Pucker Up!

Pucker Up

Did you know today is Lips Appreciation Day?

Mmm… sounds like my kind-of holiday.

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and text this to your spouse:

I like your lips! ;o) 

Try one of these flirty messages (I googled ‘kissing quotes’ and these are some of my favorites):

  • Kissing burns 6.4 calories a minute. Wanna workout? (I’m thinking that maybe I might amp up the calories burned if kissing turns into a passionate makeout session.)
  • I seriously wouldn’t mind if you just grabbed my face and kissed me. That’d be great.
  • I hope you kiss me really hard when you see me.
  • Can I borrow a kiss? I promise I’ll give it back.
  • If kisses were snowflakes, I’d send you a blizzard.
  • I believe in kissing… a lot!

Why Kissing is Good For You* 

  • Kissing lowers your blood pressure. (I’m happy to oblige my husband in this department.) 
  • Kissing helps eliminate headaches and cramps. (Ladies, zero in on this one! For me, kissing + sex is a great way to get rid of the ‘I have a headache’ excuse because of the endorphins released. Speaking of endorphins… 
  • Kissing (and lovemaking) releases ‘happy hormones’ – serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. (Everyone wants to feel happy!) 
  • Kissing fights cavities. (And makes you want to smile and share those pearly-whites.) 
  • Kissing boosts self-esteem. (Who doesn’t want to be kissed by a man who loves you and what wonders that does to your confidence!)
  • Kissing burns a decent amount of calories. (I can’t think of a more pleasurable workout.) 
  • Kissing boosts your immunity. (Strengthening the body’s defenses with a little lip love sounds like a great idea!) 
  • Kissing reduces stress and helps naturally relax you. (Yes! I need more of this!)

Kissing Tips 

  • Talk about it. Tell your spouse what you like and don’t like. Tell him/her when and where you like kissed. Talk about your most memorable kisses and reenact some of those if you can.
  • Be creative. Explore and experiment with kisses and different places on the body. See more below.
  • Leave your lover wanting more. Make your kisses memorable.
  • Start slow and sweet and work it up. Dragging the kissing experience out will make the magic last longer.
  • Avoid being too aggressive. Nothing wrong with passion, but be sensitive to your partner.
  • Pull your spouse close to you. A quick peck is passionless. Pull him/her into your arms, squeeze them firmly, move your hands over the body or run them through his/her hair, and build the passion.

Explore and Experiment 

Lips aren’t the only body part that want in on the kissing action.

Try kissing…

  • the top of the head
  • the forehead
  • the eyelids
  • the ears
  • the nose
  • the cheeks
  • the neck
  • the shoulders
  • down the arms
  • the hands
  • the breasts/chest
  • the abdomen
  • the erogenous zones
  • the inner thighs
  • the legs
  • the tops of feet

Figure out where you like kisses, and spend extra time focusing on those parts.

Or try one of my favorite ideas – progressive kissing. It’s like a progressive dinner where you eat the appetizers, the soup and salad, the main course, and the dessert at different restaurants.

  1. Pick memorable spots from your hometown or places you both enjoy. Drive around town. Get out of your car. Wrap your spouse in your arms and kiss for at least a few minutes at each location.
  2. Can’t leave the house? Start kissing in the car in the driveway/garage, move to the kitchen, the living room couch, the laundry room atop the washer and dryer, down the hallway/stairs, on the bed, and finish in the shower/bathtub. Rearrange in any order you like.

Last minute advice?

A weekly make-out session is an absolute minimum suggestion for marriage, I believe, regardless of how long you’ve been married, and especially the longer we’ve been married. Kissing just for the sake of kissing and enjoying each other’s lips. Of course, if a steamy kiss leads to something-something if you know what I mean… enjoy!

In honor of this lovely holiday, celebrate kissing your spouse today! 

Share With Us: Did I miss any kisses? Tell us your favorite type of kiss with your husband, or give us a flirty lip-locking text idea.

This Week on Social Media: 

  • Facebook – Posts from the BHE archive to give you kissing ideas & weekly wrap-up 
  • Twitter – #flirttip #kissmore, #quickprayer, and more 
  • Pinterest – Featured Board: Sex & Intimacy

 

*Thanks to CNN Health, Mercola Health, Reader’s Digest Health, and WebMD for the kissing facts. 

5 Reasons Why I Struggle with Consistency… and Why That’s Okay

2-27 Why I Struggle with Consistency

The first rule of social media? Consistency.

The first rule of blogging? Consistency.

My reality? Inconsistent.

Do I want to be consistent? Absolutely.

Is that a reality in my life? No.

5 Reasons I Struggle with Inconsistency… and Why That’s Okay

1. I have a life.

Correction: I have a [full] life. I’m a full-time housewife. I’m a full time lover to an awesome husband. I’m a full-time graduate student. I’m a full-time writer. I’m a full-time blogger. I’m a full-time [sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, woman of faith, insert-whatever-else-here.]

Someone once told me “busyness is a lazy man’s excuse not to get anything done.” I’d argue that busyness makes me more productive in many areas, and makes me neglect other areas completely. I’d argue that my life is very full right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m lazy. It just means I have a life.

I’m pretty sure the Bible doesn’t say that I’m to bend over backwards and accomplish absolutely everything. Thanks God.

Why am I inconsistent? We live in a culture that glorifies “busy.” I’m choosing to slow down and realistically focus on a few aspects of my life at a time. 

2. I’m a creative.

I could just say “respect my creative process” and leave it at that, but I will invite you into my creative process instead. You’ve been warned. Welcome aboard!

  • I get some of my best ideas in the shower.
  • I get some of the best inspiration at 2 A.M.
  • Mid-day is the best time for me to work on analytical writing.
  • Mid-afternoon is the best time for me to work on blogging.
  • Mid-evening/overnight is the best time for me to work on creative writing.
    • If I followed this schedule, I’d never sleep/eat/use-the-restroom/see-my-husband/see-my-friends/see-the-light-of-day-ever! This is why I “go with the flow.”
  • Some days I can split my schedule in two – work on one thing in the morning and work on another thing in the afternoon.
  • Some days I completely work on homework, other days I completely focus on blogging, and still other days I write creatively. And sometimes these days turn into several days or even weeks.
  • I always carry a notebook with me.
  • I have OneNote on every technological device so I can immediately access notes anytime anywhere.
  • I have sticky notes completely covering my wall behind my desktop with random lines of dialogue, inspiration, blogging themes, story/chapter/blog post titles, bits of outlines, off-the-wall ideas, character names, to-do lists, to-buy lists, to-remember lists, date ideas, and the list goes on.
  • If I pull out my phone in the middle of a conversation or my notebook, I’m not ignoring you – I swear. I just don’t want to forget the bit-of-awesomeness I was just struck with, and I totally respect you and your time, and I want to devote my full attention to you so give me just 30 seconds to jot this down.
  • I sometimes forget to stop to eat, sleep, shower… (I know, yuck!)… exercise, get out of the house, etc.
  • If I seem to want to cut a conversation short, I’m probably doing something or thinking of something creative and I really don’t want to be rude and tune you out so can we talk later? You may need to remind me later two, three, or four times, but I promise I’ll get to you. I promise. Hold me to that. Please?

Why am I inconsistent? My creative process is chaotic at best, a total time-sucking tornado at worst. Don’t ask me to change. Just accept me as is flaws and all. 

3) I have a love-hate relationship with schedules.

