Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Marriage Maintenance:: Common Interest

By request from some of my favorite people in the world, I've been asked to write more on Marriage Maintenance...

I was given this question:

What are challenges in marriage you didn't see when dating?

It took me a second to think about it... and there are a ton of challenges that I can write about!!

But one challenge in marriage that I didn't see when we were dating or engaged was finding things in common. 

When we spent all of our time together...we always seemed to have a common interest. Even when I didn't understand everything he was talking about when it came to guitar gear, I was still interested in it.  I wanted to hear about it. He didn't know about the fiction novel I was reading, but he still listened to me talk about the characters and the story. 

We would easily be able to talk about anything that interested us or things we did together or on our own.

But, as we grow and live life...our interests change. And it takes work to make sure that we have something in common. 

I mean, my world revolves around Disney movies and changing diapers...and his world is different than mine. 

So, we have made it a huge effort to have a few things in common at all times:

1. We watch Top Chef together. This is huge for us. It is one of the highlights of our week. We love watching TV together, but when it comes to this show, we talk about the chefs like they are buddies of ours and how much we would like the food they are cooking. And now that we live closer to Aspen, we are dreaming of when we will get to meet some of these chefs at the Food and Wine event someday. It is something that we can dream about together. 

2. We read a book together. I'm thankful for our Kindles. We download the same book, read it and talk about it. That's one of the reasons we moved to Colorado...we read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (by Donald Miller) together. It gives us something to talk about besides kids, bills, or what needs to be fixed in the house... It has strengthened our relationship!!! We are closer because we read the same thing...We don't necessarily worry about being on the same chapter at the same time...he actually read Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years first, but he has a phenomenal memory and asked me questions or talked about where I was at in the book. It also made me want to read so we could talk about it. 

3. We've started to try to get up before our kids to have coffee together and talk to each other. I didn't think we would have to work so hard to make time for each other, but with Lee's part-time work schedule and getting things ready for the church plus takes a lot for us to have time to ourselves and time for each other. I am not a morning person at all...but I seem to start yawning at 6:30 pm, and I'm worn out by 9 o'clock at night. I don't have much left to offer...but if it's quiet in the morning, even if we had a rough night with a restless baby (or babies), we can have a few moments together with a cup of coffee and enjoy each other's company. He's worth it to me. 

4. We ask about each others interests. I want to know about his music world, his work world, what the guys in his life are talking about to him...He asks about my blog...what book I'm reading...what the girls in my life are talking to me about. The key is asking and listening...paying attention to each other. 

I know that these things may not seem like a big deal to some...but I do not want our relationship to grow further apart. It's not just about having a common's talking and listening to each other...communicating about our common interests...not just talking about what bill is due or what the kids destroyed...

I'd rather work on maintaining my marriage than having to go into repair mode in the future because I didn't take care of it enough. It is important to be proactive than reactive.

My marriage is worth it. 

What are some challenges you see in marriage? 
What do you do to make sure you have interests in common with your spouse? I'd love to hear your responses!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Blog Updates!!

I am so excited about my newest updates to my blog!!!!

I have expressed before how frustrating graphic design is to me...even though I desperately wish that I could do it!!!

But, since I can't do it myself...I will invest in others who have that gifting!!!

So, I went back to for my new updates!!!

I know have a badge, which is located on the left side under my can copy that link and put it on your own blog...It just gives people an opportunity to click on it from your page and get to mine... I have a few others' badges towards the bottom of my page already!!! I'm thrilled to have my own.

I also got the circle social media buttons above my profile on the left. I love the way these look! And they will allow you to get in touch with me...find me on different social media well as a new button for Connection Church (the little X at the end), which I love love love!!!!

Feel free to check the social media buttons out...and also, feel free to put my new badge link on your page!!

I'm so excited about's just a lot of fun for me!!! And I'm really going to work on growing my blogging audience more, and I think these updates will help!!!
(I need to add that if you are reading this on your phone, you can't see the updates unless you are on a regular browser!!)

If you are interested in getting a new look for your blog, I highly recommend Michelle at!!! Her prices are reasonable, and she does the work quickly and efficiently!! Tell her I sent you!! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Joli Women's Ministry:: Favorite Things Party

One of my roles here in Colorado is to lead the Joli Women's Ministry of Connection Church. 

I absolutely love this!! I get to organize events for us to get together to get to know each other better, have fun, and grow spiritually...

Our first event was meeting at Arts on Fire, a local pottery place where you can pick your own piece of pottery and paint it. That was so much fun...and as I write this, I'm actually drinking hot chocolate out of the mug I painted that night!!!  

