Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

Tonight was our first time trick or treating. I know, unAmerican. But we don't have a "neighborhood" out here where we live and my parents old neighborhood before they moved was not exactly trick or treatable. Most of the time we just stuck to fall festival from the church (now what we call CANDYFEST at our current church. Outreach done for the community in which we have app 6 to 7 thousand people in attendance!) But last year my parents moved to a fabulous new house in a great location and we have some friends that live just around the corner from them. So a few of us got together and went together. Our friend C had a trailer-complete with Christmas lights on it- and we loaded all the kids up. My children had a great time.

Two VERY important lessons I learned tonight and I feel compelled to share them with you so that you won't make the same mistakes as I did. I love you that much! The first is... never wait until the hour before you are going trick or treat to try on a costume. You can't really tell in the pictures below, but Jackson's costume was about 3 sizes too small. What should have gone all the way to his ankles looked like a bad version of a capri jumpsuit. It came to about mid-calf. Not to mention it was too tight in the hiney too. Total wedgie! The good thing was that he didn't even notice. He still thought he looked cool. And that's all that really matters, right?

The second thing was while we were all piled into the trailer, some of us began to notice a terrible stench. Dog poop. Very strong smelling doggie poo. Of course all night I checked my kids pants and their shoes. They were clean so I just kept thinking that someone had stepped in it and it must be on the hay in the trailer. When we got in the car to go back to my parents the smell was still there. I told Frank to turn the light on and I picked up MY shoe. Oh yeh... All over my shoe. How I missed stepping in that I don't know. Because it looked like I should have been knee deep in poop somewhere OR the dog should have still been attached to my leg. Anyway, not only should you check your kids shoes when someone smells poop... check your own too!

Enjoy the pictures!!

More Pics from Halloween 2008

Love Dare Day 21

Well, I am past the halfway point!  Whew!  I think I really went into this more with the attitude that me doing all these "things" would cause Frank to take a look at himself and make some changes.  (yes, you can laugh now!)  But, what I found instead was that this process has caused me to take an inward look and be the one that made some changes instead!

For a long time in my marriage, I looked to Frank as my source of happiness.  If he came home in a good mood, then typically our evening was great.  If he wasn't, then I wasn't either.  If he answered me with a wrong attitude, I answered back in an equally (sometimes more) ugly attitude.  My attitude was SO dependant on his.  Even now, I find myself slipping back into that old pattern of behavior sometimes.

What unneeded and unnecessary pressure that was from me!!!  I looked to him as the source of my happiness, my love, my security.  No wonder things fell apart!

Everyday, whether we mean to or not, we place certain expectations on our spouse.  And because they are human, they don't always meet them.  But even if they do most of the time, they will never be able to fully satisfy all of the demands we have.  Partly because some are unreasonable (I never make unreasonable demands.  I mainly meant yall!) and partly because they are just people.  

Thankfully, our God isn't.  And when we approach Him daily for our needs, we see just how dependable He is.

Can Frank give me inner peace?  Can he enable me to be content in all things?  Most definitely the answer is NO.  But God can.  Philippians 4:12-13 tell us In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled... I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  And if anyone had just cause NOT to be satisfied... it was Paul,  FOR SURE!

We all have needs that only God can fill, that only He can satisfy.  Even though our spouse may be able to fill some of them every once in a while, only God can do it all... all the time.  Our need for love, for acceptance, for true happiness.  We have to quit looking to things and others that are subject to change-- like health, our MONEY, even our spouse-- to bring us real satisfaction.

If we know this, why is it that we don't always do it?  Well, we don't really trust God to supply our needs.  It's easy to say until you're in the thick of it.  Then, sometimes we think about that trust or meeting of needs as something God did for others, but not for us.  After all, our situation is always different!


I do this every morning already.  After I get the kids up and dressed and they are eating breakfast I get started. I usually use this time to do whatever Bible Study I'm in and then  Frank usually takes the boys outside to wait for the bus with Jackson. So for about 15 minutes it's really quiet inside and I can have my prayer time.  Having a quiet time every day I can honestly say has made the biggest impact in my walk.  If you don't already have one, it's not too late to start.  Start with whatever time you have.  If it's just 10 minutes then start there.  You will be amazed at how you will start carving out more time on your own.

Is God your everyday supply?  Honestly?  Of everything?  

Mr. Obama

Take 2 minutes, turn the player down and watch this!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Dare Day 20


I have already trusted Christ as my personal Savior. And although I walked far away from the narrow road when I was younger, by the grace of God He pulled me back. And I am never going down that road again.

But maybe you haven't trusted Christ. And if you haven't, it's not too late. 2Corinthians 6:2 says Now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.

Or maybe you have but like I did, you have wandered far away from the Lord. I am here to tell you that if He can pull me back, He can pull anyone back. I had many rebellious teenage years. If you can name it, then I most likely did it. Or at least VERY heavily considered it. Walked right up to the edge of it and peered over. Rarely ever did I consider the possibility that there could be consequences to my actions. I lived in the moment and did whatever my buddies were doing.

Then, I met Frank. How the two of us ever ended up together... Well, it was only God, that's for sure. Because, even though he was (IS) a hottie, he was not the kind of guy I usually went out with. Likewise, I was far from anything like the other girls he had been with. And did I mention that we were about as opposite as opposite can be? Oh yeah. That's right. Night and Day!

I cleaned up my act because I really liked this guy. And some of the changes were real. But they were mostly surface level changes. You see, at the heart of it all, I was still the same person. Still living for myself. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I got it. I mean really got it.

All through the time I was growing up in church, what I mostly heard about was heaven and hell. And obviously, the latter was not a good choice. But that was it. No one really told me about the relationship part. I mean, sure, I knew all the rules and what I should and shouldn't do, but that was not enough motivation to live for Him. I was still too busy living for me.

I wish I could tell you the exact moment I got it, but I don't. Too many kids and not enough brain cells left! The point is... it wasn't too late for me. All the "stuff" I had done didn't matter anymore. I didn't have to turn my life around and get all cleaned up first. He took me... warts and all.

God was willing to love me, even though I didn't deserve His love and even when I didn't love Him back. He saw all of the things I had done. He saw every imperfection. He knew about every horrible thing I had ever done. And He still choose to love me anyway.

Now, if God could extend that kind of love and mercy to me... to us... then we can extend it to our spouses. After all, all we are supposed to be is an extension of Christ anyway. So we can love even when we aren't being loved in return. We can see all the flaws and imperfections of our spouse. And love them anyway.

Family Ties

Growing up, I always had to have friends over because I was an only child. I constantly wanted a playmate. I wanted a sibling and always having special people over was as close as I could come!

