Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preparing for guests

With the Christmas season in full swing, I'm sure most people are busy "decking the halls", cooking, cleaning, and preparing their homes for guests. My In-Laws are coming this weekend! This is the first time they will be staying with us in our new home.... actually, they are the first overnight guests in our new home.

On top of the normal cleaning one does while preparing their home for guests, we had to turn our empty spaces into actual guest rooms! They were completely empty, untouched rooms. It's amazing how many "things" it takes to make a guest room and bathroom functional. 

We had to buy a bed, bedding, pillows, mattress pad, comforter, lamp, shower rod, shower curtain, bathroom rugs, trash can, etc.... Up to this point, we've had no reason to use the guest room or guest bathroom so our parents were definitely the motivation to finally make these rooms usable. We found a great Black Friday deal on a mattress set and Martha Stewart bedding ensemble at Macy's. I didn't even know Macy's sold mattresses, so I was really excited we'd be able to use our Wedding gift cards to help with such a large purchase! Plus, we were able to save an additional 20% with our Registry Completion discount. I love when you can find great deals on things you need NOW!

Our Guest Room (complete with Christmas decor!)

Most of the stuff for the bathroom was on Clearance at T. J. Maxx. I've never really shopped there, but I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with their quality and pricing. The bathroom still needs some work, but at least it's functional. & I love the shower rod and curtain rings! I'm hoping gravity will take some of those wrinkles out of the curtain.... otherwise I'll be doing some ironing Friday night! 

Guest Bathroom

Pretty Shower Rod and Rings: only $15

I think it's funny that I've put more effort into decorating our guestroom and bathroom than our own bedroom and bathroom. When I was mattress shopping, the sales guy told me that most people don't want a guest-bed that's too comfortable because most people don't want their guests to stay too long.... That has to be the most ridiculous thing a salesman has ever told me.... especially since more comfortable=more money=bigger commission for them!

I certainly do not embrace that mantra, and I want to make sure that our guests are as comfortable as possible (within our financial limits). Plus, my father-in-law will be installing cabinetry that he made for my laundry room while they are here, so they'll certainly be earning their keep! :) So excited to see them!!

The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Easy as Pie... Pumpkin Puree

With Thanksgiving just 2 days away, I started prepping for my Pumpkin Pie last night. I made ginger snap cookies to use for the crust and homemade pumpkin puree. I did a side-by-side comparison of canned organic pumpkin vs. homemade puree last year, and that was all it took to convince me to never use canned pumpkin again! After you see how easy it is to make, and how much better your pie turns out, I'm sure you'll also adopt this policy!

First, get a 4-6lb sugar-pie pumpkin, and wash the exterior.
Preheat your over to 400.

Cut the stem off your pumpkin, and then cut your pumpkin in 1/2, 
and scoop out the seeds/mush. 
Save the seeds to roast later for a delicious snack.

Next, sprinkle the pumpkin flesh with Kosher salt
 to draw out the excess water

Then, place them flesh side down on a parchment lined pan and roast at 400 for 30-45min 

They are done when you can easily pierce through the skin with a paring knife.
 Poke the pumpkin in multiple places to make sure it's done.

Place the pan on a cooling rack and cool pumpkin for 1 hour.

Next, peel the skin away from the flesh, and place the flesh into a food processor

Then Puree for 3-4 minutes until completely smooth.

Store your puree in the fridge for up to 1 week, 
or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I will probably make this pie Wednesday evening, so I will post the complete how-to for this amazing pumpkin pie then.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Follow-up: When Your Nice Things Get Ruined...

A few weeks ago, I posted this blog  about the problem with having nice things- they inevitably get ruined. Well, it happened... our puppy had an accident on our new couch, smack dab in the middle of the cushion. 

Unexpectedly, my husband did not freak like I thought he would, (YAY!) probably because Stewie, our Yorkie, can pretty much do no wrong. In Stewie's defense, he was recovering from a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), and certainly did not mean to have an accident.

