Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love Dare - Day 33: Love Completes Each Other

OK, in all honesty, I have issues with the title of today's dare. I also cannot stand the line in Jerry McGuire when he tells her "you ... complete ... me". Now, I know that it is supposed to be all romantic and stuff, and I suppose that it is. But, truthfully, who can REALLY complete us? Only God, my friends, only God. So, given the choice, I would choose to call this one "Love Compliments Each Other" and call it a day. But I did not write this book....

So, there ya go! We will do it their way ... However, this IS my blog, so I reserve the right to correct when I feel the urge.

That being said, let's start over ...

Love Dare - Day 33: Love Completes (Compliments) Each Other

When God created the human species, he did so in two parts - man and woman. And, in such, he created a balance. Where one is weak, the other is strong, and vise-verse. Where one gets excited, one stays calm; where one gives up, the other presses on ... You get the idea. We are created - man and woman - to balance each other out and keep each other in line. It is a good system, WHEN it works as God intended!

"If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?" - Ecclesiastes 4:11

It is like your hands. You have two hands, they are separate entities and CAN work alone, but are soooooo much more efficient together. Now, obviously, there are people with only one hand. And I am sure that they learn to get along just fine. Just as there are people who stay single and get along just fine - Hey, the Apostle Paul never married and God used him to write a hefty chunk of the Bible! There are also people who HAVE two hands, but may only have the use of one of them. And, in time, they too learn to function and get along (just as I have seen people who are technically married, but, in truth, living alone). But, how much easier is it if there are two hands working together?

People are different, and nowhere but in a marriage, can theses differences be more apparent. BUT, the differences can be what makes a marriage strong! They can also be what wears a marriage relationship down. It is all in the way that these differences are seen, approached and handled.

One partner can be impulsive, while the other is more thoughtful. Now, this can be a problem if the two do not realize the beauty in their differences. The trick is to balance each other out ... COMPLIMENT each other. Sometimes impulsiveness is fun and good. And, sometimes, it is far better to stand back and check a situation out before jumping in. We just have to know which is which. It is all about the balance!

When we learn to accept and appreciate the differences in each other, we are able to avoid the dangers that come with them. We learn to NOT criticize the other partner, but cherish those differences as the complimenting factor to our own "stuff" that they are!

Sadly, some people never learn to accept the beauty in their differences and they fight them tooth and nail. This causes so much more difficulty than it is worth. I mean, c'mon, can't we all just get along? (I have been waiting this whole series to put that in there!!)

The effectiveness of your marriage is all in how you handle - and appreciate and USE - the differences between you. Do you have a big decision to make? Don't make it alone, compliment each other. Do you have some planning to do? Compliment each other. Do you see where I am going with this? I think ya do!

Don't try to do it all on your own, it is not how God intended. He put you two together for a reason, us those differences to make the most of your life, marriage and family. Use them to glorify God in your lives together. How beautiful will it be when you let yourselves COMPLIMENT and balance each other out?

Recognize that your spouse is integral to your future success. Let them know today that you desire to include them in your upcoming decisions, and that you need their perspective and counsel. If you have ignored their input in the past, admit your oversight and ask them to forgive you.

This can add so much beauty to your marriage, if you let it! It may be hard, but look ahead to the beauty and know that it is worth it!

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hot For The Holidays and a Christmas Makeover

Hot for the Holidays

Well, the scale is soooooo not my friend today.

Now, to be fair, I am not at all surprised - I mean, c'mon, I have been baking all week!

And oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite. And, the make a might tasty breakfast. Healthy too, what with the oatmeal and raisins and all! Right? (It works better if you don't think about the 2 sticks of butter!)

However, it was not as bad as I thought it was gonna be. I only gained 1.6 - which means I get to keep my 15 pound down badge (barely!), so I will not complain.

The hard part is that we still have a whole batch left - plus a batch and 1/2 of the dinner rolls. Have I ever told you that I am a carb addict. Oh, yes, I am!!!! Thank you very much!!


In other news, Christmas has exploded in my living room! And, it would seem on my blog! How do ya like the Christmas makeover?

Now, the header is only temporary - we are hoping to get some Christmas pics of the girls taken this weekend for our Christmas cards. Once we have those pics I will redo the header. But, other than that, what do ya think? I kinda like it!!!

OK, Sophie is down for a nap, so I have a couple of hours with only one child to trip over, better get the village and nativity while the getting is good!

Love Dare - Day 32: Love Meets Sexual Needs

(Perhaps it is just the third grader in me, but I was a bit uncomfortable putting the word "sexual" in the title!!)

However, sex is what we're talkin' about today, so I guess I better get it out there! And, you might be surprised to know how very much the Bible has to say on the subject (and I am not just talking' about the do's and don'ts!).

"The husband must fulfill his duties to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband." 1 Corinthians 7:3

Now, you may think there is nothing in the Bible about sex except for the "rules" (who you can and can't have sex with, when you can and where you can't, etc...). But, there is actually one entire book of the Bible - Song of Solomon - that reads more like a romance novel than an instruction manual! This book tells of the pleasure that the author found in the body of his wife, among other things. Because, you see, God knows our every need, and that includes our sexual needs. And filling that need is intended to be a beautiful thing. It is one of the greatest gifts that God as given us.

Unfortunately it is also one of the many things that society has cheapened and brought a level of shame to. How it must break the heart of God to see that happen. Something that was given out of love, to be shared in only the most intimate of human relationships, is now used as a threat, taken without consent, shared too thoughtlessly, cheapened by the media and used outside of it's intent as much, if not more, than what it was created for.

But sex is intended to be a gift only shared with one other person - the one that we pledge our life to. It is part of the act of becoming one flesh. We share our bodies with our mate, as well as our love and devotion. It is an act intended to bring greater unity, emotional bonding and physical devotion. All the things that God created marriage to be. Including one man and one woman. That may be a political statement to some, but to me it is a Biblical one. And the fact that it is now considered "politically incorrect" is just one example of how society has brought it down to a level never intended by the Creator.

However, in an effort to NOT get on my political soapbox, we will keep our discussion to sex within a marriage. So, here we go with that...

Sexual marriage is intended to be kept pure. It is not to be shared with anyone except your love. I have seen the effect that the breaking of this vow can create. Now, to be fair, I have seen marriages recover from that, but more often I have seen marriages destroyed by it.

Romance and sex are to be given as a gift between the man and wife, not used as a tool. Meaning that sex is not to be used as a weapon - withheld to get your way. Instead, any forfeit of it's pleasure is only to happen as a result of a MUTUAL decision. And, even then, only for a time so that you are not tempted to stray.

Sex was created to be the Hallmark of marriage. A romantic and beautiful act that is given out of love and devotion. However, we all know that, eventually, there will be an imbalance in the need department. One partner will feel the drive a little more than the other. So, how do we handle that? This is where the give and take, devotion and gift aspect come in. Sometimes we just have to give a gift that we would not have chosen for ourselves. And sometimes, even though it is the furthest thing from one partner's mind, we are called to willingly meet the other partner's need. Because, if we don't fill that need (which doesn't just go away!!), there may be cause for someone to look outside of the marriage. And that aint good!

However, the one with a deeper need for sex also needs to be respectful! The act can be cheapened within a marriage almost as easily as it can outside when one person is required to give it so often that it loses it's intended meaning. A balance has to be found and the romance has to be kept in the act.

So, whether you are the one who is feeling deprived, or the one who is depriving your mate, we all have something to learn from this lesson. Know that God's plan is for meeting in the middle and finding a solid ground to base your love - and romance - on. But also know that you will not get there by pouting, sulking or "holding out", you will get there by open communication and following God's will. LOVE is the only way to establish (or re-establish) a lasting union.

Every other part of the love dare that we have gone through so far - patience, kindness, selflessness, thoughtfulness, protection, honor and forgiveness - will aid in renewing your sexual intimacy. When your love is centered around the love of Christ, there is a level of friendship, romance and , yes, even sexual pleasure, that will be unmatched by anything else on earth. You will discover the true, PURE beauty of sex when it is used the way the Lord intended.

If at all possible, try to initiate sex with your husband or wife today. Do this in a way that honors what your spouse has told you (or implied to you) about what they need from you sexually. Ask God to make this enjoyable for both of you as well as a path to greater intimacy.

Remember, this is supposed to be a FUN part of the dare, not a chore. I am praying - really hard - that this is a beautiful, pleasurable and mutually enjoyable part of your marriage. And that if it isn't now, it soon will be.

See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I pray that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that I have so very much to be thankful for, myself. Even in these tough economic times - and believe me, we are feeling it!! - we live in a Blessed nation. We have so many freedoms that others throughout the world do not know. Take the time today to thank God for these Blessings - including (and ESPECIALLY) the fact that you CAN thank Him, out loud and proud, for all to hear, without fear!

Be Blessed!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love Dare - Day 31: Love and Marriage

Today is an extension of yesterday's dare - in which we discussed unity in a marriage. Today we will look at one relationship that can hinder the marital unity, often without anyone even knowing it is happening!

