Tag Archives: Relationships

More to Learn

This weekend I didn’t get as much done around here as I could have. The only project I helped with didn’t see my help till it was almost done. If you had stopped by last night around 9 pm, you would have found me standing in a large fish tank, attempting to smooth wrinkles in the lining, as the garden hose filled it. See the husband has been working on developing an aquaponics gardening system for the large green house and I was doing my part to help out last night.

More to Learn

The hubby busy building and assembling the fish tank.

The only other major things I did around the house this weekend involved my kitchen, the cooking and cleaning of it. Well that and cupcakes. My sweet sister-in-law turned 20 and I made red velvet cheesecake stuffed cupcakes for her.

See the reason I didn’t step outside the kitchen much and do more work around the property is simple, I stepped outside the kitchen and did something better with my time. I chose to spend time with the Lord. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10: 41-42 See this weekend I was a little more Mary and a little less Martha. I chose what was better. I chose to spend time with my Lord, learning about my Lord, deepening my walk with him, and walking away refreshed. I went to a women’s conference hosted by my church. The topic: Walking In Faith.

I learned many things, and I was reminded of many things. You are never too old or too young to be used by the Lord. We just need to ask the Holy Spirit  to come and do work in our lives. Don’t judge who you are, by how you are. In other words our worth is not defined by our choices or our circumstances, but rather by the love of our Creator. And those are just a couple of the nuggets that touched my heart.

Shirt design by NBT

Shirt design by NBT

Through out this confrence I was also challenged to let go of stress. One of the fruits of the spirit is joy. Laughter is a by product of joy, and you can not hold on to stress and laugh. To take this idea further the speaker offered some points to help you, “Be Up In A Down World.”

  1. Pay attention to the world around you, God’s beauty is everywhere.
  2. Listen. People in our lives need us to listen.
  3. Learn. Read. Discover New things.
  4. Want to feel better? Laugh.
  5. Ask for help. Lean on one another. (Or as I heard someone else say once, don’t stand in the way of your own blessings.)
  6. Love. We all could use more love.

As the confrence wrapped up and I was listening to the closing music and reflecting on what the Lord laid upon my heart, I penned my final thoughts.

I need more laughter in my life.
I need less computer.
I need more God.
I need less stress.
I need more patience.
I need less tv.
I need more books.
I need less busy.

*** What is it that you could use more or less of in your life?***

***As always if this post has touched you in anyway please feel free to share it, you never know who else in your life might benefit from reading this today. All I as is that you would link back to the original post. Thank you.***

To Be An Awesome Mother

Dearest Friend,

It doesn’t take much to be an awesome mother. There are just a few things to remember.

Awesome Mother

Sometimes being an awesome mother is letting the kids run through the water from the hose in their clothes.

  • Love your child with all your heart
  • Give yourself grace
  • Extend grace to those who need it
  • Don’t try to be like that mother (You know the one, the one who we think has it all together.)
  • Set boundaries that work for your household

I can’t tell you what loving your child will look like, because every child and every parent is different. Some parents excel at showing our love through time spent playing games with the kids. Others of us excel through cooking meals from scratch every night. Or perhaps none of those are you. You just do your best each day and get in snuggles every chance you get, and that is great too.

There are days though you will feel like you have blown it. In those moments you may have given too harsh of a punishment, yelled too loud, or were just plain mean don’t lose heart. You can use this as a teachable moment. In these moments I go back and apologize for my poor behavior. Then I explain what I could have done better, and ask for forgiveness.

 

Sometimes those around us just need an extra measure of understanding. They need our love instead of our discipline. Get to the heart of the issue and address that. Sometimes the poor behavior of others is a symptom of a larger issue of the heart. Just love them.

Remember you were uniquely and wonderfully created. The bible says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” It also talks about how each of us has a different purpose here on this earth, if you want to read more about it, go to 1 Corinthians 12. So what all this means for you, dear friend, is no two mothers will do the job the same. We were each created with different skills, abilities, and strengths. Play to your strengths and you will be awesome.

Following suite with the above no two households are the same. So what that means is that I might need rules in my home that you never even considered. Maybe your home is too lenient for my taste, but it works for you. Or perhaps you are even more strict than I am. The bible says very little as to exactly what a home is to look like.  (That is a post for another day though.)  From what it does say though we can determine how it is best looks in our individual homes.

I can’t say that this will always be easy to do, because some days it is hard to extend grace. Other days that nagging voice creeps in and makes us doubt whether we are enough, or doing it right. On those days remember you are loved.

