Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm on a Mission

I'm on a mission to simplify my life. Because it is the easiest, I've started with the computer. I unsubscribe to a dozen of the blogs/sites I was getting updates from. I trimmed my Face Book friend list down to 200 (but I'm going to thin it even more later today). I have found that too much of my time is being taken with things that don't matter in this life. I feel guilty about not keeping up with this blog because I truly believe God has called me to uplift women as they journey through life.

The next area I am going to work on is the office/schoolroom. The schedule for school seems to be working well, but I'm not sure about the paperwork aspect of school. I am finding it difficult to keep up on grading the papers (maybe it is because I help them work through the problems so I don't feel the urgency to grade?). I'm tired of my desk looking so messy and I feel like I waste time looking for things that should be organized.

After that, I will move on to going through some boxes that have become catch-alls whenever we need to move a room for some reason or another. I have a box of things from when we painted our room and moved things around. I haven't gotten them back out, so do we really need what is in there? I have a couple of box from when we moved the girls from their two rooms into the one. Again, do we need what is in there? These are all things I need to consider and I am sure if I got rid of a few things, the extra space would be therapeutic.

In the mean time, I'm going to share some posts from other bloggers that I have found inspiring and/or thought provoking. These are from the blogs that I am constantly impressed with so I have kept the subscriptions to them.

On the importance of working through problems in a marriage:

Guarding and Growing Your Marriage

How do you measure success?: Being careful about the "small things" in life:

Things That Seem So Small

Working through those tough seasons in a marriage:

Loving a Stranger and Being Willing to Change

I hope you take some time to check out these posts and are encouraged by them as I was.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home: The State of the Home

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home: The State of the Home: "'The state of a nation is always determined by the state of the home.' -Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, Biblical Femininity If Chr..."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Puddles In The Path (a message for brides) -by "Aunt Elizabeth"

As a young bride-to-be, you stand in awe of what lies before you. You wonder, is this really happening to me? Is it really true that our marriage plans have been announced in church, and our wedding is within weeks of taking place?

Yes, Mary, it is true. You will soon be facing the biggest change you have yet encountered in life. There have been other milestones to remember--the first day of school, and the last. Your first signing after you turned sixteen and became part of the youth group, your baptism, and then the letter that started your friendship with Aaron. Your life has also been sprinkled with other memorable events such as funerals, weddings, reunions, trips with your family. I think you would say your life thus far has been a mixture of joys and sorrows, hills and valleys, happy times and seasons of trials.

Up until now you were a part of the home your parents provided for you. You were a big influence in that home, but the responsibilities lay on older and wiser shoulders. Your parents laid the plans and, to the best of their ability, sought to provide a safe haven for the children in their care.

Once you and Aaron have spoken your vows and pledged your lives to each other, you will leave the shelter of that home to start a new one. Many brides look forward to this as an exciting adventure, and I trust you do too. No doubt you and Aaron have prayed about this, and made plans and set ideals for this new home. You look forward to having your dreams become reality.

All this is fine. It is right and proper to look forward to this change. At the same time, it is important for you to realize that every path in this life has its rocky places to cross and its puddles to traverse. Marriage is no exception. By being aware of the puddles you may meet, hopefully you can steer around them instead of plunging right through them. A muddied marriage is not bliss!


Learning to communicate is one of the most important lessons couples need to learn early in marriage. Up until now your communication has been through short visits with each other and exchanging letters. This is about to change. You will be sharing a home and spending much more time with each other. From now on you will meet in your everyday clothes and your everyday manners.

It is good to remember that you are two different individuals, having been brought up in separate homes. There are bound to be puddles in the path you have chosen to travel together. That which was strictly forbidden in your home may have been accepted in Aaron's, and vice versa. With God's help you must seek a happy medium you are both comfortable with.

There are so many things for married couples to agree and disagree about. Will meals be on a strict schedule, or whenever? Will the tools we use be put away, or is it all right to let them lay wherever we used them? How often will we invite guests into our home? How much of our income can be used for groceries? Will we eat store-bought cereal, or homemade? These are only a few of the issues you need to discuss and agree upon in order to reach a comfortable routine. It will not happen overnight, and it will take a good bit of patience and flexibility until a pattern has been set.

