Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Learning New Dance Moves - from the 3-Step to the 2-Step

Over the past two or three weeks my husband and I have experienced two moments of my what pastor calls "intense fellowship" - a.k.a. a fight. It's good to have a fight once in a while and these two were extra special to me, looking back on them of course. It has taken me a long time, but I have gotten much better at my fighting. I have some general rules that I attempt to go by as I use much self-control as possible: The "No's" - no yelling, no name calling, no negating the other's feelings, absolutely no threat of divorce; The "Needs" - praying, holding hands, saying I love you, reminding each other that we are on the same team, remind my mate that we WILL work it out and our marriage will be stronger for it, reminding my mate that I accept him with all imperfections and will be his helpmate through it all no matter what. I feel those rules have really helped me through our fights. Now if only I could stop rolling my eyes. Hee hee
In the first moments of each time of "intense fellowship," I started off with my usual dance steps: defend, justify, and blame. The walls go up and I attempt to stand in my perfection - how ridiculous! Why is it so hard to just admit that we are human, that we mess up, and that we need a Savior? Why is it so hard to be unselfish and get the focus off of our "rightness" and put it on the feelings of another? I haven't figured out the "why," but I am so happy I have recognized these few things.
Well, in looking back, I was able to change my "dance steps," and I hope to stick with the new ones I have learned: ask for forgiveness and change my ways.
The first fight I can't even remember... isn't that usually the case. However, what I do remember is the moment I recognized that my action was not the real problem. The real problem was how I was making my husband feel - hurt. When I reflected on it, I believed that it was actually rooted in disrespect - the biggest command I am given by God to do for my husband. With tears I sought Marks forgiveness and God's as I truly recognize the importance of respecting my husband.
The second time of intense fellowship involved our finances. (Insert fact: did you know that the top three issues in a marriage are finances, communication, and sex? If you have any "intense fellowship" in these areas, you are normal. lol) My husband gently pointed out that I have spent a bit too much on Daniel's clothing this month. After completing my first 3 dance steps (Defend: It really wasn't that much; Justify: He really did need a few more bibs and now we save money on laundry since I can last longer between loads; Blame: Daniel just looked so cute in them), I decided to switch my rhythm and went to my 2-Step, "Mark, you are right. I am so sorry. Do you forgive me? And can you help me as I do struggle with having a new baby to buy stuff for? Can you give me an envelope with a set amount so I do go overboard?"
Wow - such freedom! Yes, FREEDOM! Freedom: noun, the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint. Ahhhhhh! So I guess the other why I have is - why has it taken me so long to form a habit of the 2-Step. I wish I applied it to all of our intense fellowship in the past. It's so good to be forgiven!

Romans 4:7
"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered."

1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Colossians 3:13
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Get Oil and Water to Mix

With Caleb's 7th birthday party less than 24 hours away, it was time to start on my traditional Checkerboard Cake. It takes a bit of work, but is always a hit at the party. I was in a rush as we had dinner plans with some friends, so I was doing my best to multitask the baking process. I measured out the water and oil in two separate measuring cups, but poured them into the bowl together. Despite the mixing flow, they quickly divided back to their individual substances. As we all know, oil and water don't mix. However, when I added a third substance, the cake mix, all items blended perfectly to form a ideal mixture that would soon become a delicious birthday cake.

As I was creating this masterpiece I heard that still small voice. Our marriages are often like this oil and water. You know what they say - opposites attract. Shortly after the honeymoon, the differences between us and our spouses suddenly seem to pop up.

When we try to mix together, we quickly divide again - unless we add a third entity that can perfectly blend us - GOD.

HE can take us, the ingredients, mix us together to make something exquisite. So the next time you and your spouse are mixing as well as oil and water, be sure to mix in that essential "ingredient" to make your marriage a masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things to do this Summer

Two phrases I refuse to tolerate from my son (or students when I am teaching) is "I'm bored" or "It's not fair!" I could go on and on about the later phrase and how "fair" does not mean "equal" or "the same" but rather what is best for each child. However, I will save that for another day and address the "bored" issue.

