Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Abusive Relationships

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

Something’s just not right in your relationship, and you can’t put your finger on it.
If your partner displays a combination of these behaviors, then you may be getting involved with a potential batterer. If your partner hits you in public, tries to strangle you or threatens suicide, get help immediately. These are warning signs of extreme danger.

Warning signs of an abusive personality

  1. Gets too close too fast. Comes on strong claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.
  2. Is excessively possessive. Calls constantly or visits unexpectedly. Prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone,” and even checks the mileage on your car.
  3. Is controlling. Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about where you were and who else was there. Insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
  4. Has unrealistic expectations. Expects you to be perfect all the time and meet every need no matter how unreasonable.
  5. Isolates you. Tries to cut you off from family and friends and accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” An abuser may try to prevent you from holding a job, going to church or being part of school organizations.
  6. Blames others for problems and mistakes. The teacher, the coach, you—it’s always someone else’s fault if anything goes wrong.
  7. Refuses to take personal responsibility for feelings. An abuser says, “You make me angry.” instead of, “I am angry.” Less obvious but equally telling is the claim: “You make me happy.”
  8. Is hypersensitive. Claims, “You hurt my feelings.” when anger is the real emotion. Rants about the injustice of things that are just part of life.
  9. Is cruel to animals. May include excessive punishing, hurting or even killing.
  10. Displays “playful” use of force. Enjoys throwing you down or holding you against your will. Forces you to kiss and doesn’t’ accept no for an answer.
  11. Verbally assaults. Constantly criticizes you or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things. Degrades you, curses and calls you ugly names. If it begins to happen in front of other people, then you are at risk for physical abuse.
  12. Insists on rigid roles. “Men are strong.” “Women are weak.” He expects you to serve and obey because you are “his woman.” She expects you to control and handle everything because you are “her man.”
  13. Displays sudden mood swings. Quickly switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent.
  14. Has battered in the past. Admits to hitting partners in the past but blames it on someone or something else.
  15. Threatens you with physical violence. Says things like, “I’ll break your neck.” or “I’ll kill you.” followed by, “Everybody talks that way.” or “I didn’t’ really mean it.” If the verbal abuse has come this far, it’s time to get out and get help.
This information was adapted from “Signs to Look for in a Battering Personality,” a Project for Victims of Family Violence in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
24-hour Crisis Hotline: 214-941-1991


  • According to the FBI, family violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
  • 38% of Texas women—more than one in three—have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. (Texas Council on Family Violence)
  • 70% of the children of abused women are also physically abused, and 20% are sexually abused. The majority of abusive men were either abused as children or witnessed their mothers being abused. (WomenKind, Inc.)
  • Direct healthcare costs associated with domestic violence are estimated at more than $4.1 billion annually; productivity losses associated with injuries and death are estimated at more than $1.8 billion annually. (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control journal Violence and Victims

Family Violence in Dallas

  • In 2011, the Dallas Police Department Family Violence Unit reported 13,733 family violence calls resulting in 1,239 aggravated assaults, 16 murders, 11,529 assaults, 127 offenses against children, 66 rapes and 632 other related offenses including kidnapping, stalking, vandalism and robbery.
  • According to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, in 2011, there were 9,344 requests for Protective Orders, 1,173 victims screened for Protective Orders, 1,259 qualified applicants, 713 Protective Orders filed, and 713 new Protective Orders granted.
  • The 2011 Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance Point-in-Time Homeless Count found 5,783 people living on Dallas streets or in shelters, up slightly from the 5,750 counted in 2010. The 2011 count included 1,106 children and 51 unaccompanied youth. Domestic abuse/family problems were listed as the reason for homelessness by 27% of the population. Without these emergency shelter services, these victims would be forced to return to their batterers or other unsafe housing and would be at great risk for further victimization.

Understanding domestic violence and abuse

Women don’t have to live in fear:

In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Canada: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-363-9010.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.

Male victims of abuse can call:

Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Do you:
feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
Does your partner:
humiliate or yell at you?
avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner? criticize you and put you down?
feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?blame you for their own abusive behavior?
feel emotionally numb or helpless? see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:
have a bad and unpredictable temper?
Does your partner:
act excessively jealous and possessive?
hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?control where you go or what you do?
threaten to take your children away or harm them?keep you from seeing your friends or family?
threaten to commit suicide if you leave? limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
force you to have sex? limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
destroy your belongings? constantly check up on you?

Physical abuse and domestic violence

When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse

Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

It Is Still Abuse If . . .

  • The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed, for example.
  • The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you.
  • The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!
  • There has not been any physical violence. Many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.
Source: Breaking the Silence: a Handbook for Victims of Violence in Nebraska

Emotional abuse: It’s a bigger problem than you think

When people think of domestic abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person being abused.

Understanding emotional abuse

The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without your abusive partner you have nothing.
Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want. 
You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.

Economic or financial abuse: A subtle form of emotional abuse

Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he or she will frequently use money to do so. Economic or financial abuse includes:
  • Rigidly controlling your finances.
  • Withholding money or credit cards.
  • Making you account for every penny you spend.
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
  • Restricting you to an allowance.
  • Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
  • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly).
  • Stealing from you or taking your money.

Violent and abusive behavior is the abuser’s choice

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.

Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power:

  • Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.
  • Humiliation – An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
  • Isolation – In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
  • Threats – Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
  • Intimidation – Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.
  • Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault.

Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time.

  • Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.
  • Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but lash out instantly as soon as you’re alone.
  • Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they’re able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it’s to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls).
  • Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t show. Rather than acting out in a mindless rage, many physically violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises and marks won’t show.

The cycle of violence in domestic abuse

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:
  • Cycle of violenceAbuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss."
  • Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
  • Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
  • "Normal" behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
  • Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
  • Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.

The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence: An Example

A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you." What he does not say is, "Because I might get caught." He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her "If you weren't such a worthless whore I wouldn't have to hit you." He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "you're having an affair with the store clerk." He has just set her up.
Source: Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service

Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse

It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

General warning signs of domestic abuse

People who are being abused may:
  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does.
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.

Warning signs of physical violence

People who are being physically abused may:
  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).

Warning signs of isolation

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner.
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.

The psychological warning signs of abuse

People who are being abused may:
  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.

Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate.
  • Offer help.
  • Support his or her decisions.
  • Wait for him or her to come to you.
  • Judge or blame.
  • Pressure him or her.
  • Give advice.
  • Place conditions on your support.

Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.
Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Next step…

Caregiving Tips for Family CaregiversGetting out of an abusive relationship. Do you want to leave an abusive situation, but stay out of fear of what your partner might do? While leaving isn’t easy, there are things you can do to protect yourself. You’re not alone, and help is available. Read Help for Abused and Battered Women

What I Love Most About Delaney-Jan 2013

Special Days:  Birthday celebrations, flowers, big school changes and mommy-daughter time

Favorite Stories: Celebrating your birthday was a hoot. You thought it was so funny that they rub hot stones on your feet and arms when you get a mani/pedi and laughed when they placed your feet in "goo" to relax your muscles. It was adorable and fun.Then there was the ear piercing which you have been bugging me about since you were 6. So gun ho to get it done, then you saw the "gun", wigged out and lets just say you thought I was mean that I was still "making" you get them done. In the end you loved them and you were so happy about your choice.

Fabulous Photo:  

Greatest Quotes:  " Please, don't make me. I promise I wont ask again!" (ear piercing day)

What has impressed me most about you this month:  You are in touch with how others feel and you hate to see people sad and hurting. You have a kind and tender heart that aims to please and it shined through this month.

Bible Verse: 

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Where I hope to see you grow: Love towards your little brother! He adores you and clings to you and its driving you crazy. So you push him away,are short tempered with him and make him cry ALOT. He wants your undivided attention for some reason and you are trying so hard to be your own person and break away from him that both of you are driving ME crazy. Someone is always crying, screaming, or has hurt feelings its insane. I really wished you would be a little more patient with im and give him his 30-45minutes of Lainey alone time so he would be content and then leave you alone for the rest of the day, but aahh you refuse:(

My Absolute 3 Favorite Thing We Did:
1. Flowers: you bought me flowers to help make me feel better when I was feeling really blue over things going on this month. It was very sweet and definitely makes my top fav things I "did" with you.
2. Our Calling: you won a writing competition through The Greg Landry School and this month you got your prize money to go and fulfill your wish. Your wish was to help the homeless know about the love of Christ through giving of bibles, hats, blankets and gloves. You were very nervous, but did wonderful.
3. On line school: We started using K12 this month for the last half of your 7th grade year. So far we like it, although ti has its draw backs.there are perks as well to online school. I am not so sure we are going to stick with it past this semester, but it was something different to try out. 
4. YOUR BIRTHDAY!- Oh yea, the most obvious thing, your golden birthday. Number 13, on the 13th, in the year 2013! Whoot Whoot. Does not happen to everyone and you got lucky. We went and got your ears pierced, got our nails done together, messages and rock climbing passes. We have not used our passes yet simply because you want your friend, Rob, to go with us.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

What I Love Most About Matthew-Jan 2013

Special Days:  counselor visits, driving skills, Sunday school, lay days at home

Favorite Stories: You almost taking out the car next to us when backing out of your parking space. Granted it was the first time you had to leave a space with another car next to you and you are still learning which way to steer the wheel. and it did not help that I was finishing up a phone call instead of giving you instructions like I should have been. Luckily nothing happened and all's well that ends well.

Fabulous Photo:  

Greatest Quotes:  "screw you then" you said this to your sister when she was annoying you over resetting the internet connection. Needless to say this did not go over to well with me  or her.

What has impressed me most about you this month:
Every time i turn around someone else is telling me what a wonderful job you are doing helping out in Sunday class with the kids. The parents tell me their kids adore you, the other teachers tell me you are fabulous and its a delight that you help out and how glad they are that you are willing to serve. I am very proud that you are doing such a wonderful job helping out. The impression you leave on these kids will carry them through so many of lives troubles and journey and I am happy you are making a difference in their lives today.

Bible Verse: 

John 15:9-17 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another."

Where I hope to see you grow: In the way that you have begun speaking. There is power in words, both positive and negative ones. Lately you have been sharp with your tongue towards your sister and brother and way too liberal in what you think is OK to say to them.  Its ok to be angry, hurt or upset, but you have to learn to respond in love and not out of anger and hurt feelings to continue to stir up strife.

