Sunday, July 27, 2008

Father of the Year

Yesterday was Shaun's sister's wedding rehearsal and it was a great day. Perfect weather, good company, everything.

Avery's been excited about being a flower girl since her Auntie asked her back in November. The day before I started to talk about how we were going to the "practice" for Auntie Sarah's wedding, which she was also excited about. However, what both Shaun and I failed to remember to do is talk her through exactly what would be taking place. We know she almost always needs that in new situations, we just never thought of it.

So...the first time she practiced walking down the aisle, she was crying hysterically.

We just hadn't prepared her. So, while I was taking pictures and being a bridesmaid, Shaun took her back down the aisle, got her to calm down and talked her through the whole thing. Then, quietly by themselves, they practiced...maybe 8-10 times, maybe more...and each time she gained a little more confidence until she was walking to Shaun grinning. He definitely deserves some type of an award for pulling that off and salvaging her flower girl status.

It was precious to watch. Despite my best efforts, my mind fast-forwarded twenty years or so to when I will once again watch them in the aisle together. It made me tear up and say a silent prayer for God to give us wisdom to raise her to that point and to keep and protect the husband He has already chosen for her.

As is typical, her sister, who is not in the wedding, found a flower and marched right down, no problem.

Afterwards, we all enjoyed a brunch at the local country club. The girls were thrilled to be hanging out with Cousin Jared.And here's a not-too-bad picture of the two of us.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 18

The Wife's Anger...Overcoming Impatience

True confessions...

Normally each week I read the chapter on Monday and then again on Friday. This week I didn't read it until Tuesday and it was one day too late. You see, Monday evening I got frustrated and vented that to Shaun. While I was talking to him, I briefly thought you should stop and think about this first. Give it a little time to ponder and then bring it up if you still think its worth it. But alas, I plunged ahead and said what I needed to say.

We don't ever yell at each other, but I sure know how to make biting remarks that I regret later and I'm also pretty proficient at pouting.

"Anger and resentment are two powerful emotions you are likely to feel when you are frustrated or irritated. Getting it off your chest does not help the frustration, it only compounds the sin and guilt."

Oh, so true.

"Become keenly aware that each and every time you have an outburst of anger, your sinful flesh sets itself in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit."

I cannot afford to live my life in opposition to the Holy Spirit.

"The contrast between one who stirs up anger and one who subdues anger is abundantly clear. One is a fool. The other is wise. One is harsh. The other is gentle. One produces strife. The other pacifies contention. One will spout folly. The other ponders carefully before he answers."

Does anything more need to be said?

Biblical Steps to Change Character from Anger to Gentleness

  1. Teaching--choose several scriptures relevant to you, meditate on them and memorize them. Know them well

  2. Reproof--ask others to hold you accountable to let you know when you seem to be angry

  3. Correction--later, think what you should have said. How should your countenance and tone of voice been. Confess each specific angry incident to God and to others if you have offended someone. Do it every time

  4. Training in Righteousness--think and act accordingly to the Word of God repeatedly until the gentle and loving responses are your first thoughts instead of afterthoughts. Ask God to change your heart and character. "Humble yourself, cry out to God in prayer for help, roll up your sleeves, and get to work."

I really liked these steps. They seem to be practical and doable...doable being the operative word! You have to think right thoughts. "Right thoughts are compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forbearing, forgiving and loving" Colossians 3:12-14

There's my favorite subject again...thoughts! What things am I dwelling on? I want to get to the point where I don't even have room for angry or hurtful thoughts because they are drowned out with God's Word.

God really used my little outburst on Monday night to make this chapter very real and timely for me. So many of the other concepts we've been studying were coming to my remembrance this week: respect, putting on love, going the second mile, love is not a feeling its a choice, selfishness, instead of wounding your husband, use your tongue to bring healing, a Christian wife's goal is to glorify God, etc, etc....My prayer is that I will truly take these things to heart and be an excellent wife.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Beds

Ideas I Had Before I Became a Parent #42:

Years ago, when I was registering for my baby shower, I distinctly remember seeing the TV baby monitors and thinking 'any parent that thinks they need that is over the top and a bit obsessive...either the baby is sleeping or it isn't and you can tell that just by listening'.

Well, many times since I've wished I could secretly see what in the world they are doing in there! Once such incident was this Tuesday.

