Today I’m posting over at Weekend Kindness, Give a Little Extra Love. Check out my list of easy ways to bless your spouse, and while you’re there, spend some time browsing–there’s some great posting going on over there!
Cowboy Up or Go Sit in the Truck
Great quote, isn’t it? I sure don’t want to spend my life ‘sitting in the truck’, missing out because I’m not willing to get my hands dirty. And getting your hands dirty is part of friendship, marriage, parenting, Christianity. It takes work.
It’s hard. It’s rewarding. It’s even fun with the right attitude.
Come over to Weekend Kindness this morning and read about how my girls and I had to ‘cowboy up’ for hubby a week ago. Literally.
Then come back here and share an unforgettable time when you had to ‘cowboy up’…
Have a great day!
Marriage: Serving With Gladness
You’ve heard that true happiness is found in serving others? We Christians especially should cultivate this bit of wisdom, following Christ’s example. Because when the focus is on us and our desires, we’re wide open to discontent and heartache, and the resentment that often follows repeated disappointments.
Of course, so much depends on your personality. Sloughing off hurtful things has always come easily to me. I remember telling my childhood friend Myrtle, at age 5, that I was so mad at her I was never going to speak to her again! Less than an hour later I was back at her house making peace. And because of that, I realized at a tender age, that it was never worth it to harbor resentment.
It’s served me well in marriage. Again, my dh rarely shows his frustration, but the times that he has directed it at me it’s been easier to immediately forgive and dismiss it as him having a bad day, than to bite back and turn the whole evening into a tension-smoldering reactive ground zero.
Here’s an example of how “serving others” has grown and stretched me in my marriage. You see, I realized on our first anniversary that I’d made an awful mistake. Huge. And I beat up on hubby for letting me make such a blunder.
Unbeknownst to me, we were married during the busiest time of year for a cowboy: cattle shipping. For you non-rural types, this is the time of year when all the pasture-fed cattle are rounded up and shipped off on cattle trucks to feedlots or elsewhere. On any given day from mid-July to early August, my cowboy will be up at 3:30 A.M. and put in a long morning/afternoon and then be completely wiped out that evening. This usually happens on our anniversary, and the weeks before and the weeks after. On our first few anniversaries, I saddled up and went with him. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen him that day. Not much fun, as you can imagine, spending your anniversary and birthday all alone back at the house.
We’ve tried celebrating our anniversary on August 24th, halfway between his birthday and mine, but we usually forget. And now that we have 3 children, my oldest is the one that gets to saddle up and go with dad, though she did stay home this year and spoiled me with cards, homemade gifts and even made me Pecan Blondies and hot tea and told me to grab a book and enjoy myself.
Due to finances this year, I told dh not to get me anything. We didn’t even exchange cards, but he kissed me good-bye (early!) and wished me a happy birthday. I proceeded to be blessed all day by my three sweet girls, and we made a double batch of BBQ meatballs and scalloped potato casserole and an apple pie—all daddy’s favorites. We even had fun using the extra scraps of pie crust to make experimental apricot tarts.
My hubby got home from work, took a quick power nap and headed to his leather shop. He’s got a project and a deadline. Sad to say, it took three radio calls from me to his shop till he could wind things up and come over for our special supper. Everything was dished up and guess what? The phone rang.
I admit to being a little ticked at this point. After all, the food was getting cold! But it was someone calling in response to an ad we’d placed for several goats and border collies, so we girls sat at the table and played the “patience” game with toddler.
Finally he was able to end the call and come eat. And his enjoyment of the meal was gift enough for me. I knew he regretted his schedule keeping him from being with me, and our debts keeping us from splurging. I also know his love language is serving, and he’d taken time the night before to help me on a project of my own that had been waiting for his expertise.
In our first year of marriage, an anniversary spent without him, or without something special marking it would have found me seriously upset. Mostly because we all have a set idea of what husbands and wives are supposed to do on their anniversaries. We want this because it makes us feel cherished and appreciated. It is a good thing to celebrate every year of marriage! But in my situation, I’ve had to learn to look at the whole picture and realize that one day a year to celebrate isn’t near enough. Why hinge everything upon that one special day wishing for what you can’t have when every other day of the year I’m giving thanks for the wonderful man God gave me?
True happiness isn’t dependent on money, things, or big chunks of quality time. It’s in the everyday little things and in keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
1 Peter 4:11, “…whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (NASB)
Psalm 100:2, “Serve the Lord with gladness…”
Today is my 14th wedding anniversary! (And 32nd birthday…)
So long ago! Before dh’s hair thinned and when mine was gray-free. We were married in my grandparent’s small country Baptist church by my dad. This picture was taken before the afternoon ceremony.
I remember being worried that my intended wouldn’t be able to make it. July of ’93 was the summer of the huge flooding, and our future home, where he was staying, was surrounded by water. He reassured me that he’d take a boat, or ride horseback but he wouldn’t miss out on our wedding day!
