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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are Your Expectations Too High?

Valentine's Day is coming...believe it or not, it's just two weeks away. It doesn't seem possible, but time is flying by.

I don't know about you, but this used to be a day I did NOT look forward to. My hubby is not a romantic and for years did little on Valentine's Day. In fact, if I didn't remind him ahead of time, my birthday and our anniversary often got either overlooked, or was a last minute rush to find something to make me happy.

The title of this post can be applied to any holiday where you have a need to feel special and have your spouse or boyfriend/girl friend (depending on your gender) remember you.

How high are your expectations? Are they such that no matter what he does, you're going to be disappointed because it didn't quite measure up? Are you setting yourself up to be let down? Or can you be content with what he does, and say a simple, heartfelt 'thank you' if he does anything at all?

This is the place I finally came to, as getting upset and disappointed that he wasn't putting out the effort I felt he should, only brought continued stress and division. Holidays and birthdays became a mini war zone, or at least a day to retreat into my quiet space and try to pretend everything was 'fine'. I'm not great at hiding my emotions, though...and that rarely worked. My hubby got the idea fairly quickly and division and hurt ensued... the problem is, he didn't MEAN to neglect me, he just doesn't have a strong understanding of what romance means to me.

Over the years, he's gotten better and now (after 35 yrs of marriage) I can pretty much count on dinner out or flowers, or both. No, he's never planned a romantic evening with reservations, a hotel get away, or special gifts planned far in advance...but I've also learned to be thankful for the bouquet he brings home, or the dinner he takes me to, even when it's to a place we might frequent often. You see, I've learned to not set myself up for disappointment. He is who he is, and I've learned to accept that. I've learned to say thank you, I love you, I appreciate you, when he puts out any effort at all. And you know what? It's reaping rewards. When I make a big deal out of the little things he does, he seems to want to do more.

The bible says "give and it shall be given back to you, pressed down, running over..." And I think this applies to our husbands as well. If we give them affirmation, adoration and appreciation, they'll be hungry for more. If we give them disappointment, anger and recriminations, that too will come back to us. It will come back pressed down and running over.

So it's your choice....what do you want to have come back to you this Valentine's Day? Anger or joy?

Friday, January 25, 2008

When Two People Say It...You Listen!

The Bible talks about listening to the counsel of others, and where two or three witnesses testify to something. Now I'm not talking about listening to gossip or well meaning friends trying to talk you into buying a new dress, LOL! I'm talking about listening when you believe someone with wisdom in a given area makes a suggestion and shortly after, another person states the same thing... with no prior knowledge of the counsel already given.

I had that happen this past week, in two different areas, but both have to do with book marketing, to some degree. But more importantly, with an area of ministry that's always tugged at my heart.

I've felt for a number of years that I'm supposed to be speaking and ministering to women beyond what I've been doing. I've led small groups, taught Bible studies and prayer groups, headed up committees and even spoken at our church when our pastor was absent. But I've not spoken specifically at women's groups as the featured speaker.

A few days ago my agent suggested it was time I consider putting out feelers and let churches and groups know I'm available to speak. The following day I spent an hour on the phone with a professional marketing consultant. We don't know one another personally, but after chatting for about 40 minutes she urged me to consider a speaking ministry.

Ministry you say? Wouldn't I just be trying to tout my book and writing career? No, absolutely not. Of course name recognition is important to book sales, but I'm talking about speaking to women's hearts about issues that are important to them. My first book deals with marriage and family issues--some of which I've lived personally. Being unequally yoked with a spouse who isn't a believer, having an unexpected child come into your life that belongs to you spouse and dealing with the resultant fall-out. Dealing with emotions as a direct result of both of these issues.

My second book deals with loss....How many of us have lost material things and found that when we did, our world turned upside down? How many of us at least know of someone who lost their job, their home, their credit rating, if not more? Can you relate to that type of loss and are you able to speak into people's lives who've experienced the same? I have and I can. We've been close to bankruptcy more than once in our early years of marriage, had to voluntarily turn a car back to a bank, lost jobs, had to walk away from a business because of a huge tax liability, and the list goes on. We've experienced laying awake at night from stress and wondering how we'd keep the electricity on after the phone was turned off.

Fiction is relevant and speaks to our lives. So many people believe that fiction, even Christian fiction, is a waste of time and has little or no place in a Christian's busy time schedule....either in reading, or writing. I beg to differ. Some of the most profound truths have hit me through a book of fiction. When my marriage was struggling it was a book of fiction that impacted me and spoke to my heart. Of course, so did many non-fiction books, but I've had a number of fiction books speak into my life over the years.

How about you? Is there a work of fiction that's touched your life? Leave a comment and tell us the title and what it was that ministered to you!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trying to Catch UP!!

Where do the days go???

I can't believe I've allowed almost two weeks to pass without blogging. I tried getting into my blog to catch up with you all a few days ago and couldn't get in. Then life got in the way and the days blasted past at lightening speed.

So here I am, sitting in my easy chair on a Sunday afternoon, still in my pj's and bathrobe, having stayed home from church with some form of vertigo. The room occasionally goes into spin mode, and I feel like I'm in the center of a clothes dryer as the walls tumble around me. It doesn't seem to matter if I'm sitting, lying down, or walking around, it hits periodically with no warning. Very disconcerting to say the least. I thought it might be a tad bit embarrassing to attend church and fall on my rear on the way to my seat. I just hold on to walls and chair backs here, and stay in my easy chair most of the time.

We've spent the last two weeks running around like crazy finishing a ton of small detail work in our new home so we can get it on the market. Fourteen realtors did a walk through on Wednesday morning to preview it, and it hit the multiple listing on the internet on Friday. We're trying to remain open to what the Lord would have us do. Our old home hasn't sold and we don't want to continue to pay two mortgages. It seems that the housing slump hasn't hit the high end houses as hard as the mid line ones, so this one might have a better chance of selling. We have a large amount of equity in the new one, which would allow us to pay it off as well as the old one, and be mortgage free, something we've never experienced before. I love this house and had hoped to live it in the rest of my life, but I also like the idea of being out of debt.

God knows what's best for us, and we're leaving it to Him.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Prayers You Can Pray For the New Year

Here are a few prayers that a friend posted on a group that I belong to. I hope some of the scriptures and suggestions are a blessing.

Pray daily for:
1. A deeper understanding of my value and worth before God.

Ephesians 1:3-4; Psalm 139:1-18

2. Caring Christian friendships and involvement in Christian community. (In
our case, especially with other Christian writers.)

Hebrews 10:25; Proverbs 27:8-10, 17

3. Opportunities to share Christ through my words (both spoken and written)
and actions.

Matthew 25:34-40; Matthew 28:18-20

4. Strength to stand firm in the face of temptation. (Especially the
temptation to quit writing.) 1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 6:13

5. Greater understanding of what it means to be loved by God and to love

Philippians 1:9-11; Romans 8:38-39

6. Integrity and honesty.

Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 101:2b-3

7. Humility to admit my sins and ask for forgiveness. Proverbs 28:13; Acts 3:19

8. Wisdom in my daily life and actions. (And in the words I write.)

James 1:5; Psalm 25:4-5

9. A sense of God's calling and purpose in my life. (Especially my writing

Ephesians 4:1-3; Ephesians 1:11-12

10.Gratitude in all things.

Colossians 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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