You Cannot Harvest What You Did Not Plant~Wifey Wednesday

Blogging? Huh? What is this?

What are all these buttons? What are stats?

Pages, links, categories, appearance, font, keyboard…….

it’s been so long. I’m sorry little blog. I’m so sorry. And readers, I’ve been here but not here. Blogging is hard. It really is.  I don’t think most people know how much time goes into putting together a blog post. I have had about 15 subjects, tons of notes written, conversations about topics, convictions, desires, dreams, visions, goals…….so much going on about what to write and I have written nothing. It feels overwhelming to write because I want to write, but I want it to be worth it. And I want it to be good. So let’s give this a whirl…..

Today is Wednesday and for the past few months I have tried to occasionally post for Wifey Wednesday along with other bloggers on the net. My marriage is kind of a big deal. Not because we’re so awesome at being married but because we truly believe it is our number one most important earthly relationship. And it literally encompasses my entire life. So ya, I talk about marriage a lot.

Lately I have been chatting with friends and family about their marriages, relationships and the struggles we all inevitably have. I was struck last week with that mind-blowing knowledge that we are now THAT couple. The one that others come to for advice. The ones who have been around the longest in some circles. We are the couple with history and longevity. And that feels weird. We still fight about the same stuff so how in the world can we help others who fight about the same stuff?

Here’s the secret: we plant, we tend, we wait and we harvest. And some years…..we summer fallow. Your brains just broke, right? You’re wondering if I made a typo or if I’m drunk or what the heck I’m talking about, right? Bear with me.

I 100% believe in the principle of sowing and reaping. I believe that whether you believe in the Bible, in morality, in right and wrong, in evolution or regeneration or any form of spirituality, our world is completely founded on certain principles which cannot be avoided.  Take gravity for example. Gravity is a scientific principle but even if you don’t understand the science of it or know that it is science, you know that if you jump off a bridge, you are going to fall into the river below. You know it without doing it.

Planting seeds- sowing- is a principle. You cannot plant seeds without expecting some sort of growth. You cannot plant corn seeds and expect potatoes to grow. If you plant corn, then corn will grow. But planting is more than just seeds. Planting involves soil, rain, sun, fertilizer and tending to the weeds that will grow too. Planting is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t a one time effort. In  order to reap or harvest, you have to plant. And then you will plant again the next year, and the next and the next. Planting and harvesting takes planning, work and time. There is no other way. Without planning, work and time your seed is worthless and wasted. 

This is marriage: planning, seeds, work, time and harvest.

You can plan to get married for years. You can plan your wedding, your dress, the food. You can plan out who you want to marry and what your kids will look like. You can plan where you’ll live and where you’ll work but without the seeds……your plan will fail.

I see couples do this a lot. They plan and they buy seeds. But they haven’t got a clue how to grow a garden. You want to know how to grow a good solid relationship? Talk to a farmer. I’m serious. Find a farmer; go have coffee on coffee row of your nearest small town on a weekday morning and find out how long they’ve been at it. Ask them how many years it took them to grow a bumper crop. Ask them how many years out of the last 20 they lost more than they made. And ask them why they keep going back year after year.  The Farmer knows…….it takes seed but then it takes work and patience. Work and time. And it takes a lot of knowledge about the kind of seeds you’re planting and what kind of soil you have to work with.

Taking the seeder out for a dry run to make sure all is working well.

I could probably write a book on how the principle of sowing and reaping applies to marriages and relationships. You can’t harvest what you haven’t planted.

Let me say that again: YOU CANNOT HARVEST WHAT YOU DID NOT PLANT.

Men: Do you want a woman who drops everything when you walk in the door after a long day? You cannot have what you did not plant. If you want tender love, plant tender love. Tender words, tender thoughts, tender gifts and tender touch.

If you want respect, you need to sow respect.

If you want humour, plant humour.

If you want a joyful home, be joyful. Don’t be angry and pouty.

If you want to have dinner at the table every night, help get it on the table every night.

If you want the dishes done, help do the dishes.

If you want a rested wife, let her have a nap.

If you want happy, content children then spend time making them happy and content.

If you want to feel loved, then give love.

If you want him to be romantic, then show him what romance is.

You see, we all want these things but so often we make our spouse responsible to do it all. We put all of the pressure on the other person to make it happen. But YOU need to be the person YOU want to be with. 

Can you understand that?  All of the things you want are things that your partner wants too. But each of you is responsible to plant the seeds. You cannot harvest what you haven’t planted.