Wholesome communication between marriage partners is more than talking things over. We also communicate with actions and attitudes. when Aaron gets involved in a project and doesn't show up at dinnertime, don't stay in the house and stew about his failure to keep the schedule you had agreed upon. Go out and see how things are going for him. Ask him if you can help in any way. Instead of telling him in a no-nonsense way that dinner is ready and waiting, it is better to ask if he has time now to come and eat.

Go out between meals with a drink or a snack, or simply to say "hi." Take an interest in his work. Notice his progress and comment on it.

Never forget that you are the helpmeet. If you feel Aaron needs encouragement in dropping or developing certain habits, offer it cautiously and kindly. He is not a child needing correction, not is he your brother to whom you did not hesitate to give a piece of your mind. He is your husband, the man you are to look upto and reverence. The more you can do this, the easier he will find it to fill his role--that of loving his wife as he loves his own body.

You might find it hard to imagine that the time will come when you are tempter to respond to Aaron with harsh words. Don't yield to this temptation. Choices in marriage are like an echo. If you speak sharp words, you will very likely hear sharp words in return. If you bit your tongue when you are upset and wait to talk until you can speak softly and kindly and sensibly, you will likely hear the same in return. Whatever the situation, you will regret any harsh words you utter.

There is another peril you must avoid. If there is anything more damaging than sharp words in marriage, it is no words at all over a length of time. The "silent treatment" is a tactic too many women use to get their own way.

I heard recently that in 2001 there was a couple in New York City who had a disagreement. They had not spoken to each other for three days. On September 11th, the wife went to work as usual, with the rift still between them. Her office was in one of the Twin Towers that were destroyed that day, and she never returned home. The husband was devastated and lived with remorse and guilt, but it was too late to make amends.

We want to learn from such incidents. There have been happenings closer to home where the husband and wife parted in their usual way, but one or the other was called into eternity before the time they had expected to be reunited. Let's bear in mind that life and marriage are given to us one day at a time without any promise for the future. Therefore we want to cultivate good feelings and, as much as possible, live in peace. Your goal should be to always part in such a way that you eagerly look forward to meeting again.

The Heart of the Home

God smiles on happy homes. He delights when people live together in harmony. In spite of how you feel now, happiness in marriage does not come automatically. It takes constant and continued effort to unselfishly feed and nourish the love so essential in everyday life.

The thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is often called the love chapter. It could also be called "A guide to a happy marriage." Study it. Return to it. Meditate on each verse to remind yourself that your love for Aaron will at times cost you something. If you truly love him, you will be patient and kid, unselfish, not easily provoked, not jealous, not proud, and not touchy.

In verse eleven, Paul reminds his readers that when he was a child, he spoke as a child, thought as a child, and understood as a child, but when he became a man, he put away these childish things. When you and I were young, Mary, we lacked maturity. We tried to push the jobs we didn't like onto someone else. We were prone to look out for ourselves. If we could get away with it, we pouted when things did not go our way. Now we are no longer children; marriage is supposed to be an indication of maturity. Ask God to help you grow in His graces and to leave behind all that is childish. Your happiness depends on this.

While man is to be the head of the home, the woman is the heart. Blessed is the wife who can create warmth in the home. When Aaron returns to the house from his labors, greet him with a warm smils, a warm house and a warm meal. The food you serve does not need to be fancy or elaborate, as long it is seasoned with the joy of having Aaron there to share it. The wise Solomon realized this he said it is "better to have a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" (Prov. 15:17)

It is always inspiring to visit a newly established home. The dishes are shiny, the towels thick and thirsty, and the bed sheets crisp. This is symbolic of your stage in marriage. Though many others have traveled this way, you have not. Take advantage of this time and enjoy it, but realize it is a passing phase. Hopefully as the newness wears off, you will become more relaxed and more comfortable. It has been said that the normal couple's honeymoon lasts a year, and then it is replaced by something better! May it be for you!

Do not expect perfection

regardless of what you tin now, Aaron is not perfect. At about the time you begin to notice his faults, he will realize his bride has shortcomings too. Therefore, you must not expect your marriage to be without flaws. Just keep in mind that it does not need to be perfect in order to be wonderful.

The very first marriage, instituted by God Himself, left some things to be desired. Eve led her husband to sin, and when he was confronted about it, he did not hesitate to put the blame on his wife. Many, many marriages since then have been muddied by partners who have waded into the same puddle. The wife makes excuses like, "if only he would take his responsibility serious..." or "He will have to do his part first before I can stay in my role."

