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Archive for May, 2011

By  Elisabeth Corcoran

I’m sure that everyone has heard the African proverb by now that “it takes a village to raise a child.”  I am finding this to be true in new ways lately. I am grateful that I am surrounded by people who love me and who love my children, and I am currently tapping into that extra love to help my kids through our difficult season.

I used to be the kind of mom that felt threatened when others offered help or advice — as if I weren’t a good enough mother in my own right.  But now, I look around my life and see my vulnerable areas, and I can sense the gaps where I’m not able to fill in what they both need.  So, now instead of recoiling or getting defensive, I not only embrace offers of help, I’m out there asking for it.

I have a girlfriend who offered to pick up my fourteen-year-old daughter, Sara, every Sunday and bring her to her new small group Bible study. The group landed at a really odd time for my schedule.  And when they’re in the car together, they talk. This girlfriend of mine asks really good questions of my daughter. Sara said to me after just the first car ride, “I feel so comfortable with Aunt Sheli.  I’m so glad she’s taking me to the group.”

I have a mentor who has walked me through a hugely challenging relationship issue for the past three years, and she is about to start a book study with Sara as well. I cannot tell you how much good this does my heart. This mentor calls me one of her birdies and said that Sara is her grand-birdie. Love it.

Jack has joined a small group Bible study at his school that meets at – ugh – 6:45am every Wednesday. It is led by a junior and freshman in high school who wanted to pour into seventh grade boys. That early time is a killer but the moment Jack said he was interested, it didn’t even cross my mind to say no because of the time. In fact, each Wednesday, he wakes up and says, “Yes! Doughnuts and ping pong! Oh, yeah, and God”  (I’ll take what I can get.)  I’m also trying to get Jack connected with our pastor, his youth pastor and our sports ministry guy, just to get him exposed to as many men who can show him how to live his life hard after Jesus.

I’m so very aware I cannot raise my sweet children without a village. I am so aware that I’m incapable in my own strength. And I’m humble enough to know that I just might be a big part of any emotional thing they’re struggling with right now, which means they just might need someone other than me to unload on, about me.

If you find yourself attempting to mother in the day to day totally solo, your strength may wear thin quickly.  God placed within us a desire for community. God wants for us to walk alongside each other. Don’t try to undertake your largest and most important role in isolation. Begin by telling God the areas that you feel you are losing the battle in the most; let Him fill you and bring you strength. Then, if you’re married, ask your husband for extra help. Be vulnerable enough to call on a girlfriend to swap babysitting for a few hours, or ask an older woman if she might be able to spend some time with you to share what she learned about mothering.  Create your own village, for your sake and for the sake of your children.  You don’t have to walk alone.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”  ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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We took some time to work in our little garden the other day. My knees hadn’t seen much bending for awhile and they were barely cooperating with me. But I kept moving. Dig, pat, move, carry, water….then repeat that quite a few more times. We’re such a good team, my husband and I.  We barely talk as we work…knowing exactly what needs to be done. Now my knees are screaming, but I try to hang on and complete the job. It’s looking nice and you know….quite peaceful.

Our little pond...filled now with some new goldfish. They are survivors!!

We’ve been at it for most of the day and feel really worn out. But it’s a good worn out feeling. Just looking at the result of our bending and digging, pulling and throwing gives us unexpected peace. Sometimes God rewards us with surprises. We face hard times but soon, God reveals His purpose…He wants to use this moment of our lives to move away the weeds and dirt of our lives and shows us that unexpected peace. It’s such sweet peace too. We know that kind of peace can only come from one Source…our Heavenly Father.
John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Lavender and Brazilian Verbena

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Rag Wreath

Here is something I saw on one of my creative blogs that I read. It is very easy to do ….cut or tear 10 in strips of fabric, and just tie knots and trim. This is an 8 in wreath. I needed something easy and inexpensive for our door at the soap shop. Works out great!

 

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In light of Harold Camping’s prediction of the rapture or as some know it, the end of the world, I just wanted to briefly share a few thoughts. Of course, as we know, it didn’t happen. But Christ will return …but here’s the thing. We’ll never get the date right no matter how many “enlightened” people (also known as false prophets) predict it. And……we’ll never get the time right either!! Why? The Scriptures tell us exactly why…

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Matthew 24:36-44

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So….I was in a hurry today, going to my cello lesson when I realized I NEEDED GAS!! Pulled in my nearest gas station and started to put my credit card in and saw that the pump was ready to pump gas! I thought…what? In my mind, I thought I could go ahead and pump then go in and pay…maybe something was wrong with the pump. Did that, but it stopped on $7.00…..m-m-m-m….what’s going on?! Went inside the convenience store…and they said that someone must have already paid for it and left….told me to not worry about it. Well! I thought who would pay for gas without pumping it??? Then it dawned on me! It was a gift!!! A gift of gas!!! Wow! I smiled all the way to my cello lesson!!

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By Kathi Lipp

“I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.” Gilda Radner

There was a time in the not too distant past where I was ponytail crazy. Between hitting the gym, running kids to school and activities, and trying to produce an income to feed and shelter four teenagers, my hair was the last thing on my to-do list. It was enough work just getting to my stylist, Franc, once a month to guarantee that I remained a redhead.

