Stir-Crazy February

Last night, my doula partner Amy and I grabbed a bite to eat after meeting with our clients. While our personalities are different, we have enough similarities (Christians, five children, second generation homeschoolers, etc.) that we never have to explain ourselves much in conversation… not to mention, we’ve known each other for about 20 years.

We both agreed that our respective walls have most definitely been inching inward this February, and she posted about this feeling this morning (with pictures!) in a very thoughtful way.

Take a moment to read The Fever That is February and note how her husband built her up and encouraged her to be a loving leader in her home, after she sent him a photo of a recently cleaned bedroom that was absolutely destroyed.

In a few short words, he helped her to see the big picture, offered some practical leadership advice for life in the trenches, and assured her of his love for her:

“In order to manage well you can’t get sucked in too much emotionally.  Love them, lead them.  Don’t get bogged down.  That’s a small problem.  I love you SO much!” – Matt Weldon

When a husband nourishes the heart of his wife (Ephesians 5:29), it fills up her empty tank (because even moms who love and trust in the Lord can feel pretty low sometimes…especially during wintry days like these, when there is no relief from repetitive noises, children with more energy that can be spent indoors, and a to-do list that resembles a trick candle), and it’s like finding an extra life in a video game, just when you think you’re going to die. Suddenly fighting “the boss”is feasible again. You can be more offensive (problem solving) than defensive (trying to address the problem despite being emotionally bogged down). You’re able to tackle the problem at hand, and to earn your achievement points.

The Bible says that, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Luke 6:43-45)  When mother’s heart is boosted up and overflowing and nourished with love, it makes it a lot easier to show love towards others, including her children.

Yes, it’s true that God is our portion and all we need (Ps. 73:25-26)  husbands and girlfriends can’t even touch the fullness of the Lord. (I wrote more about that here.) Therefore, we can’t expect for husbands and girlfriends to fulfill a need that only God can. However, if God is a feast, words of love and encouragement from those who love us are like the sweet dessert that stuff us so full that we can’t eat anther bite… which is why I usually ask for two forks with my cake: so I may share. 

Good on ya, Matt.

 

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The Sexiness of Vulnerability

Every now and then, I read something that causes me to think of something in a way that turns my previous personal definition on its head.

To be vulnerable is to demonstrate that you are confident about who you are; that you aren’t afraid of your weaknesses. It shows trust and perpetuates trust. You can’t have true love without vulnerability.

Turn-On # 5: Vulnerability
Vulnerability is not the opposite of confidence, as some men seem to assume. I see your willingness to be vulnerable with me as a huge statement of confidence. And, it makes me want to support you, and take care of you. Not in some mommy/boy way, but in this, “Oh, wow, he trusts me!” way. Not only that, it makes me trust you. If you’re willing to get vulnerable with me, I’m going to be less guarded with you. And you never know what fantastic places that could lead us to.?? Trust that I can support you in the moments where you need to be held, listened to, or even just to vent. Trust that I’ll still be here when you’re through it. And as you trust more, so will I trust you. – What Women Really Want: 10 (Sort Of) Secret Turn-Ons for Men Who Want to Know!

Don’t want to accept this from a post with the word “Turn-ons” in the title?

Fine.

Listen to C.S. Lewis talk about vulnerability in, The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

PS: The rest of that “Turn-ons” post is pretty good, too! Enjoy.

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My Garden in Summer

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Spring walk and pick up of (most of) the trash

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This morning, this kids and I went for a neighborhood walk. According to Google Maps, it was about 1.3 miles.

The first five minutes of our walk sounded like this..

“Why do we have to do this?”

“…because I said so.”

“My feet hurt.”

“I have to pee.”

“…you were told to pee before we left. Next time you’ll obey.”

“I hate walking.”

“…be thankful you CAN walk. Stop complaining!”

“WHY DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS.”

“…stop making this walk a chore. Enjoy the nice day!”

“I REALLY have to pee!”

“…yup! Keep walking.”

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We didn’t turn around. We kept walking.. and picking up trash.. most of it, at least.

Over the course of our walk, I spotted three used condoms and each time strategically placed myself so they wouldn’t be noticed by my kids :D

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We collected two bags of litter along the way. Glass and plastic bottles, cardboard, candy wrappers, and lots of plastic scraps.

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The end of the walk sounded like this:

“Look at our house from up here!”

“Wow! Check out those flowers!”

“I really like the walking stick I found.. I want to carve it and make it look cool for next time.”

“Can we go for a walk again?”

“…of course!”

“Look at all the trash we picked up!”

“…excellent!”

“I CALL THE BATHROOM! I REALLY HAVE TO PEE!”

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Spring Video

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How would you describe your relationship?

“Which One Describes Your Marriage?” (click to read) was a post I read yesterday on the health of marriages. I’m still thinking about it today, and I’d like for you to read it, too. (I think the principles can be applied to all kinds of relationships, don’t you?)

I think the observation of “transactional” is be spot on. I have been there before — subconsciously keeping score on a few things, and it’s miserable. As the post says, it’s subtle. To the untrained eye, it might even look like it’s in the “Thriving” category, especially if you can keep up with pleasantries. However, you really can’t give your whole heart when you are relating to your spouse like that in the slightest.

Getting some advice from my pastor last year about ways *I* needed to alter my thoughts and behavior was life-changing. It was not only refreshing to my marriage, but my outlook in general. Specifically, I was taking things way too personally (especially when Tom would come home from a trip.. I was feeling a bit empty after not seeing him and wouldn’t give him much breathing room) and attributing every little bit of friendly sarcasm, criticism or disagreement as, “He must not really love me…” (Which wasn’t the case at all!)

I also had to realize that my happiness couldn’t primarily hinge on how I related to Tom (What pressure on him! How ‘used’ he must have felt!) but in my relationship with the Lord.

I hope the linked post is helpful to you. Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

If you read it, and realize that you would not place your marriage in the “Thriving” category, please do give me a call or send me a message. I’m happy to listen and to pray with you!

Much love,
Sarah

PS: No matter what you think of the Bible, you’ve gotta admit.. this is a pertinent, truthful description of real love:

I Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered , does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

And, of God’s perfect love for us.. so much that he even came to the earth to die horrifically on a cross (Jesus didn’t pass quietly and peacefully in his sleep!) and pay for our sins with his own life:

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

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