The Bible Is Better Than Netflix!

Do you like your movies with Action? Gore? Romance? Comedy? Meaningful family interaction? Sex Appeal?

Do you root for the underdog? Do you want love conquering all odds? Or do you enjoy gripping your seat in suspense?

Then, baby, open up your Bible! As soon as I started reading my Bible, I cancelled my Netflix. I was on fire for the Word before, but now I can’t get enough.

That’s right. I said it. I’ll scream it from the rooftops:

I read the Bible FOR FUN, too!

I read it for guidance. I read it for relationship. I read it for Fun.

Marriage: Conjunctions Can Change Your Life

I am celebrating my 3rd year of marriage. My favorite new saying is “Nothing will bring you to Jesus like trying to stay married.” As a married woman and an English major, I came to realize that conjunctions often get substituted. “Or” is often considered interchangeable with “And”.  It really shouldn’t be.  That little conjunction can change your whole life.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not trying to make a grandiose argument or anything. This is just a random observation I had one day. So if you think I'm completely off my rocker, you're probably right and therefore starting ruckus in comments is probably extraneous.

Wedding vows: For Better- OR-  for worse. For Richer- OR- for poorer. In sickness- AND- in health.

I was randomly noticing one day that all of a sudden the conjunctions in wedding vows change.

OR, means that one or the other things can or cannot happen. I think that this means there is a chance that we are entering a covenant that may be ONLY worse the entire time and that better will never come. Now, I don’t want to sound like Debbie-Downer so let’s remember that this could also mean that better could come the entire time.  My point isn’t to abase the institution. Really. I’m simply realizing that God did not leave out “the fine print.” In deeper reflection, I think it makes entering the covenant even more sacred. God meant marriage to be so lasting that even the conjunction is perfectly chosen to stress the no matter what.

The hardest part of that is accepting it and staying married anyway. (This doesn’t apply to abuse– duh.) I have found in my own relationship that the first 3 years have been difficult. I am not implying that my husband is a bad husband– he’s not. I have found that I give out 50% and then wait for his 50% and am disappointed when I think I haven’t received it. (I also have the ‘comparison’ problem, which is my struggle not of his doing.)

I read in a book recently about a spouse giving 100% and not expecting a return from the other spouse. Simply put, true love is giving our all despite what we get in return. True love is wanting the best for the other person even at your own cost- no matter how angry, unsatisfied, or lonely you feel at the hands of your spouse.

Only Jesus can really do it all the time.  My human nature just keeps killing my best laid plans to be that wife. And guess what – my spouse is human, too. He mucks it up. Just like me.

God gives us spouses as leaders, helpmates, and overall another imperfect human to help us practice the 100% love. He knew what he was doing when he planned it this way.

I toy with this thought all the time:  Marriage is the opportunity to fine-tune our character qualities.

It’s easy to demonstrate integrity, true love, and grace when everything is going great. That doesn’t really speak  much to one’s true character. It’s the reactions and choices one makes when all is shaken loose that shows our areas of weakness that need improvement. And hey, practice makes perfect, right?

Marriage gives us lots and lots of practice.

For some, not all, matrimony also gives us someone on our side to help us when it’s the outside world that’s beating us down. (It’s kind of like when you were a kid and had siblings or a best friend that you fought with all the time but if someone else fought with you they would whoop their ass. Same principle, only stronger bond.)

And the outside world will come. I have learned this– The Enemy wants our marriages to fail. He wants our Homes to be Broken. He wants our Children to suffer from divorce.

I’m going to share some of my ugly character flaws with you- much to my chagrin.
For me, even so much as entertaining the thought of divorce leads to wrong action in little ways. I listen to him just a little less. I make a few more snide comments just a little more often.  I get quick to anger a little more. Guess what all that does for me– provokes him to do the same.
Voila!- A vicious cycle. Voila!- Satan’s foot is in the door.
(Biblical example of this: David’s first accidental glance at Bathsheba. He entertains the thought of her. We all know the next step: Thoughts=Action.)