As I got older, I did see the benefits to being an only child, but i still wished I had brothers and sisters.

Then came marriage. And I got more family than I ever thought that I would have. I am fortunate to have a MIL and FIL that I love and I get along with. And I am very lucky that my small family loves Frank and treats him just like a child of their own. Sometimes, they treat him better than their own. But, who's keeping tabs... I am not bitter at all..

My family doesn't look like what I always envisioned that it would. How God chooses certain people to belong together I will never comprehend. Sometimes I think it is more for a JOKE but that's a whole other post!

Yes, there is my immediate family. Made up of myself and Frank and all of the circus workers. Do you ever wonder how the same 2 people can produce such very different kids? I do. I wonder every time I look at them. Not necessarily in the way that they look, but in the way they act and their likes and dislikes. AND the way that they express those likes and dislikes if you know what I mean.

Then, I have my extended family. Made of up MIL and FIL and all of Frank's sisters and their families. And the 10,000 relatives that my husband has. Because truly, I do believe that somehow he is related to every human on the face of the earth!

But, then there is this whole other family. You see, I believe that what makes us family is not really blood relation at all. It is a common thread. Shared memories. Shared experiences. Something that ties your hearts together. And this family is special. Special because we are family by choice. People like Stephanie and Julie and Elizabeth. Emily and Katy and Starla. These people are much more than just friends. They are my family.

And then there's you... This blogging community continues to amaze me. The encouragement and love that I feel from many of you makes me so grateful. I feel like I know some of you so well. I feel like I am part of your lives in some small way. And I equally feel you as part of mine. There are many ways in which I am connected to some of you. But the one common thread that I see among most of us is JESUS. He is that something, that someone that ties our hearts together.

Mary over at Owlhaven said it best about family once when she said "After all, doesn't a family start with 2 people who aren't even related?"

So true, Mary, so true.

Family. I'm glad for mine. For all of mine.

These are the ties that bind... Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Okay, just a reminder that the FIREPROOF MY MARRIAGE conference begins THIS Saturday. You should make every attempt to attend. And even if you don't live near here, you can still check and see if another church close to you will be hosting the simulcast. You can go here or here to get information about it. I know that it is an all day event, but the time invested will give you more of a return than you can imagine. If money is the issue, please don't let that stop you. Just get with me before you make that decision. ( If you are planning on traveling here, please let me know. I would LOVE to be able to see some of you! Let's put football aside for once and put our marriages and God first!

Love Dare Day 19

I have come to accept over the past couple of weeks (even though I have known it for some time) that unconditional love is something that we do not have the ability to muster up ourselves.  It is impossible.  You can show kindness, thoughtfulness, and be considerate.  But truly loving someone unselfishly and unconditionally is something completely different.

And like it or not, it isn't something that we will ever be able to do.  Only God can.  Because of His love for me and His love for Frank, He chooses to show His love through me.  And if you still think for one brief moment that you can at some point on your own with enough hard work and sacrifice create that kind of love... ask yourself this:  How many times has your love kept you from lying (even if it's only a little white one) or overreacting or thinking something ugly about your spouse?  How often has your love been able to control your anger? Or how often has your love caused you to end an ongoing argument peaceably?

As long as we are only looking to ourselves to create and feel this kind of love, we will fail.  
I John 4:7 says that Love is from God.  So only those of us that have allowed Christ into our hearts can tap into love's real power...

We simply can't do it apart from Him.  And the truth is that we can't live without Him.  We can't truly love apart from Him.  But, He can do amazing things in our marriages if we just trust Him...

Fortunately, for me, I have put my trust in Him and I can tap into the Source.  But, I often don't.  What is it that keeps us from using all that God has put in us?  I will try to do things myself and usually make a huge mess of it.  I end up 3 steps behind where I began.  If I would just yield.  Yield myself to the Holy Spirit, I could be 3 steps ahead.


My answer is YES!  There were some things that I felt would be impossible.  Keeping my mouth shut on the very first day seemed impossible!  If it hadn't been for the HDT I would have chewed a hole in the side of my mouth and that would have been very unattractive!  Giving in on an argument or issue and letting him "win"... are you kidding me?

What I have learned so far is that I thought I had a great marriage and I thought I was a great wife.  And we DO have a great marriage.  But,  I had no idea how much room there was for improvement.  Not from Frank.  From me.  I was sure going into this that I would have no problem doing anything that was asked because I already loved my husband.  What I discovered was that perhaps I was more selfish than I was ready to admit.  

And there is NO WAY I can do this without God.  I am NOT that strong.

*As a side note, several of you have asked me why I chose not to do this with Frank and do it as kind of a secret (okay well it's not KINDA a secret. It IS a secret so shhhh.)  The main reason was because I didn't want to be thinking about myself.  What is he going to do for me today?  Or, I did more than he did!  Or if he were to get behind for any reason I didn't want to feel slighted.  And I didn't want to be walking around with the expectation that he was supposed to do something for me.

The other reason was I didn't want him criticizing what I was doing. (sorry honey!  Just being honest)

So those are my reasons!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love Dare Day 18

I love horses. I love everything about them. I love riding them, I love training them (most of the time), I even like the "chores" that go along with them. I read a lot about them because one thing a good horse rider/trainer knows is that you don't ever know everything. And I want to know everything I can about the subject.

We all like discovering new things about our areas of interest. Whether it's football (GO DAWGS!!!), or sewing, or gardening or cooking, whatever it is we like learning about it and have a deep desire to know more.

All of those things are great and it's good to have areas of outside interest and be knowledgeable on the subject. But, how well do you know your spouse? How much do you know about him/her?

Remember back in the day... you know, when you were dating? You always felt like you couldn't get enough of being around them. You felt like you were learning something new everyday. I remember when Frank and I started dating 14 1/2 years ago. I won't tell you how old I was cause that would give away my age, but we spent every waking moment together filling our noggins with any and every piece of information we could about the other. I was working and going to school. Frank was working and going to school. We both participated in the theater at college (we did go to the same college for a little while). Needless-to-say, we had very, very full schedules. However, it didn't matter. As soon as practice would be over, we would go out for a while or he would come back over to my house. My parents loved him so they always let him stay as late as he wanted. We laughed all the time. I'm not sure now if he really was that funny or if I just wanted him to think that but... well, anyway. Most nights we would fall asleep watching a movie or something on TV and he would leave around 1am or 2am. Then we would start all over the next day. Do you know what would happen to me now if I tried to maintain that kind of schedule? Shesh! I don't know how we did it.

