Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Add An Extra Spark to Your Marriage

Our Valentine's Anniversary
     Almost by accident
, my husband and I discovered a fun way to add an extra spark of romance to our marriage. I won’t pretend this little secret has played a major role in keeping us together for 48 years, but it’s made the trip more fun.
     What is it? Our Monthiversary. Every month, we celebrate the day we were married by giving each other a little gift.

  • A candy bar or package of cookies
  • A few postage stamps
  • A DVD from the bargain bin.
  • A new kind of coffee
  • A mystery book from a favorite author

   We mostly concentrate on consumables like food, so we don’t add to our piles of possessions. And we never spend a lot. Sometimes we’ve found treasures at yard or church rummage sales.
Even if your love language isn’t gift giving, you might remember the day with a special meal, a foot rub, or a note on your spouse’s pillow. The main idea is to say, “I love you and I’m thinking of you on this day. You are precious to me.”
   Try the Monthiversary on your day this month and let me know how it goes. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Birthday gift ideas for Jesus

Do you give a birthday gift to Jesus

     Many years ago some friends suggested this to their children, to help their family focus on why we celebrate Christmas. This is how I'm incorporating this excellent idea into our church's celebration:

          We have a fancy purple Christmas gift box that sits on our piano at church. But it's empty. 

     I'm asking each member of our congregation to write--leaving off their name--what they plan to give Jesus for His birthday. And then put those gift promises into the empty purple box. At our Christmas Eve service, I will open the box and read aloud all the ideas people committed to do for Jesus. 

Here are a few things I thought to write on my own paper:

  • Prepare communion elements for the month of December
  • Repent of criticizing anyone for any reason
  • Give $XXX to an orphanage or homeless shelter
  • Invite someone who can't repay us over for dinner 
  • Show more respect to my husband

What will you give Jesus this year for His birthday? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

photo by Matthew Gilson

In case you don't receive Guideposts magazine, 
here is a link to a recent story I wrote about how writing Thank You notes increases your joy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

In Praise of Praise

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Why Be Thankful in Terrible Times?

Why Be Thankful In Terrible Times?

            I recently heard a message about being thankful. Although I'm usually upbeat, even zany, this teaching convicted me. I need to be more thankful to the Lord for all I have. I need to wake up in the morning praising God for my health, my job, my family and my mind that works (most of the time!). I’m especially thankful for a place in Heaven, and my sweet relationship with a loving Heavenly Father.         

     My pastor husband, Kevin, and I don’t own our own home; we live in a parsonage. But it’s a lovely house in the country surrounded by great neighbors and few noises, apart from birdsong and cricket opera. We have no smog; we enjoy crimson and lavender sunsets and delight in brightly colored leaves dancing on our trees. 

            Our church is comparatively small. But the people love, support and pray for each other. Some even tell us how grateful they are to have Kevin pastor them. I benefit from new recipes at our potluck dinners, the prayers of our Monday night ladies’ group, and Kevin gets to preach every week.

Our family in 1986

         Both our kids and all three of our grandkids love and appreciate Kevin and I. We live in close proximity of them, so we can see them often and share holidays as a family. 

         I refuse to allow the news media, pessimists on Facebook, or anyone else, to tell me what to think and how to feel. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. I choose to focus on the good in our lives.

     I want to be sunshine going somewhere to happen. I hope that makes God smile. 

What three things are you most thankful for?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Why Listeners Make Better Lovers, Friends, Spouses, Bosses...

Why Listeners Make Better . .  People!

“Listeners make better lovers,” says the commercial. What, it’s not listeners, but milk drinkers? Well, if you don’t like milk or have an allergy to it, there’s still hope for you to become a better lover: by learning to listen from your heart. Here are seven ways to do that:
1.      The eyes have it. When we look into someone’s eyes as they talk, rather than staring out the window or planning our next meal, we show them respect. We also gain more insight into their thoughts and feelings. We can uncover pain, disappointment, fear, or joy by making eye contact when we listen. This type of active concern leads to greater understanding and deeper love between us.

2.      Ask questions. We endear ourselves to others by asking questions regarding their interests. I’m not the movie buff that my husband Kevin is. But if I ask, “how many Frank Capra films was Jimmie Stewart in?” Kevin comes alive. He knows I truly care about him and his hobbies. In the same way, if Kev asks, “how’s your Vista article coming along?” I’m convinced of his interest in me as a writer, not just as his wife. I can feel his love.

3.      Body language shouts. Leaning forward, raising our eyebrows, nodding, and smiling are excellent ways to listen from our hearts. Folding our arms, rolling our eyes, and cleaning out make-up drawers or tool chests while someone is trying to talk to us shouts, “who cares?” Imagine your body as a Yes, We’re Open! sign rather than a Sorry, We’re Closed! sign, and others will open their hearts to you.

4.      Can the rude ‘tude. You probably know people who own first-place trophies from the W.F.I. (World Federation of Interrupters). They’re about as much fun to be around as cats fighting at midnight under the bedroom window. When we wait for people to finish what they’re saying before we speak, we give them the dignity they deserve, and gain their respect. Leave a pause of three to five seconds before you speak, to give others time to process their thoughts. Some of the wisest insights come in the form of afterthoughts. If we rush to speak the second it seems a person is finished, we might miss something glorious.

5.      Mirror, mirror. We prove our interest by reflecting back what we think we heard. “So, you aren’t saying that people who prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate are idiots—just that it’s a matter of taste?” tells Kevin I was listening with my heart, and wanted to understand his point of view We don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but it’s essential to healthy relationships that the other knows we listened with our heart.  

One of my favorite TV personalities, Fred Rogers, sang a song called, “There are many ways to say I love you.” Listening with your heart is one of those ways. It’s also a creative method for service to your brothers and sisters in the Lord. 
Which one of the above ways will you incorporate into your conversations this month, to become a better lover?