Friday, January 22, 2010

Time Out

I'm taking a time out from the Love Dare, I look forward to starting it again soon. Something is going on in my house that I just can't put my finger on. My husband has been harsh, condescending, bitter, and angry for the past week or so. I really need to use any time I have wisely in regards to our marriage. I feel as though it is POP QUIZ time. I've been learning a lot from this book and maybe now is the time to put what I've been learning to the test. I'm going to be reviewing the past 20 days and making a little chart of the titles so I can remember what I've learned. I know God's timing is perfect and I believe that He's got me focusing on my marriage right now for a reason. I know that the things meant for harm and destruction God uses for good. I am praying for a breakthrough here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Timing and Time

Yesterday's Love Dare about fighting clean came at the perfect time. Something is up with Sug the past few days. He's just been really self-centered and grumpy. The baby has had a fever and hasn't been sleeping, so Sug decided to lay down with her while I wrestled the older girls into bed. Needless to say, he and the baby fell asleep. I took the opportunity to write a paper I needed to complete for my doula certification and when I was done, I began to lockdown the house which included trying to pack the woodstove to make it through the night. This is a job that frankly, I am just no good at. I'm good at getting the thing started thanks to my cross country camping escapade in my earlier years, and I even keep it going all day long, but the packing it up for the night thing never bodes well. A few minutes later, when I got into bed and switched positions with him, he began to freak out because I packed the stove wrong. In his freakfest, he decided he was going to prove just how bad a job I did. Instead of fixing my mistake, he decided to let the fire run it's course and consequently burn out in the middle of the night. He woke up with that "I'll show her mentality" and didn't start it this morning either. All I can say is he's lucky yesterday's dare was yesterday's dare. Last night, I had mentioned that he was well aware of my deficiency in this area and I was only trying to help. This morning, I asked him for my grill lighter so I could start the fire (he had borrowed it and I couldn't find it)and after a few snide remarks, I explained that I needed the fire to keep the baby (who still has a fever) warm. I never said anything rudely, angrily or even passive aggressively. I just stated the facts and did what I needed to do without anger or malice or deceit. Needless to say, I've already received two apologetic phone calls and have been met with soft words and an even softer heart. I thank God for the timing of this lesson in my life. This whole situation would normally have looked VERY different. I'm hoping if I can keep it all up, my husband will respond accordingly, and our children will also notice a change and be better able to harness their anger. Today's Dare suggests forfeiting a normal activity in order to spend some quality time with your spouse. Tonight my husband has school so I usually don't see much of him. I plan on forfeiting a few hours of sleep in order to greet him when he gets home and ask him how his day was and spend a little time reconnecting. I need to remember that this is all just a season of our lives and our marriage and as I've heard quite often, one of the most difficult. Lack of sleep, short tempers and being needed at every moment sure makes things difficult. My love for God, my husband and children and my commitment to this marriage is what makes getting over these hurdles possible. So far, the Love Dare has helped me to see where I've begun to slack in the effort department and where I've chosen to take shortcuts. It has also revealed the cycle of bitterness and anger that rolls rampant around my home and has given me scripture verses as well as practical ways to integrate what I've learned into my daily life. I pray that God will continue to use The Love Dare to refine me as a wife and mother and strengthen my marriage.

Monday, January 18, 2010

No Hitting Below the Belt

Things have been really busy here. Bunny's getting a new tooth and has just gotten over a fever to beat all fevers. She's still pretty listless and needs lots of love from her mama. I was disappointed because I couldn't participate in Craft Hope's newest project. It involves knitting and that is one craft I haven't even attempted. My disappointment was short lived as they are now hosting an Etsy shop with all donated craft items that will benefit Doctor's Without Borders for Haiti. (Sorry I haven't added any links, for some reason, they haven't been working for me) I've decided to make some stuffed animals: bears, giraffes, pigs, birds... for this project, and I've been busy. I'll post some pictures soon. And, getting back to The Love Dare, Day #12 has yet to pertain to us. We are told to willingly choose to give in to an area of disagreement, letting my husband know that I am putting his preference first. To tell you the truth, nothing came up yesterday, but knowing God, the opportunity will present itself soon. Today's Dare is to make rules to fighting fairly and live by them, with or without your spouse. So I guess this would mean not calling my husband a *^%*face which I did last night after he started freaking out about helping me get our super restless and strong-willed children to bed so that I could finally lay the sick baby down....dun dun dun...during the last 2 minutes of a really close football game. He was being a *^%*face, I guess next time I don't actually need to tell him. Oh the highs and lows of marriage. My husband laughed at my choice of insult and realized how petty and selfish he was being. It's all good. It just stinks when it gets to a place like that and there are no formal rules set in place to protect you from your own stupidity. Proverbs 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks insult. Proverbs 14:17 A quick tempered man does foolish things.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Long Time No See

It's been a few days since my last post. There's a whole lot going on over here. Anyway, let's backtrack to Day #9. The Love Dare is to greet and welcome your spouse with a smile and enthusiasm. WHOA!!!! My husband and I have been married 6 years and not once did I ever pay attention to how I greet him. I have to admit, 3 days later and I'm still working on this one. I guess we're just a little too comfortable with one another, enough so that any type of greeting has all but disappeared. Even on the phone, we barely say "Hi.". What an eye opener. So as I mentioned, this one is still in the works. I don't want to scare the poor guy. Greeting him with an enthusiastic smile all of a sudden may lead him to believe that we're pregnant again, and that's just not something I want to be conveying right now. Day # 10 speaks of unconditional love and doing something for your spouse that proves that your love for them is based on a conscience choice. This one was much easier. I chose to clean the litterbox. It was as good as proof of unconditional love gets. I HATE cleaning the litterbox, but I love my husband and chose to step outside of myself and do it for him. I can't promise that I will always do it, but I'm now aware of what it symbolizes and I will consider doing it much more often. Today's Love Dare, Day #11, tells us to choose a gesture that says "I cherish you" and do it with a smile. So I decided to look up the word cherish, not because I don't know what that means, but for insight on how I may be able to convey it to my husband in a specific way. Here's what it said "Cherish suggests regarding or treating something as an object of affection or as valuable". I have to admit, as far as objects go, there are very few in my life that I think of as valuable. The few things I do view that way are each treated very differently. The whereabouts of my wedding rings, Bible and camera are always known. They are most always on my person or within arms reach. I have a special coin that my great uncle gave me that sits protected in a special place in my room not to be touched by small hands. Our TV and computer are used daily. Which one of these valuable items resembles the way I feel about Sug? The funny thing is that I would turn each and every one of these things over to him without thinking twice about it. I know he's much more than these things and I do cherish him. The question is how to show it. Well, I've got some thinking and praying to do over this one. Praise God that He is Faithful and will provide the perfect opportunity today to prove all of this to my husband.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

This morning's love dare is about jealousy (of you spouse specifically). I have to confess that I had no idea that this existed until I spoke to a friend whose whole entire marriage was based on jealousy. She, unfortunately, is no longer married, but I was able to see how harmful this is in a marriage. God being the great Teacher has shown me how jealousy can and has crept into my marriage. For some reason, nobody in my house feels the need to sleep at night and when they wake they don't hesitate to scream out MY name. They need their blankets pulled up or a stuffed animal whose fallen on the floor, not to mention Bunny still nurses at least twice a night (a sure underestimation). So, after 2 nights of seeing every hour, my husband who took the day off yesterday and had the house to himself (prime sleep opportunity), informed me that as soon as he got home he would be taking a nap because he was exhausted. Anyone who knows me, knows that that went over like a lead balloon. But, this is a walk of thinking and behaving differently. I did lose it this morning, but I am finding it in my heart to forgive him and let it go. I need to find my own provision for sleep and not be jealous of his. Today's love dare is not only to burn the negative list we wrote yesterday, but also to join your spouse in celebrating a recent success. Today may be the most difficult yet because I need to get over myself first. God will prove Himself faithful.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lists, Lists, Lists

I LOVE lists. I write at least one a day and probably have hundreds of them lying in the corners of my mind. Grocery lists, to do lists, not to do lists, bucket lists, prayer lists, lists of ideas, lists of potential baby names (just in case), the list goes on (heehee). Yesterday and today, the Love Dare involve lists. Day #6 asks for a list of areas in my life that need to add a margin to my schedule and any wrong motivations that need to be released from my life. So here it goes: Finances, Sleep, Patience, Joy & Fun. WRONG MOTIVATIONS: Insecurity, Anger, Rage, Impatience. I have learned that these wrong motivations affect the things I have to make room for in an ugly circle type way. As soon as I miss some much needed sleep, I allow Anger into my life, which robs me of my Patience and in turn my Joy and Fun which increases the Anger to a state of Rage. I need to make room for sleep in my life as well as Patience, Joy and Fun. I think I'll leave the Finances up to God. That's what He wants anyway. Day #7 asks for two lists. One about all the positive things you can think about your spouse, and one with all the negative things. These are to be on two separate sheets of white paper for a future use. I will not be sharing these lists for obvious reasons. This could prove to be interesting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Annoying!?!? Who!??!?! Me!?!?!?

