never had anything to complain about? Hardly.

“My parents had a lot of hardships, raising us seven kids,” Lance told me. The son of a pastor, he is one of the older children of a large family. His mother had recently succumbed to cancer, after a short but brutal battle, leaving his father with several children still at home.

“With a passel of very active boys and one special-needs child, there was always something going on. We kids knew they must have had financial troubles, but we never heard about them.”

How, then, did they deal with difficulties?

PRAY, PRAY PRAY! – One young man told me, “I saw God work in our family’s life time after time, in incredible ways, in direct answer to prayer. There was no other way these things would have happened.”

Trust God – Another middle-aged lady said, “My folks had a deep trust in God—almost unbelievable. Words could not express how much faith they had. To me, his trust in God connected that abstract thing called faith to my real life. It became a kind of security blanket to me; I began to trust in God through trust in my parents.”

Never Complain! “Did your Dad complain?” I asked Robbie. “Never,” he replied emphatically. “How about your Mom?” I wondered. He thought for a minute and then answered, “No, not that I can remember.”

Be Content!Godliness with contentment is great gain! I asked my 2nd Generation young people,“Would you say your parents were content?  Were they generally satisfied with their life?”  One man answered this way: “Yes, I really think they were.  Of course, they always wanted to improve themselves, but they were satisfied with their lives.” Not surprisingly, his answer was very consistent with the rest of the interviewees: 78% said that their parents were content.

Because Unthankfulness, Criticism and Complaints are so toxic to my family, I choose JOY! It may be hard to let things go sometimes, but the benefits to my family outweigh any desire I have to hold grudges.

Question: Why do you choose joy? What makes it hard to choose joy sometimes? What other things are toxic to our families?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

Here are some helpful resources:

One Thousand Gifts – Here’s a book that you can’t read too quickly! And that’s a good thing – because the whole theme is to help us to slow down and enjoy the little moments of life. One Thousand Gifts shows us that we can be thankful even in the hard times.

The Power of Parent-Child Play – is an excellent book with all sorts of ideas to help us lighten up and enjoy our kids! They love to play, so it’s a tremendous opportunity to connect with them.

Christine Carter, at http://www.christinecarter.com/community/blog/ has a whole pile of good research on the subject of happiness and how it applies to parenting! Her blog has given me heaps of food for thought.

Sara at AJoyfulMother.com has some good advice, too.

The Barna Group has some tremendous articles about why young folks leave the church and why some stay. They can be found here and here.

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Simple Steps to Looking Good and Feeling GREAT!

Today we’re wrapping up our series on A Lasting Marriage! Just wait till you see what comes next! I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m not going to tell you – yet – what it will be! Anyway, if you missed any of the posts in this series, you can find them all here.

You may remember Megan from my story last week. I only told you part of the story; the other part is just as sad. Like any young wife, I’m sure she didn’t start her marriage hoping it would fail. She probably worked hard to catch her man, and even resorted to incredible means to look good. But after a few years into marriage, she became what she was when I knew her – an overweight, greasy, dirty (shall I say it??) slob. Not only did she not care for her home or her baby, she also neglected herself. And through that one act of neglecting to care for her own body, she went a long way to sabotaging her very own marriage.

Ladies, let’s face it. We’ve got to work to keep ourselves looking good. As we get older, it gets harder, too! Maybe that’s why young women tend to neglect that part – they don’t really have to work that hard, so they don’t work on it at all! But I think there are three reasons for that neglect:

1. We get busy taking care of the kids, and forget to take care of ourselves. A very understandable reason, and one that I was in myself, raising my 7 children. See  my fitness story here for the whole scoop!

2. We get comfortable with our husbands, and decide to “let our hair down.” The girls and I have certain baggy clothes we wear when we want to lounge around and be comfortable which we affectionately call our “Homeless Woman” outfits! 😉 That’s fine sometimes, but if we’re ALWAYS in our Homeless Woman outfits, something’s wrong.

3. We simply don’t think we deserve being cared for. We feel unloved, and so we don’t care for ourselves either. Scott of ChoosetoTrust.com commented on last week’s post “For Megan, seems the house was outward fruit of something inward. Hopefully she’ll work on her identity and not hoping for a relationship to fulfill her.” He is so right!

