Thanksgiving Thursday: The Gift of a Man

Skot

The life-blood of Thanksgiving Thursday is gratitude: unwrapping gifts and giving thanks to the Giver.  One of God’s greatest gifts to me is my husband.

Six feet of God’s most magnificent handiwork, this man is nothing less than my constant rock, best friend, intimate ally, steadfast partner, and covenant lover.

My ultimate gratitude for my husband belongs to God. But I am grateful – so very grateful – to my husband for everything he is and everything I’ve known with him and everything he gives me to look forward to.

Friday is his birthday, and I give the gift of thanks for all his gifts to me.

Proud Wife

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

   He has character

Character denotes many qualities, and my husband exhibits all of character’s indications. He’s honorable, ethical, compassionate, honest, courageous, passionate, and teachable. He is tender and responsive toward God’s leading, and stands ready to do all that is asked of him. With Joshua’s fearlessness, Daniel’s courage, and David’s faith (Joshua 1:7 & 6:17; Daniel 1:8; Acts 13:22), he is a man of integrity and love.

   He lets me sleep

I’ve never been an early riser, and he’s never asked me to change. Through 15 years of marriage, one daughter, and many life changes, he’s always let me sleep.

   He gives amazing back rubs

His powerful hands work with precision, talent, and erotic strength. A back rub is only a back rub, though. And that leads to the next gift.

   He gave me a daughter

Of all the things he’s given me over all the years we’ve been together, our daughter stands supreme. And he’s a rock star dad!

 

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   He’s faithful

My beloved is mine, and I am his. A cord of three is not easily broken.

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   He’s a man

He’s sweet, smart, kind, and loving, but he’s made of brawn, backbone, bravery, and bold confidence.

   He communicates

He talks – really. Sweet, laborious, fun, hard, dreamy, frightening, or silly, he communicates. Long chats are our Modus Operandi.

  He lets me buy books

He doesn’t know how much I spend on Amazon, and he doesn’t care. I love to read, he loves me.

Truths of my life

 

 

   He’s affectionate

He holds my hand and he kisses my daughter. He canoodles on the couch and he hugs my mama. He throws his arm over me as we sleep and he lets me toss my leg over his. His touch is soft, his hold firm, and his cuddles perfect.

   He’s goofy

He’s my kind of groovy: innately fun and full of laughter.

   He works hard so I can stay home

He knows I am ardently dedicated to raising the child I brought into this world, and so is he. He loves her enough to work skillfully and capably to provide for us so I may bring up and nurture our child.

They Are Your Work

   He supports my work-from-home love

I have found my life’s passion in writing, and he supports me in every way. He proofreads, keeps the kid while I write, lets me work in bed, and tells me I’m fantastic at what I do. 

   He creates a haven-home with me

Our home is a shelter. We do love. He makes it that way.

Love

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Thanksgiving Thursday, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Gifts

At our house, we have the world’s best screen saver: our photos. One by one they slip on to the screen, then off, making way for the next memory-packed snapshot. I love it.

 

But many of the pictures taken through the years could use a little sprucing up. Some never were rotated to their correct position, some need cropped, some need the lighting changed. So for the past two weeks (and counting) I have stolen spare moments to crop, tip, brighten, back-light, re-size, and rotate several year’s worth of digital photographs.

 

Many memories are bittersweet, bringing tears and half-smiles. Some are downright hilarious, bringing fits of laughter. All are precious. People I miss and animals I don’t, Christmas lights and fireworks, ships and trains, anniversaries and birthdays, dirty dishes and dirty faces, tight places and wide-open spaces, road trips and Jeep trips, Rocky mountains and Iowa farms, kids and sunsets, pain and joy and life and love.

 

I’ve snotted, snorted, giggled, sniffled, belly laughed, and bawled my way through abundant gifts given, and I’ve counted the ways the Giver loves me. “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1.

