Saturday, October 31, 2009

Love Dare: Day 6

Well, I asked Ryan what 3 things I do that irritate him the most, and he laughed and thought I was joking! : ) Once he realized I wasn't, he was a little nervous to answer me, but I finally got 2 good suggestions out of him. I'm filing them away in my head and making a point to work on them.

Today's Love Dare is about being irritable--ouch. I think these are getting harder and harder. I'd have to say this is a big area of sin for me. When I'm having a bad day, I don't think I throw up my hands and quit doing what I need to do, I just do everything that day with a huge dose of irritability and impatience. It isn't pretty folks.

So, today I have been dared to react to tough circumstances in loving ways instead of with irritation. I also need to add margin to my schedule so I don't get irritable from stress. Finally, the dare asks me to see if I have any greed, lust, bitterness or other selfish sin that is leading to so much irritability. Zoinks.

Pray for me. Weekends are often the hardest for my irritability sin, since the normal routine is off and Ryan might handle the kids differently than I do all week. Also, I'm getting less sleep and having less alone time. I'll have to think about my schedule and how I can add margin to it. I think leaving for any appointment five minutes earlier than planned is going to help A LOT. I get so irritable when we are late for anything. I know I'm selfish with my time and energy, so I need to work on being more sacrificial in those areas.

I'll let you know if I was less irritable when I post tomorrow!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Love Dare: Day 5

Reflecting on yesterday's dare, I'm trying to put more time and thought into Ryan's birthday than panicking and going to the mall the weekend before his birthday. So, Micah, Carter and I went and got him a few things today. I'm still haven't found any "wow" items to get him. He asked mainly for clothes. If you have any ideas, let me know! I'm thinking!

Today's dare is called "Love is not Rude." It talks about bad habits of rudeness we demonstrate to our spouse at home. The chapter says that women usually demonstrate rudeness in our quarrelsome attitude and words. Me, quarrelsome? ahem. Maybe sometimes. So, this dare is a zinger. You have to ask your spouse what are three things you do that cause them to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You cannot argue or defend yourself. You just have to listen. It also says that if you are thinking, "I wish my spouse would ask me this so I could tell him/her about how he/she . . .", then you are in dire need of hearing about your own flaws. : )

This isn't easy to do, but I really do need to work on things that irritate Ryan. So, I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love Dare: Day 4

Today's focus was on thoughtfulness. In reading the chapter, I was convicted of how I have changed in thinking about blessing my spouse since we were dating. I was always planning dates, dinners to cook, items to purchase for him, cards to write, etc. when we were dating. Now, I am even scrambling to think about what he should get for his BIRTHDAY! Yikes! Life gets busier with kids, but it doesn't mean we should move our purposeful thoughts of blessing our husband to the end of our list. Today's dare is to contact my husband and ask him how he is doing and what I could do to help/bless him--without any other agenda or conversation about kids, plans, etc. This is something we do regularly, but the chapter reminded me that I need to be more purposeful in how I am thoughtful toward Ryan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Love Dare: Day 2 and 3

Well, yesterday's dare was to continue using kind words and to also do something unexpectedly kind in action for your spouse. The chapter talked about kindness not just being patience (defensive) but also offensive action demonstrating kindness. My unexpected action was going to be to give Ryan a backrub without getting one in return. We do backrubs almost nightly, but we always both get one--except on birthdays when the person of honor gets one without giving one. Anyway, I ate something bad and spent the night in the fetal position on the couch. So, tonight, I am giving Ryan the backrub. : )

Today, day 3, the dare is to buy your spouse something to show them you are thinking of them. The root of this dare is to fight my propensity toward selfishness and be thinking of my spouse over myself. Today we went to Sea World and I didn't get to buy anything, but tomorrow I am going to go buy Ryan a chocolate chip muffin at the store. He loves to have a special treat for breakfast. It helps him have something fun when he has to get up for work, and he loves chocolate chip muffins.

Okay, I'm off to give my special someone a back rub! Goodnight!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Love Dare: Day 1

So, yesterday was the beginning of The Love Dare. I'm surprising Ryan with 40 days in the Love Dare and seeing how long it takes him to figure out I'm doing this. Two of my girlfriends are also doing this to their husbands, and we are holding each other accountable to finishing. Yesterday, I had to watch my words and not say anything negative to Ryan--not a complaint, not a gripe, not a "I told you so", not even correction if I knew I was right and he was wrong. It was a great dare, as I had been very frustrated with little things/mistakes Ryan was doing/making and was making sure to point out to him all of his mistakes. He, of course, didn't appreciate my highlighting his errors. So, this was a timely exercise. I think I did fairly well. Last night he took the boys to the pumpkin patch while I met with the ladies in Thrive leadership. I was wincing as he marched Carter out in a T-shirt and Micah had on a thin sleeper. Without overtly complaining, though, I was able to stuff some jackets and a stroller blanket in the car, and the situation was remedied without me dumping negativity on Ryan.