Ok, so your BRAND NEW couch has been soiled. What next? I decided to read the directions attached to the label under the cushion:

  • Even though these cushion covers have a zipper, they should never be removed for the purpose of washing.
  • When trying to clean a spill, blot, don't rub with water only.
Seriously? While my husband is banishing Stewie to his crate in the garage, I take in a deep breath and remove the cushion. It says not to wash it, but I have to do something! First, I do as they say and try blotting with a clean rag, wet with water. It's not working.... I decided that, at this point, it's already "ruined", so I might as well try some cleaner. First, I put a clean white towel into the cushion cover, so that my spray wouldn't bleed through to the good side. Then, I got out my trusty Spot Shot. I lightly sprayed the spot, and started "blotting", not rubbing with a ShamWOW . After a few minutes, it looked much better, just wet from the spray. I had some errands to do, so I left it to dry. A few hours later when I returned, it was dry and looked good-as-new again! Literally, you couldn't see anything wrong with it. I was AMAZED and so thankful!

I've been using these products religiously for all of my carpet stains for about the last 4 years, but I never expected them to work this well on my brand new upholstered couch. So, if you have a Pottery Barn, brushed canvas, upholstered couch, and it gets "ruined" don't freak out! Try SpotShot and a ShamWow. 

FYI, I was recently at my local PotteryBarn looking for some pillows to help my couch not blend in so much to our unpainted walls :) and the store associate in their design department told me that the upholstery material is the same as their slipcovers, which are machine washable. She said that she had washed her cushion covers, and they came out fine. However, she did suggest that you wash all of them, even if only one is ruined,  because they will fade slightly. I think I'll continue to stick to the method I described above, and only if that fails, try washing them.

Here are some pictures from our new living room. I still need to paint, or at least get some paintings hung on the wall, and find some lamps, but it's finally starting to feel like home! And, it's been a sanctuary for the few hours my husband gets to be there.

 I'll post more pictures as I continue to "finish" this room.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Filling up my LOVE tank!

Hello friends! It's good to be back! I took a break from blogging last month so that I could work on filling up my LOVE tank.

My husband was on an "easy" rotation, meaning, that for the most part he was working the same 9-5 workday as me. It was wonderful having so much free time together, and since we knew that the next 4 months were going to be very difficult, we made it a priority to put our relationship first. We had leisurely walks with our dog, lengthy conversations over mugs of hot tea, lazy days making homemade pasta, and we tried out a few French dishes from our new favorite Cooking Channel show, "French Food at Home".

Monday marked my husband's first day of his Neurosurgery rotation. He left our house at 4:30am and didn't get home till 10:30pm. He ate the vichyssoise and crostini that I had ready for him, went to bed, and did it all over again the next day. This will be our life 6 days a week for the next 4 months. Technically, this will be our life for the next 6.5 years, but intern year is always the worst. 

As we were preparing for this crazy schedule, I asked him if there was anything in particular I could do to make his life a little easier. He said that he'd love for me to get up with him at 4am and make his breakfast every morning. I believe I honestly laughed out loud, and gave him the "you're kidding right?" look. I don't really do mornings... If I wake up before 7, I'll typically feel nauseous and sluggish, regardless of what time I went to bed. However, I decided to pray about it, and when Monday rolled around, I got up with him, made his tea, and prepared his breakfast and lunch. After realizing that he would be working 17 hour days, I decided that if I can allow him to get an extra 15 minutes of sleep by helping him out in the morning, it was the least I could do. Today was the 3rd day in a row that I got up with him and I'm surprised at how easy it's been to adjust to this new schedule. I have to admit that I have been going right back to bed after he leaves, but I think that next week I will try to stay up and get my day started early. This morning he leaned over to kiss me and said, "You have no idea how much I appreciate this". That definitely made my sacrifice worth it! :)

I'm so thankful that my husband and I were able to spend so much time together filling up our love tank as we anticipated the difficult times ahead. It's always good to be on a "love high" when dealing with stress.  I suppose difficult times typically come out of nowhere and take us by surprise- In that case, we should be constantly working to fill our love tanks so that our relationships are strong enough to withstand anything that comes our way. Just like gas prices, the cost of filling up your love tank can be very high in today's non-stop lifestyle. 

So, find a spare moment and do something nice for your honey today:
  • leave a love note in their car or lunch
  • get up early and make them a special breakfast
  • make them their favorite dinner
  • take a "coffee break" together
  • go for a leisurely walk after dinner
  • give them a back rub as they fall asleep
  • say a prayer for them

How do you prepare for relationship-straining times? Is your LOVE tank full or empty? What can you do to keep it full?

Prayers for full LOVE tanks!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Problem With Having Nice Things...

