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Friday, March 28, 2008

Christian Priorities---How Do You Keep Them Straight?

Wow! What a hard subject this is, and one that's hitting me hard at the moment. As you can see if you've visited here much the past two weeks, I've not been posting. It's not been because I don't want to, or don't have anything to say, but rather, because life seems to be running over the top of me lately.

The problem is (and I'll bet you can relate to this)...some of what I found myself doing past two weeks was very necessary, and some seemed to simply sweep me along without my consent. Ten days of company off and on, book revisions and proposal deadlines, not feeling well, and trying to keep up with housework and doing remodel work on a house, have all taken their toll.

Tonight I'm thankful that I had a full day at home. I didn't get everything accomplished I'd hoped for, but I stayed in my pj's till 11 a.m. (shhh...don't tell!) and then puttered on a couple of projects and felt I made progress. Oh...and stared out my window at the blowing snow that's NOT supposed to be coming down a full week after the first day of spring!

But I think this was supposed to be about priorities, right? Like, knowing what our purpose in life is, and keeping fixed in that direction, rather than veering off on a dozen other tangents. That starts with keeping our heart and mind fixed on the Lord...and that takes time and commitment. Time that seems to get eaten up by all the 'necessary' things in life that come at you from all sides. Sure, some of them you can't help, but others can be delegated and even set aside. Some we don't have to say yes to, and some we need to simply use self discipline to avoid (like the internet and playing solitaire, LOL!) that eat up time.

I'm finding that I MUST spend more time with the Lord if I'm going to get through the craziness that seems to hit each day. I need His strength, wisdom and creativity, not to mention patience, to make each day count.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dealing with Change...Your Spouse and Their Dreams

I talked about personal change or the curves that life throws at you last time we chatted, but how about change that comes from those closest to you?

I don't know about you, but I've found that to be some of my most challenging moments. When someone who knows me better than anyone else tries to rock my 'life' boat with change, my hackles tend to raise a little faster than if it's just an acquaintance, or even a friend.

I've experienced this a number of times in my life. My husband, Allen, is someone who does NOT like life to be stagnant, and thrives on change. He's the man who's refurbishing our 51' sail boat so we can start traveling extensively, and he's stated he doesn't care if we 'never come back', LOL! Now I enjoy traveling, and sailing is fun, but I also very much enjoy my home, my yard, my kitties and my extended family. Oh...and somehow I don't think my horse is going to fit on the boat.

So what happens when two desires and two sets of goals clash? Does one have to give up their dream or their desire completely, and give way to the other? Not necessarily, although I'm sure we've all done that to one degree or another. That's where we begin to find out what our marriage is really made of. Are we willing to compromise and give for the sake of the other?

I know my hubby won't demand that I live on our boat forever, but nor should I demand that we only take it out for 2-3 weeks at a time, when he's longing to go for months. We'll both need to give to some degree, and I might just have to bend a little more than him, as I can easily take my laptop aboard, still do my writing, and keep in touch with my family by phone and email. We're not getting any younger, and I have to remind myself that we won't be physically able to handle a large sail boat in say, 15 more years. Once out legs get a bit wobbly, or our site isn't as sharp (you get my meaning...we get OLD, LOL!) I'll have plenty of time to curl up in my comfy house.

Do you have an area in your marriage where you find yourself in disagreement with your spouse on a regular basis. Are your goals and dreams in constant conflict? Ask the Lord to give you insight into your loved one's heart...that you might begin to see life through their eyes, and ask that He do the same thing for them, with you. Try to put yourself in their place, and at least for a time, believe in their dreams and help to attain them. Believe me, the rewards might far exceed what you expect!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Life Decisions Can Be Hard

Change. It's a word that can generate anticipation, fear, anxiety and excitement, to name a few. Life is never constant, but always seems to be in a perpetual state of flux and change. Sometimes it's emotionally satisfying, sometimes it's stressful. Thankfully, if you're a child of God and trusting in Jesus, you can know that He is in control of each change that life throws at you.

We've been struggling to make a decision the past couple of months concerning our new home, and the old one that hasn't sold. We realize now that we jumped the gun on building the new one. We listed the old house when the market was still somewhat strong, but just starting to soften. It didn't sell quickly, and we were already obligated to the construction loan on the new one. It was too late to back out, so we built, doing much of the finish work ourselves, and gaining a tremendous amount of equity. Plus, we'd owned the property for 4 yrs, and the land value had increased to over double what we paid.

We've been faced with a hard decision the past couple of months. Continue to try to sell the old house, or put the new one on the market. My hubby and I both loved the old house, and had done a lot of remodeling and yard work during the four years we lived there. The new house is lovely, truly my dream house, but it's huge. We overbuilt, and are now realizing what a big job it is to keep up with. Our grown kids have been urging us to sell, asking if we really want a house this big for the next 20 yrs...we're not getting any younger. The answer? Not unless I could hire a maid and a landscaper, and that's not an option right now. My hubby has never connected with this house emotionally and misses the old one.

A month ago we put the new house on the market, but I've still been struggling with letting it go. Yesterday we spent a couple of hours at the new house, starting to lay Travertine on the laundry room floor. Today, our daughter and her hubby came to help. The men worked on the tile, and she and I did yard work. And you know what? It felt like I was home. Truly home. I've poured so much time and energy into that yard, and it was starting to come together when we moved. Allen has promised me a brand new kitchen (we have the old 1950's metal cabinets in there now) if we sell the new house and move back, and we're going to replace a few other things inside, as well. The house is a 100 yr old Craftsman/Victorian style, with charm and character, and is SO homey. The updates we'll do will make it even more so.

I must admit, I'm beginning to feel a sense of excitement and joy about the possibility of moving "home" again. Will I miss the new house? Probably for a while. Will I love the feeling of freedom that selling it will bring? You bet! We'll have enough money to pay the new one off, and completely pay off the mortgage on the old one, as well. Mortgage free in 2008...a new beginning...that's our goal this year.

God is good. He didn't allow our old house to sell, and helped us build a large amount of equity in this new one. We'll get to return home to a house we loved, that will be remodeled, updated, and PAID FOR! It doesn't get much better than that!
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