Our second event was just this past Friday night. We had a "Favorite Things Party!" 
(*Special thanks Ms. Mittie from Lafayette for giving me this wonderful idea!!!)
Favorite Things Party

Here is the directions I gave the ladies:

1. Choose 1 of your most favorite things that costs $5 or less 
This can be your best kept secret cleaning product, beauty product, special treat...anything that is YOUR favorite.
2. Buy 3 of those same item. (Shouldn't cost you more than $15)
3. Bring those 3 items to the meeting place on Friday night. They don't have to be wrapped because you'll be showing everyone what it is!
4. You'll be going home with 3 new items that could become your new favorites!!!
So on Friday night, we had each lady write her name on 3 pieces of paper and put it in a bowl. Then we drew numbers to see what order we would go in. (Mrs. Mittie said that she numbered name tags, and they went in the order on their name tags...I just didn't et name tags for our event.) Each lady then was able to introduce herself and explain why she brought her favorite thing...and then pull 3 names for who she would give it to!
Friday was a wonderful night! We had snacks and punch as we socialized before...and then we had a ton of fun doing the exchange! Some ladies even squealed with delight as their name was pulled!! It was like winning 3 different times!!! It was so neat to learn more about each other...and to hear about some great products too!! 
The ladies loved it so much, they are already talking about when we can do this again!!!!

I came home with Rose Salve (never heard of before!!), a Shine Eraser, and a hand-made crocheted headband!!! So fun!!!!

This is a fun event to do with your friends...and an opportunity to invite new ladies to be a part of your life - this doesn't have to be done with a church can totally do this on your own!!!
(If you would like to do this for your women's ministry or with your friends, and you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me!! I'd love to help how I can!!!!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Post:: I Prayed for this Messiness - Melissa's Story

I'm excited to say that this is my first guest post!!! 

I've known Melissa for several years...and thanks to social media, we've been able to keep up with each other's lives! She's been a huge encouragement to me in my blogging world...

I saw this post on Facebook, and it inspired me...

*In the comments, she corrected it herself by saying that she wouldn't want it any other way...

And after talking to Melissa and reading her blog Hannah's Oath, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to have my first guest post on my blog!!!

So, here is a little from Melissa - she's telling her story of why the messiness is so valuable to her now...
We have been married for 5.5 years. We were married for about 2 years when we started trying to conceive. We tried and prayed and prayed for almost 2 years to have a baby naturally....I then finally went to go see an obgyn and then a fertility specialist. We went through about 6 rounds of fertility treatment. Finally on the 7th round, we had an intrauterine insemination along with some fertility meds and then got pregnant after 3 years of praying and hoping. We couldn't believe it!!! 
All the heartache I had endured for those 2+ years finally melted away. Well, actually I think I was in denial that I was pregnant for a while. After many yeas of heartaches, it was hard to change my mindset. I had spent so many years watching my friends have their first, second, third children...the countless baby showers, menstrual periods, failed fertility treatments...they were all so very painful. And not to mention, i am a labor and delivery nurse, so i was surrounded by it all the time. i felt so alone and isolated. I felt even Jeremy couldn't understand my pain. 
I often pray now that God will never allow me forget those feelings, because I want to always remember where He has brought us from. He is so very good. He gave us our angel!!!!


Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your story!!! You can read more by Melissa by checking out her blog Hannah's Oath...(and she has a super cute layout too!!! :)

If there are any ladies or couples out there who are struggling with the longing caused by infertility, please feel free to leave a comment (even anonymous) or email me...I'd love to pray with you about your personal journey...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Celebration of Discipline:: Meditation Results

I was supposed to write this blog post on Tuesday. That was the goal. But the past 2 weeks haven't gone like I thought they would.

But here it is now...the response to my action plan for meditation.

This was probably the hardest discipline for me to practice!!

With 3 small kids, I found it hard to make time for myself to plan a time to meditate on the Word of God in my chair like I wanted to.

I actually found that the best thinking and alone time I have is in the shower. And that doesn't always happen every day...yes, you may think it's gross that I don't take a shower every day...but I am just being honest.

But it was still hard to meditate even then because my mind was racing with a million things at once!!

I know that there are health benefits to meditation. And I know that I would greatly benefit from having 5 minutes to focus on the Lord...but making that time happen without interruption is quite difficult. By the end of the day I am totally drained. Totally.

So, a few ways that I know I can make this practice better in my life is this:

1. Stay off my iPhone at a certain time.

It has become an extension of my body at times. I'm constantly checking facebook, twitter, my email...playing games...if I would say that I couldn't have it with me for a certain time period when my kids are playing, I may be able to accomplish some quiet time and meditation.