My husband and I recently moved from an old 1880's apartment building in "Historic" Baltimore to a brand new town-home in Nashville. We have lived here for about 4 months, and are still in the process of turning this house into our home. So far, I LOVE it; It's so clean and organized, (mainly because it's still very empty) and all of our new furniture is a huge upgrade from the stuff we had during our college and med-school years. The problem is that now I feel so obsessed about keeping everything "like new", especially because it has to look nice for at least all 7 of my husband's residency years and hopefully through his Attending years. I "freak" out when our pets jump on our new furniture (leaving hair and scratches), or scratch the wood floors, or have an accident on the new carpet. I've always been a "neat-freak", even in our old apartment in Baltimore that was so old it always looked dirty no matter how much I cleaned it; but if we got another scratch on the old couch, it just blended in with the hundred other ones, and if our puppy had an accident, or we tracked mud/snow onto the carpets, I did my best to clean it up, but it never really bothered me- we were renters, and everything was so old and stained anyways.

Our old apartment in Baltimore

We have been working hard and saving to create that "magazine perfect" living room. We figured it was where we would spend the majority of our time (we don't get out much), so it should receive the majority of our furniture budget. I was so excited the day we ordered our new couch and chairs, and have been dreaming about how "perfect" it would be for the last 12 weeks that it took to be delivered. Our couch finally arrived last weekend, and it is so COMFORTABLE and beautiful. But, as soon as I plopped down onto it, my puppy and kitties wanted to hop up there with me, and I had to go into "M.O.M" mode (Mean Ol' Mommy)!!  I've already vacuumed it twice (in 48 hours), and have been guarding it like a hawk. I can only imagine how my husband will react when we have a child and they spit-up or spill food on the new furniture or carpet. EEK!! I guess that's why they have professional upholstery cleaners... Maybe we should have gone with a slip cover!

Image from
I'll post another picture when our new living room is complete.

What's the point of having nice things, if we can't truly enjoy them?? My new couch may be beautiful and comfortable, but I was probably less stressed on the old, wore out, knobby one, where I felt free to indulge in some cuddle time with my pets! Yet, the old, sloppy furniture was not nearly as inviting as our new stuff. The new stuff is relaxing in a different way. Sure, I have to try harder to keep it clean, but the whole feel of the room is so peaceful and brings much joy to my husband and I as we relax together in our living room. I guess the lesson here is that we just have to learn to find the new joys in every situation. 

The following verse is from my Good Morning Girls study this week: 1John2:15

"Do not love the world, or anything in the world". 

This reminded me that we must not LOVE the things in our lives. If I'm not in LOVE with this new furniture, I won't care about the imperfections caused from using it, and instead, I will find much joy and happiness LIVING with it to create lovely memories with my friends and family. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

You know you're domestic when....

You get excited about CLEANING!!

I recently "gave in" and bought a Shark Steam Mop, and I have to admit, I LOVE it! I had been using a broom, Swiffer dry cloths, and Swiffer wet jet.  I hated that I needed to use 3 tools just to get my floors "clean"... and they didn't even do that great of a job... The Swiffer Wet Jet was leaving a waxy/sticky residue on my floors, so they never really felt clean. My husband would complain that his socks were sticking to the floor! :( Now, I only need 1 thing: my Shark Vac then Steam. The Vacuum sucks up all the crumbs AND the pet hair. (we have 2 cats and 1 dog) The mop uses just water to clean and SANITIZE your floors. The mop cloths are re-usable: Just toss them in the washer and air-dry them. I LOVE that I no longer generate all the waste that Swiffer made and I no longer have any chemicals on my floor... This is much safer for my pets and our future children. I wouldn't think twice about letting babies crawl around on these floors!

I use my Vac then Steam all over my house: Laundry room & bathroom tile, wood floors, and the marble in front of my fireplace. Plus, you don't even need to put any "backbone" into it like I had to with the Swiffer. It's so easy to use and it really works! My neighbor came over the other day and the first thing she said when she came in was "It feels so clean in here"! My house is always "picked up", so it had to be the awesomely clean floors she was noticing! Do yourself a favor and make the investment ($120 with 20% coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond). I was probably spending nearly that much/year on Swiffer cleaning products/cloths. I honestly can't say enough about this product. It really has changed my life!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Trial" Marriages

I was thinking about the Divorce Rates of Americans recently and asking myself  "WHY do 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce"? I realize this is a random thing to think about as a newlywed, but I want to make sure that I don't do whatever 50% of Americans are doing that causes their marriage to end in divorce....Then I started thinking about "Trial Marriages" -when a couple lives together before marriage. This has certainly become a growing trend in my generation. So many people justify them as a good way to see if they can "handle" living together, and if they really are compatible together. Some people just want to spend more time together, or to save money, and I'm sure a lot of people just enjoy being able to share their bed with someone every night! However, I recently heard on a radio program that couples who cohabitate before marriage actually have a higher divorce rate than couples who do not. 