Yes, I do. We had such a deep desire to know and understand each other. This quote was in the movie and is also in the book. I think it is worthy of repeating. if the amount that you studied your spouse before marriage were equal to a high school diploma, then you should continue to learn about your mate until you gain a college degree, a masters degree and ultimately a doctorate degree.

WOW! All that studying I did beforehand... That really puts what I should be doing now into perspective.

If we are missing the level of intimacy that we once shared together, then one of the best ways to unlock their hearts is to begin studying them again. Proverbs 18:15 says The ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Ask questions. Listen to them. (break out that HDT if you need to!) Ask God for discernment in understanding where your spouse is coming from.


Since there was NO way the kids were going to be shipped off for the evening (they are already going to be away this weekend. I didn't want to be greedy. Well, I wanted to, but I just didn't feel like pushing it!) I decided that we would just wait until the kids went to bed to have a nice dinner. AND we had already rented a movie over the weekend that we hadn't watched yet so perfect!! I cooked something really nice (it was the chicken pesto spirals! recipe is on this blog) which just happened to turn out GREAT! We didn't talk about the kids a lot over dinner. And it was just nice enjoying some conversation without having to cut someones food or tell them to "EAT" for the 1984th time. We watched the movie and even sat next to each other on the couch instead of retreating to our favorite chairs. And the movie was a comedy, so we laughed A LOT! I will spare you the details of the remainder of the evening *wink*, but I'm pretty sure it was an enjoyable evening for both!

I realized that even though we have been together for a long time, there is always undiscovered territory. I just have to take the time to learn about it... and then go conquer it!

Guitar Praise

So over at BlogMommas they are having this contest to win this! This would be AWESOME for Jackson! He played Guitar Hero when we went on our family beach trip this past April, but only with supervision. I wanted to make sure that the songs that he picked were okay. So when I saw this I thought how great it was. He would get to play the game he likes (since right now he is ALL about the video games) and I wouldn't have to worry about the music. Plus, I figure he would be learning some of these great songs... even without him really knowing it! A great way to pump them full of some worthy music! Go check it out! But don't enter cause I really want to win :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Love Dare Day 17

I'm sure that most of us have at least one friend that we consider to be our very best.  You know, the kind you share everything with.  Even some things you probably shouldn't (sorry Steph!).  You know them inside and out.  You have LOTS of memories together.  You feel like you can tell them anything and it will be okay.  It is a very intimate relationship.

Marriage should be the most intimate of all of our relationships.  Sometimes the level of intimacy that you share can be scary.  After all, they know things about you that nobody else knows.  The good, the bad, and the sometimes very ugly...  This can either cause us to love at very great depths or cause us to wound each other in ways that we don't always fully recover from.

Do the secrets you share draw you closer or cause you shame?  What would your spouse say?  Do you feel safe to share those things with your spouse or do you seek out that friendship mentioned above?  If your home, your marriage does not provide that kind of safety, then we can be tempted to look for it somewhere else.

We shouldn't feel like we have to be perfect in order to get our spouse's approval.  Neither should they.  I John 4:18 says There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.

Marriage and intimacy causes us to bring our baggage with us.  Sometimes, the baggage IS embarrassing.  But this is our chance to protect that information with our love.  Sometimes the secrets need to be corrected.  Sometimes they just need to be accepted, especially when there isn't anything you can do to change them anyway.

Consider this...  There isn't anyone, not your mom, not your spouse, not even your BFF that knows you better than God.  And even in His knowing of every part of us, even the parts that we think are hidden from other, even the parts that are dark and scary... He still loves us with a love that we can not begin to understand.  So how much more should we-as imperfect as we ALL are (yes, I know there are a few of you who may be close or even think that you are... but you're not )-extend grace and mercy to our spouse?

This area in my life and in my marriage has really been more about Frank's acceptance of me vs. my acceptance of him.  See, he was the "good" one growing up and I was the "not so good one".  Okay.  I was bad.  So I brought a whoooole lot more baggage into the relationship than he did.  In fact, I pray all the time that Frank's goodness will cancel out my badness in our kids!!  You know, cause my mom put the curse on me too about the kids ending up like me...  

And I have to say that I don't know if it would have been the other way around if I would have had as much mercy and grace and forgiveness as he has.  There haven't been many times that he has made me feel bad over my past OR the ways that I continue to screw up now.  He has shown me the love of Christ in a way that can't be measured or even really understood.  What an example he has been.


Well, unless he has something that he hasn't told me, I already know every secret Frank has.  I guess this one will just have to wait until some "new" secret comes up.  But what I did do was to pray and ask the Lord to prepare my heart for those times if they happen.  To help me show Frank the same grace and mercy that he has shown me.  And not to be critical when it does.

Psalm 139:2-4 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all!!!

BTW just as a side note:  Did you notice that this was my 100th blog??  YAY!!!!!

Not Me! Monday Edition 6

Ahhh... it's that time again. Time for some weekly confessions. If you haven't been following, go check out MckMama's blog. She started a blog carnival in which we are brutally honest about the things we did not do over the past week. So head on over and check out the rules. You can join in and play along, or just check out what others haven't been doing!

I did NOT allow my 2 yr old daughter to jump on the trampoline with only a shirt on and no panties because she had teeteed in her pants and I was too lazy to go inside and get some more.  Not me!  I am a much better parent than that!!  Besides, if I had done that, which I did not, we would have only been staying outside for another 15minutes or so and it was warm out.

I did NOT drop 3 pancakes on the floor and check to see if anyone was looking...before I put them back on the pile with the others. Not me! But.. if I had, my floors were actually clean for a change cause of the BIG party we had over the weekend... But I didn't. So, it's not really a big deal. Plus... 5 second rule, come on!

I did NOT get excited when I saw the number of followers go up on my blog. Not me! That's just lame. I am waaaaay to cool to care about stuff like that!

I did NOT get overly aggravated when our cable and internet went out all day Friday and part of the day Saturday. Not me! I have many, many things around here to keep me busy that need to be taken care of. I do not ever choose to blog instead of doing housework OR taking care of the children..

I did NOT start checking my blog on Saturday the MINUTE the kids went down for a nap, INSTEAD of doing some much needed things for the rather, uhmm, large party we were having that night. Not Me! I am much more responsible than that.

And I most certainly did NOT quickly shut off the computer the instant I heard a door shut outside, knowing it was probably my husband. Furthermore, I didn't run into the bathroom, turn the shower on and strip faster than I ever have in my entire life and jump into said shower so that he wouldn't know that I had been blogging while he had been hard at work getting ready for party mentioned previously. Not me! You can't prove a thing! But... you can start calling me Speedy...