OK, I’m going to step on my soapbox here. Ladies, whether we like ourselves or not is immaterial. The actual science of the matter is that, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will slowly deteriorate, and that can be very painful. Soon we’ll be too tired and achy to take care of our husbands and our families. We owe it to them to take care of ourselves. Let’s quit psychoanalyzing this subject and get off our duffs and get a little exercise! (Thank you, Lisa, that was good.) I’ll get off my soapbox now! 😉

Now, for the remainder of the time, I’m going to just rattle off a few things I’ve learned over the years of studying fitness and nutrition. It’s a hobby of mine which I enjoy learning about, so I’ll pass on some thoughts to you.

EXCERCISE:

1. It matters little what you do, as long as you do it! You may hate running, but like to walk on the treadmill. You may love to play outside games with your children, but hate an official exercise program. It doesn’t matter. Just do something to “bless your heart”every day. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions, as well as WebMD and my personal favorite, Crossfit.

2. Mix up your routine. Your body gets used to the same thing every day, so vary it. Keep your body guessing. Lift weights one day, walk the next, play tag with the children the next day, etc.

3. Repeat steps one and two the rest of your life! There is no bandwagon, so there’s nothing to fall off of. If you get sick (or one of the kids gets sick) and you can’t exercise for a week, that’s ok. Just don’t give up, and keep on going.

NUTRITION:

1. Avoid empty calories of white sugar and starches. Breads, pastas, donuts, and desserts are the big things that makes us tired and sick. If you need a chocolate fix, get some special dark chips and chew them slowly. Yum! For more nutrition  info, check out Trim Healthy Mama & the Crossfit website.

2. Eat real food. If it comes in a package, be wary. Meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit do not come in boxes or bags. Build your menus around them as your focus.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of your life! There are a million ways to make wonderful veggie dishes and meats, and fruit makes a great dessert.

Following those simple steps will pull your body out of its lethargy and put some real spark into your marriage. Try it  yourself and see! I must tell you, it made a world of difference in my own.

For more info, see LisaRaub.blogspot.com and look under the exercise and nutrition headings. And as always, keep your eyes peeled for daily Destinations on my Facebook page! We’re going to move a little more this week.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

Next week, we’re starting a new series on how to Lionproof your children – keeping them safe from the claws of the Devil! Our young people are leaving our churches at alarming rates. What can we do to help them choose to serve the Lord? My new series will outline successful parenting practices that have been effective for many generations. I’m so excited to share this with you!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Things That Make Your Hubby LOVE Coming Home!

 

Being in military ministry, we work closely with young military families. Megan and her husband Mark had been married about two years, and had the cutest little 14 month old boy, Josiah. Megan was the typical young army wife, who married with stars in her eyes and ended her marriage with daggers in her hands. But at sometime between the stars and the daggers, we had the privilege of working with them for a few months.

I stopped by Megan’s house one day to visit. Brushing the crumbs off the couch, I sat and began to talk about the Lord. I tried not to notice, but toys and trash mingled together on the floor, and the coffee table was a mountain of who-knows-what. Her boy walked around clad in typical Tarzan fashion, in a diaper – a very smelly diaper! That was in itself not too bad, except after a time it started to bother me that no effort was made to change the boy. But the dog was very interested in the contents of the diaper, going up to little Josiah and licking the edges of his diaper at every chance he could. Of course, the family pet turned and licked the boy’s face!

Though that was disgusting enough, soon the boy found a long-lost bottle of mysterious liquid (complete with floaties of unknown origin!) and walked around drinking it!! While Megan’s back was turned, I relieved the boy of his bottle and took it to the kitchen sink, where I’m sure it remained for quite some time.

No wonder they were having marital trouble!

Someone once said “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and after that experience, I began to believe it!

Want a happy marriage? Keep your home in order. Or at least WORK on it. Never just “let it go.” I’m preaching to myself here, because these things are a real challenge for me. My sister, who grew up sharing a room with me, could tell you how horribly messy I am/was, but the Lord has done great things for me. Here are some things I have learned:

Keep your home CLEAN! Or a semblance of clean. Divide your home into 4 zones and clean each zone during its week. That way, your whole house gets a good cleaning at least once a month. And if you don’t get to all of it this month, no worries – it will come around again. For ideas for creating your own house cleaning schedules, see HouseCleaningTips.com, and for a template and printable, see this great article from Money Crashers.

Keep your home NEAT! Work on organizing and putting things away. All of these points are a struggle for me, but especially this one. I am the Queen of Clutter. My son told me once that I was the most “organized dis-organized person” he knows! But through systems such as the Flylady system, the Lord has helped me to make a lot of progress. In fact, I really got a blessing the other day when we had a bunch of people over for Memorial Day and my daughter commented, “You guys are so organized! You’re doing such a good job making this huge meal for a big crowd!” I would never have been able to do it pre-Flylady!