I have to admit, I lived with my husband before we were married. Our main justification was financial. His Financial Aid adviser told us that if we did get married before/while he was in medical school, he would no longer qualify for the majority of the scholarships he was awarded because they were based on income. If we were married, my income would be counted as his income, where as if we stayed single, his income = $0, which qualified him for more scholarships. I should say that we were already in a "committed" relationship with every intention of getting married from the very beginning. And, thankfully we did... a week after he graduated!

While we were cohabitating, one thing that was in the back of my mind when things got "tough" was that "I don't have to put up with this... I can leave at any time... You're not my husband....It's my choice to stay or not". I think that most people who live together before marriage carry that same mentality with them into their marriage. This is certainly a dangerous attitude to have in a marriage. While breaking-up is always an option before marriage, Divorce should never be something that pops into your head when the going gets tough. 

I have several friends who are currently living with their fiances, and when they get into fights, their insecurities and doubts about their relationship always come to the surface, (this happened to me as well). After years of feeling this way after a fight, it seems only natural that your mind would be trained to have this reaction to future fights, even after you're married.

The average age of marriage has increased from 21 to 28 since the 1960's (Washington Post). As the age at which couples tend to marry continues to get higher, it seems un-likely that we are going to be able to persuade millions of future couples not to cohabitate before marriage. And with so many couples claiming that "nothing really changed" after going from cohabitation to marriage, how do we help people realize that EVERYTHING changes!!! The most important thing being: your mind & heart's way of dealing with the "tough times" and not letting yourself go there... to the D-word.....

I don't think that couples who live together before they are married are definitely going to get a divorce. For my sake, I pray that's not what it means at all.... However, I do think it's important that couples who live together before they get married realize all of the changes that are going to take place. When the ladies in my life ask me "Did your relationship change once you got married?", I shout it from the rooftops! YES!! So many things have changed, and all for the better I think. I no longer carry around the guilt of "living in sin". I know that as I strive to be a good wife, I am doing exactly what I was created to do.

The relationship between a husband and wife should be so much more than a relationship between a boyfriend/girlfriend. There's more responsibility and accountability involved. There's a greater sense of pride. A better understanding of unconditional love. A desire to be a better person for the sake of your spouse. The need to be selfless; To consider another's needs, wishes, desires before your own. One must switch their mentality from: "I don't have to take this" to "I need to do whatever it takes to make this work"!! 

Do I regret living with my husband before we were married? I'd have to say "no" because if I had not moved from Austin to Baltimore with him, our relationship would probably not have survived during his 4 years in Medical School. I do however, wish that circumstances could have been different so that we could have started our marriage earlier. I hate that I had so much Catholic "guilt" about being with my husband before we were married. I feel like the bad habits developed before marriage have a tendency to carry over after marriage. But, unless couples start marrying during their early college years again, it's likely that, in the future, they will need to learn how to take the good with the bad while transitioning from cohabitation to marriage.

What are your thoughts? Did you live with your husband before marriage? Do you regret it? Do you think it made your marriage better?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dinner Dilemma!

Sometimes the most difficult question I have to answer everyday is "What's for dinner?".... And although I am so thankful that this is the most "difficult" part of my day, it is still a dilemma! If you too are wondering what you're going to make for dinner tonight, I have an answer!! Homemade Tortillas are so yummy and versatile. Last night I decided to use them for Quesadillas!

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions and your dinner dilemma is solved for tonight!! My recipe comes from my Joy of Cooking cookbook:

Gather your ingredients:
You will need:
2 cups of flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
1/4 cup shortening or lard
3/4 cup Hot water (105-115 degrees)

My MIL gave me this awesome Pampered Chef measuring cup several years ago and it is so useful for sticky/solid stuff like molasses, honey, shortening, etc. I highly recommend it for measuring your shortening!
I also highly recommend this Spectrum Organic All vegetable shortening. (available at Whole Foods) It is healthier than traditional shortening and gives my tortillas a much softer texture.