"A man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24

Marriage is designed to be the one earthly relationship that is treasured above all others. We are to center our lives around our spouse - and center THAT relationship on God. But, all too often, going from the "honor your father and mother" stage to the "honor your husband/wife" stage can be a difficult transition. We have loved our parents our whole lives (I know that not everyone was Blessed with this kind of childhood, and I apologize if I am leaving anyone out or bringing up old hurts.), and we have been taught to obey them and respect their opinion. Now, all of a sudden, we have a spouse to take into consideration. We have to let a new person into the mix.

There is a reason that the Bible talks about leaving your father and mother and cleaving to your spouse. It does not mean just leaving the home, nor is it so drastic that it speaks of leaving that relationship completely. Rather, it is finding a middle ground. One relationship is altered as a new one begins. Our parents still deserve our honor and respect, but now there is a spouse to be the one to lean on, grow with, make decisions with and honor. One is different, one is new.

Remember that our marriages are patterned after the relationship between the church and Jesus. Husbands are called to love their wives like their own flesh, and wives are called to respect their husbands. Meaning that, after the Lord, the spouse is the first priority.

Now, and this is the tough part, this is not just an adjustment that the newlyweds have to make. Their parents have to find a new balance too. And that can be the toughest adjustment of all. Letting someone else take priority in your child's life can be threatening as well as sad. If a parent is not prepared for that transition it can cause trouble in the marriage. And we are the ones left to face the fallout.

It is for this reason that we must strive even harder to find the balance and RESPECTFULLY implement that balance on every relationship. We can still respect and honor our parents without following their every direction and suggestion to the detriment of our marriage.

It is all about balance!


Is there a "leaving" issue you have not been brave enough to conquer yet? Confess it to your spouse today and resolve to make it right. The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it. Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.

I realize that this - especially if one sided - can be extremely difficult. There is likely to be rejection of this idea from many sides. Just remember, if this is what God designed our marriages to be, He will be on your side as you strive to follow His will.

I am praying for you!!

See ya tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Picture Perfect Monday - Family Park Time

(I am so totally gonna go over the one sentence rule here, sorry 'bout that!)

Here is another look at our vacation.

A lovely day at the park with my side of the family ...

Hattie doin' what Hattie does best ... gettin' dirty!
Grandma and (a few of) her girls!
Trinity Joy (yeah, she likes the camera!)
Do ya hear that sound ...
... that would be my heart melting (He is soooo handsome!!)
Not exactly sure what that look was for, but I am sure Savannah earned it!
Uncle Danny teaching Hattie to skate (he REALLLLLY loves that girl!)
Sophie Bug was makin' Daddy very nervous ... but Savannah was pretty close behind her!
That's my "Butchie" (Ty) rockin' the Gator ... he is a sweetheart!!!)
Hattie is slip, slidin' away.
Hattie climbing the wall (with Uncle Jimmy close behind)...
...and she TOTALLY made it to the top!! Go Girlie!!Ty in a tree
Trinity and Hattie exploring.
The kids thought everyone should do funny face pics. These are for them ...
My little bro Danny (AKA "Euge").
Danny's daughter Trinity (AKA "Angel Face").
Jim's son Ty (AKA "Butchie"), up close and personal!!
His sister Shyenne (AKA "Cubbie") thought she would rather just look cute!
And the other sister Savannah (AKA "Rosebud") and her tonsils.
Their Daddy, my big bro Jimmy (AKA "Mo") ... and this picture shows his true personality!!
Well, there ya have it ... that would be the Morgan's ...
Oh, don't judge, you've got one in your family too.
We just happen to be FULL OF 'EM!!!

Love Dare - Day 30: Love Brings Unity

So, we have a day off from the "hard" stuff!

Can I get a yay?


And, here we go ...

"Father, keep them in your name. The name which You have given me, that they may be one even as we are." - John 17: 11

From the very beginning to the very last word (which is "amen" by the way), there is one common theme through the entire Bible. One. It is all about the "one" - and by that I mean the One. Unity, between us and God, between God the Father, Son and Spirit, between the church family, between believers and between a husband and a wife.


First there is the unity between God and mankind. In the Garden it was all good - He created Adam and Even and walked among them. But, ya know, that got messed up. And for the remainder of the Bible God is reaching to regain that fellowship and man is doing the same - although there are times when we are not really sure what it is that we are reaching for! So, Jesus comes to fulfill that unity. He came to give us a way to regain our oneness with the perfect God. And that leads to the unity of the church. And the union between the bride (the church ) and the groom (Jesus).

Did ya catch that - God shows us the expample of unity through a marriage illustration. Because THAT is what marriage is intended to be! An unbroken, loving, trusting, safe haven, true and lasting union.