Let me know what you didn't do this week!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Love Dare Day 16

We can NOT change each other. Sometimes we think we can, but we can't. Not true and lasting change. The sad thing is that most of us spend a very large portion of our relationships trying to do that very thing... trying to change each other. This just leads to a lot of frustration. A LOT of frustration.

Frank and I struggle in this area. Or at least I struggle with this. I am sure just like many of you that we have things in our marriage that have come up over and over and over again. Sometimes those things will change for a little while, but they are never permanent changes. Most of the time there will be a HUGE fight about one of them and then I will end up talking about it to a close friend.

It does drive me crazy. There aren't that many things anymore, but there are a few issues that rear their ugly head every once in a while. And the arguments about them sound just the same every time. I wonder to myself during those moments if things will ever change.

Obviously, my methods have not been working. And I have tried most all of them from the super sweet and nice to the... uhm... not so nice or sweet. Maybe it's time to try a different way.

You see, a farmer can not make his seeds grow into a productive crop. He can't will it, nag it, manipulate it, deceive it, argue it, or demand it to grow and produce. But there are some things that he can do to help it. He can choose the fertile soil, he can give it nutrients and water it, he can protect it from weeds, and then turn it over to God and let Him do the rest.

We could learn a lot from the farmer. If we could do the same thing in our marriages, what would happen? No matter what kind of soil I am working with, I have to prepare for the rain and plan for success.

The key to that success is prayer. No surprise right? Yet, most of the time, it's not our first choice. This kind of prayer is more than just a half-hearted "God help me" or better "God help him!" It's turning to Him before I turn to someone else to gripe about what Frank has done or not done. God already knows anyway. However, prayer does work best when it comes out of love and a humble heart. Don't forget that part.

Have you ever wondered why God lets us have such a clear picture of our spouse's faults? Why can't love really be blind? Is it so that we can nag them to death to get them to change? We all know the answer is "No". It is for effective praying. Nobody else knows what the needs of your spouse is better than you so why do we let others do the praying for us? Nagging is NOT what changes a heart. Prayer is.


I need to pray for Frank more. I know from experience that my way of trying to change him doesn't work. And really, it's probably because it's not my job anyway to change him. It's God's. Only He can change a heart. Only He can produce the kind of true and lasting changes that are needed.

So, my prayer during those times should be "God, change him or change me" One of those has to happen. Either God has to change Frank's perspective or He is gonna have to change mine so that I can be content in the situation. Because, believe it or not, sometimes... I can be the one who needs changing...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My First Bloggy Award

My sweet friend JL over at Southern Sassiness just gave me this award! Never had one before! And I have to say... it made me smile very big when I saw that she had picked me! So thanks, Jerri Lyn!! She was actually one of the very first blogs that I added to my list. So go check her out!

I am passing this along to other ladies that always have stories that make me laugh, gives great tips, and touches my heart!

The Accidental Traveler (Kate) you always inspire me...

Davisix (Ang) I love adoption... and I need a fellow horse-lover!

Dream.Imagine.Live (Keli) you always make me laugh... need I say G string???

Three Girl Mama (Emily) because I DO love adoption and I DO love you guys!! (check out both of her links please :)

Now, pass on the goodness!!

Tag!! I'm It!!

I've been tagged by one of my great new bloggy friends over at Shell In Your Pocket!! So, go check her out! This is a very different kind of tag in which I am supposed to tell you 3 things that I like about myself. You would think it shouldn't be that hard since I am pretty cool and all *grin*, but I did have to think about it for a little bit. Anyway, here goes nothing!!

*I love being a "horsey" person.

*I am a very loyal friend

*And I throw a mean party!!!

Okay, whew!! Now, let's see... I tag Emily, Kate, and Ang!! *smiling* I only do this to those I love :)

Fall Social 2008

Tonight we had our annual Fall Social for our Sunday School class. It is our 4th year hosting it out here and even though it takes some planning and some work, I love it!!! I LOVE having parties out here. I think the total number of people here, including kids was about 115. I haven't gone back and counted from the sign-up sheet yet! We had the big dinosaur bouncy house, went on 3 hayrides through the cow fields so the kids could see them up close, fed the horses some carrots and apples (they look forward to this party too!), had a big spread of food, the kids played in the sand pile, jumped on the trampoline and played on the playset. The adults had fun too visiting with each other and eating, and enjoying the great weather!! It was awesome. I couldn't have done it all without my BFF though. They always come early to help set up and stay late to help clean up. Ry and Stephers... we love you very much!

And my husband did a FABULOUS job cooking. Normally my FIL does it but he had surgery on Wednesday for his shoulder so he was out!! My husband and Ryan cut up app 120 chicken quarters and cleaned them. They were cooked on FIL's huge rotisserie and then hubby cooked I don't even know how many fried chicken strips for the kids and a TON of french fries in the big fryer! He also got the trailer ready and loaded with hay for the kids to have a ride and put up with me and the way that I like to have things done *wink wink* . He was great and I love you very much honey!! (whenever you are allowed to read this you will appreciate it)

So a fun time was had by all. We even had a small little "party after the party" with some of our most favorite friends!! Got to sit around inside where it was nice and warm and hang out for a while. Some pictures are below. I didn't take that many because... well, I was kind of busy!

2 of my most favorite friends Elizabeth and Julie

Mallory with her "boyfriend" Alex (belongs to Julie)

My BFF Stephanie (aka Stephers)

A few of the peeps at the party

The big dino bounce house

I'm Back!!!

So, I have been without cable or internet all day Friday and just got it back today.  My horses either rubbed the cable in half or chewed it!!!  Not really sure which.  Just want you to know that I am going to get around to commenting and reading and posting!  I am just in the middle of trying to get ready for our really BIG party today so it maybe tomorrow before I get to it!!  But I did miss keeping up with what everyone was doing.  Also, I will just continue on with the Dare from where we left off instead of trying to cram 2 or 3 into one day!!!  Later...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Love Dare Day 15

Okay, about last night...  I KNOW I said no blogging.  But here's the thing.  I had already made plans last night for a girls night out for coffee after church.  And I still planned on fully cooperating with the no blogging thing when I got home and watching the episode of Criminal Minds which was on the DVR.  Only, when I got home, Frank was fast asleep.  And I didn't think it would be right to wake him just so that he could see that I wasn't blogging.  And would it have counted if he hadn't seen?  Right.  So, since I was wide awake from the espresso that was in my coffee at 9pm... I did the only thing I could... head on over to Bloggerville!

On, to today's dare!!