Next: add all of your ingredients to your mixer bowl.
Mix on low for about 1 minute or until the dough looks like this:
Mix on Medium for 4-6 minutes or until the dough looks like this:

Next: divide your dough into 8 equal pieces:

Cover the 8 balls with a paper towel and let "rest" for 20 minutes

Lightly flour your counter and roll out the ball until it is 6-8 inches. This one is rolled out to 8 inches exactly

Pre-heat your skillet to Med.

Add your tortilla and cook for about 30-45 seconds 
or until you see lots of bubbles:
After you see all of the bubbles, 
flip over and cook the other side for 15-20s. 
You want both sides to be lightly browned like this:
Once the first tortilla is finished, place it on a paper towel covered plate (this will prevent it from getting soggy from the condensation on the plate) and repeat until all 8 are finished!

Next: Start preparing ingredients for Quesadillas 

Shred cheese: 
Freshly grated cheese is much softer than packaged shredded cheese
 It also helps tone your arm muscles!

Cook chicken with a little taco seasoning sprinkled on both sides.

We were feeling tropical last night so we opted to go with a mango salsa instead of a traditional Pico de gallo (tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper) but both are delicious with quesadillas

Cut ingredients for Mango Salsa

You will need:
1 mango
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 large cucumber
1/4 med onion
a tbsn or 2 of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno
1 lime, freshly sqeezed
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all of your veggies and mix them together with the lime juice.

Start Making Quesadillas:
Heat non-stick skillet on Med heat and add a little olive oil or butter.
Add cheese and chicken to first tortilla and cook on Med heat for about 1 minute or until cheese is melted

Add a 2nd tortilla on top and press down into the melted cheese before flipping over to cook the other side.
 Cook the other side for 1 minute or 2. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the quesadillas.

Enjoy your homemade Quesadillas and Mango Salsa

Tortillas can also be used for fajita & taco night. For desert, drizzle a warm tortilla with honey and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. My Husband also loves to use them for breakfast tacos with sausage, egg and cheese . Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monster-In-Law? No! Mother-In-Love? Yes!!

My In-Laws were recently visiting us in Nashville from Texas. While they were here, my Mother-In-Law showed me her newest hobby, Embroidery! I had a couple of friends who recently had babies, so we went to work creating these adorable Burp Cloths!! I was amazed that she could start with a few raw materials and create these cute & functional baby gifts!!

It made me really excited for when my husband and I are able to start a family of our own. I know that my Mother-In-Law is going to be the BEST Grandma, Granny, MeMe, Nanny, Nana, etc.. in the world!! 

I was recently thinking about the term Mother-In-Law and how it has such a negative connotation; people have even coined the term Monster-In-Law and have created movies, books, blogs, etc about how horrible Mother-In-Laws can be.

Mother-IN-LAW.... makes me think of being married by THE law.... as when people legally get married in a courthouse. But, my husband and I weren't married in a courthouse by people of the Law, we were married in a church by God's Love..... So, I feel like a more appropriate term would be: Mother-In-Love.

Mother-In-Love is certainly a more applicable title to my MIL, whom I refer to simply as, Mom. She has been more of a mother to me in the past 7 years than my biological Mother. She is a wonderful role model for the kind of mother I (and my sister) want to be to our future children. I am constantly amazed at how she ALWAYS puts the needs of her children before her own.... Her children are now adults in their mid-20's.... But, to her, they will always be her babies, and I feel so BLESSED to be counted as one of her babies!!

I came across this funny Mother-In-Law "prayer" online:

“O, Lord, help me to be glad when my son (or daughter) picks a mate. If he brings home a girl with two heads, let me love both of them equally. And when my son says, ‘Mom, I want to get married,’ forbid that I should blurt out, ‘How far along is she?’
“And please, Lord, help me to get through the wedding preparations without a squabble with the ‘other side.’ And drive from my mind the belief that had my child waited a while, he or she could have done better.
“Dear Lord, remind me daily that when I become a grandmother, my children don’t want advice on how to raise their children any more than I did when I was raising mine.
“If you will help me to do these things, perhaps my children will find me a joy to be around, and maybe I won’t have to write a ‘Dear Abby’ letter complaining about my children neglecting me. Amen.”

I doubt that my MIL read this, but she is certainly the best MIL I could have asked for. And just in case "Pops" is reading this.... He is the BEST FIL I could ask for.... I will post all of his handy-work as soon as he finishes my Laundry Room!! :)

If you don't feel like you lucked out in the Mother-In-Law/Love department, please remember that at the very least, you owe her a cordial relationship for the simple fact that she is responsible for the man you fell in love with!!