  • I love ‘em because they keep me on track.
  • I hate ‘em because they stress me out, overwhelm me, and seem like a ridiculous stretch sometimes.
  • Some weeks it’s easy to get a post out on Wednesday, a tweet out every day, and a Facebook message mid-week.
  • Some weeks it’s next to impossible.
  • I try to post weekly on the blog, daily on Twitter, daily-ish on Facebook, etcetera. The emphasis is on try.
  • Sometimes I’ll publish a post like this on Saturday instead of Wednesday.
  • Sometimes I’ll skip a week and forget to tell you. Or two. It’s not because I’ve totally forgotten the blog, the social media sites, our friendship, my commitments, etc.

Why am I inconsistent? My schedule is out-of-sorts and I need time to reconfigure it.

4) I want to give you quality content.

Honest to God, this is truth.

  • Sometimes my best quality content comes out under pressure (like this post, for example).
  • Sometimes inspiration happens last minute [See #2].
  • Sometimes I need an extra day, or week, or month to perfect a piece.

Now here’s where I can say, “respect my creative process” because it’s in your best interest.

Why am I inconsistent? Because I don’t want to give you some half-hearted piece of junk just to “keep up with the schedule.” I really do want you to receive my absolute best work. Is this it? No, not really, but it’s my long-winded way of saying “I’m sorry” and “Give me grace.”

5) I want to be authentic.

That’s why I’m sharing all of this with you. This is me behind closed doors. This is my reality right now.

Will it change someday? Maybe.

Do I want it to change? I kind-of like the inconsistently consistent creative process of mine.

Why am I inconsistent? This is who God made me to be, and I accept, value, and love myself despite wanting to pull out my hair sometimes or wonder what in the world is going on in my brain. It’s in these moments of inconsistency that I grow, learn, and develop more into who God created me to be. I choose to embrace my wild, beautiful, raw, weird and wacky self. 

What does all this mean for you?

Welcome to my world. :0)

The first/best/most important thing you can do for me is pray. Pray for my inconsistently consistent creative process. Pray for my sanity. Pray for my husband’s sanity.

If you want to pitch in and ease the load, great! Call/email/text/message me and I’ll tell you how you can help. If I can’t find something for you to do, then just be patient and give me space.

I’m still here. If you need me, leave a comment. Shoot me an email or a text. Send a shout-out on Facebook or Twitter. Pick up the phone and call me. I can’t drop everything any minute of the day, but I’ll make time for you because you are important to me. You might need to drag me away from my keyboard, but trust me, I really do want to see you… and the sun… sometime.

Share With Us: Can you relate to this? For those of you creatives, what’s your process like?

This Week on Social Media: 

The Attitude and Habit of Prayer

The Attitude and Habit of Prayer

This has been an especially busy week for me. Honestly, it has been hard to find the “quiet time” with God like I need. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is hard to do when my brain and my schedule is all over the place. “Pray without ceasing.”

I think sometimes we miss the point. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Context, my friends.

The Attitude and Habit of Prayer  

  • Take joy in prayer. God doesn’t want prayer to be a drudgery or something we’re forced to do. He wants to hear from you. He delights in you. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Be filled with joy that the God of the Universe wants you to talk to Him. He’s excited when you check in. Prayer should flow from your heart as a natural response to the goodness, grace, and glory of God.
  • Prayer is a dialogue with God. There’s no right or wrong way to pray. God does see all, but He wants us to connect with Him throughout the day. Prayer is about speaking what’s on your heart. It can be a word, 3 words, 10 sentences, an hour long rant in the daily commute, or pages in a journal. The point is to start speaking and be open to the Spirit throughout the day.
  • Get in the habit of giving thanks immediately in the moment. On Monday, I was making a pasta sauce and I nearly set the kitchen on fire. Immediately, once the flames died on the stove, and I knew I was safe, I sent a quick prayer of relief and thanksgiving heavenward that I was okay and the house didn’t burn down. Prayer doesn’t just have to be after a scary situation. You can pray and praise God when that your teeth feel nice and clean after brushing, or you had a lovely kiss with your husband, or you woke up this morning. As my pastor says, God is the God of the marvelous and mundane.

6 Ways to Pray 

There’s no specific right or wrong way to pray when you approach God with a humble, reverent heart. Sometimes rituals can help you concentrate. I encourage you to try something new on this list to stretch yourself. You can work through each type on a specific day of the week and re-do one you particularly enjoyed on Sunday (or whatever your 7th day is). You can also just mix and match as you desire. Or pick one that works and do it consistently. Keep in mind the aforementioned principles: joy in prayer, dialogue in prayer (just start talking), and thanksgiving in prayer.

  1. Find a quiet place (Pray internally). Find a place where you won’t be distracted. Try your bedroom, a park bench, a desk at the library, your kitchen sink, etc. Close your eyes, bow your head, and let the words flow from your heart.
  2. Dialogue with God (Pray aloud). Pick a spot where you won’t be overheard (Showers and cars are great places!). Speak your words aloud. This is a great way to “be real” with God in a stream-of-consciousness way.
  3. Journal (Write down your prayers). Shut off your inner editor and write your prayers. The great thing about this option is you have a record of what you prayed. You can go back later and see where you’ve grown, where God answered, what you’re still waiting on, and perhaps areas you still need to work on.
  4.  Take a prayer walk (Pray in nature). Hike up the mountain. Walk through a park. Walk around a local nature preserve. Walk around your neighborhood. As you walk, begin praising God for His beautiful creation. Start praying about whatever comes to mind.
  5.  Listen to music (Pray through song and dance). Meditate on the words of a song. I recommend downloading the K-LOVE app for positive, encouraging Christian music. Although, you don’t have to pick a Christian song. This (past) summer, I experimented with listening to various instrumental songs and danced around (like no one was watching) as the Holy Spirit led.
  6. Use Scripture (Pray through His Word). Read a particular Scripture passage (Psalm 121 is a great place to start). Pray through the passage for your life and marriage.

30 Prayers

I realize 3 things: 1) Lent has already begun, 2) Lent is 40 days long, and 3) many of you have already prayed through these 30 Prayers during the 30 Dates in November Challenge 2015.

However… 

I encourage you to spend the next 30 days of Lent (a season of reflection and for new holy habits) praying for your heart, husband, and marriage. Even if you’ve prayed these prayers before, consider doing this again with fresh eyes.

Day 1 - 6 Ways to Pray

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What rituals do you use to pray? Which of these ways appeals to you the most? How do you get into the habit of praying regularly and keep a good attitude? 

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This Upcoming Week in Social Media

Twitter Quick prayers to pray & share

Facebook – Thoughts & encouragement on the different ways to pray and Wednesday weekly wrap-up

PinterestCheck out my Spiritual Growth board for Prayer and Spiritual Intimacy encouragement, thoughts, and ideas

Pieces of My Heart, Valentine Date Idea

Pieces of my heart

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net

Budget blues this Valentine’s Day? Don’t let the dollar amount in your bank account bring you down this Valentine’s. Adam and I are tight on money this year, and so it’s time to bring a date idea out of the BHE archive and revamp it.

The Invite: 

Make a heart-shaped puzzle letter for your husband. Draw a heart on a piece of paper to include inside your Valentine card, or write it on a colorful piece of paper and put the card in its own envelope. Write the invitation. This is what I’m writing on mine:

Special Invitation for the Love of my Life

What: Pieces of my Heart themed date night

When: Sunday, February 14th @5 P.M.