Friday while we decorated the church, and all Saturday morning, I couldn’t get the oldie Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups out of my head…
Spring is here
The sky is blue
Birds all sing
As if they knew
Today’s the day
We’ll say I do
And we’ll never be lonely anymore
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re
Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re
Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re
Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love
Finally two o’clock arrived. It’s not Princess Diana’s, but check out that train…
Now check out this couple, and chalk the cheesey smile to my poor cheeks hurting sooo bad! Couldn’t stop smiling all day!
The basement of the church was flooded, so we had to change our reception plans at the last minute and head over to another church to celebrate.
This is me and my maid of honor and best friend, Teresa, who sometimes comments here…we girls crushed into the front seat of my husband’s truck for the ride to the reception.
Can you tell it was the happiest day of my life?
I just love wedding pics. If it doesn’t infringe on your privacy, if you’re married and have a blog, I’d love to see a wedding picture of you and your honey. Just think of it as a “Happy Birthday to Mary” present. And for my non-blogging friends, I’d take one via email too… 🙂
You know, it could be the most fun meme yet!
The Way You Do
Crazy man of mine…last night I was tippy-toeing, standing on the bottom bunk, reaching up to hug our daughter good-night and before I know it, dh has me sitting on his shoulders and is waltzing me around the room! Scary, me almost 32 and him 35! All I have to say is, it’s a good thing we have 9 foot ceilings!
Then tonight, on the way home from town, we sang Lean On Me and The Way You Do The Things You Do and many other oldies to a tape he made me when we were dating…
He’s so much fun. I’m so glad I married me a laid-back one. Debi Pearl would label him a Mr. Steady. He’s my broom, as I tell our girls, ’cause, of course, as the song says, he swept me off my feet.
On two instances this weekend, I was in conversations in which the wives were sharing how upset their husbands got when asked to do anything. I think we all could find something to share when conversations take these turns…but to what end? Talking about it, only feeds the negativity, the discontentment. And for each of these “so-called” negative attributes, there’s often the flip side to our spouse that is pretty dandy if you ask me. Take my dh’s laid-back personality. Things don’t bother him. (Believe me, this can be a good or bad quality!)
Anyway, I came home after those chats, thinking about how wonderful my husband is. Yes, he’s got his faults (don’t we all?), but 14 years with him as well as observing other marital relationships, have taught me that happiness isn’t about perfect yards, and pristine properties. Nor is it about dwelling on the various truck skeletons we have decorating the premises, or the falling down barn we have yet to finish salvaging.
It’s the knowing that between you, your spouse and God, things are covered. There’s trust, respect, love, and a little bit of fun to keep things sweet. No. Matter. What.
It’s a Hard Rock Country Life
My dad likes to say that God intended for man to live the agricultural lifestyle. After all, cities were first mentioned in relation to Cain’s destination after murdering Abel. Right? So I embrace the country life…it’s a healthy, wholesome, back-breaking way of life…
Think of the pioneers, and how they toiled carving the land into their own little chunks of heaven.
My topic today is on post-hole digging, because that’s what hubby and I did yesterday. The main deck stands, built and railed. We’re now ready to start on the “play area” which will extend from the main deck. Starting place? Four more post-holes coming up…wish it were as easy as it sounds.
Digging post holes is hard work, especially in our yard! Dig about nine inches down and you inevitably hit rock. Dh is an old hand at this, in fact, he’s built a T-shaped, taller-than-me,
back rock breaker that when heaved high enough and slammed into the ground–rock pieces dent, then puff powder, and eventually break into pieces that you can fish out with what we call “jobbers”. Two or more feet (however much of this you can take)
down into the ground and you can finally set the 4×4″ post, level it, and pour concrete…
We did this for hours. Taking turns with the tools. Seeing who could get their hole the deepest. Marital bonding. Really!
Sore shoulders and back aside, another benefit to country life is that your children grow up unafraid of getting their hands dirty.
Example: My toddler brought an earthworm to me, and while watching it twine around her index finger she said: “Isn’t it so cute, Mommy?”
Yes, it’s the hard rock life for us.
Toddlers in the Master Bedroom, Q&A
In response to a letter from a friend questioning my comment here once that we still shared our room with our toddler:
Do they ever sleep with you?
We’ve never let our babies/toddlers sleep with us in our bed, only on certain occasions when they were really sick and I was getting up and down and up and down, etc, with them anyway. Dh was always concerned even those few times would mean they’d forever expect to be in our bed, but my toddler would ask a couple times, “Sleep in your bed, Mommy?” and I’d say “no, it’s the middle of the night, go back to sleep” (this always happened one or two nights after she was sufficiently well to sleep on her own again!) and she’d grump just a bit but drift back off to sleep. In her OWN bed! Lol.
Was it hard transitioning them to their own room after they’d shared a room with you?
