Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Captain, My Captain ... and God as the Greatest Psychologist

Okay, some feedback from yesterday's post reminded me that you may not know me well enough for me to not explain myself. Yesterday's post spoke of me threatening and forbidding my husband and being critical of him. That's wrong of me, obviously, and partly tongue in cheek!

And actually in our house, my husband is the boss. We believe from a look at some parts of the Bible that he is the leader of our home. We also believe that we are equal, and that both of our feedback is important. He has the hard job of loving me and the kids in the sacrificial way that Jesus loves his church -- thus putting my, our, needs above his own, and dying to what he wants for the benefit of our welfare. Whew! Hard job, huh?!

So in any hard decisions we may have to make, my husband and I talk over the issue, give feedback, weigh each other's ideas and then choose. In the hard cases where we don't know, I love resting in the fact that this is his choice. Isn't it great that God is a master psychologist, giving marriage advice from around 62 AD that counselors today say make for a fulfilling marriage?

And me? My marriage job in obeying God is attempting to meet my husband's psychological needs of being respected. By me being his biggest fan, by my believing in him and cheering him on (giving honest feedback), and submitting to his lead in the dance of life... I am his wife, his lover and his friend.

As a passionate independent woman, I sometimes forget and take the lead in the dance of life. Several years ago, I chose an affectionate pet name for my husband as a reminder for my heart of who is leading our dance. "Captain." Our teens at youth group love it, and grin at us when it comes up. "Captain" is a natural part of my conversation now and a term of love.

So, yes, yesterday's post was showing my wrong attitude then, and being honest about my struggles. Thanks for stopping by, for reading, for growing with me. I appreciate you being here with me. Thanks for your great feedback and support!

What about you? What pet names do you have for your man and why?

(P.S. For you history buffs out there... know where the "Captain, my captain" term came from?)

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Fine, But Like a Spy!"

I begged him. I cajoled.
I bargained.
I threatened and forbid him.
Finally I caved, "Fine, but like a spy!"

Tiptoeing away, my husband braved the gauntlet.

For the last four weeks, midnight fiascos have been occurring at our house. My family's late night trips to the bathroom are waking up our three year old. Shortly after any bathroom excursions, no matter how stealthy, my preschooler starts to cry and pads over to knock sleepily at our door. It takes several trips to get him to fall back to sleep again then.That has turned me into a cranky, Gestapo-like monitor.

"Slide the door to the right as you open it to avoid the loud budging noise," I caution. "Turn the door handle as it latches to be absolutely silent," I warn. "Hey, you tripped on the potty chair!" I hiss as my poor husband returns.

Yes, I have become critical and scary at night. All actions are rated against the idea of being As Silent As a Spy! Leave no trace, make no sound, is a common theme at night now. After a month of interrupted sleep though, I am weary and not as gracious as I should be.

God, in his humor, decided to take my pride down a little. Two nights ago I was noiselessly maneuvering the hall and bathroom (feeling haughty, I admit), when suddenly my toe hit the rubber door stopper. "BWOnnnnnnnngggg!" reverberated the corked stopper loudly in the silent house.

Climbing into bed, I reached over to touch my husband's cheek. "I bet you laughed at that," I murmured humbly. He grinned in the darkness, and I apologized, brushing his face with my lips. "I'm sorry I'm such a jerk at night. I'll try to get better at that."

What about you? What is God gently, humorously, teaching you? 

The winner of last week's coffee card giveaway is AmySaunders. Amy, email me your address so I can send you that coffee card. Congratulations!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Win a Free Coffee Card! Share Your Back to School Ideas...

 Last night after a coffee date, my husband and I strolled through the Back to School corner at Target. Smooth-glide pens, unsharpened pencils, piles of notebooks or three ring binders, and boxes of untouched crayons excite me with their possibilities.

School starts in 13 days. While we are savoring every last day of summer now, once school starts I like to inspire my kids for learning. We've raised live butterflies and tadpoles, painted family crests, and decorated journals. Plus each year, I like to lay out the new school books, notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, and art supplies to intrigue and draw in my children's interest for the year.

What about you? Let's swap creative ideas for getting kids and moms excited about going back to school. What do you do to raise excitement for going back to school for your kids? Or, what did your mom do that got you excited for school each fall? I would love to hear your ideas.

In fact, as a thank you gift for your  ideas, I'll enter your name in a hat to buy one person coffee for the day. Here's how to win
1.) Post your answer in the comments below to get your name in the hat.
2.) Optional: Answer this question on your blog also with a link to my blog there for another chance to win.
3.) Optional: After commenting with your answer here, click Share to Facebook to post this site with your good idea on your facebook wall too.
Three ways to earn your name in the hat for a coffee card. Let me know what you do in the comments section below so I can get your name listed as many times as possible. I'll post the winner on Monday.

Let's encourage each other as our families go back to school.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Add Sizzle to Your Love Life

Admit it. Your heart thumped.

The first time he held your hand; the first time he leaned in close to kiss you -- his lips brushing yours, his breath warm on your face.

