Friday, June 16, 2017

He still surprises me

We have been working hard to stick to a tight budget, and we know we have a long haul of it. We're on a three-year plan to build a house on our acreage, and we have specific financial goals we're working to meet.

Yesterday I had the day off, because I have to work this weekend, so we were driving around and running errands. I so wanted to do something fun, stop at the local microbrewery or wine bar or grab a caramel apple at the amusement park, but I knew we just didn't have much flexibility left in the budget this month after car repairs and saving for our vacation.

I longingly said that to Nate, but we made our way home.

I picked up the heat gun on the porch and started scraping the floor, and Nate went in to change his clothes.

Five minutes passed, and I went in to grab a drink and see what he was doing. He was still upstairs, so I headed back out.

Another five or 10 minutes passed, so I went inside again and saw him with his Bronco in the driveway, putting a cooler in the back.

Did someone invite us to go boating? I wondered, thinking why he was packing up.

"What are you doing?" I asked him as I stuck my head out the mud room door.

"Packing a picnic for us at our land."

I smiled. Awww. That's sweet.

So I put on a pair of jeans and headed out to the car with him. It was stocked full of everything we would need.

When we arrived, he started unpacking while I gathered old field stone to build a small fire pit. We built up a fire, settled back in lawn chairs with a glass of wine, and I just smiled and thanked him.

"I guess surprising you still sometimes is good," he said.

We cooked bacon and eggs over the propane torch for dinner and just enjoyed relaxing for a few hours as the sun made its way west.

After we packed up and were headed back home for the night, he asked, "So did that fulfill your urge to do something?"

"It couldn't have been better."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Good work

"Christians are so different from the world around us because we seek to honor our bosses."

Most of us think of work as a necessary evil, and we look forward to retirement years, even if that is decades away. However, humans worked even before sin. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to work it and farm it. It was good to work. It wasn't until the Fall that work became frustrating as thorns and thistles grew up.

Work is still a huge part of our lives, and it will even be part of the new creation after Jesus comes back and restores the world.

1 Timothy 6 talks about how we are to work and address our bosses. Even if you have a non-Christian boss, like I do, you are called to honor the person in authority over you. It is not an internal feeling, but it is a directive of action. You don't mock your boss, undermine your boss or disrespect your boss. You respect the position even if you don't respect the person.

This attitude reflects well and honors God. It shows we are different. It is so we "adorn the doctrine of Jesus Christ."

If you do have a Christian boss, serve all the better, Paul said in 1 Timothy. Don't take advantage of your boss' good graces and forgiveness, instead work even harder for someone who is serving God. You are helping to benefit a Christian brother or sister, and then means helping forward the kingdom of God.

Take a look at what you do at work. Are you on social media wasting time? Are you reading the news when you should be working? Are you waiting around for the next project instead of finding something positive to do in the downtime? We should be making the most of every minute, even when people aren't looking, even when the boss isn't looking. Because Jesus is looking, and he will reward your hard work.

The way we work, the quality of our work, the attitude of our work --- our lives should reflect Jesus, especially at work. The goal of our work is to be a witness and an example of a good Christian.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Being exceptional at one thing means being not-so-exceptional at others

Nate and I watched the new "Bro Science" video on YouTube about dating a fit chick --- you know, one of those girls who Instagrams her trips to the gym and does a pull-up with her BCAAs sitting next to her.

It went through the pros and cons of dating such an exceptional athlete.

I takes a lot of commitment to be a fit chick. You can't miss a workout. Gym trips take longer when you're vlogging everything you're doing. You have to spend a lot of money on supplements. However, you're exceptional at looking good and having the perfect body.

Our lives narrow down quite quickly to one key thing --- we're exceptional at what we commit our time to. Being exceptional at one thing means you're not exceptional at many other things. There's just not enough time in the day.

I still remember the day that my mom told me to pick one extracurricular in high school. She told me to give myself 100 percent to one thing instead of piecing myself together for a variety of activities. I chose dance.

Then in college, I gave up dance to give my all toward my studies and working on the newspaper, because I knew that would forward my career more than my dance hobby.

I still give high schoolers the same advice that my mom gave me, to give yourself wholly to something that you truly have a passion about instead of wasting your time half-assing *sorry for the language* a whole bunch of things.

I don't get involved in a lot of stuff. It's hard for me to say "yes" to activities, because I don't want to overextend myself. I truly believe in giving yourself whole-heartedly to what you want to be, and I've tried to narrow that down in my life. I serve at the coffee bar at church, and that's about all that I care to have take my time from home.

You see, I've narrowed down my life to what I want to be exceptional at --- and that's being a wife. It's what I've always wanted to be. It's what I'm passionate about being the best at.

That doesn't mean I have no other hobbies, but I think my hobbies help me be a better wife. I want to be a better Christian, and I know that will also lead me to being a better and more loving and selfless spouse. I want to eat healthier and be more fit, because I know that will bring me confidence in life and will ultimately lead to a healthier relationship at home. I continue to work on my baking skills, because I know my husband loves cupcakes, cookies, homemade bread, and especially, biscuits. I work in the garden so we can save money on groceries and have more money for our future together.