Prayers for happy "In-Love" relationships!!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Today I am so happy because it is the first day of my Good Morning Girls bible study! GMG is a group of girls that hold each other accountable for studying God's word every day. We read the assigned Scripture for the day and then email or FB each other to check in and let everyone know:

  • That we read the bible that day
  • Our feelings about what we read
  • Any Prayers that we need
  • And to offer Encouragement to everyone in our group
GMG is definitely not something to be taken lightly; It's a 12 week commitment to read the bible and share with your group EVERY day!!! And yet, over 2500 ladies have enrolled! I joined a group with ~20 other ladies from all over the globe. I have never met any of these girls in person, but I already feel so close to them. We are already sharing intimate aspects of our lives with each other and are becoming true sisters in Christ. I think it's amazing that so many women from all walks of life are coming together because of our faith in Christ. It's a wonderful example of God's miraculous love working for us and through us!

I recently started this blog as another form of accountability....I want to be accountable to Father Time! I want to spend less time watching TV/stalking friends on FB and more time learning about God and all the ways to be a good Christian wife. I want to be Accountable to my husband. It's one thing to talk/write/read about being a good wife, but it's another thing all together to BE a good wife. 

Some days are more trying than others in our journey to be good wives, but when we feel like our husbands don't deserve all of the wonderful, selfless things we do for them, remember that there is another being that we are accountable to: God. We serve our husbands in order to Honor God. The marriage between a husband and wife mimic's the marriage between Christ and his church.

  • This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.....and the wife see that she reverence her husband, Eph. 5:32-33

We are called to be accountable to our husbands, our marriages, and most of all to our Lord. So, when times seem tough and you just don't feel like being nice, remember who you are really serving and honoring when you are being a good wife to your husband.

Prayers for accountability and for a meaningful Good Morning Girls Session!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed!

I've always been a pretty laid-back person, but these days it seems difficult to find something in our daily life that DOESN'T stress us out- Waiting in long lines at a grocery store that's equipped with 24 checkout counters but only has 3 open, sitting in traffic, soaring gas prices, reduced income, endless laundry piles etc. Everywhere we go we are surrounded by rude, grumpy, stressed out people who are trying to drag us down-those "Misery loves company" kind of people, and it's so tempting to join their pity parties....

A few weeks ago my 10 minute drive to work turned into 90 minutes because there was a fatal accident on the highway. All of the other people in the cars around me were obviously stressing out as we tried alternate routes, and still moved no faster than 10mph. I however, had just discovered a neat little Bible app on my phone that gave me free access to hundreds of podcasts of famous sermons. So, while I was stuck in traffic I had the opportunity to listen to 3 sermons on the topic of love and marriage, 2 of which were from Father Al Lauer and the 3rd from Joel Osteen. While everyone around me was huffing and puffing and honking their horns, I was listening to God's word and learning ways to make my marriage better. I felt so blessed in that moment that I was fortunate enough to be DRIVING to my JOB and reflecting on my MARRIAGE, while another person had died on their way into work. I was going to get to live that day, while the other person was not. While so many others on the road had let that one thing ruin their whole day, I was feeling more blessed than ever and made sure that I made the most of every second in that day.

A few days after that happened, I was cooking dinner for my husband and listening to another Joel Osteen podcast. He was talking about how we should "display our joy", put a smile on our face, and be cheerful. No matter what are circumstances are, we should "smile by faith". We need to remember that everyday is a day the Lord has made, and we are so blessed to be a part of it. 

All of a sudden that song, "Whistle while you work" popped into my head, and I found myself singing and dancing around the kitchen as I finished preparing dinner and washing the dishes. My husband was wondering why I was so happy- I said, "Why shouldn't I be? I just prepared a lovely meal that I get to share with you in our happy little home". It immediately brought a smile to his face, and the tired, depleted face of a man who just finished a 16 hour shift was completely transformed.

Even when we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed we need to remember to be kind and smile; then the joy will follow. Our husbands, our children, and our friends will all benefit from a home that is full of joy, and that joy starts with us! My husband is often surrounded with sadness and despair at the hospital, & it's my job to remind him of all the reasons we have to be joyful and happy!