Where: In our love nest

Remember: Dress to impress.

Sign it “your lover,” or another endearing name you use. Once you’ve finished, cut the note up into pieces (the number depends on how complicated you want to be). Stick it in the envelope and give it to your husband the day before (or you can put it someplace he’ll see it like his desk or tape it to the steering wheel). You may want to leave tape or glue nearby.

Set the Scene: 

To set the romantic scene, pick out “pieces” of things that remind you about your relationship (i.e. photos of you together over the years, love letters, movie or event ticket stubs if you’ve saved them, etc). Or write your favorite memories on notecards to scatter across the table. Get creative. Use traditional romantic decorations from whatever you have lying around the house – cut paper hearts from red and pink paper, light candles, and pull out your best dishes from storage. If you want to spend a few bucks, give yourself a under $5 budget and go scout out items at your local dollar store for Valentine’s plateware, decorations, etc.

Serve the Meal: 

Serve up “pieces” of pizza. Papa Murphy’s has their popular HeartBaker pizza, a seasonal favorite, for under $10. This is a seasonal must-buy for Adam and I. #Loveat425

You can also make your own pizza (using a package of premade dough mix or Pillsbury (or equivalent off brand) canned premade dough, your favorite pizza or pasta sauce, a package of shredded Italian blend cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, ham, crushed pineapple, sliced peppers, etc.) Cut the pizza into a heart shape or used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make mini pizzas. Remember the idea is avoid breaking the bank. If you have items at home already, use them.

If pieces of pizza isn’t your thing or you want sides, try your favorite finger foods for dinner. Suggestions: cheese cubes/sticks, thinly sliced and rolled lunch meats, crackers, baby carrots, bell pepper strips, celery sticks, berries, shrimp, crustless heart-shaped PB&J sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, apple, banana, or pear slices, sliced hardboiled eggs, grapes, olives, pretzel sticks, low sodium or unsalted chips, etc.

For dessert, serve a piece of  his favorite pie or cake, or try this delicious Reeses Pieces cupcakes idea. Still too expensive? Buy a snack sized box or bag of his favorite candy.

Playing Pieces: 

Pick out a puzzle to complete based on your joint interests (i.e. in the past, Adam and I’ve completed Star Wars puzzles together). If you have the time or money, pick up an inexpensive puzzle mat or use a large poster board to transfer the puzzle easily.

Pull out Popsicle sticks and create a date night in a jar. This lovely idea is inspired by and created by Jennifer from Life in the Green House. [Right now, this is a great idea for all those leftover Ball jars from my Christmas gifts.] Come up with a handful of date night ideas together and write each idea on a individual stick using a fine-tipped felt pen.  Jennifer recommends color-coding each stick: light pink (inexpensive), dark pink (at-home dates), and red (expensive or require planning). If you don’t want to dye each stick color, you can simply use a colored felt pen and draw a dot or a star on either up side of the stick (the end that will be sticking out of the jar). I’m planning on writing down each “date” idea from my blog (you can find them all here) and asking Adam to pick which ones he likes best. (Yes, shocker! I haven’t actually completed all the date ideas from my own blog).

Pick a board game with lots of pieces to play. I’d recommend Battleship, Monopoly, Risk, Srabble, UpWords, Boggle, Jenga, chess, checkers, or an old-school one like Cashflow. You can pick games up at your local thrift store or a yard sale inexpensively (just make sure you aren’t missing any critical pieces before purchase).

Pièce de Résistance

You, of course. Give him a “piece of the action” and take him to the bedroom for some fun. Invite him into the bedroom, give him a ‘piece of the action,’ and an opportunity to enjoy his favorite “pieces” of you!

To spice things up a bit, bring notecards with questions about your partner and your relationship (i.e. What’s my favorite restaurant? Where did we have our first kiss? What’s my favorite color? What’s my biggest pet peeve? If I could visit any country in the world, where would I go?) Take turns asking each other questions. If you get it right, he takes a piece of clothing off. If you get it wrong, you take a piece of clothing off. This works best when you’ve got multiple layers and include the added rule of no touching. You can spice it up a bit by upping the stakes on certain harder questions (i.e. in addition to taking off a clothing item, makeout for 30 seconds or run hands over the body part of your partner’s choosing).

Laugh. Love. Live. Enjoy! 

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How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? What are your favorite inexpensive date ideas? 

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This Upcoming Week in Social Media

Twitter more fun flirty text message ideas to send to your husband

Facebook – more resources for low-budget Valentine’s Day ideas & view the first Weekly Wrap-up

Pinterest – check out my Valentine’s Day board for ideas for your weekend celebration

Ask Away Wednesday: 5 Ways to Flirt

ask away flirting

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net

I am a newlywed wife and I’ve been struggling with something. How do you flirt with your husband after marriage? It was easy when we were dating, but now with real life it just isn’t effortless anymore. Do you have any suggestions? 

This is a fantastic question, dear reader!

Great timing too with Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend.

This question applies to all wives, whether you’re newly married or approaching a 25th wedding anniversary. You’re right, sweet sister, that it does take real effort to be playful and flirty.  Here’s something we can all repeat to ourselves:

Commit to never letting the spark go out in your marriage. [Tweet this

Some things to remember:

  • Flirting should be natural. What works for me may not work for you and your husband and vice versa. Find something that you feel comfortable with and go for it.
  • Flirting should be freeing. You may be feeling shy, but remember confidence is sexy. Give flirting an honest effort.
  • Flirting should be fun.  Enjoy yourselves. Laugh a little. It’s okay to be silly.

5 Ways to Flirt 

F – Favorites – What are a few of your favorite things about your husband? Think about your five senses. What do you like to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? For example: I love my husband’s cologne. When I catch a whiff of his spicy scent, I like to pull him in for a passionate kiss when he’s not expecting it. 

L – Laugh – Remember when you were dating and you playfully teased each other? Well, why stop now that you’re married.  For example: I remember “borrowing” a hoodie from my then-boyfriend, now-husband and making him chase me around campus until I’d give it back. Now we like to occasionally do this around our house. It usually results in lots of laughing and he has to “pay the ransom” a.k.a. kiss me.  Let him hear you laugh and giggle. Trust me. He’ll enjoy it.

I – Ignite the passion early. Start with a good morning kiss. Join him in the shower for a little hands-on action. Let him know how you’ll miss him during the day when he leaves. Send him a check-in text or email during the day For example: I’m thinking of you and all the wonderful ‘things’ you do… See you tonight, lover! ;o) Set the stage for when he arrives home and toss out some flirty compliments as you greet him.

R – Read for ideas. Use the resources below for other great ideas on flirting. Make a folder or document on your computer to drop flirting, dating, and romance ideas.

T – Technology – Your smartphones are a great resource.

  • Create fun “code words” for sex or intimacy. This is a great option if you’re texting or emailing your husband and you don’t want to risk something “too risque” being seen by other eyes. Adam and I’ve been doing this since our early days and it’s a fun way to let him know you’re interested.
  • Shoot him a photo while he’s away. For example, I could share a photo of myself with a sign that reads ‘Can’t wait to see you at home tonight, sexy!’ 
  • Share a calendar with each other? Adam and I recently synced our Google Calendars so we have a better sense of each others’ schedules. I’ve purposely slipped in a few “dates” like: Makeout Session with Adam. Wednesday. 9 P.M. or Breakfast in Bed with Adam. Saturday 8 A.M. Clothing Optional. 
  • Use a messenger app. Sit across a room or a table from each other and send “flirty” messages. Make a rule that you have to carry on a conversation for a set amount of time before “touching.” You can start with playing footsie to leaning across and kissing his hand to… well… use your imagination.
  • Play a romantic song or your first dance song from your wedding from Pandora or another music app to get you both in the mood.
  • Check out some great romance ideas on my Pinterest page.