When giving a "rule," which I now expect my son to obey, I try to also keep him from temptation and do my best to help him be an obeyer. So, since I told him he will get a consequence if he says "I'm bored" this summer, I thought I better help equip him not to say that. Caleb can be very creative himself, but to assist even further, we sat down today and together came up with a list of summer activities.

One list is stuff we can do together. Some of it is free and other things cost money. I have listed those seperately. Then, there is a list of things that he can do alone (appropriate for a 7 year old). The best part about this list is that when he is feeling bored he can go right to the list and pick something to do. I think children often say they are bored when they can't think of something to do, so hopefully this will help. We have sat down and discussed this thoroughly so he is aware of my expectations.

The last list is things that he can do to be a helper for me. This is in addition to his regular chores that he does as a member of our family, so with these he can earn some summer money. I have specified that is he does the things thoroughly and with a good attitude he will get paid.

Below I have included the list to help any other Moms that need some ideas for summer.

**In addition, please ADD your own ideas to this list in the comment section. I would love to expand my list even further.***

Hope you all have a happy, safe, and FUN summer!


(Free Stuff)
Water Park (Passes)
Free Movies
Free Bowling
Beach – ride the waves
Have a playdate
Play a board game
Play cards
Library – Summer Reading Program

(Costs Money)
Mini Golf
Be a Tourist
Go to the Zoo
Go a Museum
Go to Aquarium
House of Bounce
Go to a sporting event
Make a garden

ALONE (or Together)
Work on Scripture Memory
Practice a Sport
Work on Summer Scapbook
Take some pictures
Make a picture
Draw with chalk
Make a card for someone
Write a letter
Write a poem
Write a song
Send an email to a relative or friend
Read a book or a chapter
Read to a sibling
Clean your room
Call a relative
Play a computer game
Play on Swing Set
Play on Trampoline
Give the dog a bath
Play Fetch with the dog
Wash the car
Build an indoor fort
Make something out of Recycle Bin
Playdough – make it & play with it
Ride your bike
Ride your scooter
Watch a TV show
Watch a DVD
Go on a treasure hunt in the backyard
Make a movie
Make a collage from old magazines
Play with your toys

(You can earn $.25 for each chore you complete thoroughly and with a good attitude)
Load dishwasher
Empty dishwasher
Do laundry
Fold laundry
Wash windows and mirror
Put away groceries


Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Because I Love You

Tonight was Caleb's Birthday Eve. As bedtime approached, you could sense the excitement for the big day tomorrow - his 7th birthday. In addition to sensing it, we all knew it from the silliness emanating from my boy. Long story short, the sillies came out a bit too much and a consequence had to be given - off to bed he went. After a long day of diapers, baking cupcakes, baseballs games, cleaning, cooking, and more, I was relieved to relax on my couch and put my feet up. However, I could hear a quiet whimper travelling from the direction of his room. My Mommy break was over; I headed his way.
When I got to his room, I sat on his bed and leaned over my "big boy" who was laying tummy down. I was suddenly sharing his tears as I pressed my cheek to his. He peered up and said, "I don't deserve any birthday presents!" It was late; I was tired; however, I dare not miss this opportunity for a teachable moment. I could have gone down the road of pride with the little pity party; I could have agreed in a frustration and anger; I could have stayed silent... but I didn't. I said, "Buddy, I am not giving you presents because of what you do, but because I love you... and I don't love you based on what you do... I love you because you are my son. I am giving you presents to show you my love."
As those words rang back in my own ears, I could hear my Heavenly Father repeat those same words. God doesn't love us because of what we do - nope, can't earn His love. And He doesn't stop loving us when we mess up. He loves us because we are His children. And to show us that love, He gave us the ultimate present - eternity in Heaven with Him when you accept his gift of grace. It's offered through the death of Jesus on the cross when He paid the penalty for our sin.
As Caleb accepts all his birthday presents tomorrow, I hope he truly feels my love for him.