I put Amanda down for a nap in her crib and went downstairs to work on the computer. I could clearly hear the baby monitor in the next room. Eventually I heard her singing and talking. She was content so I left her there. When I finally went in, I was shocked and amazed to find her sitting on the floor reading books to her bear...OUT OF HER CRIB!

I realize kids have done this down through the ages and its not a huge deal, I just thought I'd have heard at least a little scuffling or grunting. I wish I'd seen it.

Yesterday morning, when I came upstairs from working out, this is what I found on my side of the bed sleeping next to Shaun.

Yes, she'd crawled out of bed and found her way into our room. Again at nap time and again this morning. Time to get her a big girl bed.

Shaun and Avery went to pick up one we'd found on and by the time they'd gotten home Avery was pretty convinced she wanted the new bed.

So, we went to the store and she got to pick out new sheets (can't share one set of sheets between two beds. They are the only purple in the room, but she's pleased)

They are both tucked into beds now and I don't hear anything so it must be fine, right?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Splash Park Charity

The other day I watched my sister's kids for a couple hours. It was in the 90s and humid, which means our house was in the mid 80s. What to do with six kids on a hot summer day? Ah...the splash park! Two minutes from the house (trace amounts of gas used) and easy. Its all fenced in and good for big and little kids. They had a blast.

This same park also hosts a kids summer camp and around noon they all started lining up to get their lunch. That's when I remembered hearing last year that they serve lunch to whoever wants it. Hmm...

I guess I'm getting older or cheaper or something because even just a few years ago I would have been quite mortified to line up for free food. better believe I was standing there, pleased as punch to be getting lunch for these six kids. Hey, we pay the town property tax times three houses and two vehicles, so I wasn't feeling even a little guilty or ashamed (maybe that's the age thing?) It was all prepared and balanced (wheat bread even!). Granted, none of the kids had ever tasted salami before, but it was a hit.

In fact, it was a lesson to the kids on how God provides. We even had a picnic table to ourselves in the shade. Good times!

The Excellent Wife, Ch 17

Conflict...Quietness of the Wife's Spirit

In this chapter on conflict, the author said there are basically three types of conflict:

  • Differentness
  • Selfishness / Sinfulness
  • Righteousness

Differentness is not right or wrong, its just...well, different. I think differentness conflicts happen, for the most part, in the early stages of a relationship. Eventually, after arguing over and over about how to squeeze the tube of toothpaste, you come to a compromise. Or you buy two tubes.

Overcoming differentness is "forbearance", which is basically "putting up with the other person's traditions or idiosyncrasies". Neither person should insist on having their own way and if you know its something really important to your husband you should "willingly give in graciously for the sake of unity and for the sake of remaining under your husband's authority."

Over these 14 years, Shaun and I have worked out and come to understand most of our differences. In fact, I think we appreciate each other more because of them.

"The sin of selfishness is the number one reason why people do not get along." Yeah, totally makes sense. I don't think I've ever seen it boiled down so simply, but its true. Forget all the 25-reasons-your-marriage-is-in-trouble books. The conflict is because one of us is sinning by being selfish. This yields "angry outbursts, pouting, manipulating, nagging, or resentment". Ug-ly!

The third conflict trigger is righteousness. Essentially, arguing over how to interpret Scripture. "A wife needs to be careful to separate her own personal interpretation of God's Word from the level of God's absolute Law".

Attitudes Needed to Solve Conflict

  1. Humility "a humble person view himself in proper perspective to God and others".
  2. Gentleness "strength under control". Tenderness and compassion, calm while under pressure, careful and thoughtful when responding during conflict
  3. Patience taught through tribulation and testings
  4. Forbearance "self-restraint and putting up with one another"

Difficult? Yes, because we are all, by nature, selfish. However, "Love does not seek its own way" I Corinthians 13:5. As I prefer Shaun and "put on" love, I will be loving him instead of being selfish. As Peace said in chapter 9, "you do not have to feel 'led' to be unselfish, you just have to do it".

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Summer

Just a few pitctures for those of you interested. We dug out the kidde pool and I was reminded again what a wonderful age the girls are at. They wouldn't have enjoyed their time more if we'd spent $40,000 putting in a heated pool with jets and pavers. Ahh...contentment and joy with life's simple things. I have so much to learn from my kids!
Avery doing a "fly boat" (back float). She does the, "Mommy, watch this..." thing
When Avery was given this bike well over a year ago, I was pretty sure it would be years before she would ever be able to ride it. Well, Daddy dug it out of the garage and pumped up the tires and she actually did fit on it. After two days, she is an old pro and is delighted to be able to do it by herself.
This is what you get when there hasn't been rain for a while at the softball field and you throw yourself prostrate onto the ground in a fit.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Latest remodel

Knowing we had Sarah's shower coming up, we wanted to remodel our pool room so the event would be extra nice for her. It was the first project we haven't stretched over months or years. Very tough work but nice to have it done! These pictures are a month apart, but throw in there out-of-town family visiting, a wedding, two vacations and that makes it a bit more exciting!