2. Be proactive about my day.

Most of my day seems reactive to my kids. I sit down to read, and I suddenly smell that I need to change a dirty diaper. Or I get interrupted to fill a juice cup. Or to read a book to them...the list goes on and on...

But if I can be intentional...I can do this. And I know that there will be a time when I will have plenty of time for meditation but wish that I had the small interruptions all day long!!!

Now, I will read the chapter of Celebration of Discipline on Prayer. I will write my action plan on Tuesday!!! It's not too late for you join with me on this journey!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Celebrating LOVE

I believe that holidays are special opportunities to share things with those you love...

Yes, we should be thankful all year long - not just on Thanksgiving Day... And we don't have to wait until Christmas to give gifts or celebrate the birth of the greatest Man who ever lived. 

And I do agree that a lot of our holidays have become more commercialized...which can enable my inner materialistic self...

But I think that there's nothing wrong with observing a holiday focused on LOVE...

I mean, there's a whole chapter in the Bible dedicated to telling us what LOVE really is...

It's actually one of my favorite that I think on and reflect on see if I'm truly loving someone or just using the word...

1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-7 say this about what love really is:
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
And the author, the Apostle Paul ended that chapter with this verse: 
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Love is the greatest gift of all. Why shouldn't we celebrate it? 

And I don't think it has to be celebrated with flowers, cards, extravagant dinners, or an explosive amount of money...any expression of love is important!!

I know that there are some people with regrets when it comes to love...they often wish they would have showed love to the ones closest to them...and for some people, it's too late for that. 

But, you can start today. Celebrate those around you who you love. Do something special to show them that you love them...that you care for them...

And then throughout the day...I challenge you to think about how you can apply the verses of 1 Corinthians 13 along with me - being patient, kind, not jealous, proud, or rude, not demanding my way, not being irritable, not keeping record of wrong...not rejoicing in someone's injustice, but rejoicing in the truth...never giving up, never losing faith, always being hopeful, and enduring through every circumstance...

That's true LOVE...and that is what should be celebrated! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Celebration of Discipline: Meditation Action Plan

The connotation for meditation for me (the picture that comes to mind when I think about that word) is more of an eastern religion picture. Someone sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, and even possibly humming softly.

And what's crazy is that there is a kids' movie that portrayed that form of meditation, and every once in a while, Bella will sit on the floor, cross-legged with her eyes closed, humming. No lie. It shocked me the first time she did it...and I'm being very careful of what I tell her about doing that...I want her to worship Jesus...and I'm not saying that this is not a way that glorifies Him...but it is not commonly done to glorify Jesus... Raising these kids is a whole different ballgame for me!!

Richard Foster addresses Christian meditation in this chapter of Celebration of Discipline. He says, "Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God's voice and obey his word." (pg. 17)

I want to hear God's voice. I can remember specific times in my life when I was desperate to hear from Him...and in those moments, I found myself being extra quiet so I could hear what He was speaking to me....and through me as well.

Now more than ever, my life is quite chaotic. My kids are awesome...they are pretty well behaved...but to find a quiet moment in this house...I cannot go to the bathroom without an interruption! And as much as I would love to wake up early, I'm not a morning person. At all. Mornings are so difficult for me. And I usually am woken up by a kid...and then by the time they go to bed at night, I'm so exhausted...

I find it difficult to make time for God. It's hard to read, pray, or think about anything holy without a constant interruption...either being asked something or having to break up a fight over a toy...

And honestly, God has given me a lot of grace for this season of life. I know that my kids will be in school before I know it...they won't need me as much as they need me now...and I want to enjoy every moment that I can!

So, God is graciously allowing me to grow with Him in the moments that I do have with Him.

Foster says, "We learn to meditate by meditating." (pg. 26)

It will not happen gloriously and regularly over night.

So here is my action plan:

I will spend 5 minutes 3 days a week meditating on how "the written Word becomes a living word addressed to you." (pg. 29)

I will do this by reading a parable or a few verses and "allow it to take root in you...Seek to live the experience...and to apply all our senses to our task." (pg. 29)

I will use my imagination to glorify God. I will imagine myself in the crowd when the woman was healed by touching the hem of Jesus' clothes...I will read Scripture and picture myself there or the Lord speaking it to me in person.

Foster encourages to find one place to practice meditation instead of constantly hunting for one. My ideal place to meditate would be in my favorite chair as I look out at the you can see, we have a beautiful view!! I will try my hardest to make this work...and at the end of the month I'll let you know how it goes!!

In order to remember this, I will have a sticky note on the mirror in my bathroom with the 5 minutes/3 days a week. I may even give myself a gold star after completion :)

How can you incorporate Christian meditation into your life?