  • I throw myself face down on my bed, sobbing, telling God that I give him my marriage broken and to return to me fixed. I make sure to stay deeply in touch with God.
  • I try to change my actions with nothing but the hope that it will inspire him to change his.
  • I choose my hills to die on and let the rest go– no matter how hard it is. Then I take my resentment on some of those to God.
  • I continually seek out wise counsel and Christian literature to help me.
  • Every day I think of one wonderful quality in my husband that I love and speak it out loud to myself. On really bad days, I speak it and then write it down. Yes, sometimes it feels difficult to think of even one, but it’s really not that hard once you get started trying. Even “he didn’t do anything stupid TODAY” is a start. 😉 Ha-Ha.

All I know is that I knew what a conjunction was when I chose to say it.  All I know is that today is not the day I get divorced. All I know is that tomorrow is not the day I get divorced.  And so on.

For the record– my husband is a really good man. He tries really hard to be a good husband. I did not share this post with you as a complaint about him— it is about the reality of how difficult dedicated marriage is.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 8

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

A man that is willing to be a father. This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not. I was a single mom for 5 years because the guy that sponsored my pregnancy bailed when I told him I was pregnant and I hadn’t seen him or his child support since. Real men that are willing to parent are a rare breed. And I found one. I’m so grateful.

(He got his first baseball glove!)

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Summertime!! Warm weather+homemade frozen margaritas=priceless.

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Having a child still in the age range of homemade presents. I love them more than anything he could ever pick from a store. He was so proud of the fact that he had successfully hidden it in his bedroom all this time. 🙂 It was so darling.

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Farmers Market. God Bless them.

Fresh Peaches? Yes, please.

Nom, Nom, Nom.

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A good sport. The look on his face is obviously not happy, but he let us take about 3 pictures before he put his foot down. For only being 9.5 years old, he is such a laid back fella. Lots ‘o fun.

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 Midwestern Living. I never thought I’d really say that. But it is not uncommon to get fresh veggies from the F. Market, grill them over charcoal with a beer in hand, at noon, in your flip flops, in 100 degree weather.

My age is changing my life values. Funny how that works.

Nom, Nom, Nom.

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 Spontaneous, leisure days with the fam. These are few and far between. We were just sitting around and decide to do something together. We went to our big, fancy department store and didn’t buy a thing.

This store has an indoor ferris wheel. “I’ve done it before, I’m not afraid..”

Uhm, yeah.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 7

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

The first few pictures are from my son’s list. He joined the project over his Spring Break. This is a picture of him doing this. I couldn’t let that moment pass: 

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Okay, the first on his list were his mom (me!), his dad, and God. Everyone knows what I look like, I don’t know if I had permission from my DH (dear husband), and God is fickle about being seen in person. So let’s start with his next three.

 His church. Isn’t that music to a mother’s soul?!

He is very active with his youth group. It is an amazing group!

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 What 9-year-old isn’t grateful for a Dairy Queen on his block?!

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 His school playground. Note: He did not say “school,” he said school PLAYGROUND. 🙂 🙂

According to the very interesting Multiple Intelligences study, he is a “movement smart” child so I’m not really surprised by this.

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Okay, let’s start mine for the week.

Modern Medicine. I know amongst some this is taboo, but I also think sometimes we overlook how readily available medicine is when we get sick. Imagine having something serious, like strep throat all the way to Lupus (a very real, very painful illness!). Can you even fathom never, ever having medicine for it? To have to live with it every moment of the day until you die? We call the doctor and they call the prescription into the pharmacy for us.

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 This is two-fold. A) Being a homeowner instead of a renter. We can actually plant our own garden in the backyard. B) Homegrown, fresh organic produce to eat straight out of the ground and to can for awesomeness in the winter!

(Obviously this is from when we first started planting)

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Still being at least cool enough to play soccer with out where people can see us. I love playing outside and having a child is the perfect excuse and someone to play with instead of having to kick it against the house! 🙂

And having a job that allows me the time to be at home with him over Spring Break.