 

My Thanksgiving List 10/25/12

372. Flannel sheets and electric bed blankets

397. Toys that I love just as much as Peanut does!

392. Dancing with my daughter as she leads me in what seems to be a cross between the Cha Cha and Paso Doble

402. The first eggnog of the season

403. Seasonal candles

406. Honeycrisp apples

416. The warmth of our wood stove

420. New growth in old relationships

424. Though I know not what my future holds, I know Who holds my future

437. Toddlers in backward baseball caps and blue jeans

430. New week, new start, new possibilities

428. Husband-made Chick-Fil-A sandwich replicas and waffle fries on a Sunday

436. Restaurant ribbon cuttings that include free meals

434. The excitement of new possibilities

415. Jehovah Jireh, My Provider

                                                                      Photo Credit

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week? Do you ever sit and look through old photographs?

Pages of Motherhood: Bounce ‘N Spin Froggy, True Love and an MLT

In all divisions of life, I am dedicated to living each day intentionally. As a parent, I am dedicated to gleaning wisdom and gaining knowledge from intentionally living these days of mothering my precious peanut. This dedication has led me to hand-write the moments of my mother-journey. They are my own reflections, memories, ideas, thoughts, prayers,musings, embarrassments, observances, amusements and ponderings. These “pages of motherhood” are for me, they are not for the public, at least not most of them. There are some, however, that I want to share with you. Sometimes I need fresh eyes and wiser perspectives. Sometimes I want to share my raw frustrations, a newly uncovered nugget of wisdom, or the sparkling gem of laughter. Following below is one moment from my pages of motherhood:

True love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT: a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.” ~ Miracle Max, The Princess Bride.

For my 33rd birthday last week my parents gifted me with money and instructed me to buy something for myself. That is tough for me these days since almost any cash that comes through my fingers is automatically spent on my daughter. The money-tree life of a parent – sigh. Besides, if I did use money to pamper myself, I would buy one thing: Time. Or a massage. Thankfully, though, my sweet husband knew that and gave me a certificate for an hour-long massage! =)

Fondling my perfectly straight greenbacks and contemplating how to spend these precious dollars, I watched Shelby as she sat happily batting at fuzzy rattling dice on a bulky, gigantic pink “jumparoo” play station.

Our home is tiny, not quite 1,000 square feet. I learned early on that to have a fairly organized and mess-free home, I must be space conscious and fill it with perfectly sized treasures. I endeavor to keep toys, bouncers, swings and socks from intruding into our living space, or at the very least keep them to an unobtrusive minimum (although bibs, bottles and shop towels are a lost cause). This massive bouncing blob of baby paraphernalia, however, was not helping my quest to make our small home feel “unsquished”.

I giggled at my daughter’s goofy grin but crinkled my nose at the monstrosity in my living room. Then again, when you find something – anything – that your 5-month-old is willing to sit in for more than five minutes, you take it with open arms and provide it with a loving home. It gives a busy mama precious time.

Time! I really could buy myself time…and bring unsquishyness, er, organization, back to our home. I promptly and excitedly drug my weary husband and sleepy child through Wal-Mart until I found the perfect thing: the Fisher-Price Space Saver Bounce ‘N Spin Froggy. Light and compact with sanity-saving volume control and musical spinning eyes, my daughter can bounce, bat, jump and play to her heart’s content, my home is clutter-free, and I have time! Some might say the Bounce ‘n Spin Froggy is “all that and a bag of chips.” I say it’s true love…and an MLT!

Curves and Curls: A Daughter’s Reflections on Raising A Girl

We chose to find out. My world was rocked and changed when the ultrasound showed proof that my tummy is home and haven to a 9oz little girl. A girl. Sugar and spice and everything nice. A girl. Bows and ribbons, curves and curls.

I drove directly from the office to the department store and bought a pink diaper bag. Her first pink thing. A girl. I am having a girl! As you may have caught, I am in awe.