If you haven't seen the movie, Fireproof, and you are married, I highly recommend it! It will better explain the idea of the love dare. You don't need to be in marital disrepair to do the love dare. Think of it as a PX90 for marriage--only of shorter duration and of greater worth!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just Right

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

The above Bible verse is what God tells Jeremiah when He tells him to prophesy to Jerusalem. Jeremiah isn't excited about the vocation God has chosen for him, but God doesn't listen to his excuses and sends him anyway.
Why is the Biblical story of an Old Testament prophet on my mind?
Well, I just had Carter's first school conference. Having taught kids for 9 years, I was greatly curious as to how Carter would do in a school setting. It was odd to sit on the other side of the table for the first time, watching the teacher start out with every good attribute of the child and carefully tread into the areas of consternation and concern.
As every mom knows, we definitely don't get the child we assume will be ours. I imagined a son who liked to read, would sit quietly at books and board games like I did, and a quiet little thing who had to shyly be coaxed to talk to strangers. Carter is just about as opposite a person to that as possible. He came into this world with a fuss, and he hasn't let up since.
Being an educator, I never thought I would get the child who had issues focusing in class. I don't mean behavioral issues, though that pops up from time to time for sure. I mean that he has developmentally not succeeded in listening or focusing, though his little body tries as hard as he can.
At home, we have tried consequences and rewards to get him to listen to and repeat to us what we discuss in his children's Bible story for the night. Repetition helps, but he squirms and tears up with his inability to truly hear and repeat what we say. After Sunday School, Carter needs much prompting to recall what he was taught 5 minutes ago in class. The promise of or denial of a donut after class does little to affect the outcome of our questions. The teacher at his preschool has recognized he is behind his peers in being able to focus and listen in class. It is frustrating to no end, but I was reminded of this verse above after the school conference for Carter.
God made Carter. He made him to bring glory to Himself and to carry out His will and plan in Carter's life and our lives. Carter is who he is--from his attention deficit to his high level of activity, from his deep and hearty laughs to his heartfelt sobs of pain; from his love for sports to his dislike of haircuts--because God PLANNED his personality.
Who knows, someday Carter's lack of active listening skills might bring him to decide on a profession that better glorifies God than one he might have chosen otherwise. He might have to enter a unique schooling situation that brings him to repentance and faith! We don't know why God makes each of us the way we are made, but we know it is in no way an accident. There is a larger plan unfolding than tidy school conferences and perfect report cards.
Carter's sinful choices? Well, that is in no way God's plan, but we are slowly heart training Carter to die to himself so that God may oneday live in Him, if that is in God's will. And though people choose sinfully, God even uses those choices to further His will. As Joseph tells his brothers in one of my favorite verses, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 God's will and plan is not derailed by our sin.
So, Carter isn't a perfect student, but he is fearfully and wonderfully made. I sure am thankful for my sweet, joyful, and enthusiastic three year old. We are watching his focus issues more closely for possible needed interventions or diagnosis, and we are thanking God that Carter is exactly who God created him to be. Because each little quirk I might find odd or frustrating is being smiled upon by his Heavenly Father. He made Carter just right in order to bring glory to Himself. At the end of the day, I know that is all that matters.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Creative Outlets

If you are reading this post, you are partaking in one of my creative outlets--writing. It is no secret in my family that I like to be creative. When I was little, I loved to sing, play the piano and draw. As I got older, I liked dance, which I used in cheerleading and drill team. I've dabbled in decorating, sewing, knitting, sketching, music, dance, cooking, gardening, painting, and just about every creative outlet. Often, however, my attention span isn't long for anything. Once I figure out how to do something, I move to my next challenge. My favorites are probably writing, sketching, and cooking. However, I've decided to try another new area. Due to my active kiddos and my affinity for trying new things, I've decided to save up for a DSLR camera. I love to take pictures with my point and shoot, especially portrait pictures. However, the P&S camera has obvious limitations, especially with two active boys who hold poses for .2 seconds. I'm very excited about my future purchase, and I'll see how well I do with it. If you have any camera suggestions or suggestions about photography, leave me a comment!