When you honor someone, you give them respect and treat them as very valuable and special.  You keep your language clean, you are polite and courteous.  When they speak to you, you take what they say very seriously.  You give much consideration to what they have to say.  If they ask you to do something, oftentimes you will do it just because they asked you to.  Honor is a "call" to recognize the position or the value of someone else.

This is what we should be doing in our marriages.  We should be honoring each other by giving our full attention instead of listening while we watch the news or read the paper.  Or speaking to each other while reading a book or even while having a conversation with someone on the phone (ladies, we are especially good at having more than one conversation at a time!!)  Our spouses matter!!!  Do they know it from the way we treat them???

I have to say that Frank and I struggle very much in this area.  Okay.  Frank more than me, but me too.  It drives me bonkers to try and have a conversation with him and see him staring at the stupid TV more than me while I am talking.  He KNOWS it is a problem.  I always bring up that if he was at work and I was a customer would he be looking the customer in the eye?  Well treat me like a customer please!!!  However, I sometimes try to talk to him with my back to him which is equally just as bad. (whatever)  Honor.  Respect.  Look each other in the eye.  Give each other the time of day please.

Okay, we are about to turn a corner here so stick with me for a few minutes.

THE LOVE DARE pointed out something to me that I had never thought of before and I really had to think on it for a few.  The word that actually forms the basis for honor is holy.  Scary, huh?  

That doesn't mean that our spouses or that we will ever be perfect.  Holiness means set apart.  No longer common or everyday.  Special.  Unique.  Not the same as everyone else.  When you get married, each of you becomes "holy" to the other.  No one else is supposed to have the same level of commitment or intimacy that the two of you share.  Your life and everything that it contains is to be pressed together in this crazy bond you share with this one person.

Is that what your marriage looks like?  Would your spouse say that you honor and respect them?  Maybe it's you that doesn't feel honored or respected.  Maybe you even have just reasons for feeling the way you do.  It probably doesn't cause you to want to show honor or respect yourself.

But... that's not the thing with true love.  Love shows honor even when it's rejected.  Love treats the other as special and highly regarded even when an ungrateful attitude is all you get in return.  Love says " With all the mistakes you've made and all the mistakes you will make, with all the times you have hurt me and all the times still to come--I still choose to love you and honor you anyway."  That, my friends, is how we lead our hearts to truly love our spouses.


Okay.  Since,  I didn't do the no blogging thing last night, that is what I am choosing to do tonight.  Frank will be home  a little later than normal.  It will be after the kids are in bed (yuck!  that means I have bath duty tonight:( > )  So once he hits the door, the computer is off and I not turning it back on.  Not even after he goes to sleep!  I want to focus ALL of my attention on him and not be distracted with other stuff.  I want him to feel loved and honored!  So, I will fill you in tomorrow.  At least on part of it... *wink*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holy Ghost Weinee Roast

So, as you know we had a partay last Friday night for the college/career guys and gals at our house.  Tons of fun was had by all I must say including the host and hostess!  Thought I would post some pictures for your viewing pleasure.  I must tell you though that these guys can think of some crazy things to do for fun.  Remember the last game we played out here? Um Hum!!  I'll just let that soak a while!  This time it was fire jumping.  See pictures below and enjoy!

More Pics From Weinee Roast

Love Dare Day 14

In our marriages, we don't always feel like loving.  It is an unrealistic expectation to think that your heart will be overjoyed at the very thought of spending every moment with your spouse (yes, that means you too, Steph!)  We can't maintain desire for togetherness on feeling alone.   It is equally difficult to love out of obligation.

That is why one of the most important lessons that we, I, can learn is not to follow our hearts, but to lead them.  You do NOT let your heart give the orders.  It is not in charge.  All this worldly (albeit well intended sometimes) advice to "follow your heart" is hogwash.  You tell your heart where it is going to go.

While there is something refreshing and powerful about new love (most of us have been there or may still be there) there is something just as powerful... maybe more so than new love.  It's when no matter how long you have been married, you make a decision to delight in your spouse.  In other words, love that chooses to love is just as powerful as love that feels like loving.  In the beginning, we all feel like loving and delighting in each other.  It's after real life has set in and a few years have gone by and you have added debt and kids that honestly, sometimes you just don't feel like loving.  You've lost that loving feeling. (okay.  I won't say it again.  I just had to throw it in for a laugh.  You did laugh didn't you?  At least groaned right?)

You decide what you value in life.  No one else picks it for you.  If you are mad, it's because you choose to be mad.  I don't care what the circumstances are.  YOU JUST CHOSE TO BE MAD!  If you are irritable, it's because you have chosen to be irritable.  If you can't leave the house without the beds made up, it's because you (I) have decided that no other way is acceptable.  If you pick at your spouse more than you praise them, it's because you've allowed your heart to be selfish!  You have led your heart to be critical.  Do you see?

I don't lead my heart enough.  Last night was a perfect example of my heart doing the leading.  I let my emotions make the decisions.  I let my emotions decide if I should be offended.  I let my heart tell me to be hurt and mad.  I then let my emotions control my mouth before I found the HDT (stuff is never nearby when I need it!!) I let my heart and my emotions lead me.

Jeremiah 17:9 says The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?  Our hearts will trick us every time.  That's why we have to seek the Lord and the Word for our answers, NOT our hearts.  Go to the Word, seek the Lord, and then TELL our hearts what we are going to do and where we are going!


Okay.  Great.  That means no blogging obviously tonight. ( I usually write the bulk of these during the day when he is not here and after I do whatever then I write the rest)  So, I will post an update on the next days dare to his reaction to the no blogging.  I PROMISE he will be shocked!  I.AM.PRYING.MY.FINGERS.OFF.COMPUTER.   GOING.NOW!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love Dare Day 13


This is NOT going to be pretty. I will just go on and be honest right out of the starting gate. So, whatever you learn about me today, just don't hold it against me or think any less of me okay??

We all know that even in the very best of marriages there is going to be some conflict. We all express it in different ways, but it is still there nonetheless. After the "honeymoon" is over, so to speak (and the length of time varies for each couple), you begin to see your spouses secret habits and little quirks and there are no more public facades. Welcome to fallen humanity!

Right about the same time, real life kicks in. Work, IN-LAWS, finances or lack of them, friends... finding the balance of it all adds much pressure to our relationships. This causes many disagreements for the majority of us. We argue. We fight. Someone gets their feelings hurt.

Every couple goes through this. But not every couple will survive this.

We do the most damage to each other in the heat of "battle". That's because it's when our pride is the strongest, our anger is at its peak, we are the MOST selfish and judgmental. We make the worst possible decisions and we spew the most hateful, awful words at each other.