A rush of emotions have surged through me since finding out our bundle of joy will come home in soft pink jammies. I must admit to having felt fear among the joy and excitement. Boys seem so easy to raise. Don’t all you have to do for boys is give them a stick and some rocks to play with and tell them to go break something? But a girl is fragile and precious, a creature with emotions that run deep, a heart that is gentle, and a face that makes you melt.

So I posed a question to those already raising daughters: how do you raise a girl? What advice could these daughter-raising forerunners afford me? I received many responses, nuggets and gems aplenty. I was inspired by the answers I was given. But then I posed another question, this one to daughters. I asked them to tell me what their parents did that made a positive impact on them; what was important to them as little girls. These answers were the truest, most raw and honest looks into a daughter’s heart. As I read them, my tears flowed openly.

I began to think of my own girlhood, and looked into the heart that was shaped by being my parents’ daughter. There I found what I was looking for. This is what I learned from my reflections:

I learned to always wrap a girl up in a blanket when she is frightened, hurt, or sick. Making her warm milk and honey is the next best thing, so I should do both.

I must teach her to search God’s Word for herself. This way her foundation will be built on truth, and she can stand unshaken even when her heroes fail and crumble.

I learned to allow her to wear shoes that I hate, but not skirts that I think are too short.

I want to tell her that dirty dishes were invented so mothers and daughters could talk. There isn’t a much better time to talk about anything.

I learned that her daddy should teach her to read a map, shoot straight, drive a stick shift, and paint a good edge.

I need to let her know that as long as she will be honest with me, I will never, ever take anyone else’s word above hers. When trust is broken, it needs rebuilt. It may take time, but it will happen.

I want her to know that thunderstorms and mountains may be God’s most magnificent creations.

I will teach her that her self-worth is founded on the very fact that her soul was bought by the blood of Christ.

I must tell her to seize every opportunity and that every moment counts, but even when she fails, the mercies of God are new every morning and they do not fail.

I want her to enjoy each stage of her lovely life, for her to know that the “real world” can be fun, and that while it presents its own challenges, she’ll be just fine when she gets there.

I will pray with her at the end of each day, and let her know that the Creator of heaven and earth shields her as she sleeps, and no evil in the dark can stand against her tonight.

I will passionately love her father, and I will tell her every day how much her daddy loves her.

I want her to love music, laugh too loud, enjoy food, and stand for truth no matter what the cost.

I want to teach her that boys should open doors, walk closest to the street on a sidewalk leaving her the inside, and always understand that no means no. If he doesn’t understand this, she should talk to her daddy; he will assist the boy in this understanding.

I want her to know that I do not care what career path she chooses, but when a woman decides to have children, that responsibility supersedes career. As far as it is up to her, she should never be satisfied to allow someone else to raise her child.

I wish for her to treasure memories above things, to treasure the photographs that capture those memories, but even more important, to treasure the people in those memories.

And above all, I want to train up a fierce and feminine warrior for the Kingdom of God, a champion of righteousness, a woman to storm the gates of hell and claim her corner of the world for her Lord…and she can do it all with curves and curls.

Nesting Heart and Home

What a year 2010 was! With the beginning came not resolution on my part, but a still, small voice telling me things were going to change, to grow, and, as I waited on the Lord, I would find the truth of who I was, who I was to become. I felt it impressed on me that I was to stay home and to create and settle into a warm and secure refuge. In essence, it was to be a year of nesting. I didn’t see this as heavy, frightening, or even exciting at the time, but simply a peaceful comfort to my stressed and tired mind.

I had spent the last three years searching for God’s call on my life. This quest found me at the end of 2009 with my fingers in many proverbial pots and I was feeling the pressure and becoming exhausted. So I contentedly accepted the reprieve and asked God to grant me the grace and wisdom to understand and accomplish what He had for me to do.

The year’s adventures began at the end of January clothed in pain and trauma, yet adorned with hope and possibilities. We never got to know about our baby before the miscarriage. As my body healed, my heart gave the sacrifice of praise. I began creating and settling into a warm and secure refuge by presenting my praise in writing. Soon, as He said, God began to show me a large part of who I was to become, and I was offered a stay-at-home writing job that was quickly turned into a promising career.

Watching and recognizing God’s provision in His plan for things to change and grow in my life gave even greater motivation to “nest” our home, our refuge, for what may still come. A sense of great purpose filled my soul.

The year progressed with a flurry of activities and work. Never one to miss the fun, busyness, and party that is life, I participated happily and fully. Then came an unexpected and surprising opportunity to adopt an unborn child. Was this the purpose I was to fulfill? Was this how God was to show me who I was to become? My husband and I searched out the possibility while staying in prayer, but this baby was not to be ours. I went back to the flurry of activities, but the year was finding its way fast into a beautiful Colorado fall. My job was multiplying and life was rolling on fast and furiously.

And then, on October 27th, I understood 2010’s complete picture. Two pink lines provided the answer to why I was to stay home, why I was to nest our home, why I was to create and settle into a warm and secure refuge, and who I was to become.

I am excited, I am blessed. As I look forward to everything that 2011 holds, I am preparing not only my home, but my heart. Raising and molding a child is an awesome and heavy responsibility, one that I know I can only handle through God’s grace and strength. And so, I am nesting…nesting my home, nesting my heart, creating and settling into my warm and secure refuge of God’s grace and strength.

The Haven

The Haven
I am currently sitting in my sunny yellow kitchen with a fire roaring in the wood stove, making a delicious, somewhat nutritious supper, with wine in hand and being serenaded by Nat, Michael, Van, and, of course, Frankie. This scenario is one that I am so very blessed to have happen quite often, and is one of my very favorites. The only way this could be better is if my husband were cooking with me, another favorite thing, but this is my time! And as always, even with this perfect setting, my mind is working.

I am remembering the many times when I was a little girl that my family took vacations to Durango, Colorado. The southwest part of Colorado is one of the most beautiful in the state. My father instilled in me a love of this place, yet he never wanted to move there. He insisted that wherever you live, there the problems and pains of life would ruin the peace that place provided. Even knowing my father suffered deep clinical depression, the idea that your home could not be your haven, your safe place, your get-away, your place of protection from life’s cruelties, was an idea that I rejected. I loved our home, the support system of my dear family, and the love and life we shared. This place, these people, however imperfect, were my haven.

I married God’s dearest gift to me in September of 1997. We purchased our first house just before the wedding and set about making this house a home. I shared my “haven home” dream with my husband and asked him to partner with me in this as a goal for the rest of our lives. Together we pledged that with the help and grace of God, we would make our home the place we live, pray, love, laugh, play, share every good, sad, tragic, or happy thing, where we would run to from life’s hurts, pains, criticism’s, and problems, where we would make love, work out our differences, argue until it was solved, revel in controlled chaos, make fun messes, love and laugh until it hurt, and make a marriage.

That decision, that commitment, is one of the yardsticks by which we measure how we act, how we handle conflict, what we allow into our home, what is said, what is watched, what is listened to, how we decorate, the pets we own, and the decision to have two computers – although we do only have one sink and one bathroom! 🙂  My prayer for our home has been that the love, presence, and protection of God would be inescapable in every room of our home. Proverbs 14:1 says “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” This verse gives me chills and I pray over this verse and ask for wisdom to build my home, God’s guidance for the direction of how to run my household, and that I may not eat the bread of idleness. I also build our home by striving to keep it clean and tidy for my husband to come home to and in preparation for hospitality.

Twelve and one half years later (today!;), we have experienced personal imperfection and failure, family tragedies, job loss, physical trauma, unmet expectations, emotional pain, mental fatigue, and shed may tears. We have experienced joy, peace, love, fun, friendship, triumph, and tons of laughter. We have held on, let go, and given in, but never given up.

As I now sit in my kitchen writing and hoping that supper isn’t burning, I am so very thankful for the dream, the goal, the commitment we made many years ago, and I revel daily in its joy. This is my favorite place in all the world….our home, our haven!!