marriage and 21 years

Today, my husband and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage and I’m happy to say that our marriage has far exceeded my expectations and hopes. My husband is an absolutely amazing man and I love how God uses our marriage to bless others & also to help me grow.  In the last 21 years, here are just a few things I’ve learned:

  • marriage isn’t a 50/50 bargain – it’s all in, with both feet 🙂
  • conflicts are opportunities to know each other better and to improve our communication
  • respect is an essential requirement a wife must be committed to give – disrespect undermines a healthy marriage
  • learn to complement rather than compete
  • make time for your marriage, particularly when you have children
  • be friends and pray together

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful man, Reece Bowling!!

I don’t get it

Sometimes I think that we mistakenly wait to do something until we understand it better.  There can be good wisdom with understanding stuff, but  if we aren’t careful, our efforts to understand can undermine our obedience to God.  For example, in Genesis 12 God told Abram to go to a land that God would show him & Abram set out.  I’m not entirely sure that Abram knew the destination that God had in mind, but he was obedient to get moving, nonetheless.  We don’t always have to understand to obey 🙂

decisions that empower

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All of us make decisions every day and as adults we get to manage the consequences of these decisions.  If you want to get the best mileage or results from your decisions, consider making these “power choices”:

  • hope rather than despair
  • focus more than distracted
  • grace over scorn
  • forgiveness rather than revenge
  • love more than apathy
  • gratitude over complaining
  • honor more than insolence
  • compliments more than sarcasm
  • respect more than ridicule
  • compassion more than callous

Wise decisions create wise results 🙂

Magnify

I’ve been thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mom, and how she had a pretty tough road to walk, being pregnant out of wedlock in a culture that strongly frowned on “that type of thing”. If you think about Mary’s situation, she went through a pretty tricky season.
In different but also similar ways to Mary, we all have lots of challenges & difficulties. So if I look at the what Mary said in her season of unwed pregnancy, it helps me to know how to manage my own struggles. Simply put, Mary said, “My soul magnifies The Lord”. We can magnify the problem or we can magnify The Lord, let’s chose wisely 🙂

drinking from a fire hydrant

Have you ever had seasons in your life where you feel very overwhelmed?  Sometimes we go through times where it seems like everything is broken & sometimes we go through seasons that just have lots of demands.  Last week, I had one of those weeks – it was the kids last week of school, I had a couple of sermons to prepare, some work deadlines and a few other spinning plates.  I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant on full open :/

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Thankfully, this week has a little more breathing room.  Regardless of the demands & pressures on our lives, it always helps me to remember that God is in charge & that I don’t have to be an “expert” on water pressure, time management, resource allocation, solution provision, energy distribution, etc.  While I may have a few talents & skills, God is an expert at everything – most of all, God is an expert at loving us & helping us in our daily living, with or without fire hydrants ,)

hot topic: I want your opinion :)

Greetings & happy mid-week to you!  I’m working on a message about family & really want your input.  Please answer this question (I’m not “grading” any answers & I’m not looking to judge or critique your feedback – I just want your wisdom,  thoughts & insights):

???What is a functional family???

Thank you!!!!

when someone does you wrong

Get mad, get even, strike back, revenge, retribution, . . . . all words that can be very appealing when someone does us wrong.  It is ever so tempting to lash back with mean words, actions or attitudes when our feelings get hurt – all very natural feelings.  But thankfully, God has given us the power of choice.  We can chose our reaction.  We can chose a curse for a curse, an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth and stay in the revenge cycle or we can chose something altogether different and super-natural.  We can chose to:

  • give a blessing in exchange for a curse,
  • offer a prayer rather than continued blindness,
  • give encouragement instead of dental work
  • love in place of apathy or hate

Let’s make choices that affirm that we’re made in God’s image 🙂

Force Multiplier :)

Recently, I was doing some volunteer work on a house of a flood victim from the horrific flooding that happened last month here in Colorado.  My specific assignment was to remove the carpet tack strips in the house that had been ruined from the water that had flooded the house.  I’ve never had any carpet tack experience so I just plopped on the floor with the metal wedge tool and tried to pry up the strips that were nailed to the floor.  I quickly found out that those little strips were extremely hard to get up & I just settled in my mind that this task was going to take a lot of time and work.  After about 30min of work & having only made about 18 inches of progress, an experienced construction guy came along & encouraged me to use a hammer with the metal wedge.  I asked if that would make the task easier & go more quickly to which he heartily replied, “YES!!!!”  So I grabbed a hammer, watched him for a few seconds, learned the technique & voila!!!  I was removing the carpet tack strips much FASTER!!  The hammer was a force multiplier!!

In our lives, we need lots of force multipliers to help our work be not only efficient but also highly EFFECTIVE!  Based on what the Bible says, wisdom is our force multiplier and through requesting & working with wisdom our lives can be suprenaturally effective.  Let’s frequently ask God to give us wisdom J

Rocks & Hard Places

Sometimes I get in situations that seem “tricky” – like being squeezed between a rock & a hard place. I can’t say that I find these experiences to be very enjoyable nor pleasant. In fact, if I had a vote, I’d take alterior routes to avoid the rock & hard place spots. Nevertheless, we all have these kinds of situations & “opportunities” – so what do we do with & in them? Here are a few ideas:
*pray a lot & ask for God’s intervention
*work hard & keep you eyes on God (helps the attitude)
*work out / exercise because it helps to burn off some stress
*drink a lot of water (less caffeine & sugar)
*snag a few Bible verses to memorize so that if your thinking gets whacky, you have some healthy fall back thought replacements 🙂

Remember that God made rocks, rivers & erosion ,)

speak, think, feed

I’m not a big fan of onions – when I chop them, they make my eyes water and sometimes they can have a really sharp odor & flavor.  But they can serve as an interesting metaphor with some helpful thoughts.  If you think about it, onions have many layers – you can keep peeling & peeling, ulimately finding that an onion may have up to 20 layers!

The layers of an onion are a little like our lives, with the first layer being what we say.  The things that we say are very important & since I’ve had children, I’m more convinced of this than ever.  Our words can give life, encouragment and be uplifting or they can be negative, discouraging and death oriented.  So our words are important, but our words are often a reflection of what we think, which is another layer of the onion, so to speak.

Second layer – Have you ever thought about what you think about – a thought inventory?  Many of our thoughts are about getting stuff done and general maintainence thinking (cooking, grocery lists, auto repair, etc).  But we also think about many other things – conversations, what we think people think about us, priorities, time management, how we feel, reactions to various people & interactions, etc.  What we let ourselves think about is very important because our thoughts affect our actions, words, decisions, etc.

But here’s the center of the onion:  what we feed our hearts is what affects our thinking & ultimately our words & actions.  So let me encourage you to take a few minutes to consider the things that you feed your thoughts, emotions & heart.  What are the inputs that you allow in your life?  Do these inputs give life?  Are they uplifting?  Are they truthful?  Do they have genuine love?  Our words are shaped by our thoughts which are shaped by the inputs we allow – so let’s chose these inputs with discernment, discretion, wisdom & love 🙂