Earlier I mentioned summer fallow. For those who don’t understand farming this may be a foreign concept but you will be surprised to know that farmers often leave a field unplanted for a season or two. It can seem counter productive especially when land is at a premium and the bills keep piling up. Why would anyone want to forfeit an entire year’s earnings? Because sometimes the soil needs a rest. Planting and working the soil takes its toll. After a while the land can stop producing bumper crops. It can even stop producing half-decent crops. The farmer knows that the soil needs a break.  I don’t want you thinking that this means that separation in marriage is acceptable or even healthy. But I will say this: taking a break from planting the same crops, doing the same things, having the same plan year after year after year can drain a marriage. Just like farmland, marriages need a change. Marriages need new life. Marriages need a chance to try something new. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore and you’re not seeing the same harvest that you once were, it’s time to make a new plan. New goals. New dreams. New visions.

I remember after our 4th baby was born and we knew we were done having kids, there was a bit of fear that set in. What’s next? Of course, it took a few years to get out of diapers, toddlers and preschoolers but soon we had 4 kids in school and no babies in the house. All of the sleepless nights, physical exhaustion, needy babies was gone. It is hard to go from one way of operating a household to something completely opposite. From demanding babies to independent almost-adults. It’s different. And it’s where a lot of people suddenly stop farming. They stop planting seeds. They stop tending the crop. They stop fertilizing. They stop investigating new techniques. They stop GROWING.

You can NEVER EVER EVER stop growing in your marriage. You can never stop. You can change the way you grow. You can try out new techniques(that’s the fun part! ). You can even get new equipment and buy a bigger farm but you can never stop growing. Couples who stop growing, stop being couples. Are you getting this? Is this too much? Because I can go on and on about this. The number one reason why couples split up, give up and get divorced is because they stopped planting, stopped growing, stopped harvesting and stopped planning what happens next.

You don’t get married, pull up a chair and say “hey, we arrived, we’re done planting”.  No, you’re just getting started.

You get what you plant. If you plant nothing, you will get nothing in return. Ask a farmer.

Galatians 6:

7-8 What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Why I Don’t Keep All Your Secrets~Marriage Monday

Is it me or is 2014 off to a lumpy start?

Lumpy – as in not smooth.

Kind of like blogging is for me these days. I’d like to rip the calendar page off and crumple it into a ball and throw it in the trash.  It hasn’t been horrible, but it’s been rough.

There are things I’d like to share and say and mull over. I want to meander through the forest of unknowns and what ifs.  I’d like to presume less and wonder more. But I tend to stay guarded and less than free. Why? Perhaps no particular reason other than a few bad experiences and restrictions I’ve placed on myself and my writing to protect others around me. Oh to be so wildly inhibited as to just blurt out all the things on my mind. Wouldn’t that be great? Or no. Maybe not so great.

A few years ago I had a friend call me and tell me that she needed to talk. She had things to get out and share and I was her go-to gal. Why, I’ll never really know.  When someone starts a conversation with “….and you can’t tell this to anyone” …. I wonder when would be a good time to tell them I can’t keep to that standard.  Now, before you get all cranky because you’ve maybe been one to tell me such things, just bear with me a moment.

Over the years I have had MANY conversations with friends and family who all ask me to not share their news or secrets. And for the most part, that has held up to this day.  Stories of infidelity, of sickness, of trauma, loss, heartaches.  Some about children whose parentage is not what it appears to be.  Heartbreaking stories, life-giving stories, tragedies, triumphs, silly stuff and serious stuff- it’s all there. If my mind were an open book there would be many chapters of “reader beware”.   But when someone says “don’t tell anyone- not even your husband”…well, I’m sorry, I can’t keep that promise.

I have told some and they continue on. And many times I don’t say anything. Here’s the reason why: I am my beloved’s and he is mine.

We are one flesh. Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.  The sanctity of marriage is unique and supernatural. I can’t really explain it. It’s not the same as living together or being engaged. Something happens when you get married. You let go of all that holds you back and you give it freely to your spouse.  You pour into them and they pour into you. Well, that’s how it is supposed to be. Some days are better than others for the pouring. And some days are just bland and dumb. But there is still oneness and a unity not matched in any other earthly relationship.

