Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 5 Marriage Tips

This is not the end-all be-all list of marriage tips but these are my favorite.

5 - Always be teachable.

Marriage like any growing entity needs nourishment and cultivation. Try to be in a constant state of learning and growing. Listen and learn from all the books, speakers, pastors, friends, family, blogs that you can. There will never be a point where you have nothing left to learn.

4 - Understand that you are in control of you.

In Boundaries In Marriage by Townsend and Cloud, they go deeper on this topic. Essentially, you are in control of your emotions, thoughts and actions. No one can make you feel angry or cause you to pursue the silent treatment or be impatient or yell. You can choose how you act and react. By realizing that you are in control of you and only you, you can take ownership of yourself and bring peace to a stressful situation.

3 - Always assume the best of your spouse.

If you are in a normal marriage where you both essentially love each other but sometimes don't always act that way, it's good to always give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. If he says something in the wrong way or does something you don't like, don't first assume that he did it to spite you or to get you angry. Think the best. Then communicate and show him why his way or method may come off wrong to you.
2 - Communicate clearly and specifically.

Men and women think differently. Sometimes we as women want our spouse to know what we're thinking and that's not always possible. It's okay and even good to clearly spell out expectations or hopes or desires. Just because he can't read our minds doesn't make him insensitive or unloving. He simply just can't read our minds. Communicate matter of factly without intense emotion and be specific as possible. Our men want to know what we're thinking.

1 - Love like Christ.

Above all else, love sacrificially. We are to submit to one another and husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church. Wives need to submit to and respect their husbands. Ephesians 5:21-33 explains it further. Ultimately, we are to love and give and submit to our spouse. One will care for the other's needs and vice versa and thus both needs are met.

Marriage is hard work. But the harder we work at it, the better it will be.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Importance of Hobbies

I never realized how important hobbies were until I became a mom. Because, honestly, you don't miss something until it's gone. And as moms, we fail to give ourselves the time to pursue our interests, hobbies, and God-ordained talents. We get wrapped up in the daily grind and sometimes fail to enjoy life apart from our family. Don't get me wrong, family is very important and our number one pursuit other than God; but that shouldn't mean it's our ONLY pursuit. If we don't get the needed time to pursue our own individual interests as moms, it gets difficult to serve our familywith 100%.

Let me explain. I believe the love and care we give our families, children and husband, fills us about 80% give or take. But God has made us to be individuals with gifts and talents, personalities and interests, that make us unique and special to Him. If we fail to develop and invest in some of these things, we fail to fill ourselves enough to be content and enjoy fully that first 80%. We need down time, we need Mom Time, time for ourselves.

I recently picked up painting in acrylics. I'm not an artist by any means but it was enjoyable to just achieve a goal, even as simple as painting a painting. Since I recently found out I'm expecting our third child, I thought I'd paint a maternal theme. It felt great to finish something I could be proud of. That's what hobbies do. Enrich us, grow us, develop us.

You might be saying, "But I don't have any hobbies." Well, it's a great time to pick one. Here are some suggestions:

  • Reading, writing, scrapbooking

  • Knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing

  • Cooking, baking

  • Running, exercising

  • Fishing, hiking, outdoor sports

  • Drawing, painting, crafting

  • Jewelry making

These simply name a few options for you. Don't feel guilty for spending some down time. Everyone, including God, takes time to rest after working. Follow His example and do the same.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Where to Find Inexpensive Books

I love books. All kinds of books--but mostly children's books. They're innocent yet thought-provoking, and full of moral values. And the kids love them too. But books can get expensive, even children's books. So here are a few ways I've found to cut the costs:

  1. Friends of the Library Shop - Almost every library has a Friends of the Library Shop, a designated area where the library sells donated books to raise funds. I love to get books here. The children's books range from $0.10 to $0.50. The cheapest I've found! It's a great steal. And each week, there's a different variety of books. Of course, depending how big or small your library is depends on the selection of books. But there's a gem hiding somewhere. I found a large hardbound Collection of Disney Stories for $0.50 there. This is my main book buying source.

  2. Used bookstores - Here is another great source of inexpensive children's books. You can get books starting at $0.50. I go to the BookMan in Orange, California. They have a great selection of books in every category. Some more expensive than others but there's always steals to be found.

  3. Swapmeets - Although I have never gone to them, I know their are booksellers at local swapmeets that have bargains as well.

  4. - You can get great deals here, from books to theater tickets. It's like your online garage sale without the driving around.

  5. Garage sales - If you like driving around, garage sales can be fun for treasure hunters. I've found some old 60's Bible story books that my kids love with great graphics.

There's always bargains to be found somewhere. I try to never pay full price for anything. I have to think about things that are 50% off too. I always go towards the clearance section or try to find ways I can save at least 75% off the original price. I believe financial stewardship is important and nothing beats the high you get from getting a bargain!