Frank and I do NOT fight fair. But, we do it in different ways. I fight about everything. Everything that is nothing and everything that is something. Make sense? And I expect him to know what I am mad about, without me having to tell him. And when he doesn't... I get madder. So, we start to fight. And I pull out all the punches. Saying all the hurtful things that I have felt, but knew I shouldn't say. Then, because that is never enough, I begin to bring up all the other things that I feel like hasn't been resolved from the last 14 arguments we have had. (I know I am painting such a great picture of myself. Don't you ALL want to be my friend now?)

Frank on the other hand usually doesn't say a whole lot. Instead, he walks around with a scowl on his face and finds other "little" minute things to complain about that have NOTHING to do with what he is actually upset about. Then, at some point, it all spills out. Not in a nice way, and I usually end up crying. (Sounds like the kind of place you want to spend time right?)

Love should step in and change things. Love should remind me that my marriage and my spouse is more important than whatever I feel like I need to fight about at that moment. Love reminds me that conflict CAN be turned around for good.

HOW? By establishing rules. If you have no guidelines for when an argument occurs, you won't stay in bounds when the action really heats up!

Two types of boundaries for dealing with conflict.

1st: "We" boundaries: these you both agree on beforehand and apply during ANY fight. Such as (and these are ours by the way)

*We will NEVER mention divorce

*We will not bring up unrelated items from the past (Ashley, did you get that?)

*We will not fight in public

*We will not fight in front of kids (not the same as disagreements)

*We will call time-out if fight gets to be damaging and we WILL resolve it when both have calmed down

*We will never hit one another

*We WILL work it out before the sun comes up

2nd: "Me" boundaries": rules you personally practice on your own

*I will listen to what he has to say before speaking and without formulating my response in my head before he has finished.

*I will speak calmly and in a nice tone, even if I am hurt.

*I will remember that if he has said something hurtful to me, it is probably because he is feeling hurt or disrespected himself.

*I will remember that no matter what, I will choose to love him and he is a good man, even if he isn't acting like it at the moment.

Fighting fair means changing your weapons. Disagreeing with dignity! It should build a bridge instead of burn one.


So, obviously, Frank and I have not always had these "rules". In fact, we didn't have them until this dare. Tonight, while during dinner I mentioned that I thought we should have some fair fighting rules. To this Frank replied "Wha?? Where did that come from?" I played it off by saying it was because of some conversation that Steph and I had in her office today. (I use her for a lot of my excuses :) ) This lead to a basic agreement of some of the rules. Then it happened. I knew it would. I just didn't think it would be sooo quick.

I asked him for the keys (here we go with the car argument AGAIN). He made some comment and I made some comment. I then made several more comments with a less than loving tone. I totally blew off the previous days dare and did not apply ANY of the rules that we had just talked about OR the ones I had made for myself. What is going on??! I mean, really Lord, at least give me a little time to get used to them before you test me! But no, He didn't. And I failed. Did I mention I needed the keys to go shopping? Umm Hmm. That's right. Frank was sending me shopping because I was in desperate need of some clothes now that I am 54 lbs lighter. His only requirement was that I NOT come home with one single item for any of the kids. ONLY for myself.

So, I left to go shopping. Huffy and puffy. Picked up my mom and we shopped till we dropped. Or at least till the mall closed. Then on the way home, Stephers called me. I gave her a quick rundown of what happened before I left. And what I didn't do. What I didn't do was this: I obviously didn't pay attention to my own advice and dare from the day before. I know that what I should have done was just "give in" or "let him win", however you want to word it. I should have preferred his desires to my own. But I didn't. I preferred my selfishness in the moment.

I also didn't even play by my own rules. I didn't listen completely to what he had to say. And I immediately started to think of my response about 5 words into what he was saying. I also did NOT keep a calm tone. No way.

After I got off the phone with Steph and came inside and then proceeded to clean up the mess I left in the kitchen, Frank and I discussed the matter further. A bit heated at first, but then I calmed down and he was very sweet and even admitted where he had gone wrong. I also had to admit that I was WAY wrong and I was very sorry.

He then asked for a fashion show... *wink wink* If I want to ever get this, I have to be READY for these things to happen. I have to be prepared and not act like it came out of left field. Remember, marriages... families, don't fall apart in a day. So, we have to be ready. Watching.

Remember, love is worth fighting for... not about.

Are We In Philly?

I have noticed it lately.  Little glimpses.  Not all the time and not in big ways.  But it does give me hope.  It's brotherly love.  And it is much needed at this house.

I have noticed it in the way that Jackson has started to include Wyatt when he plays games.  Or when Wyatt goes to jump on the trampoline and always wants his big brother to come.  Or when Jackson lets Wyatt win when they are racing on their bikes so that Wyatt doesn't get upset at loosing. (Awww, how sweet)  Or the way Wyatt will tear out a page of the coloring book so that Mallory can color with him.

Little ways.  And it does my heart good.  I get so worn out sometimes from all the fighting and all the arguing.  I know that right now they are really too young to understand the value of loving their siblings.  But I want them to get it so badly.  I didn't have any brothers or sisters growing up and I longed for that relationship all the time.  That's why it was so important to me to have more than one child.

But there are days... Well, you know!

I am just glad that I see the little ways that they are starting to show each other kindness and love.  It almost feels like I'm living in Philadelphia...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love Dare Day 12

I am very fortunate that there are not very many issues that Frank and I disagree on.  In fact, right now, I have a very hard time thinking of any.  That has not always been the case, however.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are lots of little things we don't always agree on as they come up.  But as for major things, just don't really have any right now.

I'm sure that many of you do, though.  And it may be the same issues coming up over and over again.  Stubbornness is a feature that comes standard in many of us, myself included.  I am an only child so I am used to getting my way.  Although Frank is not an only child, he is the only boy, AND he is the youngest, so same thing in my book.  You can see this could present a problem in our relationship and sometimes does.

We all have as part of our natural makeup a need/desire to defend our "rights" and opinions.  This doesn't work in our marriages at all.  While there are times that being stubborn isn't a bad thing, we usually choose to argue and debate over non-essential things if we are honest.

The only way to get beyond these types of situations is to practice the opposite of stubbornness... willingness.  Willingness is an attitude and spirit of cooperation that should fill our conversations.

Consider the example of Jesus in Philippians 2.  As God, He had every "right" to refuse becoming a man.  Yet, he did.  Because he was willing.  He had the "right" to be served.  But, He came to serve instead.  He had the "right" to live in peace but willingly laid down His life for our sins.  He was even willing to endure the horrific torture of the cross for you and me.  He was willing to do His Father's will instead of His own, even though He could.