So I tell my husband everything. I tell him my secrets and your secrets.  I share them because he is in me and I am in him and we are one. And if I were to withhold from him and become tormented or stressed then I have effectively put up a wall between us. And sorry, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

I see this happen all the time- couples in love. They live together, sleep together, eat together and play together but they won’t just talk. They don’t let it all out. They don’t pour out of themselves ALL of it….not just the happy, sappy, lovesick part…..all of it.

I cannot keep your secrets.

And you shouldn’t keep your secrets from your spouse either. If you want REAL unity in your relationship, you have to talk about everything.  If you keep back even one thing, it will build a wall brick by brick. If you justify keeping one part of you private from your mate, you have told them, by not telling them, that you don’t trust them enough to love you anyway.

It’s marriage Monday and it’s time for us to all talk a little more than  we did last week.

 

And for your reading pleasure, these are some of the most compelling, honest, wonderful posts on marriage from the past 2 weeks. You will love them.

In that moment when my husband sat across from me and told me the whole truth, I was quiet. I wasn’t standing from afar like Michal, wondering who was this man anyway.    Undignified-Humiliated- What’s Love Got to do With It?  By Troubleface Mom

We learned that if we really want to know our people, if we really care to know them – we need to ask them better questions and then really listen to their answers. -   Save Your Relationships- Ask the Right Questions    By Momastery 

Physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy are meant to mingle so closely in marriage that we can’t see where one begins and one ends.  What Did You Assume About Sex in Marriage?  By Julie Sibert

There is a vast difference between mutual submission to one another out of an overflow of love and having submission demanded of you, one-sided, out of a misguided attempt at biblical marriage.  In Which I Disagree with Candace Cameron Bure About Biblical Marriage ~Sarah Bessey 

And one of my personal favorites:

My marriage is messy as all hell. That’s true. But listen, friend. Here’s the thing: I LOVE IT THAT WAY. I LOVE MY MARRIAGE. I do not find messy and beautiful to be mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact- I ALWAYS SEEM TO FIND THEM TOGETHER -  Messy and Beautiful By Momastery

 

My Lover~My Friend

Time for a Marriage Monday post- I haven’t done this in a while!

Weekends are great for assessing the temperature of one’s marriage. And by great, I mean terrible.

On the weekends, schedules are off, lists are made, intentions are shared but often not fulfilled.

He has his agenda, I have mine.  Sometimes they’re similar but mostly they’re not.

Marriage is a constant dance of two people moving to their own beats. He’s got tango on his mind and I’m more at a waltz pace.  He likes completion and I am about the process.

The weekends are also the time we have the most fights. It used to be on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church but lately it can be Saturday evenings or throughout the day on Sunday.  It doesn’t happen every weekend but when it does, it’s a big blow up and things get said.  We’ve learned to embrace the fights. We don’t fight like we used to but they’re certainly not enjoyable affairs either.  However, they are necessary.  We keep things unsaid. We bottle up and filter to protect each other until we can’t hold it in any longer. And then it blows.

But I will tell you this- the best part of the fights is the making up. And no, I’m not talking about THAT. (although make-up sex definitely has its perks) The making up of  “I’m sorry” and “I didn’t mean to say that” or  “I didn’t realize…” .

We’re growing. Always growing.

We’re learning. Always learning.

We’re stretching. Always Stretching.

 

And one thing we’ve learned after 23 years together is that we’re friends first.

We were friends before we dated, before we loved, before we kissed, before we got engaged. We were friends through it all and when I walked down that aisle, I married my friend.

Friends first is what gets us through the bad weekends, the fighting, the hum-drum days, the long silences.

Friendship is the basis of our relationship. And friendship makes us fight harder to stay together.

There were a few years when we had moved away, started out on our own, had babies alone, struggled without food and clothes and necessities …those were hard days. No sleep, sick kids, too many bills, no fun, not much to look forward to and pure exhaustion with life.  We didn’t talk a lot. We fought some. Sometimes we didn’t love each other for a long period of time. It was hard. Really hard.

But even in those dark days that lasted for years(yes, really- years) we always held on to our friendship. Maybe we didn’t treat each other as good friends should. And maybe we took our friendship for granted. But we had the memories and the hope of what was and what would be.

And I’m happy to say we came out of those long, dark, trying years with our friendship stronger and our focus sharper: to be good lovers, you have to be good friends.

After we were married 10 years we started to laugh more.

After 13 years we held hands more.

After 15 years we loved being together more.

After 17 years: the fire was lit.  We fell in love all over again. Not just puppy love. Not just superficial, sexually-fired up desire(although that was part of it), but true, enduring, abiding love.