Keep your home nicely DECORATED! It doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart home, but there’s a lot you can do with thrift store items if you know what to buy and where to put it.

I am Decoration-Challenged, so I try to get some help for this one. My oldest daughter is really good at it, as are some of my friends, so I ask them for help. Generally, I just let them come up with ideas and I do it, knowing that I know nothing of decor! But you probably don’t have that problem. Maybe you’re really good at it, so here’s your chance to let your creativity shine!

Pinterest is probably your best place to get decorating ideas! Though I’m not on myself – I know I’d be swallowed up and never heard from again – I’ve stalked it a few times myself!

I didn’t mention this before, but your body is another “house” you need to take care of. Even the smallest effort to eat right, get some exercise, and dress up for your honey will be appreciated. Check out these posts here for some pointers, as well as some ideas from Trim Healthy Mamas and Crossfit Mom.

Beware perfectionism – don’t turn into Mrs. Law! I can hear it now: “What??!?” (voice rising) “You left your COFFEE CUP ON THE END TABLE??!!!??!” No, no, no! This is to be an IMPROVEMENT for your family, not a DESTRUCTION! Get the kids in on the clean up, and sit and enjoy your nice place, but let The Man be The Man. Believe it or not, he will eventually see the effort you are making, and begin to clean up after himself.

Don’t let your stars become daggers! Make the extra effort to work on your home and marriage, even just a little bit each day, and you’ll see tremendous benefits!

Don’t just take a journey…take a COURAGEOUS journey!

What systems do you use for cleaning and organizing your home? Do you have any decorating pointers we can use? How about some ideas for better fitness and nutrition?

Also, check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

8 Ways to be Your Husband’s Best Friend

It’s been great to write about A Lasting Marriage! I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I have writing it! This week, I found some really great articles about “Being Your Spouses Best Friend” in my preparation for this week’s blog post. Michael Hyatt wrote an excellent article on How to Become Your Spouses Best Friend which gives a lot of food for thought. Danielle Peters, in Fancy Little Things, wrote 7 Ways to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend – a great article that gives more wonderful suggestions. And even if you’re not military, Veterans United has a great post on Beyond Loving Your Spouse: 25 Ways to be a Best Friend.

Here are some more ideas:

1. Accept your husband – dirty socks, gas, burps and all! One of our great desires is to be accepted as we are. Shouldn’t we do the same for our best friend?

2. Have fun together! Have a date and make sure there is some play time, too!

3. Feed him! It’s still true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” …even after 30 years! Make his favorite dishes and desserts. As he gets older, we may need to modify these for health’s sake, but don’t modify them so much that they become unrecognizable! Apple pie should never become rhubarb sauce…

4. Dress up for him. Of course, morning hair is going to happen, but if you’re still wearing your morning hair when he gets home from work, that’s a problem. Don’t get caught in your rollers and pjs in the afternoon! Dress nicely for him, and when you go out on a date, wear something that’s nice.

5. Flirt with him. Yes, even after all these years, still flirt with him. Wink at him across the room, or raise an eyebrow at him. Drape a bare thigh over his leg (when no one’s watching, of course) or lay a pair of your underwear on his shoulder as you walk by. Ah yes, you can get quite creative! It makes life very interesting.

6. Find his love language and speak love to him. According to Gary Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, they are: 1) Touch, 2) Giving, 3) Serving, 4) Talk, and 5) Time. Find out your hubby’s, and plan to love him the way he perceives love.

7. Get upset only at true sin. Dirty socks are not a sin, nor are farts or shoes on the steps. Eating ice cream out of the carton is not a sin, either. Pornography, on the other hand, is a sin, as is adultery and spiritual neglect. Take the things that may personally irritate you to God, but don’t blow up at him because he left his shoes on the steps. And if true sin is involved, approach him with meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

8. Learn to forgive. This is a big one, ladies. The only way I learned to forgive was when the Lord brought me face-to-face with my own faults, and I learned that mine are just as big and horrible, but different. It’s the same with you. Your sins may not be as glaring, but they’re still there. Learn to forgive, because you’ll need to be forgiven often yourself.

You may have only been married a year, or 20 years (or you could be like us…going on your 30th year!!) but you can still be best friends. You’re already taking a journey…now, make it a COURAGEOUS JOURNEY! Give it all you’ve got and watch exciting things happen!

Are you and your husband still great friends? Tell us about it! How do you maintain a close friendship with your spouse?

Check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, http://www.messymarriage.com/

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum