Friday, November 14, 2008

LOVE DARE - another day off

And, ironically, it is for a wedding ...

Say a prayer for Steven and Mindy ... these two kids are getting married today!

Which makes me a .... GULP .... mother-in-law!

And, NO, I am not old enough ... I was in grade school when he was born!

Hot For THe Holidays - Week ???

Hot for the Holidays

So, yeah, I do not even know what week this is ...

That is how my week is going ...

Actually, my week has been great! It has just been going, going, going!!! And, if you read THIS POST, you know that I am on a vacation which is centered around weddings ... and food. Yeah, not good for the diet.

I am ashamed.


I mean, c'mon ... SONIC! In-N-Out! Chick-Fil-A! And MEXICAN FOOD! Really, what is a girl to do?

However, in between these meals (of which there has only been one a day), it has been celery, veggies, water and SlimFast bars. I promise (now, I have to wonder if there was enough water to flush out the cherry limeades and diet cokes!!!). So, while I am absolutely sure that I did not lose weight, I do know that my new pants still fit, so I am hoping that I haven't gained ... too much.

Sadly, I have no scale at my disposal. So, I guess we will call it even and when I get home on Sunday, I will either plan a diet of water and water, with a little H2O mixed in or, just get back to normal ...

I am betting on the water!!!

Yeah, pray for me ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love Dare - Day 21: Love Is Satisfied In God

So, in the last couple of days we have been talking about our need for God. If you never have before, I am hoping that you now see how DESPERATE that need is. And I PRAY that you have received Him in ways you never have before!

We need Him to show us how to love.

We need Him to teach us what REAL love is.

And, we need Him to be truly satisfied.

"The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire." - Isaiah 58:11

When you found your love did you think that he or she would satisfy you? That everything that you had ever wanted would be found in that person? That you could now walk into the sunset and live happily ever after?

What about now?

How long did it take for you to realize that life - even life with the one you love - would never be COMPLETELY perfect? Was it when the bills for the honeymoon came in? Or was it even sooner than that?

The truth is, we are human and, therefore, fairly hard to satisfy. And, I will let you in on a little secret - your spouse probably noticed the same thing! And, as hard as it is to believe, you most likely do not completely satisfy them either.

Ouch, huh?

I remember, when I was in high school, reading a poem about love. Actually it was more of a letter. It talked about the fact that we, as women, look for the perfect man to make us perfectly whole. And, you see, that just sets him up for failure. A human could never make us whole. Only a perfect God can do that. So, the letter went on to say, we must find our completeness in God first. Because, if HE can not complete us, how could we ever expect a mere man to? We must give ourselves over to God and let Him satisfy us. And, only then, can we find happiness in a man. If we are not full ourselves, how can we pour out onto our love and our family? We cannot fill or be filled by anything less than God.

I cannot tell you how many times I read that letter and then got down on my knees and prayed "Oh, God, You are all I need. I am satisfied in You." And then I would get up, open my eyes and look around and think "OK, where is he God?"

Yeah, I wasn't getting it!

And then, one day, after making some pretty intense life choices that held the potential of separating me from everyone I depended on and everything I knew, I got it. And I realized that HE was everything that I needed. And that, even if I went alone, as long as I was following HIM, I would never be ALONE - I would still be complete.

And, seriously, Hubbs and I fell in love in the aftermath of that decision. We had known each other for YEARS, but we each had to find our completeness first before we could be what each other was looking for.

What I am saying is this: Your husband WILL forget to call. Your wife WILL forget to wash your lucky socks. Your spouse is human and they WILL let you down, break promises (no matter how hard they try not to) and leave you - at one time (or a hundred) - wanting more. But, GOD never will

Let me say that again - GOD NEVER WILL!!!

He will satisfy you completely if you seek Him with your heart. He WANTS to satisfy your every need and every desire. He DIED to know you, how much further will He go to bring you joy? If you look for satisfaction elsewhere, you will be let down. If you look to Him, you will only be lifted up.

So, look to Him ...

Be intentional today about making time to pray and read your Bible. Try reading a chapter out of Proverbs (There are 31 - a full month's supply), or reading a chapter out of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark Luke and John). As you do, immerse yourself in the love and promises God has for you. This will add to your growth as you walk with Him.

I know that it may seem like this has nothing to do with your marriage, but believe me, it really does!

I am praying for you! And I will see ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AZ - So Far

**** We forgot the cord that hooks the camera up to the computer, so this is what ya get til I get home!***

So, here we are in AZ. Warm, sunny AZ. While back at home they are freezing their be-hineys off!!!

And, because I am who I am, when planning this trip I focused on the most important stuff. I made absolutely sure that I fit time in for the biggies. Meaning that - aside from the weddings - I planned around food.

So, here is a glimpse of our trip so far ...

Awwwww, sweet, sweet Sonic ...
... I have missed your Cherry Limeade goodness!!! Not to mention your Chili Cheese Tater Tots!!! (Two things: I have learned - when you take a pic with your cell phone closed, not only can you see what you are taking, but it comes out looking like you are in a mirror!!! Check out the cup! Also: Why oh why does Sonic tempt me with the mass commercials when we do not even have one in the STATE at home?!?!?! Why, Sonic, WHY?!?!?! It's just mean!)

Two of my faves - my Miss Maggie Magpie and In-N-Out!!! (Pay no attention to the bags beneath my eyes ... little girls do not adapt well to time changes!)

Mr. Jon and Miss Sophie ... girlie does not like the boys so much! Thus, the "no smile, get me outta theses arms ... no, really, NOW" look on her face!!!

My April Lei Lei ... McDonald's was NOT on my list, but Lei Lei was!!! And McDonald's is ALWAYS on her list!
(We missed you Kim and Roni!!!)

Laura and Sophie! Now she's having some fun!!!

Miss Megan and Sophie (Check out the look ... Mr. Jon was taking the pic!)

Me and my Laura!

We have taken many more, just can't put em up yet ...
Havin' a blast!

Wish you were here!!!
PS - in the 80's the rest of the week!!!!!

Love Dare - Day 20: Love Is Jesus Christ

So, yesterday we talked all about the love that God gives us and how it is the ONLY way that we can know how to love others. And today we are going to expand on that a little.

"While we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly." - Rom. 5:6

"Love Is Jesus Christ" - What does that sentence say to you? I am really asking, I would love to hear your answers. Because to me, it speaks volumes.

There is a saying that says "It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross, but His love for us." I LOVE that! I mean, not only did He leave Heaven for you, He also DIED for you! WOW! And He didn't just die, He humbled Himself to death on a cross. Do you KNOW how far He had to humble himself for that? I mean really? A cross was the most shameful way to die. Only the WORST criminals were led to death that way. If it was a "minor" infraction you were stoned to death. A little worse and you were hung from a tree. But a cross - oooohhhh, you were very bad! So, for a perfect man to go to the cross, was humility like none other.

Did HE deserve the cross? NO! But did we? Yes.

What? You say you have never committed a crime like that? well, let's look a little closer...

Murder - OK, maybe you have not killed anyone. But have you ever HATED anyone?

Adultery - So, you have never cheated, but have you ever looked? Bible says that having lust in your heart is just as bad. (Dern that George Strait!!!)

Shall I go on? I didn't think so.

You see, we have all sinned. And the Bible tells us that "the wages of sin is death" - we deserve no better than death. But, our death penalty has been paid. By a perfect man. On a cross.

He did not deserve a cross, and we do not deserve salvation. But He let Himself be crucified so that we might know His righteousness. He took our penalty, and we are given His reward.

His reward is life everlasting. For, on the third day, He rose again. He beat death, so we might live!!!

The reward, though, is only ours if we accept it. He offers it freely, but we must take Him at His word.

We could never earn it on our own - NEVER. And He knew that, so He chose to earn it for us. He chose to pay our penalty and die our death. All so that we might live with Him eternally.

He forgave.

Because we have been granted a love we cannot earn and forgiveness we do not deserve, and because THAT love teaches us to love, can we not share that forgiveness too? We love because He first loved us. Can we forgive because He has forgiven us? I think we can.

Better yet, in HIS power ... I KNOW we can!

Dare to take God at His word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to pray, "Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. But You have shown Your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and You have proven Your power to save me from death by Your resurrection. Lord, change my heart, and save me by Your grace."

Remember, I am praying for you!!!

See ya tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love Dare - Day 19: Love Is Impossible

Well, that title does not sound very encouraging, does it? Love is IMPOSSIBLE? Then what they heck are we doing this for? Well, I will tell you...

"Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." - 1John 4:7

Love is impossible ... WITHOUT GOD! And that is what this whole dare is about. We can not even begin to know, in ourselves, true agape love. Can't even come close. Not without Him.

Oh, you could probably find in yourself some warm and fuzzy feelings, or physical attraction, or genuine friendship. You may even be able to find, in all of your humanity, the ability to forgive and forget some offenses. But, warm fuzzies can turn into cold pricklies, lust fades and friendships are tested. And forgiveness, well that is something else all together. Truth is, it is hard to truly forgive with the kind of permanence that does not let us bring it up again, if only in our thoughts. But, TRUE love CAN and DOES love that way.

True love, the kind that can only come from HIM, allows us to ALWAYS find something warm and fuzzy, to CONSISTENTLY find an attractiveness in our mate, to have not only agape love toward them, but also phileo and even eros. And TRUE love forgives. We love because HE first loved us, and we forgive because we are forgiven by HIM. We can only do this THROUGH Him. And we must allow His love to flow THROUGH us!

If you have never allowed Jesus into your heart, please hear me when I say you can now. There is a freedom in Christ that you will never find without Him. He lived for you - coming from the perfection of Heaven to live an earthly existence. Giving up the clouds to walk on dirt and mud. Leaving the throne of Heaven to be placed in a manger. Coming from the right hand of God into a young girl's inexperienced arms. Walking from the presence of angels to be surrounded by sinners. Why? So He could set those sinners free. So He could set ME free. So He could set YOU free. He did it for YOU - I pray that you find that truth today.