Frank and I are both very competitive.  And both have a very hard time with not "winning".  I will argue my point even when I know it's not right just so I won't loose.  How dumb is that??  I have already lost the fight by being bullheaded and refusing to listen.  I lost when I made the issue more important than Frank, than my marriage, and more important than Frank's sense of worth EVEN if I am right.

The wise and loving thing to do is NOT to insist on your own way.  Instead of treating your spouse like an enemy or someone to be guarded against, start by treating them as your closest friend.  Give their words full weight.

Are we willing to bend to show that we love our spouse??  Or do we refuse to give in because of our pride? If it doesn't matter in the long run-especially in eternity-then give up your rights and choose to honor the one you love.


As I said before, Frank and I really don't disagree on anything.  If something comes up or I think of something I will come back and update this one.  I am very fortunate on this.  

Not Me! Monday Edition 5

Well, it's that time again. And because confession is good for the soul, here is what I did NOT do this week!

I did NOT put my 2 yr old to bed 20 minutes early because she would not sit still during "movie night" and was driving everyone crazy. Meaning me. That would be mean! Not me!

I did NOT put my earphones from my iPod in while driving because the kids were yelling and screaming at each other. I am a way better parent than that!! Not me!

I did NOT ruin a perfectly good romantic moment with the hubby while snuggled up close and head resting nicely on his chest by opening my mouth and letting out a very large belch! No way! I am waaaaaay more ladylike than that!

I did NOT wear the same pair of jeans for 5 days in a row only to take them off and immediately wash them and put them back on again for another 3 days. Not me! (work with me people. I only have 1 good pair that fit!)

To find out what other people have NOT been doing, visit MckMama! Make sure you have plenty of time to laugh though!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Love Dare Day 11

Whew! Can you say wiped out?? I am soo tired after last night. I think the last people went home about 11:15pm which is not too terribly late, but I am still so tired! On to the dare though!


Typically, when we are having a big function out here, the garage gets a thorough cleaning out because we do most of our parties outside. However, the garage did NOT get cleaned out before yesterdays bash. Hubby decided that he would do it today so that he did not have to worry about it for next weekends party. (yes, we are having another one) When he got home from work around lunch time, he got started. He worked all afternoon. I would have helped but alas, I used the kids naptime to go to the grocery store... alone. Needless to say, when he got finished around 6:15 or so he was exhausted. Didn't even want anything to eat.

So, my gesture for him was that I went and gave the kids a bath when they finished supper. No big deal, right? Man, yall sure are getting some insight into the way our family works! It IS a big deal, trust me! Frank is the bath-giver for all the children in the house. I'm not really sure anymore how he got that job, but I can assure you he did not pick it. I don't know why neither one of us want to do it. Well, I kinda do.

Jackson is old enough to get a shower by himself so he is not really the issue. It's the 2 little ones. They get a bath together to speed the process along. And there is always drama involved. Someone isn't sharing some toy (which is a whole other issue) or trying to dump water on the other, or trying to drink all the water. Someone is splashing too much and getting the bather all wet or it's all over the floor. Somehow, Frank ended up with the job. He doesn't like it. But, he faithfully does it everyday.

So, instead of telling Frank that the kids were done with supper and ready for a bath, I just did it for him. It WAS a labor of love. And I made the coffee again. Double whamy! He noticed and was very appreciative.

Consider these stories: I have a car. The car is a bit run down and has not been working right for a while. I take it to the mechanic. The mechanic tells me a list of things that is wrong with the car and that the repairs are going to be very expensive. I decide instead of spending all that money on a car that hasn't been working in a long time that I will put it into a new car that will be dependable. Makes sense, right?

Story #2: While I am working on a tractor, my hand gets smashed by a piece of equipment. I go to the doctor. They take some xrays and tell me that the bones in my hand are crushed and the surgery will be costly. However, I know that it is necessary to fix my hand so I spend all of my savings to have the surgery. Then spend the next several months in rehab. Also makes sense, right? (these stories were paraphrased from the book)

The problem today is that many of us treat our marriages like story #1. When things are going bad and the "repairs" are going to be very, very costly, we sell out. Instead, we should be looking at our marriages like the 2nd story. Sadly, we don't always view our marriages as "part" of us.

We can not let our culture determine the value of our marriage. To compare it to something that can be replaced or tossed aside is to dishonor God's purpose for marriage. That would be like cutting off that broken hand. Instead, our marriages should be a picture of 2 imperfect people choosing to love each other, NO MATTER WHAT!

When you are looking at your spouse, you are looking at a part of yourself. And we all like to treat ourselves well, right? Let's make sure we are cherishing our spouses for who they are, not who we wish they were.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Love Dare Day 10

It's day 10 of the Love Dare. Only 30 more to go. I can do this. But man, this really takes some thought. My brain is soo tired...

Lets talk about unconditional love. I thought when I was first married that my love was unconditional. Guess what?? It wasn't. As long as Frank was doing what I wanted him to and treating me like I felt I deserved to be treated, we rocked along just fine. That is NOT what true love is. It is not based on feeling or conditions or whether or not the other deserves it.

When someone asks you what you love about your spouse, what do you say?? Most of us probably list some things like they are good provider, kind, honest, helpful (maybe on this one *he-he*), good looking, things along that line. If the reasons that we say we love them are all based on some quality that they have, then when that particular quality disappears.. our whole basis for loving them disappears too.

Only unconditional love can last forever, your whole lifetime. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one CHOOSING to love. WOW!! I don't know about you, but that one hit me like a sack of taters!

It's the same thing with God. God doesn't love us because we are all so lovable but because he is so loving. If God required us to prove ourselves worthy of His love, then none of us would have it. The love of God is a choice He makes totally on His own.

If you say that you have fallen out of love, then in essence what you are saying is that you never loved them unconditionally to begin with. That love was based on circumstances and feelings rather than commitment. Unconditional love will not be deterred by time or circumstance.

I Corinthians 13: 7 says Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things... You can't love like that on your own. It has to come from God. Because we don't have on our own what it takes to make it through all the "conditions" of a marriage.


This one was kinda hard for me. Given the events of the day today (getting ready for the party tonight) I wasn't even sure if I would be able to actually do this one today or if I would have to wait until later this weekend. But, what I did was to take care of all of the details of the party today myself, instead of having Frank do a bunch of stuff when he got here. Now, I didn't do them all by myself, because I just couldn't. So, I did have some help. But, Frank didn't have to do anything.

He called me on his way out here to find out what all he would need to do. I told him nothing, just to come on home. He said "What??" He then proceeded to go through his list that was in his head I guess. Pick up anything from the store? Nope. Already did it. Go get the tables? Nope. Already done that. Get the wood for the bonfire? Nope. Did that too. Set up the tables? Nope. Finished. Let's just say I think he was shocked that he had nothing to do. (he did cut the grass yesterday. in the dark!)