I don’t know how to be married and not be friends. I don’t even know if it can be done.

If you are struggling in your relationship and finding you’re wanting to give up, try being friends. Friends WITHOUT benefits.  Love her, love him just for being your friend. Laugh, hold hands, buy a gift or a treat. Show up unexpectedly. Send them a note, a text , an email. Be funny. Be silly. Be FRIENDLY. Bake some cookies. Order their favourite book or movie from Amazon. BE THE FRIEND YOU’D LOVE TO HAVE.

And you just might be surprised that they’re the friend you need.

 

This weekend one of the best posts on marriage that I have ever read was spreading like wild-fire. I have a feeling it has gone viral already. If you haven’t read it, take a few minutes to read it now: it’s amazing.

Marriage Isn’t For You by Seth Adam Smith 

Why The Bride Wore White….A Marriage Monday post

I’m getting ready to do 31 Days of Blogging for October again. But since it’s Monday, I wanted to sneak in one last post for Marriage Mondays (which I clearly have not been consistent in writing for!).

I was privileged to be at a rare event this past Saturday.  A wedding.  Not so rare, you say?  Well let me just tell you how rare it was:

  • it was in a church
  • simple, almost sparse decorations
  • people dressed up for this occasion
  • a lone pianist played while guests were seated
  • the processional began while a violinist accompanied the pianist
  • The first sets of grandparents were seated- all grey haired; 2 couples on the groom’s side
  • The bride’s grandparents were seated- all grey haired; 2 couples
  • The groom’s parents were escorted in by the groom- this couple, married for 23 years
  • The bride’s mom was escorted in followed by the bride escorted by her dad.  The parents, still married, sat together.
  • On the front row were these 6 couples: SIX.  All married to their original mate- a combined total of over 250 years of marriage represented for this young couple to be mentored by and to model their marriage after.

 Don’t get me wrong here- I know that death and divorce are a part of life.  I am not condemning anyone whose nuptials look nothing like this, but I am stating the fact: it is rare and it was profound.wedding program

The service was short:  a couple of worship songs which clearly state the faith of this newly-joined couple.

A simple 3 point message from the pastor.

Nervous, excited, touching vows.

A ring that got stuck, giggles, blushing and finally….a tender, sweet, 21 year old kiss.

It took me back to my own wedding.

So traditional in many ways.

I wonder why people get all crazy about weddings and the fuss made over them?  This day was sweet because two young people pledged their love, devotion and commitment to each other before God and their families. That’s it.  That’s really all there is to DO on a wedding day. Commit. Pledge. Vow.

It was a 35 minute ceremony.  And now life begins.

What I love about this type of wedding is that the expectation is for the bride and groom to learn and grow together.  They don’t have it all figured out. But they EXPECT to work at it and learn together.  There is no pre- nup.  There is no contingency for “if things don’t work out”. There is only a united, committed effort to love and be loved….till death us do part.

The bride wore white because she earned the right to do so. A couple who waited till the night of their wedding to take the next step in solidifying their bond.  It’s a beautiful thing. If you ever get a chance to witness a wedding like that, take it!

And then pray for them.  Because this world is not kind to marriage. There are voices and feelings and offences that work against the first rule of marriage: put the other person first.  Once you get that, the other stuff falls into place.

I came across a blog this weekend that I read a year ago. It is simple, from SimpleMom. Worth the read for all of us:

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

When the Sweater Fits { Wifey Wednesday}

A few years ago we were out shopping for something, somewhere, in some store that has all kinds of needed and unneeded things. A day like any other day and I had no particular mission or pressing need to buy all the things. And then I was caught by a chunky, cable-knit sweater. But it was too much and I talked myself out of it before I even touched it.

I often do that; minimize my needs and wants in lieu of the practical. It isn’t like I didn’t have a sweater to wear. Well, maybe I didn’t come to think of it. Anyway, that sweater was new and soft and I could imagine cold frosty mornings with hot tea and a good book. I could see denim jeans and a walk in the park. I could justify pulling it on over my ratty pajamas in a hurry to get the kids off to school.

And then he came around the rack. “Try it on”, he said.

“No”, I said. “It’s too much.”

He pulled it off the rack and handed it to me, “try it on.”

I did. And I loved it. And he said I should have it. So we did. We bought that sweater.

It’s a little worn and frayed. It needs a button or two. But it’s still cozy on a winter morning and I still pull it on over my pajamas. When I’m sick it’s the only thing warm enough but not too constricting. I can still wear it with my jeans and not look to hobo-ish. (well, that’s what I think).

There are other sweaters. Nicer sweaters. Cheaper sweaters. Sweaters that are vibrant and edgy, sweaters that are warm and fuzzy and cute and sexy.

But they’re not my sweater. And they don’t have the smell or the memories that this sweater has.

I am a wife. Of nearly 22 years. And even though there have been times when I could have walked away from my life, my husband and whatever THIS is that we’re doing, I chose to stay and live. I cried some days. I longed for new and fresh and fun and vibrant and colourful and sexy…..

But I will tell you this- there is NOTHING- not one small little thing, that can compare to knowing that you have someone who has seen the tears, seen the mess, held your hand, kissed your cheek, heard your fears, weathered your rants, put up with your crap, stayed by your side, juggled the responsibilities, made you laugh, took some risks or had your back.

Married for life is not about being the prettiest, sexiest, funnest, cutest, happiest at all times, in all ways, every day, till death do us part.

It’s just like a worn sweater on a cool fall morning: warm, comforting and familiar. Why would I want anything else?

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Follow me on Instagram : @juatisask

Say Yes to the ……….Guy.

I’m slowly finding my way back into a blogging cycle. SLOWLY. Sorry about that. Hard to get back to early mornings, school lunches, homework helper and organizer of all the things. Oh, which by the way, I have never been. An organizer. Well, I am and I’m not. Long story. Scattered, focused chaos. That is my life.

I have been wanting to do a series on weddings, marriage and staying married for a long time. September may seem like an odd time but in reality, fall and the months leading up to Christmas are prime engagement and wedding planning seasons.  In anticipation of next spring and summer and all of you who are planning, hoping to be planning, and planning on planning, my goal is to convince you that all your dreams can become a reality but not in the way or for the money you always thought.  I am going to attempt to reprogram your thinking on weddings. And it all starts with the dream of that dress…

Earlier this summer my girls got all hung up on Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.  I have a love/hate relationship with that show. I love Randy and the old episodes with Keasha. But the picky bridezilla types? No thanks. Big time turn off for me right there. And then I get sad. I am sad for the families, sad for the guys who marry these girls and sad mostly for the women who have made the hunt for the “PERFECT” dress(of which there is no such thing) THE ultimate focus of their wedding.

When my daughter was shopping for her grad dress earlier this year she wanted to try on every colour, every style and it was exhausting. Before we even started I told her a couple of things: 1. This is ONE day of your whole life. It is not your wedding and it is not the defining moment of your life so don’t put more emphasis on what you’re wearing than on the fact that you have completed high school and life goes on.

grad 2013

2.  There will always—-ALWAYS be a prettier dress. You could try on dresses forever and still be able to find one prettier, better and more perfect(of which there is no such thing) than the last one. So my advice: stop. Just stop when you find one you love and makes you feel pretty and isn’t too expensive and is just right for this day and this moment. Stop. Walk away. Buy it and let it be.

That was a tough sell. I’m not gonna lie to you. She wanted to try on more. She did go without me to other stores and she tried to push the budget. (We were trying to stay under $300)

The dress came to us subtly. I knew it was the one and somewhere deep inside she did too. She just wanted to try more  on though and in the end she felt like she “settled” which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. You never want to feel like you caved and went with the cheap one or the easy one or the “safe” choice. But from the beginning, the consultants in the store, Grandma, me and others all knew, this is the one. 528781_10151439226726620_775262105_n

46759_10151439226481620_1254296491_nThe next step was deciding colour and she went with her gut and took a chance. So for $229 and what felt like settling for something inferior, this is what we ended up with:

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Girls, why am I bothering showing you my teenage daughter shopping for grad dresses in a wedding post?

The secret is not the dress you wear, how much you spent, the designer’s name or where you bought it. It matters not if you tried on 20 or tried on 2. (I tried one on and it was THE one the first time- that was it).   The secret to a beautiful bride is the groom. In fact..that’s all that matters. You could get married in a paper bag or burlap sack and look gorgeous because the love and light in your eyes when you look at your man at the end of that aisle is going to make you the most beautiful woman in the world- to him and to everyone who sees you.

Find the right guy(and don’t go looking for the perfect one…remember, there is no such thing), love him, let him love you and for goodness’ sake, go get married!!