My Absolute 3 Favorite Thing We Did:

1. Driving: yep, you are still learning to drive and with my foot broke and us in my mom's car for the month, you took full driving advantage. You are getting pretty darn good too. Your turns are getting better, you learned to pull into parking spaces, reverse out (without hitting another car), and you even managed to work up to one of the main roads by the church, practicing your U-Turns. I am very proud at how far you have come in your mad driving skills.
2.School Challenges: Crazy, I know that this of all things makes my favorite list, but yet it does. One of the great joys of being a mom is being there for your kids when they struggle, fall and rise again. This year has not been an easy one school wise, but each day you are making better choices and improving and that is all I can ask of you. I enjoy the ride, through all the twists and turns and ups and downs that is takes us on. It is challenging this year and I am learning along the way with you, after all you are the High School test ;)

3. Lazy days: I love the days of lounging around the house with you, just watching you live your life, interact with your friends and the people you care about. I like listening to the stories you tell about your day and hearing the challenges and joys you have in life. I basically adore getting to be in your world and knowing you better each and every day.


10 Creative Ways to say “I Love You” to Your Husband

10 Creative Ways to say “I Love You” to Your Husband

I loved your response to last week’s challenge.  Many of you commented how you were pouring on the praise! Way to go!

Some of you shared how your husband  reacted.  One husband thought his wife’s facebook page had been hacked because he was so surprised by her compliments.  Another asked his wife if she was feeling okay…he was concerned after her gushing praise.  So cute!

This past week – I sent my “I Love You” text that I shared last week:

Also, my husband had a business trip so I had my daughter paint some hearts and we hid it in his suitcase before he left.  He loved it!

Dr. Emerson Eggerich says: “When you touch your husband’s deepest need something good almost always happens!”
So let’s keep going!!!
Week 2 Challenge – This week we will be a little more creative with our praise. Below are some fun ideas. 
The “Pour on the Praise” List:

1. Write a love message on the mirror.  Use lipstick or if that’s too messy – write little love notes on  post-it notes and hang them around…by the coffee pot, on the mirror, on his steering wheel and on his pillow.
2. Pack a love message in his lunch
3. Use sidewalk chalk and write a love message on the driveway
4. Write a list of ten things you admire about him and give it to him in letter form.
or make this:

Pinned Image
Use a small notebook and write out the ABC’s of why you love him.
5. Make a toast to him at dinner with friends. Or raise your glass at dinner and list the things you admire about your husband for your children to hear!
6. Buy or make your husband a trophy and engrave it with the words “The Best Husband in the World.” (I found a cheap trophy at a party supplies store – the kids loved presenting it to daddy)

7. Write a poem – even if you can’t write – it can be goofy. Include in it references to your favorite movies, restaurants, places to go and memories. He will enjoy the trip down memory lane and the laugh!
8- Blow up balloons and put a loving message in each one. Fill your bedroom with balloons as a surprise.
Pinned Image
Or one helium balloon for each year you’ve been married.
9- Take a roll of receipt tape and write a long message with the things you admire and respect about your husband – then roll it up and put it in a bottle for your husband to open and read. (I made many of these for my husband in college when we were dating long distance. I mailed them in packages.)

10. Frame the lyrics to your first dance
Pinned Image
“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
~Proverbs 14:1
Get creative this week.  This list is just to inspire you – feel free to do your own thing.  We can’t wait to hear about it!!!
Your husband’s are going to be SO blessed this week!
Chime In: Once you accomplish praising him at least one time – leave a comment in the comment section telling us what you did – we can all benefit from your inspiration and creativity!
If you are a blogger – I invite you to blog about this week’s challenge and then link up below.  Please include this button in your post:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Starting the New Year with a Fresh Perspective

Starting the New Year with a Fresh Perspective by Mike Glenn

In the story of the prodigal son, Luke uses a curious phrase when the younger son realizes what he has lost and determines to go home. The King James Version translates the phrase, “He came to himself.” That phrase has always fascinated me. How do you come to yourself? Can you set yourself down somewhere and then forget where you left yourself? Actually, it is something like that. We can become so buried under mistakes and failure, stuffed under grief and regret, that we get to the place where we no longer recognize ourselves. But God’s “yes” changes all that. When the Spirit changes our true identity in Christ, we leave behind everything that is false and start walking toward the truth of Christ and who he created us to be
Changing your mind
Walking away from the lies and destruction of sin is very close to the practical meaning of biblical repentance. It goes far beyond feeling bad about your sin—all the way to literally changing the direction of your life. And to change your life, you have to change the way you think. A change in your life’s direction means you stop fighting the current of God’s grace that flows in your spirit. Now you start flowing with the current of grace. As you reorient your life in the direction of God’s leading, you find your efforts are amplified through the Spirit’s presence in the same way an ocean current enhances the work of a ship’s sails.
When we talk about Christian conversion, we emphasize feelings of conviction and a decision to confess our sins and seek forgiveness. But we don’t stress the essential role played by our thinking. The problem that results is we don’t change the way we think, so we end up not changing our behavior. For a total transformation of a person’s life, the mind as well as the heart must change. We live the way we do because we think the way we do. The mess is in our heads before it is in our lives, but it moves from the mind to daily life.

This changes when we ask Christ to renew our minds, to alter the way we think. We need to allow our minds to be completely transformed. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” When your mind is transformed, your life will follow.

I am not naive. I understand the lure of sin and the effectiveness of its deceptions. And I am familiar with the consequences of sin. I have sat with large numbers of people and listened as they recognized and talked through the harmful consequences of their actions. When the cost of their failures sinks in, it is devastating. A man’s infidelity cost him his wife and children. For a few minutes of pleasure, he traded away a future with his family. It takes only one incident to disrupt a friendship, a career, a family, a life. Lies are told, discovered, and confessed in tears, but how can a person regain trust? Sin looks good in the moment but only because it’s hiding the future consequences.