Resources  

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Share with Us: What’s your favorite way to flirt with your spouse? 

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This Upcoming Week in Social Media

Twitter – fun flirty text message ideas to send to your husband

Facebook – more resources for flirting ideas & the first ever Weekly Wrap-Up

Pinterest – check back on my Love Your Honey board for featured flirting tips

I Resolve Not to Resolve! The Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

I Resolve Not to Resolve

I’m terrible at keeping new year’s resolutions. 

I am excited for the first two weeks, and then reality sets in. I over-promise and under-deliver. I overwhelm myself with the impossibilities of keeping my resolutions.

I am 27 days past the first of January and still haven’t created resolutions. 

I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration. Yesterday I looked down at my journal. The blankness staring back at me was intimidating. Then suddenly it hit me. Like my favorite band Switchfoot says in their song, Bomb, “this is the bomb that I’ve been waiting for, living for…” I realized this was the moment I’d been waiting for. The bomb dropped, the light bulb brightened, reality awakened, or however you want to say it… I realized the truth.

I have absolutely no desire to create a resolution this year.

I resolve not the resolve. 

Is this statement, in that of itself, not a resolution? Sure… but the point is… I won’t be making any resolution this year.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resolution as… the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb ‘resolve’… to make a definite and serious decision to do something

I am definitely serious about resolving not to resolve. 

The problem isn’t in setting a resolution; it’s the way I go about finding an answer or solution. 

Why do resolutions fail? 

  • lack of motivation
  • lack of clear direction
  • no real desire for change
  • overwhelmed by the commitment
  • lack of support system

One Size Doesn’t Fit All 

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals or creating resolutions.

  • Some of you may have success with setting and completing year-long resolutions.
  • Some of you might be better with smaller, more manageable monthly or weekly goals.
  • Some of you might keep your resolutions in your head.
  • Some of you prefer to write down your resolutions and keep track of your progress.
  • Some of you might just do better with the one-word resolution.

I tried a one-word resolution last year. My word was fearless. I seriously struggled with fear in 2015. I spent the better part of the year learning what obstacles were preventing me from being fearless.While I call this progress, I didn’t exactly live up to my one-word resolution.

Alternative to Resolution: Renewal

(Want to tweet tidbits from this post? See below.)

I shouldn’t wait until January 1st to make my choice a reality in my daily life.

  • Resolution: one-time decision dependent on personal follow-through
  • Renewal: repeated restoration dependent on outside force Tweet: Resolution: 1-time decision dependent on personal follow-through Renewal: repeated restoration dependent on outside force @BecomingHisEve

In the Christian faith, we believe this outside force is Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says “this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

When I make a resolution and I fail, I feel defeated. When I make a resolution and succeed, I feel accomplished.

Resolutions are me-centric. Renewal is God-dependent.  Tweet: Resolutions are me-centric. Renewal is God-dependent. @BecomingHisEve

When I am hard-pressed against a deadline, doubting and confused, harassed for my choices, and my beliefs, values, or faith is challenged and torn-down, I have a tendency to give up on resolutions.

Resolutions rely on my resilience. Renewal relies on God’s strength.  Tweet: Resolutions rely on my resilience. Renewal relies on God's strength. @BecomingHisEve

2 Corinthians 4:8 reminds me…

  • I may be”hard-pressed,” but I am “not crushed.”
  • I may be “in doubt,” but I am “not in despair.”
  • I may be harassed or “persecuted.“but I am “not abandoned.”
  • I may be “struck down,” but I am “not destroyed.”

Resolutions may be a one-time decision but they require daily commitment if I’m going to succeed.

If resolutions are rooted in my own resolve and physical strength, I’ve already failed.  Tweet: If resolutions are rooted in my own resolve and physical strength, I've already failed. @BecomingHisEve

2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

Renewal has nothing to do with my physical strength and has everything to do with my spiritual reliance.  Tweet: Renewal has nothing to do with my physical strength and has everything to do with my spiritual reliance. @BecomingHisEve

Isaiah 40:30-31 says, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

I Resolve Not to Resolve

Are you tired of being exhausted from trying to live up to your own expectations? 

Are you frustrated about being stressed out with the daily pressures of following through? 

Are you upset with yourself because you can’t keep resolutions? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions, resolve with me not to resolve this year.

Choose to be renewed in 2016.

Share with Us

How will you choose renewal over resolution this year? 

Connect with Becoming His Eve via Social Media

This Upcoming Week in Social Media

Twitter – opportunities for you to re-tweet encouragement from this post

Facebook – tips to daily renew your marriage and your walk with God

Pinterest – check out theEve’s Garden of Encouragement board and share Scripture verses on renewal

 

January Update

January update

Greetings from sunny and snowy Colorado!

For those of you wondering where I’ve been, I’m here to assure you I haven’t forgotten the BHE community. There have been some significant changes in my life since I last posted in November. Let me bring you up to the present:

Life Updates 

  • I quit my job. If you weren’t aware, I left my child-care job back in mid-October to pursue my dreams and to be in a better environment.
  • I am job hunting… and soul searching and figuring-out-life. Sometimes it’s whimsy. Sometimes it’s exhilarating. Sometimes it’s terrifying.
  • I started grad school. I am pursuing a Masters in Nonprofit Management.
  • Adam is job hunting also. He is unable to move up any further in the place where he is at, and we are looking to move toward financial independence (a.k.a. move out from the in-laws).

Recent Changes

  • Updates on the homepage and mission statement
  • Updates on the social media page
  • My photo across all platforms has been updated
  • If you didn’t notice before, my “for men” page and “policies” page is nested under Guide to the Garden and “what I believe” is nested under Meet Me.

What to Expect

  • Updated look and layout of the blog
  • Updated social media sites
  • Once a week posts on BHE (probably Wednesday)
  • Coming Soon! Additional content from 2015’s 30 Dates in November Challenge will be available on the blog for everyone
  • More frequent social media posts
  • Weekly wrap-up on Facebook every Saturday.
  • Monthly update – the 3rd week of the month on Mondays
  • Coming Soon! “Now What?” page  as a followup to 30 Dates in November Challenge, including all previous years’ challenges in one convenient location and thoughts about this year’s 2016 challenge.
  • Coming Soon! Resources “For Women” page  including other helpful, encouraging and relevant blogs, ministries, books, and resources

Inspirational Quote

  • “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” ~Simon Sinek

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Come back Wednesday to read more about renewal vs. resolutions on the blog.

It’s Only Monday, Day 30

Last week, I was stressing big time last night over silly stuff and I went to bed thinking, “it’s only Monday.” The following morning, while I had trouble getting up, I thought, “oh, it’s already Tuesday!” What a difference perspective make! We can choose to let stress go or hold onto it. Letting go of worries and stress is a big part of living fearlessly.