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 The funny ways God gives moms to earn respect from boys. If you look closely enough, you can see the perfect outline of the soccer ball. This is what I get for blocking a great kick in capris. I didn’t whine, cry, or even stop the game; earned a lot of kudos from the man-child.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 6

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

 God’s Faithfulness. He gave us a tangible promise that he’d never flood us again and we still have it to this day. Faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

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The ability to HEAR. We take our sense for granted because we have them all the time and use them without realizing it. A few mornings ago I woke up to the sound of birds chirping right outside my window and it was so delightful. I didn’t even open my eyes so that no other sense could overtake or distract the experience and then it hit me like a brick–imagine a life where you never hear anything ever. Thank you God, for creating the complex ability to hear and interpret.

 

 

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 I am grateful for my son being able to enjoy an activity that was just as fun in my generation and my parent’s generation. In our ever “upgrading” culture, it makes this small joy even more poignant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Yummy cheap popsicles. Are they so delightful because we only get them during one season of the year? I don’t know and I don’t care because I love ’em! (Oh, and so do the kids)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 I’m grateful that God likes pretty things! ‘Cuz I do, too!!

 

 

 

 

 

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 Green Grass that inspires the beauty of just being still with the Lord.

(Technically I was swinging..but whatevs)

 

 

 

 

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 The jolt when you have random moments of clarity about how truly small you are in the universe. I flopped down on the trampoline from exhaustion and this was my view. The sky was so massive; perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

365 Gratitude Project: Week 5

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.  (Yes, I am almost a month behind. But always better late than never!)

A kid that loves vegetables. I’m completely serious when I say that he enjoys eating them. He’ll even ask for them as a “side” in his lunchbox. I love this kid!

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Stain Remover. God bless whoever invented stain remover.

Stain Remover is to a mother what a gun is to a cowboy in an old western.

Word.

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Decent hospital food. If you must sit up at a hospital all night, at least you can get the amazing food delivered right to your door, still piping hot.

(I realize that most hospitals have crap food, but the one where I live is AWESOME!)

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 My custom-built scrapbook desk/cubbies. My dear husband has amazing skills that are so different from mine. He put a lot of time into this just to make me happy. And it did. This is a serious scrappers dream come true!!

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 Cocoa, book, warm throw blanket. Do I really need to say any more?!

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 Black Friday Shopping. We would never be able to afford a trampoline. Thanks to Black Friday we could. He has been outside every single day. He is exhausted when he comes inside.

And it seems to bring all the neighborhood friends to the yard…

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 Getting to share in truly joyful occasions. Being a part of something really special is just the best! My friend has wanted a baby for the last 10 years and is finally pregnant! The room was just bursting with Joy and I am so grateful to have shared this moment with her!

365 Gratitude Project: Week 4

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

This week was a little harder for me.  It seems like when everything is going wrong, it’s twice as hard to find the little things attractive. But I pushed through because I know that the most important time to do this project is when things are hard.

  My job. I get to work surrounded by awesome goodness of books. This is a picture of just one-quarter of the library I work in. And, even if this wasn’t already awesome, I would be grateful for employment at all in these times. (Seriously, this is a very small section of the library)

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  Holding Hands with my husband. He reached back and grabbed my hand through the whole store. Remember, people could see this! 🙂

I felt really special and really loved. Little acts of love mean sooo much to me.

A co-worker of my husband’s was just telling us a story the other day about how he doesn’t hold his wife’s hand anymore because they are “too old” for that and have been married “forever” so she knows that he loves her….. this made me so sad, and yet feel so special in my own marriage.

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My future prayer-warrior.

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Toe socks. It is impossible to be cranky when you are wearing these– just look down and you are bound to at least smirk. A smirk can lead to a full-blown smile if you aren’t careful.

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Exercise. Everything about exercise is awesome. Our bodies are one of the most complex, detailed machines that God created. I love taking care of it. Plus, the endorphins are amazing!!

If you feel the same way, check out my best friend’s blog Redemption Fitness.

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The Easy Joy of Children. This child was sooo excited about his scooter ($25). He came into the house to get me so I could watch him do a “wheelie”. He was just glowing. I want to feel that way again about something, anything. My description of this moment doesn’t even encapsulate how excited and simplistically fulfilled he was.

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The Right Resources. Every child learns differently and it feels like I have gone through a hundred different types of resources trying to find something that speaks to my child on a real level.

I finally found it. I am so grateful for the availability of resources.