This past week Shaun's brother Nathan was here helping everyday, couldn't have done it without him. Thanks, Nate!

Late in the week a friend stopped by, who will remain nameless. Two things you should know though. 1) he is male and 2) his name begins with an "E" and ends in "ric". He walked in, stood in the doorway, looked around a bit and said "Did you get new light fixtures??"
Seriously? Men and women as so different!

Shower time!

Yesterday we hosted a bridal shower for Shaun's sister Sarah. She's getting married in just a couple weeks and the excitement for the BIG DAY was definitely felt yesterday.

Sarah got some beautiful, thoughtful gifts and cards and seemed to be really blessed by the day. Isn't she beautiful? And she's wearing her wedding gift from her fiance around her neck.

We ate lots of good food, talked and laughed and met new people. Tony's family is wonderful and we look forward to extending our "circle" to include them.

Bride, mother of the groom and bride...all glowing with excitement

Hard-working bridesmaids...still smiling!
Sweet party girls...the two in the middle are the flower girls.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 16

Communication...Control of the Wife's Tongue

An excellent wife, who can find her? For her worth is far above jewels...She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:10,26

This chapter presented nine principles regarding the tongue. Personally, God started to deal with me about my words back in chapter 2 when we started talking about sin and just being reminded of the fact that I am a "creature serving the Creator" and my "view of like is to be God-centered, not self-centered."

I hate to admit it, but I often find my thoughts still in the adolescent stage of I know everything and I have handle on the truth so that qualifies me to judge you. What I am slooowly learning is that I do not know everything and I am commanded to not judge anyone. "It is presumption for one person to believe they know what another person is thinking or why they did what they did." When I apply this to my husband, it helps me shut my mouth. Is it possible there is a piece of information I do not have? Would he have thought that through and then hurt me purposely anyway?

I married a Mechanical Engineer and he fits many of the associated stero-types. He thinks everything through and does nothing without a solid reason behind it. I try to remember not to ask his reasons for doing things because I've learned over the years that there always is one and if he shares it with me, it will bring on brain spasms.

Just as an example, sometimes he's looking for a particular pair of socks and if, after a couple minutes of searching we cannot find them, I'll slip up and ask why he needs those socks. Always, he is ready to give me a 20-point-domino thought process of why those socks. Mid-way through, I am begging for mercy. It would be fun to have him on as a guest sometime so you can see for yourself...its truly crazy.

Anyway...I just have to remember to not pass judgement on the "motives of men's hearts" I Corinthians 4:5.

If you read my take on the last chapter then you know I was excited to see the first point this week is:

A Wife's Wrong Words Begin With Wrong Thoughts and Motives

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34

"Heart in Scripture includes a person's thoughts, choices, or motives. Your 'heart' is not some emotional part of you that you have no control over. What you think about is a choice you make." My thoughts, my words, the condition of my heart are My. Choices. Its so important that we are constantly dumping good, edifying stuff into our heart.

From chapter 3:

"How hard you work at putting on the right thoughts and actions will directly affect how much like the Lord Jesus Christ you become in this life."

Hands down, my purpose here on earth is to glorify God. If my life is not about that then why was I put here for this little speck of time? I know it brings glory to Him when I speak kind, loving, healing words to my husband. Now I just need to practice!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Excellent Wife, Ch 15

Honoring Christ...Key to the Wife's Motivation

This chapter was again dealing with submission. I'm getting that it is a vital part of being an "excellent wife"! The author listed out 20 motivators to being submissive, since it does not come naturally to most wives. Thankfully, Leslie listed them out if you want to see the full list.

Mind-over-matter, speak-to-yourself things really make sense to me and help me in many areas of life. "Regardless of her feelings, she should honor Christ by developing a mind-set or a resolve to do the right thing in the right way with the right motive whether she feels like it or not. In the process, her feelings will eventually change."

