Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 10

The Wife's Reverence

"...and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33 There is so much pressure from our society to disregard this notion of respecting our husbands. It is viewed as antiquated and ignorant. However, this verse is in the imperative form, which means that I must continually choose to respect my husband.

"But, what if you feel (and possibly rightly so) that your husband's personality (character, talents, abilities, etc) doesn't deserve your respect? You may ask, 'Am I released from God's commandment?" No. Shaun has been appointed by God to be the authority over our family and I am commanded to respect his position...both outwardly and in my heart.

I believe there is much more to respect than simply being a commandment for wives. I think it is one of, if not the greatest need a man has. I think we as women don't understand how important respect is to a man. Our greatest need is to feel loved, but a man's is to feel respected, trusted and affirmed by us. Acting in a respectful way towards my husband is showing him love. In the same way I want to be loved even when I am unlovable, so I must also respect Shaun when he sins or fails and "on a daily basis when he is just an everyday, ordinary person".

"It will help if you remember that acting in a respectful way it one way to show love to your husbands since 'love does not act unbecomingly' (I Corinthians 13:5). It will also help if you become convinced that you can obey God whether you feel like it or not." I love that! It's hard but its so true. My actions do not need to be ruled by how I feel, how Shaun is acting or what society is pressuring me with. This is my choice.

Definately go check out Leslie's summary and thoughts, along with others who are reading along. In fact, pick up the book. If you are a woman, you will not be sorry for the time you spend reading and studying it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebrating 14 Years

Today we celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. First, I need to clear up that no, I am not old enough to have been married for 14 years...I was a child bride. I was 19 and Shaun was 23. We had dated for four years and had the blessing of our parents. Ok, so I was of age to be married but sometimes it just shocks me that I'm old enough to even remember 14 years ago, let alone to have been married that long.

It was a beautiful, sunshiny day.

Our wedding party...L to R (my sister Bethany, friend Tim, my sister Amy, best man Clint, maid of honor Shelva, Us, Shaun's sister Sarah, friend Jason, my Aunt Bonnie, friend Richard)

My view of marriage when I was 19 was that a wedding day was much like a car coasting from the top of a hill. I thought that day must be the height of a couple's love for each other and hopefully they had built up enough steam to last the duration of their marriage until "death parted them". How foolish I now realize that thinking was! On the contrary, when done right, love continues to grow throughout a marriage. I love Shaun so, so much more than I did on May 30, 1994.

(us at a Boston game last year...a little older, a little wiser and more sure of God's sovereignty than ever)
(taken in Aruba, where we were celebrating this time last year)

Everyday we stand in amazement at God's goodness in our lives. He has been so good to us...God truly knew what He was doing when He orchestrated our lives together. Shaun, Happy Anniversary. I love you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Loyal Fans

Last night Shaun had a double-header softball game. It rained hard just before the first game started, enough to make sufficient mud and puddles for a 1 and 2 year old. This picture was taken on the porch because that is where I stripped them down before they entered the house. Although the team lost both games, we still had fun watching and the mud!
(Of special note: Amanda is officially 18 months here and Avery is holding her "bay-den soup" that she was proudly carrying or wearing, I do not know why). My precious raga-muffins!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Memorial Day

Here's how we spent this beautiful Memorial Day... a little golf...
a little skateboarding (my nephew Jared)...
and lots of watermelon and good desserts!

I Would Say, "With the peas!"...

Here's a little clip of Avery "reading". Like some of her other favorites, this Veggie Tales book has been read roughly 315 times, so she can recite it, with or without the pictures. She did it so cute and then I pulled the camera out and she got know how those things go...but its still fun. Sorry its a little bumpy. That would be her sister on my lap.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coming of Age

The other night as Shaun and I were deep in conversation and Amanda was in bed, Avery was finding her own fun in the bathroom. Normally, she is very trustworthy, so we didn't stop to check on her. When she finally came in to the room where we were, she was holding a bottle of my nail polish and a tentative look on her face.

Without looking, I immediately knew what she had done...opened it! As I pulled her onto my lap to explain that "we don't get into Mommy's things without asking first, blah, blah, blah", I looked down, paused and said, "Wow!! You did a really good job!" (I know, probably not found in any parenting books) She had painted her fingernails and her toenails all by herself!