I’m convinced we don’t understand the total impact of salvation. We make it about feelings or a one-time decision to confess our sins and trust in Christ’s death and resurrection. But to live a new life, to be completely transformed, our salvation has to be about the total person, including our minds.

Changing your frame of reference
If in obedience to Christ we are going to make different choices, we have to adopt Christ’s way of looking at things. God will create a new mind in you and me, but we have to join willingly in the process. And part of thinking differently is letting go of old assumptions and preferences and accepting the preferences of God.
In Acts 10 we read the story of the early church hearing from God a “yes” that led to its dropping of ethnic barriers. A Roman centurion named Cornelius was praying, and in his prayers he was told to find a man named Peter. Peter, in the meantime, also was praying. In his prayers Peter saw a vision of a sheet holding all kinds of animals—and they weren’t kosher. Although Peter was told to kill and eat, he refused. Again the vision came, and again Peter refused to eat. Each time, Jesus confronted Peter with the following rebuke: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Only when Cornelius’s messengers appeared at his gate did Peter begin to understand the message of the vision. Nothing created by God, people most of all, can ever be called unclean.

God created Gentiles just as he did Jews, and no one—Gentiles included—was inferior to anyone else. God loves those outside the nation of Israel on a par with the descendants of Abraham. Having grown up under the influence of Jewish traditions and biases, Peter must have had difficulty processing this. But to his credit, he was obedient to Christ and changed the way he thought about these matters. And not just the way he thought, but his life and his preaching as well.

Free of condemnation
There are two reasons we should not condemn others or ourselves. First, we all are created in the image of God. And second, Christ died for sinners. This is the price God was willing to pay for our redemption. We are called to live in the glory of knowing what we are worth. And when we don’t, we damage ourselves, one another, and the world we live in. Sin devalues us as people and causes us to see others and all creation as lacking worth. Sin negates the good work Christ does in us and in the world. Where Christ speaks “yes,” sin says “no.”

We have things in our lives that cause shame or grief, and they act as a giant but to the good news of Christ. He promises us new life, which sounds great, but…“my family business went bankrupt after I misspent some accounts. I was going to pay it back, but then everything collapsed.” And suddenly we forget the promise of Christ. He promises forgiveness and second chances, but it’s hard to believe the second chance could still apply after the things we’ve done.

Why do we think that we alone committed a sin so horrible it exceeds Jesus’s ability to forgive? This kind of thinking is the ultimate heresy. What we are saying is the death of Jesus was payment enough for everyone else’s sins, but our sin is so monstrous that his death isn’t enough to cover it.

Let Christ change the way you think so you can let go of that lie. Jesus paid it all. No part of the debt has been left for you or me to pay by working hard to clean up our own lives. On our own we can’t get clean enough to impress God. Whatever we might try, we will always be unworthy of his love. The gift of God’s “yes” in Christ is unearned, given to us freely. Our relationship with God is not a contract; it is a covenant, a bond of mutual love and commitment. In this covenant the parties are not equal, but the arrangement is mutual. Christ died for us and offers us his salvation, and we accept what he did for us as a free gift—on his terms.

Christ opens the door; we need only to walk through it. We then live our lives in loving response to God’s grace expressed in Jesus. This is the mutual love and commitment of the covenant. Yet, for some reason, we have a hard time believing the gift of salvation is free. Who would give away something like that? So we think we have to earn it.

Adapted from The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn with permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leadership under stress

Leadership under stress

Matt. 2:14-15:  So he (Joseph) got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.

Great family leaders possess an inner strength and faith that allows them to be patient and calm. Joseph was such a leader. On three separate occasions, he obeyed the instructions of the angel of the Lord even though his obedience came at a great personal and financial cost. In the face of frightening circumstances, Joseph's actions do not seem to be driven by panic and fear. Instead, he conducted himself in a way that reflected his deep and convicting faith in God.

When we have faith in God, circumstances will no longer dictate our peace and contentment. We are able to be patient and wait on God's timing instead of forcing our own agenda.
If you often find yourself overwhelmed and frightened as you lead your family, consider where you are putting your trust. Few of us will be challenged to obey in as dramatic a fashion as Joseph, but we can let his faithful example inspire us to lead our families in calmness and faith.

Let your faith give you the strength that allows you to lead with patience and calmness.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Putting Your Faith in Action

Putting Your Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic

Having faith, beliefs, and convictions is a great thing, but your life is measured by the actions you take based upon them. You can build a great life around those things you believe and have faith in. I’ve built mine around my belief that I can inspire and bring hope to people facing challenges in their lives. That belief is rooted in my faith in God. I have faith that He put me on this earth to love, inspire, and encourage others and especially to help all who are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I believe that I can never earn my way to heaven, and by faith I accept the gift of the forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus. However, there’s so much more than just “getting in” through the Pearly Gates. It is also about seeing others changed by the power of His Holy Spirit, having a close relationship with Jesus Christ throughout this life, and then being further rewarded in heaven.

Being born without arms and legs was not God’s way of punishing me. I know that now. I have come to realize that this “disability” would actually heighten my ability to serve His purpose as a speaker and evangelist. You might be tempted to think that I’m making a huge leap of faith to feel that way, since most people consider my lack of limbs a huge handicap. Instead, God has used my lack of limbs to draw people to me, especially others with disabilities, so I can inspire and encourage them with my messages of faith, hope, and love.