Pause now. Glance over. See him across the room? Forget the dirty dishes, the toddler toys on the floor, and just look at him. Those eyes, that profile, those strong tan hands.

In my "Microwaves vs. Ovens: Issues of Sexuality in Marriage" message, I use research from several psychologists and authors to tackle the complexities of passion, to build a strong vibrant marriage. But for now, click here to download this fun, easy way to add some sizzle to your marriage today. It's free. Add some romance and  passion tonight!

For you homeschooling families that my husband and I will be with at the Grindstone Lake Bible Camp homeschooling retreat this weekend, I am eager to get to know you. There is a special download just for you here too. Simply click on the "Add Some Sizzle: Homeschool" version.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Weekend

What was your weekend like? What grabbed your heart, your eyes, your attention? Where did you see God's beauty today? Post below, if you'd like. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sun-splashed Trees: A Discipline of Thanks

Abba, I bask in the beauty of your creation, drinking in the fresh morning breeze through the window, the bobbing lemon and violet pansies in the windowbox, and tall sun-splashed leafy trees against an immaculate blue sky. Hot coffee beside me, happy family's voices echo nearby, distant traffic noises float on the summer breeze, evoking a surprisingly sentimental comfort. The sheer curtains in front of me breathe slowly in and out by the morning breeze, and my own breathing slows.

Giving thanks -- this new discipline to learn and practice daily, hourly. I forget so often. Father, forgive me, teach me, transform me, renew my mind. I thank you for your summer beauty in a Duluth neighborhood; for sandy beaches, sunscreen scents and picnics near the sound of waves. Thank you for free bike rental coupons and laughing, shrieking adventures in a single surrey and a red deuce coup on the board walk in Canal Park and on the lighthouse pier. Thank you for shared jokes with my sixteen year old as he confidently steered and veered our single surrey bike. Thank you for an unabashed three year old's stomping in warm summer rain puddles before an audience on the pier, and my tinge of sadness when he noticed them and shyly stopped, hiding his face from their friendly smiles. Thank you for lovely evenings and meals with extended family, board games at the table, movie nights in the living room, and tall glasses of home brewed sun tea with freshly picked mint leaves in abundance.

Pansies, Justice, and Spilled Humanity

Hot fair trade coffee in my black and steel mug. Daniel's discarded last orange slice beside me, in fragrance fresh. A cluster of cheerful lavender and tangerine pansies crowd a short goblet down the counter from me. I journal and read God's word while my kids sleepily watch Ponyo in the adjoining room.

Cheerful harmony failed, flopped miserably, on the drive up here the other day, resulting in tears, shame, and silence. Apologies, hugs, whispered committments throughout the day, a resolve to get more sleep and now a need to get into God's word. Chapter five in Isaiah is intriguing me right now. God made his perfect vineyard (Israel and Judah, i.e His People. Now we qualify too for future issues), giving them everything they would need to flourish and produce good results and fruit. But when he looked back at his garden of delight, looking for two things... he didn't find them. He came looking for:
-justice but found bloodshed
-righteousness but found distress.

Cool play on words here that ryhme, the study notes say. Justice (mishpat) rhymes with bloodshed (mispah) and righteousness (sedaqah) ryhmes with distress (se'aqah).

So God looks on his people searching for justice and righteousness. Huh. Wow, we (our country, church, families, ME) must fail him so often.

Lord, where do you look for justice in my life and home, yet all you see is "bloodshed," spilled life, ebbing humanity, hurt and pain? Where do you look for righteousness in my life and home, yet find only distress? Wow, convicting, obvious. Lord, renew me, transform me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Leadership Teams and Seeking God's Leading

At work today as the church Body Life Coordinator, I have been brainstorming the small group line ups for this fall. My desire is to not simply create events for events' sake in today's overly-busy world, but to prayerfully choose what will best benefit my church body. My desire is for them to be connected with each other as a church family, to grow, learn, serve, be transparent, and to support each other as we all strive to love and serve Christ more. So I seek out feedback from the congregation and seek out my Abba Daddy's heart, wanting to hear His voice.

As summer winds down to a close, I imagine that your women's Leadership team meetings are kicking into last minute high gear too. If you have one or two last spots to fill for your speakers 2011-2012 lineup, let me offer you first pick of a brand new workshop for this year. Or feel free to use any of my other messages.

Preschoolers: Intentional Parenting
By request, a workshop on parenting our preschoolers and toddlers with a larger purpose in mind. With the high energy of constant “Why’s?” and “No, Don’t Touch that!,” it’s too easy to simply parent reactively, or in pure survival mode.  We have all done that. Take this chance to sit back, peak into God’s word, and get the larger purposes involved in parenting preschoolers and toddlers. Walk away with handy tips to diffuse tantrums, enable choices, retrain rude mouths, and build peaceful sibling relationships. Plus be inspired anew to create a sense of awe and wonder for our kids’ Creator! 

Contact me and my speaker board at (763) 780-9812 if you are interested. In the meantime, may you and I both enjoy sitting at the feet of our Abba/Daddy.