I think my answer to the first question is why it wasn’t a big deal with any of ours to move them out of our room. For my oldest, she really didn’t care at one year old that we weren’t around anymore. We’d always gone to bed after her, and gotten up before her, so she didn’t miss our “presence”. My second (middle) child was closer to 15 months when we moved her into oldest’s room on a mattress on the floor. Oldest didn’t want to give up her youth bed yet, and we hadn’t yet built the bunk beds. For my middle child the transition was exciting–to be in big sister’s room! They never shared a bed either. To get them to go to sleep, I did resort to letting them listen to one tape/CD of Christian music or stories. They take turns, one night one of them gets to choose, the next the other one gets her pick. (Oldest always picks Ray Boltz, youngest Rebecca St. James)
On transitioning from a crib to bed:
I had a friend (older wiser mom) tell me when I first transitioned my oldest out of a crib to a toddler bed, to not allow ANY getting out of bed unless she called me and asked permission. This sounds harsh, but it’s amazing! It worked great for both my older girls. I just had a serious talk with them about how they weren’t to get out of bed AT ALL unless they called me in and asked first, and it had to be for a good reason. This kept them in bed at naptime (I also had a monitor in their room till toddler was born and I needed it in the other bedroom!) and at bedtime. Plus, they learned to tell time at a VERY young age. I told my oldest when the clock hands had gone around two times (for a long time they took 2 hr naps, w/o complaint–again listening to books on tape from library, or music) she could get up. Before I knew it, she was saying, “Okay, I can get up when it’s 2 o’clock? Or 3:30?” (at 3 years old that’s pretty cool. I can’t imagine my toddler now being able to do the same thing!)
Of course, my second child needed a couple spankings to get it into her head that she had to stay in bed during naptime (mom meant business) unless of course she had to use the bathroom. They’d always call “Mommmy, I need you…” anyway…that’s how it worked for us.
Lastly, what about romance?
There’s no lack of it at our house. For one thing, romance doesn’t always have to take place in the bedroom…
Any other questions?
How Do You Show Love?
I hope I haven’t exhausted this topic! Here are two places I’d like to recommend to couples wanting ideas on how to daily be a blessing to their spouse. For men, go to The Generous Husband. Women, go check out The Generous Wife. Paul and Laurie are a Christian husband and wife that take marriage seriously. I’ve enjoyed an email subscription to The Generous Wife emails for several years now. Here’s a little description taken from Laurie’s Generous Wife page:
Everyday you’ll receive an idea geared to bless your husband (a mix of romantic, practical, sexual, relational, and spiritual). Use the ideas that will work for you and use the rest to spark your imagination in looking for ways to bless your husband.”
Then, I came across another post on this very same subject over at Girl Talk. Janelle Bradshaw wrote, Cherish Him–and it’s full of practical ideas on what husbands say their wives do to make them feel cherished! I especially liked this one Janelle shared, taken from chapter two in the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney:
â€œEach time Karin catches my eye in public with a smile and subtle wink, or greets me with a warm embrace upon my arrival home from work, or hangs on my arm when we go out on a date, the message comes through loud and clear: â€˜I enjoy being with you and want you to know that I love you.â€™â€
So we’ve talked about how your loved ones show love to you, but how do you show your love?
Me and Her
She is compulsive.
I am impulsive.
She likes it hot.
I like it cold.
She is neat.
I’m a slob.
Andy Rooney says, “A’s marry Z’s”
But we are in different alphabets.
She says, “Down.”
I say, “Up.”
She is night.
I am day.
Living together is hard.
Living without her would be impossible.
Doesn’t this just bring back newlywed memories? I’d make the bed and tuck the sheet-ends in, he’d get in bed and tug it all out again. I’d have supper ready at 5 pm each night, he wouldn’t be in from choring till 7. (I’ve adjusted our mealtimes). I’d fix veggies alongside every meal, a definite change for him. (He adjusted). I drank water only. He drank a little tea with his sugar. Now I drink coffee and he’s water only. Go figure.
I want to hear some of your quirks, whether they were newlywed adjustments or things your friends/spouses still find amusing…share share away…what annoyed you, what did you do that annoyed others?
Only the things you can now smile about, please!
Sometimes it’s the Little Things
Let’s talk about love and marriage…specifically, how do you show your spouse you love him or her? What are some of the ways he/she makes you feel loved?
For me, it’s the little things. When my husband cleans up our especially messy toddler after supper, or when he rinses the tub out after his bath…these considerate gestures speak volumes. They tell me he appreciates me, wants to help me, doesn’t want to make more work for me. Which makes me want to do more for him!
Of course, the best times are when he hangs out in the kitchen with me as I fix a meal, or calls me during the day to tell me he just had to hear my voice…
I’ll never forget our first anniversary. Turns out he’d been paying attention in our dating days when I pointed out a gorgeous arrangement of peach and red colored roses at a department store. *I’d* even forgotten I’d gushed about the color combination. That was almost 13 years ago–that first anniversary–and guess what? Those petals have aged well, though the once vibrant colors have wrinkled and faded.
The little things are important to the big picture. Surround yourself with enough of them, and the hurtful things are easier to shrug off and forgive. Sometimes you have to look for them, but they’re usually there if your heart has eyes to see. And with that said, here’s a quote for you:
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Robert Quillen
Your turn, what little things really get to your heart?