In the Bible, James said that our actions, not our words, are the proof of our faith. He wrote in James 2:18, “Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’ ”
I’ve heard it said that our actions are to our faith and beliefs as our bodies are to our spirits. Your body is the housing of your spirit, the evidence of its existence. In the same way, your actions are the evidence of your faith and beliefs. You have no doubt heard the term “walking the talk.” Your family, friends, teachers, bosses, coworkers, customers, and clients all expect you to act and live in alignment with the beliefs and convictions that you claim to have. If you don’t, they will call you out, won’t they?
Our peers judge us not by what we say but by what we do. If you claim to be a good wife and mother, then you sometimes will have to put your family’s interests above your own. If you believe your purpose is to share your artistic talents with the world, then you will be judged on the works you produce, not on those you merely propose. You have to walk the talk; otherwise you have no credibility with others—or with yourself—because you, too, should demand that your actions match your words. If they don’t, you will never live in harmony and fulfillment.

As a Christian, I believe the final judge of how we’ve lived is God. The Bible teaches that His judgment is based on our actions, not our words. Revelation 20:12 says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” I act upon my beliefs by traveling the world and encouraging people to love one another and to love God. I am fulfilled in that purpose. I truly believe it is why I was created. When you act upon your beliefs and put your faith into action, you, too, will experience fulfillment. And please, do not be discouraged if you aren’t always absolutely confident in your purpose and how to act upon it. I have struggled. I still struggle. And so will you. I fail and am far from perfect. But deeds are merely the fruit—the result of the depth of a true conviction of the truth. Truth is what sets us free, not purpose. I found my purpose because I was looking for truth.

It is hard to find purpose or good in difficult circumstances, but that is the journey. Why did it have to be a journey? Why couldn’t a helicopter just pick you up and carry you to the finish line? Because throughout the difficult times, you will learn more, grow more in faith, love God more, and love your neighbor more. It is the journey of faith that begins in love and ends in love.

Frederick Douglass, the American slave turned social activist, said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Your character is formed by the challenges you face and overcome. Your courage grows when you face your fears. Your strength and your faith are built as they are tested in your life experiences.

Adapted from Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic with permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Be My Valentine ~ Week 1 – Take the Initiative

Be My Valentine ~ Week 1 – Take the Initiative

“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
~Proverbs 14:1 
I remember being in a fight with my husband and knowing he was wrong and I was absolutely right. There was NO way I was going to apologize for anything I had said or done and I was not about to be the first one to try to make amends. This huge fight was his fault and he was going to have to come to me and make it right.

I dug my heels in sure that any minute he would come up the stairs and beg me for forgiveness…and I waited…waited in anguish – crying – praying…praying…praying…uh oh I sense God telling me to give him grace. Uh oh – thoughts of forgiveness and mercy ran through my mind.

“No way God! Not this time! No quick easy forgiveness from me – no mercy!”

…a flood began surging in my soul…I knew that I could not suppress the truths of God’s word…and so I got up slowly and put one foot in front of the other…I went down one step and then the next slowly…and I went first…and apologized. And as I went first – the flood gates of communication opened up free and clear – a civil conversation appeared out of no where and the road to reconciliation began.

Going first. It’s not easy to be the one to take the initiative and go first…it takes great strength and humility. I’ve been called a doormat on many occasions on-line for my beliefs about marriage…a doormat sounds weak…I am not weak.

It’s easy to scream, yell, and fight. No one has to teach me how to do that! lol! The harder thing is to control my tongue and choose to not fight. That takes strength. The weak are those who hold a grudge, remain in their bitterness, refuse to forgive – the strong are secure in their faith knowing that they are loved with the unfailing love of Jesus. The strong can give what Jesus gave – forgiveness, mercy and grace.

 And so we come to week one’s “Be My Valentine” Marriage Challenge.  Some of you jumped on board quickly and are ready to do this but others…

Others may have decided this was not for you.  Maybe your marriage is struggling, your husband is being annoying, you are in the midst of a fight or you’ve grown distant from your husband.  Maybe it’s REALLY hard to even think of one nice thing to say.

These challenges really are challenges for you.

Would you consider just trying a little bit, to do a little something this week just to see what God will do through your willingness to go first and bless your husband?  I am praying as you take the initiative, that God will strengthen you and bless your marriage through you!
Week 1 Challenge - Take the Initiative!  Look for ways to praise your husband verbally.
Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!

Here’s some practical ways to communicate your praise:

1. Text him with a sweet message that includes something you appreciate about him - I learned this from Pinterest :) !
2. Email him today telling him how grateful you are for him.
3. If he’s on Facebook – go to his wall or post a status update praising him
4.  Offer to say the prayer before dinner and then in your prayer thank God for him and give specifics.
5. As you give him a kiss hello, goodbye or goodnight – insert a little word of thanks and praise.

The challenge includes doing this every single day until Valentine’s Day but I want to be realistic…for some of you this is gonna take babysteps.  So just do what you can – something is always better than nothing.  And next week, we’ll get even more creative with ways to show our men we don’t just love them – we LIKE them!!
Chime In: Once you accomplish praising him at least one time – leave a comment in the comment section tellling us what you did – we can all benefit from your inspiration and creativity! 