So, I don't know if it really mattered or not. I didn't see fireworks or anything, but I'm used to that. But, it did make me feel good to be able to take care of everything for him!

Friday Thankfuls

My Friday Thankful this week may seem kinda strange to some. I am most thankful for my home. Although from time to time I do complain about the distance I have to drive to get to town. I prayed before we moved out here for the Lord to give us a house that we could share with others and use it to honor Him. Even though we made some mistakes as far as the planning of the house goes (not enough closet space for example), we have such a place.

We were fortunate enough to be able to live on part of Frank's parents farm. Which is a dream for me in many ways. One is that surrounding our house is about 55 acres of land on which we have both horses and cows. Haven't always had the cows, but we do now and my kids love to see them and feed them. Lots of little calves running around out there too. My horses are right outside my door when I take Jack to meet the bus in the mornings and anytime I want to say "hey" to them (yes I do talk to them like they are babies), they are only a few steps away!

Another thing is that my in-laws live right next door. Now, when I say next door, they are about 500 yards away so we can't wave at each other or anything. But, my kids get to see their grandparents whenever they want to. Lots of times, WF (that's Frank's dad) will come over on one of the tractors and take the boys off. (Mal hasn't been old enough until now) Most of the time I don't know where they are going, how long they will be gone, or what they will be doing while they are gone. All I do know is when they get back... they are usually covered from head to toe in dirt and sweat. Sometimes, when Jack is out of school, he will call his GranGran and ask him if he has any "work" for him to do. WF comes and gets Jack, and he will be gone ALL day long. If I lived anywhere else, these kinds of things wouldn't happen very often. My kids will have very special memories with their grandparents.

Our house sits on about 3 of the 55 acres. Having this large of a yard allows us to have some big parties out here. We are having one tomorrow night for the college and career kids from church. They are some crazy, fun, God-lovin' kids! There will be about 40 people here and we will make them play some cheesy games (like sack races, 3 legged race) and football and we will have a big bonfire too. They plan on making smores around the fire. I plan on it being a late night!! Next week, we will have another party out here. Every year, we host the Fall Social for our Sunday school class. Including the children, there will be about 100 people out here! I KNOW!! This will be the 4th year we have done it. So, we have it down to a science by now...

These are just a FEW of the reasons that I am thankful for my home. I have traded the convenience factor of living in town and my kids don't have a neighborhood to play in or ride their bikes in or have a neighbor-friend come over to play... But what I have gained is worth faaarrr more than I could have ever asked for!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Love Dare Day 9

Greetings and salutations!!! Silly, I know, but today is all about greetings and impressions. Here is the dare for today: THINK OF A SPECIFIC WAY THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GREET YOUR SPOUSE TODAY. DO IT WITH A SMILE AND ENTHUSIASM. THEN DETERMINE TO CHANGE YOUR GREETING TO REFLECT YOUR LOVE FOR THEM. So I thought to myself "no problem!" And I also thought "is this gonna get any harder cause so far it hasn't really been all THAT hard". When will I learn to just shut-up?? Keep my thoughts quiet??

It started this morning when loving husband woke me up at 5:55am to tell me he was leaving and I needed to get up so I wouldn't fall back asleep. This is the most hated part of my relationship with Frank. See, if I have failed to mention, he is a morning person... I am NOT! Maybe if he didn't sound so stinking cheerful at that time of the morning it might go over better. Since I already knew what the dare for the day was gonna be, I intentionally made sure my tone was nice when I said to bug off. No, just kidding. I didn't say that. I thought it, but I didn't say it! I told him thank you and I would be up in a few minutes and not to worry. Did you hear that?? I said "thank you" at 5:55am!!! Miracles never cease :)

I went about my day and as the time drew closer for Frank to get home, again I had the fleeting thought of this dare stuff getting harder. Frank came home and let's just say it was obvious that he was NOT in a good mood. Bad day at work. He confirmed his bad day at work with his bad attitude towards me and his snippy tone of voice. Sadly, I did not find that HDT in time. I didn't really say anything ugly, but my tone wasn't very nice. So, same thing. However, this time I did catch myself a lot sooner. And, I just shut my mouth. Normally, I would just keep going until it escalated into something completely ridiculous. (shocking I know) But this time I didn't.

Something amazing happened. Within a very few minutes, Frank came to me and said he was sorry! I couldn't believe it! Most of the time, he would just act like it never happened. I would then huff and puff for the rest of the evening until such time I could no longer stand it. I would then proceed to bring everything back up PLUS some more that I felt didn't get resolved the last time... or the time before that. But this time, HE nipped it in the bud so to speak. When before, I really needed him to gravel when he said he was sorry, and most of the time that wasn't enough; this time, it didn't really take anything for me to be over it. It did make me stop and think about how often I make my attitude dependant on his. Sad. I know. But I bet a lot of us do that. Over the past week, Frank has been great. So things haven't seemed that hard where the dare is concerned. But the ONE time that Frank had a bad day and attitude to match, I failed. It got harder, and I failed. I chose to respond in an unloving way. Regardless of his attitude and how he was treating me in the moment. At least I shut my mouth quicker than I normally would.

I don't know if it was him or if it was me getting better or maybe even a combination of the two, but over the last several weeks, I have been studying about forgiveness. And our lack of it.. Whereas before, I needed to have Frank apologize and I needed to see that he was in fact really sorry BEFORE I would offer forgiveness, now I realize that was in fact probably a lot of the problem. See, Jesus never intended for it to work that way. I don't give forgiveness because the other person deserves it. I should especially extend forgiveness when they don't. Our relationships are not supposed to be based on what we deserve. More times than not... they are.

We often times don't think about the way we greet each other as being very important. In fact, I bet most of us don't really give it much thought at all. The tone we have first thing in the morning, the look on our face when we are speaking to each other, even the way we speak to each other on the phone.

When someone makes you feel like they are glad to see you or glad to be around you, your sense of self worth increases. It makes you feel valued and important. Too often I am distracted when Frank comes home. I don't make eye contact. I'm shouting "Hey!" over the noise of the CIRCUS people. What is my priority?? I want Frank to feel important and valued in the same way that I want to feel that.

It starts with a simple greeting. It's about making an effort, really. Whether in person or on the phone, I need to reflect that I am glad to see/hear him. And even though I may not have greeted him the way I really wanted to this morning *wink wink*, I know that part of my showing love is to love him in the greeting.

So, say good morning with a smile...