Day #5 of Love Dare tells us to ask our spouse to tell us three things that cause them to be uncomfortable or irritated with us. The key to this love dare is not to bug out and start telling them your list against them. So, in order to get this one accomplished I had to completely spill the beans to Sug about doing The Love Dare. He basically thought that I was trying to start some sort of argument or something and continued to tell me that he had no idea what I was talking about. "You don't make me uncomfortable or irritable." Finally, he asked me for 3 things that make me feel that way about him. Trust me coming up with three things was super easy, but it was just coming up with the three things I wanted him to know about that was a little more difficult. Do I mention the fact that he leaves coffee grounds on the counter, so every morning when I start to make the kids' breakfasts and lunches I have to clean up the whole coffee area first for fear of super over-caffeinated children all day long? Or do I mention that he's got shoes, slippers, and boots placed strategically all over our house, waiting for just the right moment to trip you? Or what about the fact that as soon as Bunny begins drifting off to sleep, he feels the need to call to me from the farthest room of the house, expecting me to call back in return and when I do not, he busts right into the room and asks why I'm not responding, in turn waking up the baby? Or maybe the fact that I ask him on Sundays what he needs from the supermarket on Monday mornings only to be told that there is nothing he can think of, until, Monday afternoon when he calls because he just remembered that he needs shaving cream, razors, and deodorant? The list of possibilities seems endless. Anyway, I ended up choosing three and said "Now it's your turn." My husband stared at me and laughed. "Honestly, besides your unnecessary concerns about your appearance, I got nothin'. All those little things things that are or can be annoying are actually quite funny. So, right now there is nothing I can think of that makes me uncomfortable or irritated, but I'll let you know when I think of something." Maybe Day #5 didn't go as planned. Needless to say, I'll be expecting a phone call later this afternoon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Just Called to Say....

Today's Love Dare is to call your spouse just to check in and see how they're doing. This one didn't work out so well last time because my hubby was at work. Although I think for most people it would work better on a weekday, today is perfect for us. In a few hours, Sug is going to go out into the freezing cold with a buddy of his and go digging for clams. Yes, in the freezing, cold, wet ocean. Perfect for a phone call and maybe even an attempt at making coffee for when he gets home. My day will consist of taking my girls to a birthday party at the local movie theater. Yes, warm, joy-filled focused children, then coming home to fresh dug clams. I'm certain today is going to be quite favorable all around.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cha Ching

Wherever your time, energy, and money is spent is where your heart truly is. The Love Dare today is to buy something for my husband to let him know that I am thinking of him. This is going to be difficult. I need to buy Frontline and flea shampoo for the dog and cat and although I can convince myself that this would bless him, I kind of think they have something different in mind. Maybe I'll buy him a coffee on my way home from our CSA today. I'll have to pray about it a little more. I'm sure God knows the perfect thing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day #2, Again

Today for the Love Dare, I will be doing something kind for my husband. Now we just had an argument yesterday about my laundry method. I would rather do all the laundry in 1-2 days rather than 1-2 loads/day. The problem my husband has with my method is the fact that we don't have a folding table and I use the dining room (using the term loosely) table to fold and sort the laundry. Because I think it is a waste of time to put stuff away each time they come out of the dryer, I leave the clothes on the table until the whole job is done which is usually 2 days. So, today being laundry day, I will put the clothes away before he gets home and then proceed to put away each load as it is finished. It's going to be a huge pain in the hiney, but my husband will appreciate it and I get a little exercise in.
On another note, I've been having quite a few little flickers of thought about starting my own business. For me, it is a terrifying thought. Anything I have ever attempted before has always gone up in smoke. I have to admit, mostly they have been done my own control freak way instead of letting God lead, and the reasons and motivations are usually quite self focused. This time I'm going slow and letting God lead the way. First I need to finish my DONA birth doula certification which may/may not include becoming a childbirth educator and/or a lactation consultant. All of my massage stuff is in order, but I will need to brush up on business skills and break out the table for a few "getting back into the swing of things" freebies. Right now I'm just thinking, praying, listening, and waiting for His word in His time so I know that it will all be for His glory.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Here We Go Again

Now what better motivator to restart a prevoiusly failed effort but to join in with hundreds of others doing the same thing? Just this morning, my local Christian radio station (K-Love) started The Love Dare!!! Imagine that. If there was any doubt in me that God wants me doing this thing, that's long gone. Day One's dare is essentially following the advice of Thumper's wise father. To loosely quote Walt Disney's Bambi: (Thumper's Mother) "Thumper, what is it your father told you? (Thumper, looking super cute and not so innocent) "If you can't say something nice, then don't say nuthin at all". Great advice. I noticed this morning that the words I used towards Sug in a short conversation we had were not unkind or hurtful, but that my intention behind them was more than a little bit self righteous and in turn a jab of blame mixed with a tiny bit of a condescending tone. As soon as God revealed my true heart in the matter, which ended up being my need to feel validated, I called Sug and appologized for my snarkiness. I haven't spoken to him since but he should be home soon. Today may be harder than I thought, especially since my words are only a small portion of how I communicate. My thoughts and intentions are being brought into the light as well. As a woman who just lets it all go at the mouth, today will not be easy, but the Lord knows and He loves me and will help me to see what needs to change and provide the way to do it.