Much Love,

Sara

***What would you say to a friend who doesn’t feel like she is enough?***

***As always if this has touched your heart in anyway please share. You will never know who else might need this message, today. Please just link back to the original.***

{Amanda} Under The Sun- I Count My Blessings And They All Begin With Him

It is my pleasure today to introduce, Amanda Palmer. I will let her do most of talking though today. If you want to find more guest posts in the thankfulness series you can find the first one here.

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I Count My Blessings and They All Begin With Him

marriage   Thanksgiving is coming, it is a time to think about all the things we are thankful for in our lives. I know it sounds cheesy but what I am thankful for the most is my husband.

When we met I was not fond of him (not because of him but a judgment call he made), but after all that blew over I got to know the real him and I was smitten!

He gave me one piece of advice back then that I thought nothing of, but was instrumental in me staying on the right path rather than the downward spiral I found myself in. I was living out of my car at the time he said this: “Staying like this will get you in a lot of trouble, when I leave go back home to your Mom” (he was vacationing for the summer in Florida and was heading back to Alabama).

I went back home after he left and I stayed out of a lot of trouble that way. I thought when he left I lost him forever but our paths crossed again and this time I held on to him. Since then I haven’t looked back and I still cannot believe that was almost 18 years ago.

I never thought I would find a man who would be my match in every way! He is my height so we literally see each other eye to eye (in more ways than one). He knows things I don’t and vice versa so it is nice teaching each other what we both know (and yes we still do teach each other new things after 15 years of marriage).

When we both decided that marriage was in our future we didn’t approach it like other couples we actually talked about what we wanted and decided what was and wasn’t going to be in our lives. Don’t get me wrong we don’t always agree on everything and it isn’t always Sunnybrook Farms at our house but we try to get through our issues without a lot of hassle.

The one major thing that I credit ourselves with is when we decided to get married we made it very clear to each other that divorce was not an option. I come from an old-fashioned family and divorce was never something I wanted to consider. No matter how hard it gets and no matter how much we want to strangle each other we both know we wouldn’t want anyone else.

We have beaten the odds and stuck together because we love each other and I am proud that we are teaching our children what marriage is like, that yes there are arguments but no matter what the love we have for each other and our family is what makes us continue to strive for a happy marriage.

One thing we both stand by is our relationship is the most important thing, yes the kids are important but think about it if your marriage is not tight and working properly what does that do for the family? The marriage that the family is based on effects everything, if that relationship is broken then your family is broken. So remember that the next time you think something else is more important than working out your troubles with your loved one.

So when it comes down to everything yes I am thankful because my husband:

  1. Is my best friend.

  2. Supports me and the decisions we make.

  3. Is there every time I need him.

  4. Thinks of me and my happiness.

  5. Defends me when I am hurt.

  6. Loves me for me.

But it is also so much more than that. Recently I started my own business, yes he was skeptical but he supported my decision anyway. I can now easily say because of my want for success and to be able to stay home and take care of my precious family I am able to support my family from home. Yes I did all the work, but it was my husband’s faith in me that pushed me to succeed. We had a lot riding on my success and if I failed it would hurt our household terribly (talking bankruptcy) and even though it was scary he was behind me all the way.

And that above everything is what I am thankful for…I am thankful for a man who loves and trusts me with his life.

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***Who is your biggest cheerleader? Take a moment today to brag on them here. Shout your appreciation for them from the roof tops (so to speak.) Then invite them back here to see the wonderful things you have wrote about them.***

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 Amanda Palmer is the Founder and CEO of Palmer Fancy-Freelance. She is a dedicated mother to 4 beautiful children and the wife of a State of Florida Corrections Officer. Amanda was once a 9-5 day shift Administrative Manager to a Health Care Facility until that one fateful day she was told her services were no longer needed. Amanda pulled herself up by her boot strings (after a year of re-inventing herself) and started Palmer Fancy-Freelance as a way to stay home with her family and still bring an income into the household. Amanda writes a blog www.palmerfancyfreelance.wordpress.com in hopes to help others who want to choose the same path. This blog is not all business it also is filled with recipes, things Amanda learns about herself and her family and of course how she became freelance.

 Palmer Fancy-Freelance

   

Keeping the Romance Alive

Keeping the romance alive in your marriage, especially with children, can be a tricky endeavor. What can be even trickier is writing out advice on how to keep romance alive. Just because I find something romantic that doesn’t mean you will. Romance looks different from marriage to marriage and from one stage in life to the next. Keeping The Romance Alive

With that said here are my 4 steps to keeping the romance alive:

1. Throw away the comparisons.

You just got married yesterday, your marriage will not have the same look and feel as the couple who has been married the last 30 years. Oh you have been married for 50 years? It is okay if your marriage doesn’t look like the newly weds. It is okay if your marriage has never resembled that of the stereotypical newlyweds. Your husband deploys, don’t try to compare the romance in your marriage to that of your sister who has her husband home every day. Parents of young children won’t get date nights the same as they used to.