Back in the spring, I read this on my Facebook feed from Ann Voskamp (who writes a fabulous blog at A Holy Experience):

Hey Soul? So here’s the thing: you get multiple choice today:
Busy is a choice.
Stress is a choice.
*Joy is a choice.*
You get to choose. Choose well. Deciding first thing: “My choice is You, God, first and only.” Ps.16:5MSG
Choosing Joy!

I hope in these last 30 days you’ve had a change of perspective, a change of heart, and you’ve seen a change in your marriage for the better. I hope you’ve learned to better love the Lord your God and to better love your closest, most intimate neighbor (your husband). As you continue on past the month of November, past the end of the challenge, I encourage you to keep this perspective:  

I choose to let go of busyness. I choose to let go of stress. I choose joy. Today I will put God first. Today I choose to make my marriage a priority. I choose to love my God and my husband today with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

Today’s Challenge: What have you learned and where have you grown? Rejoice in the Lord today. Choose one way to be joyful and loving toward your spouse today. You can pick one of your favorite challenges from the past 30 days to re-do or come up with something new.

Bible Passage: Psalm 103

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 31 Ways to Add Joy to Your Marriage this Holiday SeasonJust because the challenge is over doesn’t mean you still can’t sign up and access the additional content. Click here to sign-up-up.

One Life to Live, Day 29

When I go to Taco Bell, my favorite thing to do isn’t to order Frito burritos or taco supremes off the menu. My favorite thing to do is to pick up the sauce packets and read the sayings. Some of them are silly and some of them have some genuine advice. In early spring, I found this packet:

Day 29

Do it with passion or not at all. You only have one life to live on this earth. Yes, we live eternally and we’ll live on with Jesus in the next life. But you only have one opportunity to make a difference in this world.

What kind of legacy do you and your husband want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for? I don’t know about you but I want to live a life knowing that I’ve loved deeply and with abandon for my husband, I’ve cared deeply for those around me who are hurting, lost, and broken, and I’ve lived a life that is a testimony to the grace of God in my life. I want to live my life with passion.

You’ve been given beautiful priceless gifts in this life – your life, your salvation, and your husband. Don’t waste any of it. I’ve spent the better part of this year waiting for life to get better. The problem is God didn’t create me to sit and do nothing. He created me to be active, to serve Him in the waiting, to make the most of every opportunity He places me in. I’ve been putting off doing things that I love because I bought the lie that I can’t do what I love as a career because I’d get burnt out otherwise. But my wise husband told me this: “When you do something you love and you’re passionate about, that’s what drives you on the days you’re feeling burnt out. That’s what keeps you going so you don’t give up.”

Since quitting my job with the school, I’ve been actively pursuing things I love – spending time with my husband, spending time with family, writing, cooking, and singing. My whole outlook on life has changed because I’m doing things I love with the people I love. I know it’s not the new year yet, but my goal for 2016 is to “do it with passion or not at all.” God doesn’t want your sort-of, your halfway, your undecided, your half-hearted. He wants your all. 

I’ve been guilty of walking through the motions of marriage – doing what we need to get byI saw this infographic on Facebook back in the spring: I want a marriage so great that it becomes dangerous to the Devil. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, of the ultimate sacrificial, unconditional love. When you love your husband the way God loves you, you become dangerous to the Devil because you counteract his lies about settling for less than what’s best, about just plugging along, trying to do it on your own, and squeezing by. You were created for more than that. God didn’t create you to be satisfied with a mediocre marriage. Your marriage also doesn’t need just halfway half-hearted. Your marriage, if it’s going to thrive, needs your all. What will you do with your one life to live? 

Today’s Challenge: What one thing can you commit to today, to live your life more passionately? What one thing can you do today that tells the Devil you don’t buy his lies of “halfway is okay?” What small step of change can you take today to take your marriage from mediocre to great?

Bible Passage: John 10:1-18

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 7 Ways to Fear Less and Live More Passionately. Click here to sign-up.

 

Only Goodness, Day 28

day 28

In February 2014, a wolf was discovered in the hallway of the hotel where Olympian Kate Hansen was staying during the Sochi Winter Olympics. The whole thing was revealed to be an elaborate prank, but it got me thinking about protecting my marriage from the “wolves in the hall.” However, wolves don’t just wander around outside and around my marriage. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

In May 2015, I came across this story as an infographic on my Facebook feed:

One evening a grandfather old his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Sometimes the most dangerous “wolf” is what I let myself believe. I have admitted to you before how I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety this year. I desperately wanted to blame someone else or offer excuses for something else. While there were many things that happened outside my control this year, I was my own worst enemy. I was allowing myself to be imprisoned by my own negative thoughts. I was feeding the anger and arrogance. I was dwelling on the sorrow and self-pity. I was burying myself under the weight of resentment and regret. I was believing myself to be inferior. You can imagine this wreaked havoc on my inner thought life, my self-worth, my identity, my relationships, and my marriage.

I don’t think I was the only one at fault though. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “…our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There is a spiritual darkness in this world, an enemy of your heart and marriage – the Devil – and he stalks the earth looking for his prey. I was an easy target because I was wallowing in depression and entrapped in my own anxieties.

The Bible doesn’t just leave us with these warnings. The Bible gives us hope, a plan, and a purpose. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The MSG version of 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Keep a cool head. Be alert… Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever.” Philippians 4:8 tells us what to think about: things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy…

When you only feed your mind with the “good things,” with the truth, with God’s Word, you can tune out all the other messages of the world because everything else is junk compared to Christ. Paul writes in Philippians 3:8 “everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” When you know Christ, when you feed your mind with only the goodness of His truth, you will be transformed and the way you treat your husband will change as you begin to see him more the way God sees him. 

Today’s Challenge: Ask yourself these questions: What am I letting myself believe? What do I feed my mind with? Do I listen to the truth of who God says I am? Write down the first three adjectives you can think of to describe yourself. Now do the same for your husband and your marriage. Look at your word choice. Are they positive? If so, keep these words someplace you can refer to when you’re feeling down, discouraged, or overwhelmed. Are they negative? Ask yourself why these words. Do these words accurately describe you, your husband, and your marriage? If not, then replace those words with truth. If yes, then think about why these words accurately describe and what you can do to change the way you look at things. If you don’t know or if this is a bigger, long-term problem, ask God to give you the insight to make the changes needed in your own heart, and then the courage to talk about these things with your husband.

Be encouraged, dear lady friend. Changes in your marriage will not happen overnight, and it takes two to make a marriage work. If your husband isn’t open to change or discussion at this point, rest assured that God knows the cries of your heart. He sees your pain. He knows your weaknesses. He cares about your battle. Don’t give up. Keep clinging to Christ for your hope and strength. Keep praying. Your marriage is worth fighting for.

Bible Passage: Philippians 4:6-7; Romans 12:1-2

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 8 Truths For Your Marriage. Click here to sign-up.

Only One, Day 27

day 27

I am only one, but I am one.”

I read this statement on Facebook earlier this year and I had to read it a few times before it fully sunk in. Be encouraged, sweet lady friend. You are only one, but you are one. You may feel like some days you don’t make a difference, but that’s a lie. You’re doing this challenge. You’re reading this blog. You desire growth and you desire to be challenged. You desire to love your husband more deeply and passionately. That counts for something. Don’t discount your worth or value. You are one person in this world making a difference. You are one person in your husband’s life, loving, honoring, and cherishing him.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to encourage a friend who was having doubts about herself and feeling insecure and worthless. I shared Matthew 10:29-31

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” 

Last week, I, myself, needed this reminder because I was struggling with feeling unworthy and undervalued. I was so grateful that God had given me the opportunity to encourage another because I was able to call to mind my very words when I needed it.