Next post: HOW to get married fast and cheap. Yes. It’s time to turn the tide on long engagements, going into debt and ridiculous details.

Once Upon a Marriage

I know I’m a day late for Marriage Mondays but hey, I’m just finding my groove again. So, for today, let’s pretend it’s Monday. Just this once. :)

 

Once upon a time, in this land and other lands- it wasn’t that uncommon for two people to fall in love, quickly decide to get married and have a wedding.  What was uncommon was to date, and date some more, and sleep around and try living together, have babies, break up, move in with someone else, get engaged, break off said engagement, plan a wedding, have a wedding, get divorced, and owe a lot of money and look back on a lot of wasted years. We now live in a reversal of our own misfortune.

So, let’s take a step back in time. Not too far back.  What did THEY have that we don’t? What did THEY do that we are failing miserably at doing?

Whether you are dating, engaged, newly married, shacking up for fun or to “see if this is the one”  or if you’re married and watching what the current generation is doing, it doesn’t really matter. We all have a hand in this. We encourage and discourage by our own participation or lack thereof.  Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to build a solid, healthy marriage. You cannot do it alone. You should not do it alone.

The first thing we need to do is look at the married ones.  You know them. Maybe you are them. Who around you has been married for more than 10 years? Do you think they are more special than you are? Do you think that they have found the secret to everlasting wedded blissdom? Perhaps, but likely not.

What about your grandparents, aunts , uncles, friends and neighbours? Do you ever look at them and wonder how they do it? Why are they making it last when so many are walking away?  This is a question too few of us are asking.  All around us are marriages that are lasting and even thriving.  There are people who have been married through the darkest hours of their lives: sickness, death, bankruptcy, substance abuse, addictions, tragedies and moral failures.  They overcame and they fought through it. Maybe they’re still fighting through it. Whatever they are doing, they are staying together. It is time for us to stop looking at all the ones who have walked away and start looking at the ones who are staying together.

My challenge to anyone who is planning on getting married or who is married is this: look at who your friends are.  Look at who you associate with and who you get your advice from. If you are in a relationship and you want it to last 20,50 or 60 years, then stop getting advice and direction from your single, unmarried, divorced friends.  When it comes to relationships, you are only going to be as successful as your cheerleading squad and if all of your cheer team have a zero success rate at staying married/together then you will soon join them on the sidelines. Pick your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who will mentor you and help you. It doesn’t mean you completely dissociate from your single friends, but as a couple you must begin to build up your couple relationships. It doesn’t happen overnight. So in the mean time, you rely on family relationships to bolster and encourage you.

When you’re having a bad day and you are frustrated with your fiance or spouse, after you’ve prayed and calmed down, go to a married friend for advice and encouragement.  It will make ALL the difference in the world.

Once upon a time, people got married and stayed married. You can too.

marriage image

 

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I’m Back and I have Things to Say

For a while, I thought about shutting down my blog.

Writer’s block or just maybe writer’s fatigue. I’m not sure. It isn’t that I haven’t had things to say, it’s more that I just had things to think about before I said them here. And the break was good. I love to write. But I love to read and listen too and this summer I have spent a lot of time listening to readers, other bloggers, friends, family and even eavesdropping on random conversations.  You can learn a lot by listening.

So here we are , 1 week before my TWO girls go back to school.(That is so weird, by the way- to have only 2 going back to school for the first time in over 10 years!)  I have a few different topics that I’ve been researching and tweaking.

First of all, in light of how social media has changed and morphed over the years, I will be doing a series on Facebook and why everyone should be on it. That ought to get some conversation rolling. ;)

And then, my favourite subject: marriage……or “mawwiage, that bwessed awangement- that dweam, within a dweam…”   Oh yes, I am so going there.  We’ve come to that season of life where our kids’ friends, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends’ kids are taking the big leap into wedded bliss, or something like it. So today, I am starting Marriage Mondays which doesn’t mean I won’t talk about marriage on any other day of the week but it does mean I will make an extra effort to focus solely on Marriage for the next several Mondays…maybe even into October!

Oh and October? Wait for it! 31 Days of Blogging is coming sooner than we think and this year, I am completely ecstatic over my choice of topics but I can’t tell you what it is yet. SHHHHH! Have patience, it will be good.

 

Okay, all done. I’m back. All is right with the world. Time for back to school shopping, meal plans, lunches, coffee time with moms and routine! Yay for routine!   So, tell me where you all have been and what you’ve been up to.