This is my first time having a two-year old, so don't mind me if this is just the normal way of things, but I thought she did an amazing job...not so much with the lipstick above her eye.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Girls

Children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward from him. Psalms 127:3

The Excellent Wife, Ch 9

The Wife's Choice

This chapter was overwhelmingly long, as would my post be if I covered it all. You can go here to get a better feel for the entire chapter. Five principles were covered on the love of a wife for her husband.

Principle #1 Wives are to love their husbands

"Godly love is not primarily a feeling, it is a choice. God will give you (if you are a Christian) supernatural power (grace) to show love to your husband, if you obey God by thinking loving thoughts and doing loving actions."

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." II Corinthians 12:9

Principle #2 Selfishness hinders love

In our culture there is a emphasis on taking care of yourself above all else. From birth, we are naturally lovers of ourselves. But by God's way, in general, "to have the happiness, joy and fulfillment you desire, you must put yourself aside and place God and others first."

Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself: do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Principle #3 Bitterness hinders love

"Bitterness grows when you 'take into account a wrong suffered' (I Corinthians 13:5). In other words, as you think about the bad, hurtful things your husband has done, you are feeding bitterness. If you dwell on what your husband has done, your emotional pain will greatly intensify...Confessing bitterness, clearing your conscience and giving blessings will go a long way, but in addition you must put off the bitterness by putting on kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving thoughts."

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Principle #4 Fear hinders love

"the wife is specifically told to 'do what is right without being frightened by any fear' (I Peter 3:6). As she does what is right, she will be showing love to God by obeying Him and also showing love to her husband."

Principle #5 The wife is to "put on" love

"Putting on love begins with biblical thoughts and motives and then progresses to your actions." I could be on my soap box for a while talking about thoughts and bringing them to the cross and getting them under submission. I believe with God's help we can line up our thoughts with God's word. In this world of the "quick fix" of divorce after people have "tried" it goes against the mainstream thinking that love is not a feeling, but instead it is an act of your will.

To love is the greatest commandment. This life that I am living is the one shot I am going to get; I want it to be pleasing to God. Most days Shaun is incredibly easy to love but I want to stay diligent for the days or minutes I don't "feel" like it. The rewards are worth the diligent, daily work it requires.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 8

The Wife's Domain

"A godly wife is organized and works hard to operate her home with the least possible chaos. She also creates an optimistic, joyful atmosphere for her family." These were the two different themes laid out in this chapter.

I work part-time from my home so that my husband has the flexibility to participate in raising our children. Some days I wish my "only" responsibility was maintaining our home and being with the girls, but most of the time I am thankful for the arrangement we have. However, it has caused me to be ever searching for the right balance of time and energies between my husband, the kids, my home and work.

"A wife can learn to be a hard worker by 'doing her work heartily as unto the Lord'" Colossians 3:23.

Earlier this year God started dealing with me about getting more organized and deliberate with meals and housework. Through prayer and research I've been slowing setting up a system that has been better for the way things run around here and for my peace of mind.

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

We all know that the "woman of the house" nearly always sets the tone for the home. "The 'tone' God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism and delight in the Lord and in her family." However, "she easily robs everyone else of joy and like the yeast in the bread she bakes, her ungodly attitudes spread to everyone else." When I read this, I thought of many times when Shaun has noticed that my smile has been missing.

"If you find yourself struggling emotionally with self-pity, not being appreciated , or being used by your family, become aware of your thoughts" and replace them! I am selfish and these thoughts come more often than I like. Is that what I want spreading to my family? To my hard-working husband? To my care-free and happy kids?

When I found out our second child was a girl, the knowledge that these two would be watching me and modeling after what I do really hit me hard. I want them to remember that I delighted in my family and enjoyed the role of keeper of my home. I want my family to know, daily, that I take joy in them and in our home.

Realizing that the atmosphere in our home is created by my attitudes has challenged me to work on a habit of happiness. I love my role of wife and mother and am so thankful that God has put me right where I am.