And if you want to use the comment section as a place to write something you appreciate about your husband, then send him here to see how you publically praised him – go for it!!!
If you are a blogger – I invite you to blog about this week’s challenge.  As time allows, I will be visiting your blogs and pinning your posts on my “Inspiring Christian Wives” Pinterest Board.  Please include this button in your post:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Learning the Art of Self-Challenge

Learning the Art of Self-challenge by Jason Jaggard

Through taking healthy risks that make you a better person or the world a better place, you begin to develop a deeper appetite for good. At first it might not be very tasty. Taking even a small risk can be more difficult than it sounds. And that is why we have to practice. We have to develop the skill of challenging ourselves.
We want the act of making healthy choices to become a natural and authentic part of who we are. But before something can become a habit, it often is a hassle. Put another way: if we want new habits to become instinctual, then they must first be intentional. And in order for that to happen, we have to practice the sacred art of self-challenge.

I don’t want to freak you out, but what we’re really talking about is obedience. Obedience to God is the path that leads to Life. It’s the path that transforms you into the person you long to be.
And obedience always requires risk.
What’s amazing is that much of our obedience is instinctual. In at least some areas of life, we naturally make healthy choices. We naturally smile at a stranger, or perhaps we have a great work ethic or are naturally curious or easygoing.

Yet we can’t define obedience solely in terms of what comes naturally. Often our greatest moments of obedience come when it is least natural. Perhaps our natural tendency in certain situations is unhealthy or hurtful. Or perhaps what we naturally want to do is nothing, to avoid taking action when action is called for. In these moments we have to choose something else, something we don’t want to do, something that, most likely, will move us into the space of the unknown.

I want to be a person who is able to act—who is able to obey—even when it’s unnatural.
Intentionality and risk are the ways we develop a greater capacity to obey. When we say, “I’m going to do this thing that I wouldn’t normally do,” we are developing the capacity to grow into the people we were meant to be.

When Jesus invited people to follow Him, He was inviting them to obey Him. There are parts of you that already reflect God’s character, parts of your uniqueness that are expressions of something God wanted to say when He created you. Those are already consistent with following Jesus.

Maybe it’s your smile.
Maybe it’s your way with people.
Maybe it’s your work ethic.
Maybe it’s your sense of right and wrong.
Maybe it’s your intelligence or your curiosity for life.
Maybe it’s your sense of responsibility or your flare for fun.

These things are good just the way they are. It’s easy to obey when God calls us to things we naturally love. When God calls us to the stuff we already like (which happens a lot more than we realize), it’s one of the great pleasures of life.

Risk is the central narrative of the scriptures. When I do Spark Group trainings with faith communities, I always have participants do this exercise:
1. Pick any person in the scriptures that comes to mind.
2. Identify the risk God called that person to take.

This is surprisingly easy. And once people get going, it’s hard to get them to stop. Abraham: stopped living with his parents at age seventy and moved into no man’s land to start his own nation. Moses: even with a speech impediment, he stood up to the most powerful man in the world to liberate an enslaved people. Mary: endured the shame of people assuming she had been unfaithful to her fiancĂ©. Joseph: remained committed to a teenage girl, his fiancĂ©e, who in the eyes of their neighbors and extended family was almost certainly an adulteress.
The apostle Paul.
The twelve fellas who quit their jobs to follow Jesus, most of whom were later killed for doing so.
The people whose stories are recorded in the history of the scriptures all took risks—often huge risks—to be a part of what God was doing in the world. It seems like a prerequisite for being mentioned in the narrative of the movement of God is the willingness and courage to risk.

Like God’s people throughout history, we can jump into life in ways that only we can so that God can move in ways we cannot. Call it faith if you want, but in terms of everyday life, it’s risk. And it’s through risk that God can change our lives.
Faith. Love. Hope.
Risk. Compassion. Optimism.

When we begin to live out these values, we create a context that is thick with potential. When we have the courage to take risks of compassion that produce optimism in others, we create space for God to move and work. We begin to form our souls into the kind of textured lives that gives God traction to guide us into the future He dreamed we could participate in. And we become fully alive.

This is what Jesus did two thousand years ago. He assembled a team and spent three years with them, throwing them into the deep end of serving humanity. Coaching them. Teaching them. And then He kept saying weird things, such as “Have faith in me and you will do greater things than what I have done.”
And then, before He turned His followers and friends loose to serve humanity on God’s behalf, He said: “Go, create cultures of servant leadership, of risk, compassion, and optimism out of every society.”
He looked into the eyes of folks like you and me and said, “Go.” Risk. Care. Create.

Just like the people you’ve read about in this book, you have ideas that need to be set free. God has placed potential inside you, potential for creative joy and love, strength and peace. And all of that needs to be unleashed.

So risk. Choose something. Do something. Partner together with God and others to pull off something beautiful that serves humanity. It will be hard. You will experience failure. But I promise, you will never regret it.

As Steven Ma put it: “It’s definitely a challenge. It’s definitely a risk. But most important: it’s fun.”
This is the way the world heals. It is the way God has chosen to move through the contours of history. He has chosen our hearts, our feet, our fingertips. Some people will hear God’s voice only if it sounds like ours, inviting them into the adventure of hope that we have been invited into.
This is how we spark our world. When we begin to realize that learning is a verb and that life is the best intentionally leaning into our relationships, our careers, our faith. When we step outside of our comfort zones and experience a life that can exist only if God is with us.
Our world will begin to change.
One small risk at a time.
When we begin taking risks of compassion in the context of community.