 

Then I came across this statement again: I am only one, but I am one, and a Facebook status from a few months ago:

God has placed me in this specific place, specific time, specific circumstances with these specific people for a very specific reason and divine purpose. Not random chance. Not blind luck. The almighty holy God, creator of the universe placed me here. He cares enough to give little me a big purpose beyond myself. Praise the Lord!

Lord, it’s good to be reminded I’m making a difference. ‪#‎fearless

I don’t know where you’re at today, dear reader, but let this be encouraging to you. You have deep meaning and purpose, and you are making a difference. When you’re feeling like you’re only one, remember God used one man to bring the Hebrews out of slavery – Moses. Remember God used one woman to save her people from annihilation – Esther. Remember God sent His only Son to be born of one woman here on earth 2000+ years ago so that we could be called sons and daughters of God and be reunited with the Father eternally, our slates wiped clean, free from the bondage of sin and death.

Today’s Challenge: As we’re getting close to the end, spend today just loving your husband your way. Pick one of the previous day’s challenges to re-do or come up with something new. Refresh your mind with God’s truth about your value and worth. Remember even if your husband hasn’t noticed your loving gestures this month, God knows and sees. This isn’t about receiving praise. It’s about growing more deeply in love with your God and your husband.

Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 4

Additional Content: In lieu of additional content, pop over to the private Facebook page and share with us how you’re doing in these last few days. What other verses of truth do you like to use when you’re feeling insecure about your worth and that you’re making a difference? Click here to sign-up.

One and Only, Day 26

day 26

Happy Thanksgiving! Today celebrate your “one and only” love – your husband. Add a little romance into your Thanksgiving Day with the 5 love languages.

  • Words of Affirmation – Write him a thank-you card. You can pick up a card from the store or make one yourself. Include 3-5 things you are grateful for in regards to him and your marriage. Set it on his place setting at dinner (or for something more private, place it on his pillow tonight).
  • Acts of Service – Volunteer together in the community. Find a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to volunteer at together. Volunteer to work in the nursery at church on an upcoming Sunday. Visit an elderly home and spread some holiday cheer. Offer to rake leaves together in your neighbors’ yards. (Don’t forget an act of service special just for him – like making him a hot breakfast before heading off to volunteer or warming up the car in the morning before you’re on your way to volunteering and attaching a post-it to his steering wheel that says something like “You warm my heart.”)
  • Receiving Gifts – Create an I’m-thankful-for-you gift basket. Include things that remind you of the reasons why you love him and are grateful for him (i.e. he encourages you [a framed Bible verse of encouragement]; he makes you laugh [a comedy movie you both enjoy]; he can’t wait to spend time with you in the morning [a bottle of Mountain Dew… haha… jk… only for my husband] 
  • Quality Time – Plan an after-dinner romantic outing. Pick something for just the two of you to focus on one another for at least 1-2 hours of interrupted time. If you can’t fit it in today because of family obligations, make plans for tomorrow or later this weekend and tell him today you have surprise plans to whisk him away.
  • Physical Touch – Watch the Thanksgiving Day parade together and cuddle. The parade not your scene? Try a movie you both love. Whatever you choose to watch, do it in bed, under the covers with plenty of cuddling and touching. Or enjoy the whole thing in the nude. Include commercial-break make-out marathons.

Today’s Challenge: Pick one of the above suggestions and enjoy Thanksgiving with your husband.

Bible Passage: Psalm 136

Additional Content: In lieu of additional content, share with us your Thanksgiving plans on the Facebook page. It’s not too late to sign up and get all the back content for the month. Click here to sign-up.

Only Human, Day 25

Day 25

These beautiful orchids in the photo above… Adam bought them for me. (Yes, I know I already used this photo. I should’ve planned ahead a bit better… but this illustrates my point.) 

And you might be thinking, “Wow, what a sweet gift!” But this surprise present came after a huge fight we had. Yes, you read that right. We’re not perfect, people. I am not the easiest person to be married to. I have real ugly moments. Dark moments. Moments I don’t want to share with the world and moments I’ve quickly regretted.

I shared this as a status on Facebook back in May:

Something I’ve been learning is it’s okay for people to see we don’t have it altogether because no one does. Even the marriage blogging woman of faith (a.k.a. me) argues with her husband, has moments of doubt, panics and forgets God’s promises, etc.

Life is hard. [We’re only human.] We’re broken people. Emotions run raw. Tempers flare (mine particularly). I’m not perfect. I can admit it. But God is faithful. He makes us whole again. He heals our wounds. He strengthens us in our weakness through His power. He refines us in our trials. He makes beauty from our brokenness. I love my husband and I know he loves me. God loves me. I have hope. I won’t live in fear. Everything fragile and ugly has beauty on the other side because I am in Jesus Christ. ‪

I have a hard time admitting I can’t do it in my flesh because I’m a struggling perfectionist. Sometimes I just need to admit I can’t do it all, and give it up to God. Sometimes I just need to admit I’m only human and I need God to do it for me. Sometimes I need to embrace the brokenness first – to grant myself the freedom to screw up, to give myself the gift of forgiveness, to allow myself to feel the emotions behind failure, and to allow God to raise me up a stronger person. I can’t remember where I read this and I wish I could give the person credit, but this statement is greatly encouraging: Your mess is the platform for God’s masterpiece. 

Today’s Challenge: What broken things in your life and marriage need mending? Take these things before God today in prayer. Ask for His healing, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. What is one thing you can do today to embrace your brokenness?

Bible Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for Embracing Brokenness in Your Marriage. Click here to sign-up.

Questions to Ponder: What’s your greatest flaw or fault? Can you forgive yourself? How does forgiving yourself and seeing yourself through the lens of Christ change your perspective? 

You Only Fail… Day 24

day 24

I remember when we were trying to write our wedding vows, Adam and I looked up examples. One of the things our small group leader shared with us included the lines “I pledge to be your wife, lover, friend, and cheerleader.” I remember thinking at first it sounded silly, but then the line grew on me. To this day, I’m glad we included it in our vows because we are one another’s moral support. Adam cheers me on when I’m struggling, doubting, or otherwise, being defeatist. I need him to push me some days because I probably wouldn’t get out of bed otherwise.

Adam gave me some great advice recently:

You only fail… when you stop trying. 

You only fail… if you never try. 

I needed this push from him. I had been struggling with depression and anxiety for awhile, allowing negative life circumstances to kick me down and keep me down. But I got tired of it. I got tired of who I’d become. I realized the only way I was going to succeed and get to a better place was if I got up and actually tried.

There are going to be days in your marriage and your life where you’ll struggle and days where you feel like giving up. Don’t. There are going to be days when you doubt that you have the courage and the gifts to succeed. Do it anyway. There will be days when your husband is feeling discouraged, insecure, and shaky. Believe in him and be his cheerleader. Encourage him.

I’ve shared this photo before, but it bears repeated posting:

I will fight for you

Today’s Challenge: What is something you are struggling with in your marriage, but you don’t want to give up on? Take some time to lift this thing in prayer today. Ask God to give you the courage to keep on trying. What is something you haven’t tried yet, but you know you should and you want to? Lift this in prayer also and ask God to give you the courage to take a step in faith. Create a game plan using the goal-setting tips from Day 2‘s Facebook page suggestions. Invite your husband to join you in prayer. What small step can you take today to keep going on something you want to give up on or to try that you haven’t yet?

Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Additional Content: In lieu of additional content, visit the private Facebook page and share with us how you’re doing on your goals for the month (the ones you set on Day 2 and day 10). Click here to sign-up.

Only in the Darkness… Day 23

day 23

I’ll never forget the night. I was a junior in high school at church camp. We gathered for campfire on the last night. People got up to give their testimonies and I felt God prompting me to say something. I didn’t know what, but I took a step forward. As I stood in line, I remember wondering what in the world I was going to say. That’s when I felt God whisper, “Look up.” I did. The sky exploded with stars. I had never seen so many in my life. I felt like I could reach up and just touch one. I was blown away by the beauty of the night sky. Far away from the city lights, I could see into the heavens and it was spectacular. There are no words.  When I looked at the stars that night, like the Switchfoot song, I saw Someone else – God – and I saw myself – who I was in comparison to God and who He wanted me to be. Deep in the middle of the California redwoods, I met God that night.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

Just like your walk with the Lord, you’ve probably hit some high points and low points in your marriage. I’ve discovered that those long, dark nights are worth fighting through and marriage is worth fighting for.

Sometimes God has to take you to the edge of yourself before He shows up and does something miraculous.

Sometimes it’s only in the darkness, the difficult times, that you truly recognize the majestic power of God and your desperate need for God.

Sometimes it’s only in the darkness that you truly understand the unconditional love of God, a glimmering light of hope. 

 

Remember this truth: There is always hope in Christ Jesus.  My marriage hasn’t been easy. We’ve had some really dark days, but in the midst of those dark days, we’ve seen stars… a glimmering light of hope that we’re in this together and we’re going to pull through. We appreciate the beauty of the stars when there is darkness all around because it is in that darkness that we see the light. 

Today’s Challenge: Think of a dark moment in your marriage (or your walk with God) where you saw stars – where you saw beauty in the darkness, where God redeemed you from the ashes. I know this has been somewhat repetitive as a challenge, but take some time to praise God today for those times you’ve come to the end of yourself and God has pulled you through in your marriage. Make a list of the “stars” in your life, the bright spots that still shine even when darkness is all around you. Share this list with your husband, and celebrate one of the things on this list (i.e. Our first Christmas together, I had a Bible engraved with these words for my husband: to my shining star, Adam. I wanted him to remember how precious a gift he was to me and how precious our faith was to us – God’s Word being a symbol of that. Today, I plan to read verses from that Bible in remembrance of our desire to start our marriage strong.) Consider doing one of the 10 things mentioned below.

Bible Passage: Psalm 8

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 24 Fun Things You Can Do With Your Husband in the Dark (in 3 parts at 6am, 8am, and 12pm.) Click here to sign-up.

 

Only Hope, Part 2, Day 22

day 22

I’ll never forget the day Adam asked me to marry him. We were sitting in the living room of his apartment and he presented me a bag of gifts. When I reached the bottom of the bag, I found a box inside a box inside a box with the ring he had custom designed for me. Out of nowhere, the song Only Hope (the Switchfoot version) began playing. We danced in the living room after I said yes. This was also the song we danced to at our wedding.

I love the beauty, simplicity, and hope of this song. The lines “I’m awake in the infinite cold /But You sing to me over and over again…” stand out to me and remind me of the nights when I struggled to sleep or woke up afraid, and Adam sang to me. He doesn’t have the greatest singing voice. He’s actually tone deaf. But it’s beautiful – my husband holding me in the darkness, comforting me with a simple song like Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus or Sanctuary. I’ve battled insomnia and nightmares most of my life, and my husband has given me hope that things will get better. He’s prayed over me, holding me, comforting me, speaking words of truth, and binding the forces of darkness with the authority given to us by and through Christ. Adam has reminded me time and time again that my only Hope is Jesus.

Sometimes we hope and we wait and we wonder if we’re stuck waiting forever. I still struggle with sleeping through the night. I struggle with hormonal imbalance. Adam and I have struggled financially from day 1 of our marriage. I hope for things to get better, and while we’ve made progress, we’re not exactly where I want to be. God doesn’t always give us what we want when we want it. He does, however, promise to provide us with all we need. And for those good things we hope for, but don’t have yet… we need to keep on hoping. Like the lines in the song, “When it feels like my dreams are so far / Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again.”

I don’t know what you and your husband are hoping for. I imagine you’ve seen hopes fulfilled, but you’ve also been hurt by hopes dashed. When it feels like your dreams are so far away from being realized, when you feel like giving up, hope still. Hope all the more. Lean on the Father who will rejoice over you in song (Zephaniah 3:17) and give you hope in the plans He has for you.

Today’s Challenge: Spend time together praying today. I encourage you to kneel by your bed and hold hands. Pour out your hearts before God. Give Him your apathy and your emptiness. Give Him all of yourself. Pray to hear His Voice. Pray together to be only His, to have an undivided heart for Him, because He is your only Hope. Rejoice in that Hope!

Bible Passage: Psalm 42

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 4 Ways to Increase H.O.P.E. in Your Marriage. Click here to sign-up. Listen to Switchfoot’s version of Only Hope here.

Questions to Ponder: How can you be only His – God’s? 

Just for fun: Our first dance picture

 

Only Hope, Part 1, Day 21

day 21

Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!”

Okay, I couldn’t help it. I’m a Star Wars fan, and I’m excited about the upcoming new movie.

This is the famous line from the original “first” Star Wars film by George Lucas. When her ship is boarded by Empire-loyal stormtroopers and the Dark Lord himself, Darth Vader, Princess Leia loads a message into an astromech droid R2-D2 and ejects him off into space with a message for its former master, Obi Wan Kenobi. We all know the story. R2 and his comical gold droid friend, C3P0, crash land on the desert planet of Tatooine. They are captured by Jawas and sold to Luke Skywalker’s uncle, Owen. When cleaning the droids, Luke discovers part of the message and sets off to find “Old Ben” Kenobi and delivers the message.

I’m going to risk spoiling it for you non-Star Wars people by saying Obi-Wan does come through – effectively disabling the Death Star’s tractor beam system all while avoiding detection by nearly everyone aboard the ship. He courageously faces his former padawan (student), Darth Vader, and allows himself to be struck down in order to allow for the escape of his friends. I can draw some parallels to Christ. While we weren’t exactly down her begging Him to show up, Christ is our only Hope in this world. Christ also allowed Himself to be “struck down” so we could live freely. Obi Wan’s death in Episode IV is the beginning of the path to peace for the galaxy. Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection was so much greater, the ultimate sacrifice, to bring us hope, peace, and freedom (Isaiah 53:5).

What is hope?  

Merriam-Webster dictionary explains that “to hope” is “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to expect with confidence; to desire with the expectation of obtaining.”

Who is our Hope? 

  • Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.”
  • Psalm 71:5 “You have been my hope, Sovereign Lordmy confidence since my youth.” 

Where are we to put our hope?

  • Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” 
  • 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Him [Christ] you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

What do we hope for? 

  1. For Christ’s return… Titus 2:13-14 says, “We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” 
  2. Our inheritance in heaven, the hope of life eternal with God… Ephesians 1:13, 14, 18, and 19 says, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe...” 
  3. Our bodily redemption… Romans 8:23-24 says, “we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved…” 

How important is hope in a marriage? 