Monday, May 19, 2008

PA Weekend

Avery and I just got back from a wonderful weekend, filled with friends and family. The weekend began at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, where my cousin Johnny graduated with a bachelor's degree. Four years ago we were there for my cousin Melody, who is now working on her PhD.

Although we've always lived several hours apart, this family has been so precious to us over the years and we were happy to have shared in this big event with them. Congrats, Johnny!! (Yes, he is single!)

Next we stopped to see my dear friend Shelva. I had never been to see her where she is now plus I wanted to hold her sweet three-month-old little guy so we stopped in and were able to be with them two nights. We had a blessed time of catching up, sharing our hearts and enjoying each other's child. The fact that we are friends has perplexed me over the years as we are different in so many ways, but I'm so grateful to God for orchestrating it. Shelva's love, friendship, wisdom, listening ear and spirit of adventure have been a constant source of comfort and balance for me over the twenty or so years we've been friends. BFF, Shelva :)

Shelva and I met our former youth pastor and his family for lunch. We had a great time of catching up and just hanging out. He had such a huge impact on our lives during high school. They are good people. Incredibly gifted, driven and called, they serve and live lives that make me tired hearing about! The girls, just several months apart hit it off. Tell me those eyes can't get anything they want!

Really, it was just a nice weekend of being with long-time dear friends and family. The only bummer is that all this "remember when..." and "we've known each other for__ years" makes me feel OLD! How can I remember twenty years ago if I am only twenty?!

Oh, and the one other thing that made this weekend nearly Mother's Day gift, my new GPS. What a comfort to have that computer talking me through the trip.

Shaun and Amanda stayed home together and we missed them terribly. I came home to a better-than-I-left-it house and Amanda had been very well cared for...what a blessing, what a man!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Citizen of the Year

Last night my dad, Gil, was honored by the town where he pastors. He was presented with the Citizen of the Year award. Those of you who know him well or have met him once will agree with me that this is well deserved. I am proud to be "daddy's little girl" to this man. I've left the specific towns and places out, but this is the biography that was read before the crowd gathered:

¨ Pastor Gil, as he is known to his friends and flock is the Pastor of a Church in Connecticut and the Chaplain of a nursing home.

¨ He was born and raised in Idaho and moved to Connecticut as a young man. He has been in ministry in Connecticut for many years along with working at variety of other jobs, including his own business of Gil’s Home Improvement.

¨ In his capacity as Pastor and Chaplain, he can brighten everyone’s day with a warm greeting, a listening ear, and his winning smile. He is a regular visitor to the local Hospital and beyond, often visiting his parishioners and friends of friends at far outlying hospitals.

He especially enjoys his role as preacher and teacher. He conducts a weekly Thursday night Bible Study along with Sunday worship services.

¨ He is an accomplished musician, with a guitar that seems more like his third arm than a musical instrument. If you can hum a few bars for him, he can play any song by ear. Besides knowing words and music of hundreds of hymns and choruses by heart, he writes gospel music. He recently recorded a CD of his original compositions.
He has great skills as a carpenter and builder. At present, on the rare occasion when he has a few extra minutes, he is building an upstairs addition to his home.

¨ Although he has many interests and skills, he has often been heard to say, ”I have always loved being a DAD!” He has four wonderful children: Lisa, Amy, Tim and Bethany. They have grown up into great adults with families of their own so far there are 10 grandchildren: Avery, Amanda, Colombo, Madison, Nathanael, Trevor, Alaina, Kaitlyn, Juliet, and Allison.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday Avery and I had the honor of attending a Mother/Daughter event at my sisters church. It was catered (we ate good!) and after the band played, we heard from special speaker Lisa Whelchel. Most of the special women in my life were there with me and its tucked away in the special memory bank.

Here is Shaun's mom, Bev, his sister Sarah (second of four), Avery, Me
Here is Avery, Me (the oldest...and shortest, I know), my sisters Bethany (youngest) and Amy (second), my mom, Linda and my niece Madison

Today I am so thankful to have a godly mom who made the commitment to be home with us when we were growing up. When other moms seemed to only tolerate their kids, she seemed to (mostly) enjoy having us around and was always sad when summer ended and we had to go back to school. Her knowledge of scripture is an inspiration. I admire that she is not perfect but gets up everyday and makes the decision to love God and to do all that she can to grow more in His likeness.