The problem was, I knew that Roger hated my convenient hairstyle of choice. He said that he loved it when I wore my hair down, loose and curly.

That’s when the inner monologue started. Perhaps you’re familiar with this little speech:

OK—fine, I get it. He likes my hair down (when I wear skirts, when I wear jeans instead of sweats, when I wear blue.) Doesn’t he understand that it takes time to do all that “girly” stuff? Oh sure, I could be perfectly done-up if I had a stylist and a makeup crew. All he has to do is throw on a pair of clean jeans and make sure there’s no visible nose hair. Who does he think he is? Well, if he helped out more with stuff around the house, then maybe I would have time to look like I didn’t just roll out of bed. I cannot believe how selfish he is!  

All this because he told me how pretty I looked with my hair down.

Poor guy.

Our husbands like being married to women. Not that we have to be dressed in Laura Ashley, looking like an extra from Little House on the Prairie in a flowered smocked dress. In fact, I get more compliments from my guy when I wear my leather jacket and favorite jeans than when I get all dolled up. He just loves when I make the effort to look like my full-time job is something other than ditchdigger.

Wearing my hair loose and curly, wearing his favorite color or the necklace he gave me last Christmas is just a little something to let him know that I’m thinking about him and care about his opinion.

Do a Little Research

Do you already know what your husband loves to see you in? If not, it may be time to do a little investigating, or even outright ask him.

The challenge here is that when you ask him, you also need to be prepared to listen to what he says. If he’s brave enough to tell you that he’s not a huge fan of the sweater with the feathers on it, then you need to respect him enough to stop wearing the sweater.

To ask and then ignore his opinion is much worse than never asking at all.

Beauty Without Vanity

Subconsciously, women may wrestle with wearing nice clothes or doing their hair and makeup because of feeling undeserving of such an Extreme Makeover wardrobe. Or perhaps it’s a struggle because we might consider ourselves unspiritual or self-absorbed if we spend too much time on looking good.

I love how Jill Swanson, author of Simply Beautiful: Inside and Out, opens her book talking about “Beauty Without Vanity”:

“Balancing beauty with humility is an ongoing struggle for today’s woman. None of us want to appear vogue on the outside and vague on the inside. If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would all like to look the best we can. Clothing and appearance affect how we feel and think about ourselves. They can lift our spirits and help give us confidence to face the real world.

“The body is God’s handiwork. We have a responsibility to take care of it and to present ourselves in a way that will compliment the Kingdom of God. How we appear on the outside reflects our integrity and competence. Through initial contact with people, fifty-five percent of our perceived credibility is based on appearance alone! First impressions lay the groundwork for establishing trust and believability.”

Don’t Wait Until “The Next 5 (or 50) Pounds”

Then there’s the issue of putting off thinking about our appearance until we hit some mystical, magical goal.

  • When I lose weight
  • When the kids are in school 
  • When I go back to work
  • When I get a better job

The problem is this: If you feel undeserving at 170 pounds, there is nothing magical about getting to 150 that’s going to suddenly make you feel worthy of taking care of yourself. There is always someone thinner, taller, prettier, and who looks better in those jeans. There are millions of other women who, when you compare yourself to them, will leave you wanting.

The other side of this is that you’re the only one of those millions of women who your husband is married to. He wants (and may I be so bold as to say deserves) the best version of you, right now, that’s available.

I’m not saying don’t lose the weight or give up on your exercise program. I’ve struggled with these areas all of my life, and they most likely will keep me on my knees in prayer until the day I die. What I am saying is that there’s no reason to postpone being the best you can be, right now.

If money is an issue when it comes to clothes, you’re better off having three outfits that you know your husband loves you in, and you feel great wearing, than a couple of closets filled with things that are comfortable but make you look tired and dowdy.

Pay attention to what your husband responds to. Does he give you extra attention when you’re wearing a dress? Maybe it’s time to commit to wearing skirts once a week. My husband gave me the most amazing turquoise pendant necklace for Christmas. I now have three shirt, jacket, and jean combos that look great with that necklace. And when I get a compliment, I get to say (loud enough for Roger to hear me), “I know, I love this necklace too. My husband picked it out. Doesn’t he have great taste?”

Prayer for Today

Dear God, I pray my husband knows he’s special to me in every way—that he is worth the extra effort.

Getting Creative

  • Is your husband a sports fan? Maybe the sexiest thing you could wear is a T-shirt with his team’s logo on it.
  • The next time you’re shopping, think about your husband’s favorite color. Chances are it’s blue—lucky us! Everyone looks great in some shade of blue. Make sure to mention that you bought it with him in mind.

Project Reports

“I bought a new shirt a few weeks ago. Every time I wear it he says, ‘I like that shirt,’ or ‘That shirts looks nice.’ So I wore that shirt today, and occasionally throughout the day I remembered his comments and felt more confident. He did not say anything this time, but he has said it enough before that I know how he feels.”—Linda

“Today I will wear a pair of gold earrings my husband gave me. The card that he wrote when he gave them to me read ‘I love you more each day.’ So I call them my ‘I love you more each day earrings.’ (I’m not real creative!) He is impressed that I remember what he had written on the card.”—Denise

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Refreshing

The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.

The LORD upholds all who fall

and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth…

~ Psalm 145

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