It is only in storybooks that husbands are ideal, always doing what is right and sweet. In real life, they are very human. They sometimes do and say things without thinking. So do wives, in spite of their best intentions. The English language has provided us with words to remedy such situations. Use them freely, without waiting on Aaron to use them first.

Since no marriage is perfect, it is unwise to put your relationship under a microscope. There are many trifles in marriage that must be overlooked. Life is not a game in which we keep score of things that happened in the past. Always and never are words to avoid. "You're always late for meals," and "You never put your things back where they belong," are exaggerations that should not be thought, much less spoken.

We wives like to be on the receiving end of expression of love and appreciation. Making the meals, doing the laundry, keeping the house in order, and the countless other tasks that go with our role tend to become tiresome. We like it when our efforts are noticed and appreciated. Remarks such as, "Thanks for the good dinner," brighten our day and make it all worthwhile. But what if our efforts go unnoticed?

Once again, we can set an example. Perhaps we should start expressing our appreciation. Who brings home the paycheck, providing funds for our needs? Who hitches up the horse when we go away? Little tokens like carrying out the garbage and filling the woodbox should not go unnoticed. A hearty "thank you!" is in order, not only for special favors but also for the regular duties our men perform. Many marriages have suffered because partners took each other for granted.

Other puddles to avoid

it will take time to establish habits and routines that both of you are comfortable with. Give yourself time and wait in patience and confidence. Misunderstandings in marriage are more frequent in the first years, but with God's help they can be overcome. As the wife and helpmeet, your role is to be as flexible and agreeable as your conscience allows.

We women are subject to swinging moods. There are days when we do not feel as perky and cheerful as we would like. Don't leave Aaron in the dark when this happens. Assure him that it is not his fault and that you simply need a little time to get over it. But then see that you do! If you have something on your mind that is bothering you, share it. He will want to know.

Be loyal to your husband. He is your best friend. You will share secrets with him that are too precious to share with anyone else. Never let anyone-not your mother or your favorite sister or your good friend--ever get between yourself and your husband. Satan delights in such. This is especially true when you have daughters old enough to confide in. Many marriages have landed on the rocks because mothers and daughters stuck together against the will of the husband and father. By the time the children arrive on the scene, husband and wife should be so close to each other that the sharpest wedge can not force them apart.

Being too busy and having too many debts can cause conflicts between husband and wife. In the times we live in, it is almost impossible to purchase property without depending on borrowed money. Sometimes investments are made that don't pay off. No one can always make the right decisions and there are bound to be losses. Once again, you are the helpmeet. Stand by your husband, supports him, and be sympathetic when things don't go well. Rejoice with him when they do. Your confidence in him will make a big difference in his confidence in himself, and in his eventual success.

Contentment with godliness

The Apostle Paul in 1Timothy 6:6 states that contentment with godliness is great gain. Herein lies a challenge for all wives===to be content with the home and life her husband provides. In order to be truly content, we dare not look around and compare our husband with others. You will no doubt see couples who have a nicer house than you do. There will be men who earn more money than Aaron does, or who seem to have the gift of drawing a crowd of listeners when they have something to say. There are so many ways we can compare our husband or our marriage or our home with others, but doing so is not wise. The secret of true contentment is not adding to our possessions, but subtracting from our desires.

Let's not lose sight of what Paul says must go with contentment--godliness. The woman who fulfills her duties with reverence for God and her husband does herself and her family a big favor. The last chapter of Proverbs describes such a wife. Even though not all the verses fit the society we live in, many of them do. Verse 30 has an important message for all of us: "Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

My prayer for you, Mary, is that you will be such a woman and find true contentment in being Aaron's wife. Instead of focusing on all the puddles in the path, you will at times pause in your life and absorb the wonder of it all. When Aaron was looking for a wife--a virtuous woman, whose price is far above rubies--from among many choices, he chose you! He saw in you someone with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Rise to the challenge Mary. With God's help, do all you can to bring sunshine into Aaron's life, for then the sun will shine on you , too, and on many other people around you.

What is better than sunshine to dry up puddles?

--Copied from Young Companion, September/October 2010, Pathway Publishers.