I am grateful to Shaun's mom, my mother-in-law, for doing her best raising my future husband. She drew the blood line and began the godly heritage that will be carried on for generations after her. She loves the Lord and I know her prayers are still carried with her children. She is precious to me.

Unspeakable joy and happiness fill my heart because my Heavenly Father has given me the gift of Avery and Amanda. I can't think of the privilege of being their momma without involuntary tears. I'm so thankful I have been granted the opportunity to participate in the celebration of Mother's Day. Surely, God is gracious!

Happy Mother's Day to all you precious women. I pray that God would bless your coming in and your going out, that he would give you divine love, wisdom and patience. God help us to always remember that we are doing Your higher calling.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 7

The Wife's Heart

This chapter dealt with idols of the heart. An idol in our heart is "when something is so important to us that we sin to get it or we sin when it doesn't go well". That 'thing' can even be a good thing but "as idolatrous sin abounds, painful emotions increase, and the pressure builds. It is like a steam engine with no safety or relief valve. If you do not repent and turn to God for a refuge (comfort and relief on His terms), you will be forced to seek relief, comfort and escape somewhere else."

A heart that longs after God is a gift of grace from Him. God wants to give me a deep passionate heart for Him, if I ask. The list from the book is excellent, I need to post it somewhere (no pun intended) so I remember to "set my mind on the things above" not on what Shaun is or isn't doing for me or how he makes me feel.

  1. Think about and deliberately delight in the Lord-His works
  2. Build contentment in your life. Frequently thank Him for your circumstances. Think about today and the future in a positive way, look forward to what God is going to do in your life and how He is going to be glorified through you.
  3. Pray and ask God to give you new motives. If you delight in Him, He will give you new desires and motives in your heart...He will replace your idolatrous desires with the desires He wants you to have.
  4. Invest more of your spare time in Scripture, meditate on Scripture, memorize Scripture, and think about Scripture.
  5. Make your goal to please the Lord, not personal happiness.
  6. Be alert to sinful anger (you'll feel frustrated) and / or anxiety as an indicator that your motive is likely not righteous. As soon as you are aware that you are sinning, confess it to God. Take the time and effort to think a God-honoring thought in place of the idolatrous thought.

What is my heart set on? Is it on Shaun's actions and how he treats me? It is on what he could do to change so I would be happy? Is it on my expectations of how things should go?

These are idolatrous desires that are sinful and will frustrate me. As wonderful as Shaun is and as good as he is to me, my happiness and the deep desires of my heart cannot be dependant on him. My heart should be set on right desires:

  1. That I may know God's Word and obey it.
  2. That I may delight in Him.
  3. That I may seek Him with all my heart.
  4. That I may be pleasing to Him regardless of my circumstances.
  5. That I may cultivate an attitude of joy and gratitude in what God is doing in my life no matter what my husband does or does not do.
  6. That I may have joy in God deciding how my life and circumstances can glorify Him the most, that He can use me for His glory

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Another Day Trip

This time our destination was Old Sturbridge Village in MA. Around here it a common grade-school field trip, so most of us had been...a long time ago! Plus, as I've mentioned, taking along the ten nine-and-under year-olds can add a whole new element. But the day was great, even the weather.
Old Sturbridge Village is the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, portraying a rural New England town of the 1830s. There are about 40 original buildings brought from towns throughout New England. "These include homes, meetinghouses, a district school, country store, bank, law office, printing office, carding mill, sawmill, gristmill, pottery, blacksmith shop, shoe shop, and cooper shop." There are also authentically costumed staff, who go about the daily activities of an early 19th-century community. Pretty cool!
We got to see some little lambs and had a picnic on the Common lawn. Avery really enjoyed operating the water pump and throwing rocks into the lake. She walked around like she was a true country girl. Both girls fell asleep in the car almost immediately, a sure sign that they had a fun day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 6

God's Perfect Plan

Normally I try to write up my own take on the chapter and then read thru every one's posts and comments. This week just got away from me {insert excuse here} and it didn't happen. I got curious about what Leslie and others had to say, so I went ahead and read. I was surprised at the amount of controversy surrounding this chapter! Because there are already great posts on this chapter, I will leave you to go follow the comment path.

