Archives for March 2012

“What, You Don’t Like Shopping??”

Written By Amy

It’s spring break at our house, and yesterday I was able to take my son, Hunter, on a few errands with me while his sisters were busy doing other things.  On my list was running him into Old Navy to pick out some summer t-shirts. Quality time shopping with my son sounded fun to me!  However, as we browsed the t-shirt displays, I found myself turning into a marketing guru as I tried to convince my son of the “coolness” of each shirt I held up.   Finding four he liked, we exited the store just in time for my son to breathe a sigh of relief.

Later as we left the mall, I asked Hunter which t-shirt he liked the best (mainly to create small talk, but also to gauge if I would be returning the shirts this weekend)  He listed two, and then paused and said…”I can’t really remember what the other two were like.” (What?) I replied with a side-arm hug and thought to myself, “One, he definitely got the aversion to shopping gene from his Dad, and two, how could he not remember new clothes he received just ten minutes before?!”

This interaction with my son was a good reminder to me that we are different, as men and women, and as Hunter developes into a young man, I need to learn who he is apart from my perspective and understanding of the world as a woman.  It also reminded me that God created us differently so that the two genders may compliment each other (for example, most men would have little or no clothes if it weren’t for the “shopping” women in their lives, and the women need the men to get them out of the store!)

Is it possible to see our differences as strengths and compliments, not just frustrations? I believe so.

We can choose to embrace the unique person God created our significant other to be.  We can make the choice to view our spouse as God views them, lovingly, with the understanding that their personality parts were made to fit our personality parts perfectly like a puzzle…weak touches strong, introvert touches extrovert, passive touches aggressive, emotional touches rational, and so on.  And, thank God, we are not always polar opposite…there is abundant common ground.

This verse can explain God’s intention for our differences:

So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.   Genesis 1:27 NIV

The man in your life with qualities you can’t imagine having yourself?                  Created in God’s image.

The woman in your life who seems like she is sometimes from another planet?          Created in God’s image.

We are both in God’s image.  God intended  man and woman to not only co-exist with their differences, but to fall in love with each other, connecting perfectly together like pieces of a puzzle.

Happy differences (and happy shopping)!

 

 

 

 

 

What About When I am WEAK?

Posted by Jen

Overwhelmed?

Written By Amy

There are days that feel overwhelming.  In my life, when I am facing difficulties, they seem to layer themselves on top of each other…parenting stress on top of dropping the ball somewhere (missing an appt., letting someone down, etc) on top of a piece of bad news about my husband’s job (initiating a fear response) on top of a major appliance breaking.

 

 All of this is just simply life, but I can lose my perspective if I’m not careful.  I tend to try to tackle everything on my own first, usually incurring a flurry of stress and personal frustration, until in a moment of clarity I remember that the answer is really as simple as just meeting with God, where I find answers (to parenting) peace (about my future) and grace (for my mistakes)…the appliance, well, I don’t know God, are you skilled at microwave magnetron diagnosis?

Stormie O’Martian reminds me that I need to seek God at the outset, at the first sign of trouble, not after they are layered on top of me like all the mattresses stacked on top of the “pea” .

Here is a prayer that we can pray to God during these times, written by Stormie O’Martian:

“Lord, help me to recognize anything that seems overwhelming to me as a sign that I need to immediately draw close to you and pray.  Give me a clear sense of what is going on and show me exactly how to pray about it.  I know that your perfect love will take away all my fear.  Give me a deeper sense of Your presence, for I know that Your presence is far greater than anything that overwhelms me.”  p.230, A Book Of Prayer

Hear my cry, O God, attend to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:1-2

The truth is this; we need to trust in God when we first feel overwhelmed…not after we are suffocated by layers of fear and stress.  We can hold on to the knowledge that God is our rock, who is higher than all of our troubles, and will bring us peace, strength and clarity when we seek Him.

 

Side Note:  If you are reading this on email, don’t forget to stop by our actual blog site for additional resources, fun pictures, and an archive of past posts!  Just click on the title above.

 

 

A Wine and Cheese Night at Home

Written By Amy

There is a great restaurant that has opened near our house.  They serve food in a very European style…which I am totally making up since I have never been to Europe.  But, it just seems that way to me…fresh, simple, full of taste and flavor.  They specialize in wine of all types, and high quality meats and cheeses, which are served on a platter with crackers and dried fruit for the table to share.

The other night my sister-in-law and I were going to try to go to this restaurant, but Jon was out of town and we realized we couldn’t squeeze it in between dropping off and picking up our kiddos from their Friday night social life.  Jennifer suggested we dine in, and have our own wine and cheese night.  It was wonderful!

Here is what we ate:

Cheese:  Brie, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, and a baked goat cheese.

Meat: Salami (you can also serve Black Forest Ham, or Prosciutto)

Bread: Multi-grain crackers and a whole wheat baguette to serve with the Brie

Delicious Additions: Stuffed olives, dried cranberries (or apricots), almonds, grapes, and a fig jam for the baguette and Brie

Wine: Whatever red or white you prefer, or a great sparkling grape juice

What I love about this food style is the atmosphere it creates…Jennifer and I had a relaxed, conversation-filled time together while we sampled appetizing flavors throughout the evening.  Here are some more ideas for a wine and cheese meal:

* A candlelit night at home with your sweetie

* A girl’s night in (book club, game night)

* A backyard evening on the patio with friends

* A special family night together, (of course with sparkling grape juice for the kids!)

Bon appetit!

 

Salt Water On My Toes

Written by Jen

Grace is, as the song goes, amazing.  It is a topic, a word, a life style, a philosophy, it is an action, an intention, a mood and it is even tangible. It woes me and draws me in.

In the Bible, John says this about Jesus, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV)  Jesus was full of grace and truth.  John goes on to explain that we receive grace upon grace through Christ. “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16 NASB)

Jerry Bridges has a great picture for receiving, grace upon grace.  Mr. Bridges says, ” The idea portrayed is analogous to the ocean waves crashing upon the beach. One wave has hardly disappeared before another arrives. They just keep coming from an inexhaustible supply. So it is with the grace of God through Christ. He’s full of grace and truth, and from his inexhaustible fullness we receive one blessing after another.”  Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, Navigators 2012.

Here is my shout out to you today.  Remember friends, like a little black cloud following around a cartoon character, so grace follows you.  As you sit before the ocean waves crashing, remember, God’s inexhaustible supply of grace, washing over your life.  Where ever you are on your spiritual journey, if you buy this, if you don’t, if you are just checking it out, we want this blog to be a safe place for you to do that.  I am the first to admit I am so far from perfect.  I make a royal mess out of life all the time.  Grace.

It’s in our title.  It is in our lives.  It guides our parenting and our marriages.  It is our sufficiency.  It is, according to the Bible, found in Jesus, and Jesus’ grace is FULL and available to you.  As the ocean waves crash on to the shore, so it is with Christ’s grace, wave after wave.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.  LIVE IT!  Look out for that cloud and those ocean waves.  They are for YOU.

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