Hope is what sets the tone for your day. Hope is what keeps you afloat on the dark days. Hope is what steadies you when you feel like giving up and caving in. Hope is what gives us confidence to believe. Tomorrow I’ve delve into hoping in the Lord together.

Today’s Challenge: Have a discussion with your husband. You can feel free to answer these questions on your own first and write down some notes for your conversation. Use the “questions to ponder” section below for inspiration.

Bible Passage: Ephesians 1

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for How to H.O.P.E. in the Lord. Click here to sign-up.

Questions to Ponder: What are you hoping for? What are you longing for? Who is your only Hope? Do we hope for and invest in things of eternal value? Is there anything in our lives that we should let go of because it’s not of lasting value to our marriage? 

One of a Kind, Day 20

day 20

In 2013, thunderstorms over the Rockies and monsoon moisture flowing up from the south devastated Northern Colorado and caused massive flash flooding, mud and rock slides. Thankfully, our house wasn’t directly affected since we live on a hill, but it flooded a mile in every direction around our home. Adam’s workplace also wasn’t affected since the building is also located on a hill, but authorities warned people to stay out of the city due to the extensive damage. Things we normally wouldn’t think twice about – driving on the road, electricity, water, and heat – were suddenly affected, disabled, or damaged. Natural disasters leave a lasting imprint on a society and even our everyday lives. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that some of the roads around my home were even completely finished with repairs. It would be easy to dwell on the negative inconveniences of having to drive out of my way to get places, but I should, in fact, be reminded regularly not to take people or things for granted.

**This section includes content taken from and modified from my original post on my friend, Bonny’s blog.**

Before I started dating Adam, I remember joking to my friends and family that I’d have to date someone just as weird as I am if not weirder. During my wedding rehearsal, I teasingly added this to my speech and said to Adam: “Hello weirder.”  Now Adam does have some strange moments and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any quirks, but in truth, Adam’s quirks and weirdness are apart of what makes him unique. His intelligence, character, personality, and yes, even his odd antics are part of the reason I fell in love with him. Your husband is a unique individual and a beautiful blessing from God. He is one of a kind. Choose to celebrate this everyday!

Before all the flooding, it was easy to take things like roads and utilities for granted. It was easy to take something as simple as a hot shower or washing your hands for granted. But once that something isn’t there, doesn’t life get more complicated? Suddenly I’ve realized just how important that something is.
 
How often do you remember to thank your spouse? Last week, I was telling my husband how much I appreciate how often he drives me places and I had never really thanked him before. His smile was priceless. If my husband hadn’t blessed me by driving me to the store, church, work, appointments, etc, if he hadn’t seen that we have a working car, and if he didn’t make sure our car stayed running, I wouldn’t have gone many places over our marriage.
Make a list of all the reasons you are thankful for your husband. Maybe you can only think of a few things right now. Ask God to open your eyes and your heart to reasons to be grateful for your man.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18, “Rejoice always… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Today’s Challenge: Don’t forget just how special and precious your spouse is! Lift a prayer of praise to God, thanking Him for putting your husband in your life. If you can, then, go find your husband and give him a hug and a kiss and thank him for being in your life and for choosing to be with you.  If you can’t do that, send him a text or an email like this: You are special to me and I thank God every day I get to be with you.
Bible Passage: 1 Peter 4:7-11
Additional Content: In lieu of additional content, visit the private Facebook page and share with us what makes your husband so special. Click here to sign-up.
Questions to Ponder: Why wait? What can you do right now to ensure you don’t need a natural disaster or some other dire situation to celebrate your husband’s presence and appreciate him? 

One Moment Please, Day 19

day 19

You all know what I’m talking about…

…when you call to pay a bill or get information from your doctor’s office or call in regards to a question you have about one of your bank accounts… and the annoying automated voice says, “One moment please…” while you wait for your call to be transferred and/or answered. Then you sit on the line for however long… five minutes… ten minutes… twenty minutes… thirty-five minutes… all the while thinking this is such a huge and obnoxious waste of your time, and to make matters worse, they have that ridiculous hard-to-hear music playlist that cycles through at least five or six times before your caller picks up… or worse, you get cut off and you have to call back and start all over again.

I don’t know about you but I really dislike those kinds of phone calls. Something occurred to me recently. When I tell my husband to hold on, and I make him wait for awhile, I get distracted, caught up in whatever I’m working on, after promising to “be right there,” or “just five more minutes,” and five minutes turns into thirty minutes or an hour, I’m just as annoying as the “one moment please” automated callers. I will confess something to you, my readers. I’ve struggled with balancing my writing-work-home life. During the week, it’s easy to get work done because my husband is at work during the day and I have hours at home to write and do household chores. However, on the weekends, it’s not so easy to pull off writing at all hours of the day and night because he’s home and wants to spend time with me. I know it’s the right thing to do and sometimes I still put my husband “on hold” because I just want to get this “one more thing” done. This is an example of me taking my husband, my lover, and my life partner for granted.

Yes, that’s me, the BHE wife guilty as charged – neglecting my husband in favor of writing for you all and working on my novel (and then getting uber distracted with hours of research). I realized today I need to stop pulling the “one moment please” line on my husband, which is really code for “however-long-I-need-it-to-be please.” I need to stop putting off things that are important and actually do them – like taking time for my husband when he asks and initiating time with my husband (especially when he’s home).

Today’s Challenge: Stop procrastinating on something you said you’ll do with or for your husband. Actually make a plan to do it. It doesn’t have to be today (because maybe you need more prep time), but today take the time to write down a solid plan. Spend at least five minutes with your husband today and let him know you value him and his time and you enjoy being with him.

Bible Passage: Luke 10:38-42

Additional Content:  Visit the private Facebook page for Just Do It: Being Productive Rather than Busy. Click here to sign-up.

Questions to Ponder: What things have you been putting off doing with or for your husband? How can you make more of an effort to do these things? 

One Moment in Time, Day 18

day 18

In the 2004 version of the movie Shall We Dance?, John, an overworked lawyer, has a wonderful wife and loving family, but he feels like something is missing. He impulsively decides to take up dancing lessons in hopes of getting to know the beautiful instructor and himself again. In the process, John falls in love with dancing, but he keeps it a secret from his wife. His wife, Beverly hires a private investigator to figure out what he’s doing. At one point in the movie, she meets with the investigator and she asks him why people get married. Her follow-up answer is so beautiful and so true of marriage:

We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

Do you take the time to be present in your husband’s life? To know what’s going on at work? To know what’s going on with his friends? To know what he’s struggling with spiritually and where he’s growing with God? To know what he desires and what he needs? Do you take a moment every day to connect with him on a deeper level than anyone else in his life does?

Today’s Challenge: Be a witness in your husband’s life. Take the time to talk with him today. Connect with him over a special meal or a cup of coffee. Share with one another your hopes and dreams, your struggles and your triumphs, your day-to-day mundane activities, etc. If this isn’t something you do regularly, you might need to be the one to do most of the talking at first, and that’s okay. Make sure he knows you are honored to be apart of his life and you are glad that you’re on this journey together.

Bible Passage: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Matthew 6:34; Ephesians 5:15-16

Additional Content: Visit the private Facebook page for 7 Little Ways to be P.R.E.S.E.N.T. in Your Husband’s Life. Click here to sign-up.

Share with us: How are you present in your husband’s life? 

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