How will you start?

Adapted from Spark by Jason Jaggard with permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Top Post of 2012

God has been so good to me this year. My family is healthy, fed, clothed, and we have shelter every night! We may not have everything we "want" in life, but God has made sure we have all that we "need" in life.

Do I wish my life was better? Filled with newer things and a little more extravagant? Sure, at times.

I have a car that is 20 years old and although it is not the prettiest looking thing on the road,and it has dents, some scratches, the seat belts do not always want to work, the doors do not always want to unlock for me; it gets me to work every day. It takes us to church 3 times a week, and my kids to outside activities.  It moans, groans and complains to me and I to it at times and there are moments I want to take a bat to it, but I am thankful everyday that God provided me with a car, instead of walking. Oh, I remember walking everyday, everywhere, all too well. Trying to carry groceries and a newborn at the same time,while watching 2 others. Walking to work and daycare in the lovely Texas heat, rain, sleet etc. It was not fun, although it did keep me in good shape!  I prayed for the ability to save up enough money to get a car. It took me 2 years, but eventually I was ale to get enough money to buy our good ol SUV. So, although I complain that I would love a new (ish) car, I am still incredibly thankful for the one I have daily. God answered my prayer, and I am sure the prayer of my kiddos too. SO when I get on my little pity party and start looking at my car with evil, God has a  funny way of making sure I remember what it was like before I had my car. A week or two of it being in the shop for repairs, quickly reminds me of how lucky I am. I see people everyday walking in all the elements and I cannot help but remember, 6 years ago that was me. So I count my blessings and I am thankful for what I have, even if I don't get what I want!

So what are you thankful for this New Years?

Top Posts of 2012:

1. Blessing your children with words of praise
2. Reading Eggs
3. My Memories
4.Top 10 HomeSchooling Blogs
5. What My Kids Teach Me
6. Vegetarian Crock Pot Recipies
7. Drizzles 2nd Week of Kindergarten
8. Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action
9.Kindergarten Sight Words Caterpillar
10.Pray With Your Children

What I Love Most About Matthew-December

Special Days:  Dragging you around to Christmas events, to plays, and everything else. You are very adiment about what you do and do not want to do. Early Christmas, driving lessons, gund, guns, guns!

Favorite Stories: It has to be you going through the house using your blow gun on everything. Oh yes, that lovely little blow gun that shoots needles clear across the house. I am just waiting for it to stick someone or some animal before its all said and done.

Fabulous Photo:  To come

Greatest Quotes:  "You cannot go through my room and invade my privacy!"  Have I ever told oyu how funny you are? When you have kids of your own, you will understand this one. Oh and trust me, they will say this at some point in life and normally thats when you need to go through "their" room!

What has impressed me most about you this month: Your creativity. We take down the Christmas tree and lights and you use them to decorate your room. things I never would think of doing, you do. It's not just the light either, you are creative and artistic naturally.

Bible Verse: 
Exodus 35:31-32: And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftmanship, to devise artisti designs, to work with gold and silver and bronze,

Where I hope to see you grow: I would have to say this month with your ability to get along better with your brother. He adores you and it is obvious to everyone that you dont care to much for him at this phase in life. you push him away and make him fill unloved. I hope this changes soon and I am doing everything in my power to encourage you both to be more loving and tenderhearted toward each other. I know this is a season in both of your lives that will pass soon and I will be glad to see it end.

My Absolute 3 Favorite Thing We Did

1. Look at Christmas Lights: Yep, you went someplace with us! miracles do happen after all. tehe. Just kidding. We went to several different places this year, but i loved the Mesquite Christmas lights just because you actually let me take your photo with your brother and sister and you all looked happy! We had a good time, despite the fact it was shut down and it was cold as crud. We hung out for a while. you whacked at the hanging ornament balls they had strung up in the trees and you got to be the family photographer. That's how it works, if you are not in the picture, you are taking the pictures!
2. Early Christmas: OK we are kinda weird sometimes and we did Christmas opening about 2 weeks before Christmas. We roll like that sometimes! You got zombie movies from Drake, a big green chair from Delaney and I got you a paint ball gun, bullets, and you very first "What I Love About You" book. We still did Christmas at uncles house on Christmas day, but might as well play with what you got early. Christmas is not abou the gifts anyway, but about celebrating Christ's birth.
3. Playing with your paintball gun! Hey, if I cannot have my own, I am good with playing with yours. I am a horriable shot, but it is still fun to do. You on the other hand can hit just about anything you want. too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

“Be My Valentine” ~ Marriage Challenge

“Be My Valentine” ~ Marriage Challenge

There are 4 weeks until Valentine’s Day so I thought it might be fun to do a little -
 ”Be My Valentine” ~ Marriage Challenge!  
Each week the challenge will be the same – to praise, encourage, inspire, admire, build up, thank and appreciate your husband. But each week I will give you different ways to express your praise. Feel free to tweak it for what you think is best for your husband.
JR Miller writes “So it is in the dark hours of a man’s life, when burdens press, when sorrows weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fibre of his manhood, that all the radiance and glory of a true wife’s strengthful love shine out before his eyes. Only then does he recognize in her God’s angel of mercy.”
 Let’s be angels of mercy to our husbands. We may think they are filled with confidence and strength but they are only human. They have insecurities, fears, failures, burdens and cares that we do not always slow down to recognize. We lose our tenderness in the hustle and bustle of life and this month let’s slow down and really see our husband’s with fresh eyes.
It’s tempting to make Valentine’s Day all about ourselves – but let’s pursue selfless living  as Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”(NIV)

Week 1 starts this Monday!