What do you want to be exceptional at in your life? Because that might the most important decision that you ever make. It should guide everything you do and every moment that you spend.

Be exceptional. At the right thing.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Catching bids

My husband gets a new gun.

He starts telling me about it, and some of what he says I don't really understand. It's numbers and letters that I don't always get.

He hands it to me to take a look through the scope.

It's heavy, but I take it and look through it.

"Cool. That has a great picture," I say.

He's not looking for me to understand every detail about that gun, but he is looking for someone who will share in his joy at that moment of getting a new weapon.

I had never heard the phrase before, but the author of "Cherish" calls this catching bids. He used the example of a man who loves birding pointing out a finch in the yard. How will his wife respond? Will she go to the window to see it? Will she look up from her book for a second and acknowledge his sighting? Will she tell him to stop bothering her?

The bid is the need for connection at the moment, sharing something he loves. Will his wife catching it and respond?

The books says that couples who divorce within the first six years of marriage catch only 33 percent of bids. Couples who are married longer catch up to 87 percent.

It's not about what you find interesting. It's about supporting your spouse in what he or she finds interesting.

I know that Nate doesn't care about what deals I got on groceries or what I baked that day. But I want him to express interest in what I do and say. I get excited when he is excited over what excites me. I want to get excited over what excites him as well.

Let's catch those bids today. Let's be intentional about supporting our spouses in what interests them.

I really need to renew "Cherish" so I can get through the whole thing. This book is just full of awesome tidbits that I know I won't remember unless I write them down and think through them on this blog!

Outdo your spouse

While reading "Cherish" this weekend, I took a passage about how a spouse should take care of an introvert.

I wanted to send it to Nate to tell him how he could support me, but I didn't want to sound bossy or make him feel like he was doing anything wrong. So I just took a picture to use it when something of that topic came up in conversation.

Then I flipped the page, and it talked about how showcasing our spouses means we let them have what they need because it makes them happy, even if that something doesn't make us happy.

And I realized as I was reading the passage I was thinking all about myself and not at all about how I could showcase my husband. I mean, I even took a picture of a passage that was about how to showcase me!

Earlier in the chapter, the author had written about husbands who play video games. I have blogged before at how it has taken me a long time to be OK with my husband spending time playing video games. It's just something that doesn't make sense to me.

However, yet again, showcasing him means letting him do what makes him happy, even when it doesn't make sense to me. The fact that it makes him happy should make me happy.

Romans 12:10 tells us to "outdo one another in showing honor." We are to try to outdo our spouses in showcasing each other and honoring each other. We are to try to outdo each other in making that person the best he or she can be and giving he or she what he or she needs.

The author of "Cherish" even wrote that we should go so far to appreciating every detail of our spouses that we think, "I'm kind of glad he sets the bar a little lower; otherwise, I couldn't be faithful to the command to outdo him." 

Who thinks that? When will I be so set on honoring my husband that I'm glad when he doesn't go quite as far in showcasing me as I wish because then it lets me outdo him?


I think that is quite a statement. It is truly a fulfillment of being a good husband or wife when we're excited to be able to outdo the other in loving and cherishing instead of wanting more love and cherishing for ourselves.

That's selflessness to strive for.

Marshall and Lily aren't as cute as they think they are

We watch a lot of "How I Met Your Mother," and since we've had Netflix I think we've already gone through the series twice.

It's a nice show that we can put on and get a good laugh out of but not have to pay all that much attention because we know the storyline. Shows like that are nice to stream while I'm doing chores, because if I walk away I don't miss anything of pertinence.

The other day I was listening to it while I was showering before work, and it was the episode where Marshall and Lily get married. When everything was going wrong at the wedding, they decided to have an intimate outdoor ceremony just with their friends before their big indoor ceremony, just so when everything went wrong inside the day was already perfect because they were already married.

When they started though, neither of them had their vows.

"You don't need them. Just tell each other why you love each other," their friend Ted said.

That's not really a vow then, I thought.

Marshall and Lily go on to say why they love each other, not actually promising anything. Lily ends her speech with, "The most important reason that I love you is because you make me happy."

I know that is the moment that people melt. That is supposed to be the big culmination to Marshall and Lily's love story, but really? "I love you because you make me happy" is what she brings out at the wedding?

What happens when your spouse no longer makes you happy? No one can make another person happy every minute of every day, or even every day. A wedding vow is supposed to be a sacred promise to love the other person, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Not because the other person makes you happy.

Happiness is infatuation. It's wonderful when you're infatuated with your spouse. It's wonderful when you have those lovey-dovey feelings, and I think that Nate and I are blessed with that probably more than many other couples. However, that's not what marriage is based on.

Marriage is based on a choice to love the other person, to stay committed to them every day. It's not a choice based on how you feel. It's a decision based on a promise before God.

So, I'm sorry Marshall and Lily. I didn't melt at your wedding "vows." I felt sorry for you that your life and your love is based on happiness and how you feel. I hope it goes deeper than that.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know this is a TV show and Marshall and Lily aren't real. However, people often base their lives and decisions off how "perfect" people's lives are on TV. Let's remember basing our lives on happiness is not as awesome as it sounds on a TV wedding.