We love because He first loved us. He loves YOU, no matter what. You love because He loves... Just think of how much more you could love if you ACCEPT and let His love dwell in you. Jesus is very polite, he will knock softly on your heart's door, but will not come in unless invited.

I beg you to invite Him today.

Invite HIS love in. And then you will be able to truly love.

And if you are a believer, do not look for this perfect love within yourself - you will not find it. Look for it in Him ... it is there, and there alone.

Look back over the dares from previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible to you?Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love? Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and Grace to settle your eternal destination.

This is the turning point in the movie. It is where Caleb - who was wanting the divorce as much as, if not more than, Catherine - truly begins to LOVE her. He finds that love in Christ and in Christ alone. And that love, REAL love, makes the difference in his heart and in his motivation. Everything up til now has been half hearted, and this is where he truly begins to love her again.

I am praying that YOU find that love again too ... even if you never really lost it!

See ya tomorrow!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Love Dare - Day 18: Love Seeks To Understand

So, how are you doing so far? We are almost half way there - I hope you are still with me on this! As for us, I think Hubbs dropped out at about day 5. But, it was not his fault, completely. See, I would read the book out loud as we were getting ready for bed and then we would talk and share and then I would get up really early (or stay up really late) writing the post. And that particular schedule was not working for us. SO, I just got into my own little routine (which has been thrown completely out of whack by this trip) and started doing it on my own. I share a little bit every now and then about what we are doing, and I think that works for him. Really, he is under a LOT of pressure these days anyway and I just don't want to put one more thing on him. Besides, he loves me so well already :)

So, how do I know when it is not a good idea to pressure my man anymore than he already is? It is because I KNOW him. Which leads us to today ...

"How Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding." - Proverbs 3:13

Remember when you were first falling in love with your spouse? Back then you wanted to know every little thing about them - their favorite color, foods, hobbies, etc... So, what did you do? You studied them closely. You talked to them and, this is a biggie, you LISTENED to them. Truth be told, you probably hung on every word. But, what about now?

Is it because you know your love so well that you do not need to study them anymore? Or is it because you have already won the prize? Because, I promise, there is still much to learn.

My niece Trinity is 8 years old and is a black belt in Karate. Girlfriend can do over a hundred push ups (they stopped her at 100 so that the other kids could try!), break boards with her bare hands and she is a whiz with those num-chucks (sp?) and pole thingies. Right now she is a first degree black belt, pretty soon she will test and become second degree. And after that she can go no further in degree until she is eighteen. But she will keep studying because there is still so much to learn.

And, think about this - a doctor doesn't just get his degree and stop studying (at least a GOOD doctor doesn't), because there are new things to uncover all the time. New procedures, new research and new medications. ALL THE TIME. Things are always changing!

So, look at it this way: While dating you earned your high school diploma in the art of "Spousal Studiology". Now, you CAN stop there, OR, you can keep going and get a college degree, master's degree and even a doctorate! The choice is yours. What do you have to lose? And, you know, there is soooooo much to gain!

Try it, you'll like it!

Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you've rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate.

So, don't look at this as a chore. Have fun with it. This could be just the thing to get the two of you laughing and having fun again!

Have a great day. I am praying for you!

See ya tomorrow!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Love Dare - Day 17: Love Promotes Intimacy

So, FINALLY I am able to put up day 17. I know this week has been hit and miss, and I apologize for that. I am actually going to try to put up a few days and then set them to post later. That way, if I can't get online, you still have your instructions for the day.

Here is hoping I can figure it out ;)

With that said, I am gonna dive right into today's dare and make good use of the time I have online!

"He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." - Proverbs 17:9

So, when you read the title of today, did you think you were gonna get lucky? 'Cause, I did:)

And, while that kind of intimacy is, indeed, very important in a marriage relationship, this kind of intimacy is even more important.

So, do you have a lot of friends?

What about close friends?

What about friends that you can tell anything and share your deepest thoughts and feelings with?

The number got a bit smaller each time didn't it? Well, it is supposed to. And I pray that when we got to the last question, there was only one name on your mind. That of the one you married. Marriage was intended to be a safe place to share yourself openly and freely and SAFELY. Your spouse is meant to be the one person who knows every part of who you are and love and accepts you in spite of everything. The one person you can count on no matter what!

Is that how it is with you and your love? Is that who you are to them?

Do you make your spouse feel that they can tell you anything and it will be safe? Or do they live in fear that you will shame them with all of their secrets and inadequacies? Remember the baggage that you brought with you when you married? Well, I pray that you found a safe place to unpack those bags - and I pray that you provided one for your love.

When Adam and Eve lived in the garden, they were "naked and unashamed", and that was not just physical bareness. They were emotionally naked and were able to be unashamed of who and what they were. Eden was a perfect world, and ours is not. I realize that. However, if we are basing our marriage on the relationship that Christ has with His church, we should be showing complete freedom and acceptance. NOT shame and accusations.

Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. REALLY listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.

Remember, love is a choice. So, CHOOSE to love your spouse no matter what. Even better yet, CHOOSE to allow them the safety to know that your love is there no matter what they share with you.

And, remember, I am praying for you!!!! Good luck and I will (hopefully) see ya tomorrow!