Week 1 January 21st - Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!
 Week 2  January 28th – This week we will be a little more creative with our praise. I will give you many ideas of fun things you can do to praise your husband such as surprising him with a love message on the mirror, using sidewalk chalk to write on the driveway, making a toast to him at dinner with friends etc. Get creative with your selflessness!
Week 3 February 4th – Pursue intimacy and place the intimate needs of your man above your own. Seek to “kiss him like you mean it” every single day this week! Solomon 5:16 says “His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.” Paula Rinehart says that for many men, “Sex is like a silent cheer.” Our men feel stronger, more capable, and built up when we respond to their advances with a smile. Give a Foot massage, back rub, shower together, be creative!
Week 4 February 11th – Women love romance, chocolate and flowers on Valentines Day. Do you know what your husband wants? Ask him! I’ll give you some ideas of what I have planned later :) !
“When you touch your husband’s deepest need something good almost always happens!”
~ Dr. Emerson Eggerich
So I challenge you today to join us and show your husband you like him!!!
If you are a blogger and you’d like to blog your way through this challenge – I invite you to ”copy-save as” the button below and put it on your blog and then link-up below.
We’d love to see what creative things you are doing or how your husband responds :) ! I will be pinning some of your posts to my “Inspiring Christian Wives” Pinterst page! 
 If you are not a blogger – leave a comment below to let us know that you are taking the challenge!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Delightful and Charming-Echoes

About This Book
In this dramatic contemporary romance by bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn, Lauren Phillips enters the wild, uncharted territory of the Internet on her home computer and "connects" with a man known only as "K.C." As she struggles to recover from a broken engagement, Lauren keeps busy by working full time and striving to finish her college degree. But her correspondence with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most...and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish. When the opportunity comes for them to meet after a year of corresponding, Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including a broken heart? Readers will stay "on-line" to find out in this bestselling former Palisades release, now the third book in the new Glenbrooke series.

Will Lauren risk losing her heart...to a man she's never met?

Lauren Phillips tries to keep busy while recovering from a broken engagement. Then one day, through her home computer, Lauren accidentally connects on the Internet with a mysterious man she knows only as K.C.

Lauren's e-mail relationship with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most in life..and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish.

After a year of corresponding, the opportunity appears for them to meet. Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including another broken heart?
My Review:
This is the first book I have read by this author and I adored it. The book is a quick read; light hearted, fun and enjoyable. It’s a little zany at times and with the digital age at full swing, online dating is all the rage. I know from personal experience how abandonment issues can haunt you if you cannot give your life over to God and trust Him to take control. Ultimately I think that this is what the message of this book is. You cannot and do not control your life, God does and when you fight against His plan, it’s bound to get crazy! I would recommend this book for young adults, college kids and book lovers alike.

Friday, January 4, 2013

What I Love Most About Drake-December

Special Days:  Visiting Santa Clause, making tree ornaments, Polar Express night, Christmas Play "Dude, You Hear What I Hear?", reading to you.

Favorite Stories: You are very excited that you are 6 years old and because of that you think you are simply unstoppable in so many ways. You feel you can cut the Christmas tree down, climb up on the ladder to hang lights, be outside by yourself...all because you are 6. You are growing up so fast on me.

Fabulous Photo:  

Greatest Quotes:  " When I grow up, I am going to be fat like a hobo!"

What has impressed me most about you this month: You are growning up to your mistakes, You still pass the buck, but at least at times you admit when you lied, did something bad etc. You are also getting better at conrolling your temper and your prayeres are becoming deeper and more meaningful to you persoanlly.

Bible Verse: 

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;"

James 1:19 ESV

Where I hope to see you grow: Your attitude when you speak to others can be very unpleasant. You need to work on your empathy skills baby. You liek to make fun of others when they are hurt or in trouble. You will go love on them aski if htey are ok then you laugh. Its troubling at times. Sometimes you are doing it to make them feel better, or trying too,sometimes I am not so sure.  You also are getting too lippy for me. You started backtalking and being defiant.

My Absolute 3 Favorite Thing We Did

  1. Dude, You Hear What I Hear?: This was our church play and you got to be in the choir! You song your heart out and everyone could hear you and said you did a fabulous job! You knew all the words and motions. Adorable. you even learned alot of the other parts as well, just listening to us practice.
2. Early Christmas: You were so psyched that you got Wrestling Ladder Matches from your brother, I spy gear from sister and a baseball pitching machine from momma. You loved your gifts and played with them all immediately.
3. Christmas Lights/Santa Photos: We went several places looking at light this year. We went out to Interlochen in Arlington-which was proably your favorite, to Kristen Kindle in Arlington for a German celebration, we drove around Mesquite like we do every year as well. You loved the Mickey Mouse lights, the manger sceneces, and really disliked the grinch lights. You adored lights that were purple, greene and blue the best it seemed. Althought you do not believe in Santa Clause and you know the true story of St. Nick, you still love having your picture taking with other Santa's/ So this year we stood in line for 3, yes 3 hours to take your pic with Santa at Bass Pro Shop. Luckily you kids could run around and color, do ornaments and the like, but i had to wait. The picture was lovely though and you were happy.