 

PS> OUR HOUSE SOLD!! Bless Jesus! They took possession Friday and we are done. DONE DONE DONE! :)

Something Worth Waiting For

This week my baby turns 13 one day and the day after that my husband and I will celebrate 21years of marital….ummm….marital peace. I can’t really say bliss because there have been a lot of moments full of non-bliss. We love each other more today than we did then and we respect each other on a whole new level. But we still argue and fight and disagree. And we’ve both learned to wait for the other through the dark times. Waiting.

Every mother will tell you that the character building trait of note is patience. She will also be the first to tell you that it is the thing most fleeting; the most elusive of all motherly traits.

We spend our lives waiting and learning how to do it well. And also learning how to maximize or completely waste the wait.

Waiting.

I have waited to be born and to give birth.

I have waited to go to school and to finish school.

I have waited to find love and to give love.

I have waited for good news and I have waited for bad news.

I have waited to be considered and to be valued.

I have waited in darkness and in light.

I have waited in anticipation and in dread.

Waiting has changed me and it has burdened me.

Waiting is so hard to do but one of the few things that brings the greatest rewards.

When you were a baby, you made your parents wait for you. Either in the process of conception, birth or firsts of many kinds.

You waited to be fed, burped, changed and loved.

As you grew you waited to learn, to read, to count, to write. You waited for brothers and sisters, for mom and for dad.  You waited to go to school and to ride a bike. You waited for something every single day. And while you were waiting you were bored, lonely, scared, frustrated and maybe even angry. But you always waited with expectation.

We wait because we know that something is going to happen. And we know it will either be worth the wait or it will be dreaded and reviled but it will happen nonetheless.

Small children would seem to be the worst at waiting. But I would suggest that they actually wait well and have something to teach us all.

Consider this: A preschooler wants to eat but supper isn’t ready. You tell him to wait and although he may protest, he goes and finds something to do while he waits. Distraction.

A baby is hungry. What do you do? You shake the rattle, stuff the soother in her mouth, rock her, play peek-a-boo. Distraction.

A 6 year old is waiting for Daddy to come home. He asks every 15 seconds when the blessed event will happen. He pulls on your shirt. He whines and complains. None of that sounds like patient waiting but you give him a puzzle, a game, a coloring book. You get him to help you with supper. He is now….DISTRACTED.

Distraction doesn’t mean you forget what you’re waiting for. Distraction is simply the art of waiting well. If you’re going to wait, be productive. Get something done. Occupy your mind.

Isn’t it interesting how adults dread waiting but young children only wait for the good stuff?

Really. Let me rephrase that. Children don’t wait for bad news or negative outcomes. They don’t wait to be spanked or disciplined. They don’t anticipate the bad. They only wait for the good. When was the last time a child waited to be held back, pushed aside, disappointed or ashamed? Never. Children don’t wait for the negative. They only wait in anticipation for a reward. They wait for the HOPE of what is to come. Even if it never does, they still wait in baited wonder for what lies ahead.

Somewhere in the teen years we fail to wait in wonder. We miss out on the art of distraction~the preoccupation of anticipation is something we find juvenile and elementary so we trade it for  fast-food, empty, hollow instant gratification that only satisfies for a little while.  What would happen if we made ourselves wait in wonder?

Perhaps this is one of the failures of our generation. The lack of waiting.

My kids are growing up faster than I can blink. My baby will be 13 this week and now that thing we’ve been talking about for more than a decade is happening: Four kids~all teens….at the same time. 13-18. That might make some run screaming for the hills;Some days I cry because we’re done waiting for the growing up~it’s here. We talk a lot about boys(3 daughters will do that to you) . We talk a lot about the future and what our family might look like in 5 or 10 years. We anticipate weddings and babies and gatherings.  It’s a fun time. But for now we’re all just waiting. And that’s just fine with me.

I remember being 17 and wondering when I would find someone to share my life with. I know. 17. Whatever. And yet, that’s what happens. We dream and create a fantasy of what we think we want and what we wish we had. We get impatient. We CAN. NOT. WAIT. Well, that’s what I thought anyway. But I did wait. I finished school, got a job, made some new friends, bought a car, got involved in church ministry, continued to live my life.  I am not saying I waited well. In fact those who know me from that time might say I was completely in love with being in love. It’s kind of pathetic thinking back on that now. The obsession to be in a relationship is a very real ((problem)) for millions of teens every single day in this country. They walk around with their heads in the clouds and tripping over the daily grind.  I used to buy brides magazines. Today, my 14 year old is Pinning a wedding board on Pinterest. I know~don’t even get me started.