See how all of that hard stuff from the last few days ties in? Oh Yeah!

And, when marriage is good, strong, lasting and unified, GOD is glorified. And WE are Blessed. Truly and completely Blessed.

So, what would happen in our marriages if we decided to bring unity into them? I am not talking "lighting a candle, what's mine is yours, side by side" kind of unity. I am talking about "putting US above me, living for God and your spouse, nothing comes between us, through thick and thin, we are one flesh, no matter what" kind of unity.

This kind of unity treats any threat against it like a cancer - fighting to the finish to get rid of anything that tries to come between you. And, the weapon in this fight is love. The love that God gives to us and the love, because of what we are taught by Him, that we give to the one we have chosen.

What would happen in our marriages if we determine to never again let our oneness be torn apart?

It would be big, my friends, BIG!

The oneness of the Trinity - unbreakable and unending - can come into your marriage and become a part of your life. Hidden in the day to day, grocery shopping, doctor visiting, carpooling, child rearing, growing old, normality of our lives and homes is the hidden potential to have the kind of unity that God shows us through the Trinity. And with HIM in these lives and in theses marriages, we can truly be one.

Isolate one area of division in your marriage, and look on today as a fresh opportunity to pray about it. Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse. Pray that He would do the same for them. And, if appropriate, discuss the matter openly, seeking God for unity.
Now, this is not gonna be TOTALLY easy. It will require a sacrifice of self ... but we have already worked on that, haven't we!!

I am praying for you! And I believe that you can do this!

See ya tomorrow!

Love Dare - Day 29: Love's Motivation

If my love for my man were based on my feelings and/or his behavior, we would not have made it past the honeymoon. Hubbs is an anxious traveler - and by anxious, I mean that every other word out of his mouth is "let's go, we are gonna be late ... great, see now we are late ... ok, now we are later ... seriously, COME ON!!!". It is not his most attractive trait. Had we made it past the honeymoon ('cause truthfully, I thought it was endearing back then ... don't even ask me why ... maybe I thought he was anxious to go, 'cause he was anxious for the HONEYMOON!!!), we would not have made it past the trip home - my man gets grum-pay when tired and I tend to take it a little personal.

Now, to be fair, if it were motivated by MY behavior, we wouldn't have even got to the wedding! I would've surely lost him at the rehearsal. Our rehearsal was a nightmare. Let me repeat - NIGHTMARE!!! Seriously! I am not even kidding! We had lots of little girls in our wedding. Seven little girls to be exact, plus 5 tween girls and about 12 teen girls who were our usherettes. Guess that is what I get for being the world's best aunt and youth group coach around ;)!! And then there were the young and tween boys! Yeah, chaos was a given. I had somewhat prepared myself for that. But, I had NOT prepared my Daddy. And, in order to ward off some less then stellar behavior from him (we joke that the "Grumpy Old Men" movies were based on him and he was too grumpy for just one man to encompass it!!), my mom sent him to start the barbecue for the rehearsal dinner. I did not know this. So, when it came time to run through the ceremony and I had no one to walk me down the aisle ... let's just say it was NOT pretty. I threw a hissy fit of epic proportions. And it went downhill from there.

Needless to say, Hubby and I both stuck it out. We knew from the beginning that we were in it for the long haul. Because, thankfully, we knew from the beginning that it was not all about us. We knew where our love was centered.

"Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men." - Eph. 6:7
If love is centered on emotions, it is not solid. If it is centered on behavior, it cannot stand. Truth is, emotions waver and behaviors are not stable enough to hold us together. That is just the way it is. Even the very best feelings fade - even with the best of intentions. And, honestly, behaviors are based, many times, on emotions, so they will change too.

There is really only One thing in the world that does not change - God, Himself. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Unchanging. Unwavering. Unfaltering. He is the solid rock. And, just like our homes, if our love is not built on a firm foundation it will not stand.

If we center our love on God - love our mate to HIS glory - it will last. It will last, because THAT will not change. And, that kind of love will not only glorify God, but it will also uplift our spouse. And that can't hurt, now, can it?!

And, going back to the last few days, we know that we must provide a safe haven for our loves. What is safer than a love that is based on the One who loves us best and most? If our mate knows our love is solid and true, they know that they are safe to be who they were created to be. Even if they might have some "ugly" moments getting there!