2. Ask your spouse

Go to your husbands, ladies, and ask them what sort of things make them feel love the most. You might not get an answer right away. Some guys might not even answer. Still it doesn’t hurt to ask, they might just surprise you. As they answer you just listen. Their answers may not be what you expect, but they are what matters to them. Look and see if their answer fits in one of the five groups: physical touch, quality time together, acts of service, receiving gifts, or words of affirmation. (Want to learn more about the 5 Love Languages you can go to The 5 Love Languages.)

3. Ask for help

Ask your husband to help you learn how to show him love, if you are unsure how to do what he said he values. Or ask a trusted friend to help you come up with ways to implement your ideas. Get a babysitter. (A babysitter can be a friend, a relative, the teenager down the street, someone you pay, or someone who is doing this as a gift to you.)  Hire a maid, so you can focus on things that matter (the people in your home.) If you can’t afford a maid, see if a friend will help you clean and learn how to find a schedule that suits you. Point is utilize your resources and perhaps discover new ones in the process.

4. Remember even the smallest actions can hold the greatest love

Grand gestures while sweet, are not always practical. Sometimes you can’t afford them. The person you married is just not skilled in that area of romance. When your husband brings home a bouquet of wild flowers, don’t dream of the dozen roses your friend got, but rejoice in the fact he saw those and thought of you. Maybe on your birthday he didn’t get you a card or even buy you a present, but instead he let you sleep in, take an extra long shower, drew you a hot bubble bath, or helped you with the dishes. The point is romance comes in many forms. Be on the look out for the little ways, just as much as the big ones. Don’t forget to show him you love him in all the little ways as well. Remember people and relationships change and evolve over time. Even if he valued something a year ago it doesn’t mean that is a priority for him right now. So be sure to repeat these steps often. Keep the lines of communication open.

***What are some of the ways your husband has shown love to you in the last week? What are some of your favorite things he has done for you in the last month?***
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Lead By Example

Lead By Example

Do you lead by example?

Do you want your children to do chores daily? Tend to your responsibilities around the home.

Do you want your children to be patient? Practice patience.

Do you want your children to have manners? Exhibit manners.

Do you want your children to have compassion? Show compassion.

At the end of each day it is what we have done that matters. It is not the things we have said, or the lessons we teach out of a book that make a difference. Our children remember our actions.

Long after bedtime stories have ended and the building blocks are put away our children will remember how we spent our days. Did we love them? Did we lead them? Did we comfort them? Did we discipline them?  What did we teach them with our day?

Don’t fool yourself, every day we are teaching our children. Our lives are our examples and the world is our classroom. You don’t need to have perfect patience, but instead show your children you are working on it, striving to be better. If your manners need work show your kids it is not too late to learn. It is never too late to learn the behaviors would like to see your children exhibit.

As a challenge consider this: think of one behavior that your children exhibit that you do not care for, just one.  Now, how is that behavior either encouraged or exhibited in your life? By encouraged I mean do you cave to whining? Do you laugh when your child shows disrespect?  Once you determine how it is exhibited in your life, start taking small steps to correct the behavior in yourself. You are leading your children by your behavior. You set the tone. If your children see their mother trying to improve this behavior I promise they will take notice.

***Have you ever noticed one of your habits coming through in your children? How did it make you feel to see that behavior or habit reflected in the next generation?***

 

Weddings Need Poise and Rationality

I love the atmosphere at weddings. The love, celebration, and the party that typically follows. This last weekend I was able to attend the wedding of a family friend and his beautiful bride. It was a simple and elegant affair. The bride looked stunning, the groom radiated pride and love for his bride. The flower girl was simply adorable. Every one involved did a wonderful job. They had a wonderful video collage that was the right mixture of heartwarming, embarrassing, funny, and so sweet.  This lovely affair got me thinking though about how much attention is put on that one day.

Weddings Need Poise and Rationality

All the extra attention that weddings come with can bring out the worst in people. Mother’s can become over bearing trying to live out their dreams through their daughters, forgetting that the daughters have dreams of their own. Mother-in-laws may even try to live vicariously through their son and soon to be daughter-in-law, or perhaps the mother-in-law sees this woman and this day as the sign she is being ‘put to pasture,’ which is more than often not the case. Maybe the bride and groom are really young  or one of them has been married multiple times, so there are friends and family making snide remarks and taking bets on how long they will last.