But this is how we wait. We are like the preschooler who can’t have a snack yet~we want it now and we’re miserable but we can be distracted fairly easily. And that’s okay. As long as we keep waiting.

The lessons we learned at 3 and 6 and 10 are all worthy of remembering when we’re 15 and 17 and 21. Waiting means something good is going to happen. The longer we wait , the better the reward.  You don’t enjoy the cookie that you can have right now as much as you enjoy the cookie that you’ve had to wait in anticipation for over the course of hours or days. You don’t savour the chocolate bar that is at your fingertips in the store nearly as much as the cheesecake you bake at home. You never appreciate the job that you get on the spot as much as the one you wait for , research, apply 3 times for.

Waiting makes you appreciate the process.

Waiting teaches you the value of what you have and what you’ll get.

Waiting also teaches you that life will often make you wait again.

Perhaps you’re waiting to find that special someone. Maybe you’ve been waiting a very long time~years, decades.

For every married man or woman who has had to wait months or even years to be intimate with their spouse~maybe because of illness, relationship struggles, the mundane trudging of raising kids and going to work or any other unforeseen adventure~waiting is something you HAVE to do in marriage. You will wait for your spouse to feel good. You will wait for them to want you. You will wait to be loved. You will wait to be touched. YOU. WILL. WAIT. Waiting is at the top of the 3 most important things you will ever do in your marriage along with commit and compromise.

So, teenagers and young people who are waiting. Waiting and hoping. Dreaming and waiting. Waiting and floundering~ continue to wait. Distract yourself if you must. Work, laugh, eat, socialize, make friends, go places, do things, be scared, cry, fidget, waste money, save money, engage yourself in wonder and wait. DON’T give in to the expectation that the world has laid out for you: jumping from one relationship to another, never waiting for something special, ditching one relationship because you’re bored and rushing into the next, sleeping with any or all of your prospects only to find that none of them will be there for the long haul….

If you want to be the very best spouse; if you want to have the very best love~wait for it. And while you wait , remember what it’s like to anticipate because those who wait well appreciate what they’ve waited for, far more than those who have never had to wait at all. 

So what are you waiting for? Watch this…..

He Just Wanted To Kiss Me

I have no idea how this happened.

I don’t know where I’ve been that this day has come so quickly and without warning.  I sometimes wonder if I’ve been in some sort of coma for half of the past two decades. I simply cannot believe that we are here:  our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Yes, 20 years.

When I first started dating my husband he had forever in his eyes and it scared the crap out of me.  I had no idea how to handle the emotions and the thrill of having a man focused entirely on me….and my lips.  Yes, he just wanted to kiss me.   I didn’t let him…at first.  I had never been kissed.  I was 19, almost 20 and no man had ever kissed me on the lips. And I was scared.  What if I had fish lips that went limp and slimy?  What if let him down?  What if he was disappointed?

If I never learned how to kiss I would

surely be an old maid forever.

(these are the irrational thoughts of a naive teenage girl with no “experience”) .

Well, he did kiss me.  He pretty much had to throw me down on the floor and plant one on my cold, hard lips. I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable.  But he persisted.  And eventually, I loosened up. And then we couldn’t stop.  Kissing became thrilling and romantic; lovely and heart-pounding.

But that’s as far as we went….till our wedding.

On our wedding day, my love got to show off his love of my lips in front of all of our family and friends. And boy did he give them a show! I look back at it now  and think we were nuts.   I suggest people do the nice closed mouth lip lock for the nuptials and leave the  tonsil-hockey to other more private locations.  Not my man.  Oh no…once he got a hold of me I was at his mercy.  I think I had to shoot up the white-flag a couple of times just to come up for air.

Ahhh yes…..young love and immature kissing.  It’s one of the special things we’ve grown into and perfected over the years.

I’m thankful for a man that didn’t give up on an inexperienced young girl.

I’m thankful for 20 years of learning and loving together.

I’m thankful that our marriage isn’t all about kissing but it still gets my heart pounding every time.

And I’m still thankful that I waited for the ONE guy to be the ONLY guy to ever be the one to kiss this girl.

Happy Anniversary my sweet love.

If you like this post please read what I really think about marriage:  What Marriage is For