I know that I ask my hubby all the time "why do you love me?", 'cause I sometimes just need to hear him list my positive traits (have I mentioned that I have some serious ego issues?). However, I know in my heart, though, that those are the things that just make it EASIER for him to LIKE me. I know that the real reason that He loves me is because he chose to love me and chose to give that love to God. He made promises to me before God, but those promises were made TO god long before they were made to me. He loves God first and THAT love causes his love and devotion to me to remain strong. And, in return, he has taught me to love the same way. Him and God. God first and then Him - ALWAYS!

Our promises were made to God first and foremost. Breaking a vow would be breaking a promise to each other, but also to God. So, we pray and ask God to help us keep those vows everyday. We give nothing to each other that has not been laid at the foot of the cross first.

Before you see your spouse again today, pray for them by name and for their needs. Whether it comes easy for you or not, say "I love you", then express love to them is some tangible way. Go to God in prayer again, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person - unconditionally, the way He loves both of you.

Please, know that I am praying for you. If you have never truly laid your marriage down before God, I encourage you to do so today. I am here for you if you need to know what that entails. I am praying so hard for any of you who may be doing this dare. I would love the chance to talk with you personally if you have any questions about this or any other part of the dare. I am in no way an expert, but I can help direct you to the One who is!!!

Love ya and see ya tomorrow!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love Dare - Day 28: Love Makes Sacrifices

I should really be getting ready for church ... SO, just gonna jump on in there today ... K?

"He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers." - 1John 3:16

So, do you not just love it when your love sees a need that you have and meets that need, all without you having to say a word? When he/she goes out of their way to be or do exactly what you need to lighten your load, brighten your day or just lift you up - no matter what the cost to them? Guess what - they like that too. Probably even love it.

Because THAT is what love does.

Love sacrifices itself for the other.

There is a Christmas story (and I cannot think of the name of either it or the author at the moment and do not have time to google - I just know that Marie Osmond played the wife in the movie ... random, I know) in which a very poor - but very much in love - couple are searching for ways to show their love for Christmas. He has one prized possession, a family heirloom gold pocket watch. She has a prized possession too, her long, lovely hair. In a quest to make their spouses happy they each sell what means the most to them, to give what would mean so much to the other. The thing is, he sells the watch to get her expensive hair accessories, she sells her hair to get him a chain for his treasured watch... They each make a sacrifice for their love. And the new possessions end up meaning so much more...

THAT is what love does - it gives up what is important to us when the one we love is in need. She gives up her night out to stay and help him with a project at home. He gives up his football game to take her on a therapeutic shopping trip. They may seem small, but they are not always small, easy, sacrifices. Sometimes it gets difficult. Really difficult.

And, at times, the most difficult part of all, is seeing the need. If your man is like mine, he keeps his pain wrapped up so that it does not hurt you. And, if she is like most women in the world, she expects you to read between the lines. The point is, it is not always easy to know when our spouse is in need, or what is even is that they need. So, what do we do then?

It is sooooo important to be someone that your spouse can come to with their needs. We have to remember that whole "love them like we want to be loved" part of love. If it was you, you would want to be able to approach your love with a need and know that the need would be appreciated and, if at all possible, met lovingly. Right? So, that is what we need to be and do for the one that we love.

It is way too easy to not have that kind of love though. Again, the world does not train us for that kind of love. Society tells us that life is meant to meet our needs RIGHT NOW! Are you hungry? Drive through! Are you tired? Caffeine laced energy drinks to pump you up! Are you needing something, but to busy to shop? Internet and FedEx baby! The world is designed to give you a way to meet your need RIGHT NOW. Charge it (don't save), Nuke it (don't cook over a hot stove), order it (don't cook at all), blah, blah, blah ....

But, the hard part of all of this, is that it is not personal! It is meant to meet your deepest - and most selfish needs - at the blink of an eye. But it does not take the time to KNOW you, to care for you and to see who you really are and what you really need. I mean, REALLY need. Not just want.

But, love, LOVE is a place where you are known. A place where more than your wants are considered. A place where your NEEDS are seen, taken into account and met . . . PERSONALLY. And, a place where you meet there's.

Love lays down it's life for it's brothers (and friends, family and - especially - spouse). We cannot expect our love to know what we need and be there for us, if we cannot give the same way. So, how well do you know your love? Well enough to know when they have a need - even if they never say it out loud? And, are you a safe enough place for them to say that need - out loud - if you do miss the signs? I hope so. I PRAY so. And, if not, I pray that you will find a way that you can be.

What is one of the greatest needs in your spouse's life right now? Is there a need you could lift from their shoulders by a daring act of sacrifice on your part? Whether the need is big or small, purpose to do what you can to meet their need.

Marriage is give and take - but, do you take more than you give? Take today's dare as an opportunity to turn that all around!

See ya tomorrow!