I have heard brides cry about such scenarios. I have even been witness to such sad happenings at weddings. Perhaps we would be wise to remember two pieces of scripture when coming together to celebrate the love of two people.

1: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) In other words, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” Don’t spoil the festive mood and the hope the couple has by saying they will never last. As the friend or family member instead offer your support, wisdom, and most of all love.

2. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) Ask yourself is it your wedding? No? Then ask the bride and groom how they would like to celebrate their marriage. It is their day let it be theirs. Are these comments noble, pure, or lovely? Then they have no business at a wedding.  (If you have a concern that can not wait by all means find a respectful way to bring it up, but if you can find a way to let it wait then by all means do so.) If we all would just remember to focus on the things this verse suggests we would find much of our strife and contention would ease.

I have also seen where the wedding goes off with out a hitch, and everyone was pleasant to be around but the bride and groom spent so much time planning for the what that first day would look like that they forgot about every day there after. Weddings are great. They are wonderful, but there is so much more to marriage. A wedding is not a happily ever after, but rather a once upon a time. If you can remember that it is only the beginning of your story,then it will help when you hit a bump some time down the road.

***Do you have any advice for those recently married or soon to be married? And perhaps for those who are soon to be attending a wedding?***

A Life in Transition: Fighting the Crankies

 

My life is in transition right now. I was asked recently if I was excited about Rusty’s new job and the move. I am excited for the promise of what this job means for our family. I am excited to be all together each day.  Am I excited though for the move? No, and let me be clear that is a big resounding, NO!

Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to house hunt, and I would follow my husband to the ends of the earth. I just don’t like the packing and the unpacking. I am rather tired of it. There was a time in my not so distant past where packing and unpacking was not so draining, but now, life has changed. It just wipes me out now.

A Life in Transition

Upon reflection, I realize that I need to learn how to handle stress better and how to better manage my time. So today I commit to two baby steps that will help me through this transition.

1. More Sleep

I feel as if I have been burning the candle at both ends. If one of my girls were acting this way I would tell them they had the crankies and that they needed more sleep. Instead I have rationalized why I can not get more.

2. Less Internet

I find that even when I only mean to have a quick peek at what is going on, that I can lose hours of my day. These are precious hours; I could be playing with my kids, sleeping, or working on the move. Don’t get me wrong there are many great uses for the internet: sharing with long distance friends and family, learning new skills, researching recipes, even shopping, and much more. It should just be balanced with real world connections and actions.

When those two things get out of balance in my life I am a wife, a mother, a person I just wouldn’t want to be around. I am tired, cranky, and I become more easily stressed. So while this moving will never be something I can say I fully enjoy, perhaps I can learn to stress a little less in the transition if I first do those two things.

 

Life With Three Small Children is…

Life With Three Small Children is Life with three small children is …

~early mornings and long nights.

~dirty diapers and potty training accidents.

~full of discipline and being lost for words.

~helpers making more of a mess than they are actually cleaning.

~full of tears (all too often those tears are my own) and arguing.

~hours spent walking and rocking babies.

~never ending dishes and laundry.

~repeating the same question 10 different ways in 2 minutes, and not once getting an answer that makes sense.

~saying no 1,001 times a day.

~searching for the lost shoe, book, blankie, baby doll, monkey, or puzzle piece.

~hours/ days/ months/ years worrying about developmental milestones.

~learning how to be creative when new food aversions arise.

~being there for the first bite of birthday cake and the ensuing mess.

~watching your children light up in the moment they achieve the impossible milestone.

~getting to say that one special yes that makes the entire day worth it. ~

~finally being able to communicate with your child.

~getting to buy special outfits and making favorite meals.

~enjoying the fleeting time loving on precious babies.

~afternoons full of bubbles, bikes, chalk, and laughter.

~watching babies grow into smart wonderful young people.

~stifling laughter at the all too cute but completely serious things 2 year old’s utter.

~cheering your child on as they master potty training.

~full of bedtime prayers and early morning snuggles.

Life with three small children is work, yes, but it is a greater joy.   Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion of my Fun Things to do Under the Sun series.  If you have not seen the previous two you can check them out here: Fun Things To Do Under the Sun For Free and 10 Things To Do Under the Sun That Are Practically Free.   ***What could you add to this list?***

Sharing with:   TheBetterMom.com AProverbs31Wife.com

Photographic Journey

Ever have trouble making out a single coherent sentence? I feel as if I am having one of those days today. I have tried writing this several times, so far little sounds right. So instead of talking a lot today, I decided to share some photos with you. This photographic journey will span nearly 14 years. With it I hope you get a sense of not only who I am but also who I was.