It is vital that we change our thinking from "What can I get out of this? to How can the Lord Jesus Christ be honored in this?" That gets the focus off of me, me, me. The "me" world gets old quickly and at some point you have to realize "its not about me"! Its such a liberating concept to grasp.

"Thus says the Lord, 'Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23,24

If you just skimmed over that verse, go back and read it again. Wow! I don't remember reading this verse before, or maybe it just finally speaks to me now. I want to know Him. I want to understand the God who is loving, just and righteous.

I know it to be true in my own life, the more I spend time with God, reading His word and talking to him, studying His character, the less I am concerned with watching out for myself and making sure everyone is taking care of Lisa. Regrettably, it only takes missing two or three days of my set-aside time with God before my selfish heart takes over.

So to me, the Study the Character of God point is first and all others flow out from doing this.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's A Man-Thing

This is especially for all of my male do visit, right Dad and Tim??

Anyway, we are working on remodeling the pool room and we're anxious to get it done, so Shaun's been delegating to me any projects that he thinks I can handle.

One such project was filling a small portion of the wall with insulation. See where the holes are near the ceiling? I just had to drop the insulation (pictured here) down into those cavities. Well, I got up one morning, skipped my workout and got right to it. Its in very little pieces, so it takes a while. By the time Shaun got up, I had completed one side and had started on the second.

This is the funny part of the story. When Shaun came down, he was absolutely incredulous, in disbelief and completely speechless. "You. I. You. That. I. What? I." Eventually he was able to get out that the one bag I had used should be enough to do the entire room, not just these two sections. Apparently, the insulation has to be fluffed before you put it in? I still don't understand, but I'm not sure I've ever seen Shaun at such a loss for words. He simply could not believe what I had done. I don't think I'll be getting that job back.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fun in Maine

We were in Maine over the Fourth. Shaun's family has a cabin on a "pond" that we go to every year. Two of my favorite things are that it never changes and it is simple.

Because he is both qualified and generous, Shaun always has a project or two waiting for him when we go. This year it was taking down three trees. The one you see leaning into nearby trees was started by a beaver, the other two were dead. He and Nathan worked very hard for the better part of a day. That's Nathan very high up with the orange shirt on and if you look even closer, you can see the rope that he shimmied down on.

We were happy that Shaun's brother Nathan and his (Nathan's) girlfriend Laryssa were able to join us. They lavished time and attention on the girls and it was nice to have the company.

My sister Amy and her clan joined us the following day. We swam, had campfires complete with S'mores, ate, read, slept, ate, played Princess Memory, napped, talked, fished, and ate. Shaun and I were even able to sneak away for a couple hours for a canoe was wonderful. We talked, Shaun fished and I snapped a few pictures of these loons who let us get amazingly close. It really was a great time. We are now back in the world of the Internet, television and cell phones. Too bad! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Virginia Beach

We just got back from a family reunion on my mom's side. Here are the three original siblings, who sadly, have been the oldest generation for many, many years:

Mark, Linda (my mom) and Bonnie...each 13 months apart

Here are all of the first cousins (just missing my brother, Tim):

L to R: top: Amy, Johnny, Melody, Joy, bottom: Bethany, Charity, me--just 10 years separates the oldest from the youngest)

And here is the entire group, except Shaun who is taking the picture, my girls who were sleeping soundly and my brother and his family who were unable to come from CO. There were 24 of us in total. I wish my grandmother, their mom was here to see the heritage that she left...her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all love the Lord.

We hadn't all been together since my wedding in 1994, although Uncle Mark and his family came for a few days in 1998 and saw many of us. We figured it was time to reunite and since we were coming from CT, NY, PA and TN, it just made sense to meet in the middle at Virginia Beach. What a great place...especially for families!

For Avery and Amanda, it doesn't get any better than being with their family. Their cousins have celebrity status in their eyes and grandparents, aunts and uncles are treasured.

We chilled at the beach, swam in the pool, walked the boardwalk, ate ice-cream, talked, laughed and just enjoyed being together.

This was the view from our suite, not too shabby:

This is how Uncle Lee and I started our days. See the lifeguard chair over on the right? Yeah, that's our spot. We are kindred-spirit morning people, who get up before 6 AM just for the pure enjoyment, just 'cause its the very best part of the day. We watched the dolphins jumping in the water just off shore, the birds fishing and the waves crashing.

I'm so thankful for family, I have a very special one. I'm also grateful that we got to go on vacation and stimulate the economy...yes, we did our part with our tax check. :)