People often pray for the difficult things in their life to get better and then wait for good things to come, but that is backwards thinking. We need to first smile and be cheerful, and then God will grant us his Blessings and anoint us with the oil of Joy- Hebrew 1:9

This morning I heard a beautiful song "Blessings" that again made me feel "Too Blessed to be Stressed". One line said, "What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?". I think we are surrounded by stressors on Earth to remind us of all the blessings that come with the life of God. Whether things seem to be going perfect or you feel you're at your wit's end, remember to count your blessings in that moment, because we never know how many more moments in this life God will bless us with. 

Listen to this song:  and remember, we are Too Blessed to be Stressed!

Prayers for homes that are full of Joy & Laughter! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

News Flash: Bashing your husband is NOT cool!

I've had a few people approach me on this subject and it's something that I've seen a lot of myself...I'm new in town and looking for other married women to make friends with, but most of the wives I cross paths with only really talk about, and bond over 1 thing- Husband Bashing! I've only been a wife for a little over 3 months, but I've been my husband's best friend for ~ 7 years, and one thing I know for sure is that husband bashing is NOT cool!

Apparently women have nothing better to talk about, so the theme of morning coffee, afternoon tea, and wive's night out has become "This is how my husband is even worse than yours". Can you believe he did this? Can you believe he said that? He's such an idiot. He's so lazy. Ugh, he's so disgusting! I can't trust him to do anything right with the baby. Why can't he just...

And there are the more general and benign statements as well: "He doesn't appreciate me, He has such a bad temper, He hasn't been very nice lately, We're not really getting along right now, I don't like how he disciplined the children".... But these statements also have lasting effects, and long after you have kissed and made up, your friends will continue to use these statements against your husband.

I have been guilty of joining in on the "fun and games" in the past as well & believe me,  I get it! Our husbands aren't always the most generous, most considerate, most helpful, most handsome, most hygienic people we interact with, but neither are we! Plus, we must have some reason for marrying them in the first place. For me, I love that my husband is:

  • My Best friend
  • Intelligent
  • Hard-Working
  • Pursuing a difficult career so that he can provide a wonderful life for his family
  • My Sous Chef
  • My confidante- I'm sure he'd appreciate the same in me
  • My Fixer- He can solve any problem that I bring to him
  • My Biggest Fan!
  • Going to give me cute little, blonde haired, blue eyed children :) Haha!

I hate that I feel like I'm the rude one or don't fit in when I brag about my husband. "Who does she think she is- talking about her perfect husband all the time? For the record, my husband is not perfect, but he's perfect for me, and I am so proud of him! I think we should start having husband BRAGGING sessions in place of the typical Bashing sessions. I feel like the choice and tone of the words coming out of our mouths dictate our state of mind about whatever we are talking about. How can you possibly LOVE, CHERISH, HONOR & RESPECT your husband on the inside when you are bashing him on the outside? P.S. Do those Capitalized words sound familiar? They were probably part of your wedding vows!!

You made the CHOICE to marry your husband... Now you need to make the CHOICE to wake up every morning and LOVE him, in spite of his faults. Don't you expect him to love you in spite of your faults too?

The next time you're with your friends and they start talking badly about their husbands, chime in with something positive about yours, and remind them how bad they would feel if their husbands were saying the same things about them to their group of guys.

We all have difficulties in our marriages, but we need to bring our concerns to the source-our husbands. If there is something that he's doing that's driving you CRAZY, talk to him about it. Chances are he has no idea that you are so annoyed by him, and he's probably willing to change whatever it is that he's doing to make you happier! I'm sure he'd really respect the fact that you kept your criticism in the home, and didn't make it public.

 If, for some reason he's not willing to talk about it, put it into God's hands. Pray to God to help your husband change his bad habits and pray that God give you a patient, understanding, forgiving heart. We aren't expected to be perfect, all-forgiving souls. But, we are expected to try and to ask God for help when we need it. That's why, in Christian marriages, there are 3 parties involved: You, your husband, and God. If, after trying both of these routes you still feel the need to talk to someone about whatever is bothering you, pick one person whom you trust to not gossip, (a pastor, therapist, sister, etc.) and approach them in a way that says "I need help", not "I hate my husband".

I encourage you to make your own Brag List of the things you love about your husbands. And, the next time he puts the empty milk jug back in the fridge or forgets to take the trash out, think about your BRAG list, not your BASH list and remember why you married him in the first place!

If we SPEAK happy thoughts, we will THINK happy thoughts, and if we think them, we will LIVE them!

Read through this slowly, and absorb every word!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13:4-

Prayers for forgiveness and acceptance,