Photographic Journey

Me and Rusty at
Fall 1999 Homecoming

 

Photographic Journey

I sent this picture to Rusty when he was away at boot camp. I was just having fun coloring. He sent it back to me with the note in the corner.

Photographic Journey

Walking down the aisle with my father.

Rusty and his best friend Corey in 2004

Rusty and his best friend Corey in 2004

Photographic Journey

Morning of Christmas Eve 2004

Photographic Journey

Christmas 2004

On a trip to Colorado in 2008

On a trip to Colorado in 2008

 

Expecting our 1st child in 2009

Expecting our 1st child in 2009

Bedtime stories. 2011

Bedtime stories. 2011

Birth of our third daughter 2013

Birth of our third daughter 2013

While there are gaps in years and milestones these photos still provide you with a glimpse into my love story with my husband. It is a story that spans more than a decade. If you want to know more about my love story you can read my earlier post on it: The First Ten Years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Things You Can Do To Be More Like The Proverbs 31 Woman

I like to read. You will often find that I have 2-4 books going at any one time.  Recently I have been on a kick reading about being a Proverbs 31 woman. I have been soaking up the inspiration and the advise on becoming more like this famed woman in Proverbs. The Proverbs 31 woman is called blessed by her husband and family. She is also a blessing to her family. I know this is something that I seek after and want to encourage other women to seek after.

Proverbs 31 Woman

It occurred to me while I was doing the dishes, though while I seek to become more like the Proverbs 31 woman, I am doing it all wrong. I am looking to these authors to give me the answers. I am putting this woman at a higher place in my life than Jesus. Lastly I am not asking my husband’s input.

So I am here to offer you three ways you can become more like the Proverbs 31 woman.

1. Authors do not have all the answers.

We who write might do lots of research, or have lots of experience writing about our topics. That still does not mean we have all the answers. There are many wonderful books and blogs out there. These books and blogs can encourage you to seek to make your husband and your family a priority but they do not have all the answers. Pinterest can provide you with many links to inspirational: cleaning schedules, menu plans, work from home deals, ways to teach your kids, ways to get in shape, and more. No one item on there is going to be “it.”

So just remember to see these things for what they are: inspiration, a source of encouragement, or just the kick in the butt you needed to get moving in the right direction. If you want some blogs that provide excellent encouragement in this area I recommend Club 31 WomenWomen Living Well, and Time Warp Wife. For the military wives out there I recommend my friend Reta over at Steps of Faith. If there are others that you know of or that you love please feel free to share.

2.  “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

If we are placing all our effort on becoming more like the Proverbs 31 woman, we are placing our effort on the wrong thing. Yes this is a wonderful example that the Lord has called us as women to be more like, but we are still not to place this calling first in our lives. By placing her first, we are making an idol (or god) out of her. (See Exodus 20: 23 to see what God has to say about idol worship.)

Gods can be made of anyone or anything we place more value on than the Lord and our time with the Lord.  All too often I see God-loving women get side tracked on their walk with God, by shifting focus from God to the Proverbs 31 woman. When such a shift occurs, what we are failing to remember is how she was praised because she was a woman who feared the Lord (Proverbs 31:30.)

3. If you want your husband to rise and call you blessed, ask him what he values in his home. 

Proverbs 31 Woman

My husband and I both appreciate the time I spend making yummy goodies.

Maybe  a clean home is of high importance to your husband but you are not skilled in that area. See about hiring help. The Proverbs 31 woman didn’t go it alone, Proverbs 31:15 even mentions she had servants. So see, it is alright to ask for help. Maybe you can’t afford a housekeeper, but perhaps you have a friend who is gifted in organization. Maybe she would be willing to help you set up a system that would work for you and your family.

Ultimately this is probably the biggest suggestion I can give you. Find inspiration from your spouse and then from others on what will work for your family. If you are putting your effort into areas that your spouse doesn’t value and you are completely missing what he does value then you are setting yourself up for burnout and contention.

I am not saying that if he doesn’t see the value in cleaning then it shouldn’t be done, what I am saying is perhaps then it doesn’t have to be perfect. I am also want to remind you that you don’t have to do everything alone. Ask for help. Last and certainly not least, don’t forget who you are working for in your day. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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