One of the things I underlined that made an impression on me was when Peace talked about the harmony that existing before the fall as Adam and Eve fulfilled their roles. "Indeed, one of the impacts of the fall was the beginning of sinful conflict. Subsequently, Christ came to redeem us from the curse and if you are 'in Christ' (as Christians), you and your husband...have the capacity to have the harmony in your marriage that God intended."

God gave Shaun to me and I believe His best plan is for us to fulfill our roles as husband and wife and to live in harmony. His way is so much better than anything we could pull together on our own and I desire to continually seek out the best!

Chili Cook-off

Little did my parents know when they were raising their four children that it could blossom into this:

It is utterly amazing to all of us that we have this crew running around at family gatherings. We know how it happens, but how does it happen?! We have ages 9, 7, 7, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 4 mos.

Last night we all got together for a chili cook-off. The brain-child of one sister, carried out masterfully by another. Thanks, Girls for pulling off such a fun event...great memories were made!

There were five different kinds of chili and three different pies...we ate well! Prizes were awarded for Spiciest, Best, Most Unique and Best Looking (for the pies, not the chili).
Finally, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we cranked the latino music out the mini-van windows and the kids took turns having at the pinata...with a hockey stick, of course!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Visit to Mystic Aquarium

Since my brother Tim and his family are in town, we thought it'd be fun to do a couple day trips. It can be challenging to find something that is fun to do with ten kids, ages nine and under, but I have to say, Mystic fit the bill. Everyone from Colombo to Katie (and the adults, too) had a great time!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Welcome to all of you who are checking me out because I sent the following email announcement. I hope you enjoy looking around!
Well, I've chosen today to be the "grand opening day" of my blog. May Day! Although its been created for over a month (March 7th is my first entry), Shaun is the only one I’ve told about it. For those of you who don’t know, a “Blog” is a web (as in World Wide) log, or blog for short. I've spent about a month and a half working on this, praying about it, debating whether to do it, etc, etc. Do I over-analyze things too much? Perhaps. Part of my hesitation for sure is the time commitment, which, by necessity, I’ll have to keep in check. Another lingering question was why someone would want to read about my life…my thoughts, musings, opinions and pictures. What could I possibly offer to make it worth someone’s time to read?

Well, I won’t take the time to go into detail now, but I have been touched by many blogs I have read. Some are good for a laugh; others get an “Oh, how cute!” Still others are thought-provoking and challenging. I don’t promise to be any of these things. In fact, I make no promises at all, except that you can count on pictures. J I know you out-of-town family really treasure those. In addition, I think there is some value in the practice of writing and this just seems like a good forum to do it in.

When I found this about blogs, it kind of nudged me over the edge: “For good or ill, most committed bloggers live with the constant question in their mind: Is this bloggable? This could become a neurosis, but I’ll put a positive spin on it: It nurtures a habit of looking for insight and wisdom and value in every situation, no matter how mundane.
If you live life looking for what is worthwhile in every little thing, you will see more of what God has to teach you. And the more he teaches you, the more you can teach others. As you begin to be inspired and to collect ideas, you will find that the new things you’ve seen and learned enrich far more of your life than just your blog.”

This, coupled with the encouragement of some of you (thank you for your interest) and the fact that I can order a blog book at the end of the year, had me signing up.So, this is your official invitation. Please feel free to stop by once a week, once a month, once in a lifetime…whatever suits your fancy. I hope it will be a good connection for us!

Painting Pink Pajamas

The girls' new room is nearly done. Its been a long process, but we are getting excited as we begin the finishing touches. The other night I was painting the closet and Avery wanted to be with me. For a while she was sitting on a shelf and we were chatting and giggling up then she started to ask if she could help (always so willing!) and since I couldn't think of one good reason to say no and discourage her, I set her up with a brush and some paint.
She spent nearly two hours in there with me, which, when I looked back later was a remarkable attention span for a 2-year old. This is a small closet we are talking about. She had a blast and we enjoyed each other's company. Oh, and the Painting Pink Pajamas title comes out of our favorite Dr. Suess book.