Monday, April 27, 2015

Song of the Week - "Prayer for a Friend"

I often hear a lot of people complain about Facebook (or Fakebook) and the posts that are made. People do probably spend too much time there and on other social media. However, I use Facebook as a reminder to pray. Today when I logged in, the first seven out of eight posts were prayer requests. There were deaths in families, sick children, and friends going through difficult times. I stopped and prayed for each one.

As you listen to the song this week be reminded of your friends and family that may post a false picture of what their life is really like. Most people only post what they want others to see, giving the impression that life is perfect when it’s anything but. Listen to the voice of God. If He puts a name on your heart, stop and pray, especially if it’s a name you haven’t recalled in quite some time. Also, know that I am praying for YOU and all the unspoken requests that are never voiced. We ALL have those.

Scroll through your social media feeds this week and take time to pray. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Fridge Fiasco

Photo by patpitchaya
Have you ever heard the phrase “opposites attract”? Sure, we all have. Have you ever given it much thought or compared it to your own relationship.

When my husband and I got married our marriage vows included the phrase “Do you promise to love, honor and cherish and cling unto him till death do you part?” I have to be completely honest; sometimes I want to cling to my husband with my hands right around his throat! Sometimes my husband and I both wonder how we ever got ourselves together in the first place. We have very little in common and we don’t like to do the same things. I have learned over the years, however, to not worry about the issues that aren’t important to me. For example, which vehicle we drive to church is not a huge deal in spite of the fact that I would rather drive the van simply because it is more comfortable for the entire family. Instead of arguing about something stupid, I agree to take the truck. But the bigger issues, like how many “emergencies” need to go on the credit cards, are definitely going to be discussed.

We may be opposites, but that only helps us react differently to different situations. For instance, some days my husband can tell, when he comes home from work, that I no longer want to be a mom. He takes the kids and occupies them so that I may have a few moments to recover. The opposite is also true. The days I can tell just by the tone of his voice that he is frustrated with the world, are the days I make sure everything is done just the way he likes before he even walks in the front door and I also make sure the kids don’t add to his frustrations. Just about the time either one of us is angry beyond all that we can handle, the other automatically steps up and takes charge and begins to make progress where the other has lost control of the situation completely.

We had an episode that I like to call our “fridge fiasco.” We had bought a brand new refrigerator along with an extended warranty because it was the first brand new appliance we had ever bought and we figured that with three kids getting in and out of it regularly, it was a good investment. It turns out it was only a good investment in gray hair! After only about six months, our refrigerator began to fall apart. The drawers broke and the supports that held the drawers broke.

I called the store where we had bought the fridge to see if they carried the parts we needed.

“No, ma’am, you need to call the factory.”

So I did. The costs were astronomical, I thought.

Next, I called the people with whom we had bought the extended warranty. They told me it wasn’t their responsibility; it was the store’s. So, I called the store back. They gave the number for the manufacturer. The manufacturer sent me back to the people with the extended warranty and they told me I had to call... I’m sure you get the picture. This went on for three days. No one wanted to take responsibility for our stupid refrigerator! I was so angry for constantly getting the run around.

When my husband came home from work the third day, I filled him in on all that I had been through. My heart was pounding and my pulse was racing I was so furious. I even had to say a quick prayer for forgiveness one time after hanging up the phone. I was not at all nice. In fact, I had become the person that customer service represen-tative’s hate! They knew me by the sound of my voice. They would not ask for all my information, they just asked, “Is this Mrs. O’Neil?”

Anyway, do you ever feel like your spouse is not listening to you and that they really couldn’t care less what you’re talking about. I told my husband some of the things these people had said to me. I hoped he would get angry that someone had dared disrespect his wife. His exact response was, “Did you do your hair today? It looks kind of funny.” Somehow, and I’m not exactly sure how, but the phone flew out of my hand right toward my husband.

This whole fridge fiasco had given me high blood pressure and all he cared about was that I looked good when he came home from work! Apparently, having a fridge we could actually use wasn’t as important to him as it was to me.

I wanted him to be mad about the situation, but he wasn’t. He was calm. He was cool. And he was collected. That evening he called all the same people I had been calling for the last three days, only he was nice. He got results.

My hot headed self wants just results, whereas my husband at times could care less, especially if he has to put up with a hassle. He would not have put up with everything I did; he would have just bought another refrigerator. Sometimes I need my husband to be calm and take control of the situation.

This is often the case in so many marriages. Where one of us is weak, the other is strong and vice versa. People who are opposites often compliment each other. The one, who isn’t good with money, needs someone who is. My sister-in-law likes to bake, but not cook. It works because my brother likes to cook and not bake. We do need each other even though we don’t always think so.

So, next time your spouse makes you angry because they don’t think like you do, look at it as a blessing. Living happily ever after only happens in fairy tales. We all have opinions and sometimes they are not the same. There are also no promises of matches made in heaven. Marriage is a job and some days it is hard. Some days you may not want to do the work anymore. Some days you may not feel as if the payment you are receiving is worth all the effort. But it is and you will be rewarded with a better relationship with your spouse if you stick together and let your differences make a difference. Be thankful for the things you don’t have in common. And if you want your marriage to last forever, don’t buy the extended warranty on any appliance!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Song of the Week - "This is the Stuff"

This week's song is fun to sing along to, it seems to sound a lot like my life and probably yours as well. It also has a great message to it. So often we get caught up in the here and now and the little idiosyncrasies that seem to take center stage. However, most of the time these things are not important. 

We need to remember that in spite of all the little things that may be interrupting our days, we should be mindful of the blessings God has given. Sometimes those blessings may be hard to see, until you awaken your mind to them. 

I have a little blank book that someone gave me years ago. I decided to call it my Blessings Book. In that book I write down all the little ways in which God has blessed me. This helps me to never forget. 

So while you listen to the song this week, don't get caught up in the fact that you lost your keys (or someone lost them for you) or that your toilet is overflowing because someone thought it was a good idea to stick a squirt gun down there. Get caught up in the blessings God gives. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Song of the Week - "I Will Be Here"

The song of the week this week really doesn't have a lot of spiritual value to it, however, it is a special song to me. Today is a very special day. 

On this day in 1986, a handsome boy passed me a note in church asking if I wanted to go out with him. I still have that note.

On this day in 1991, that handsome boy and I said our forever vows. 

Today we celebrate 24 years of marriage. Marriage isn't always easy, but the one thing I hope we've accomplished through it all is a good example of what marriage should be for our children to see. 

This song takes me back to our wedding day as it was sung in our ceremony. Come reminisce with me for just a few minutes and help me celebrate what a wonderful thing marriage can be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bridal Bouquets

I often think of weddings when April rolls around, perhaps that's because it's our anniversary month. This month my husband and I celebrate 24 years of marriage. As the years go by I realize more and more that God made him for me. 
When we were younger and thinner
April 13, 1991

Planning a wedding down to every last detail can sometimes be a tedious task. For sentimental brides, they want everything to be special and have a double meaning. It doesn’t matter that no one else knows the meaning behind the necklace she is wearing or even what the rings mean to the bride and groom, just as long as there is a secret meaning behind it all.

But what about the bride’s bouquet? All brides want the flowers they hold in their hands on their wedding day to be extra special. There are flowers that can be part of a bride’s bouquet that have meaning.

So what are these flowers?

Daisy – The white daisy symbolizes innocence. The traditional concept of white seems to be lost on today’s weddings. When a bride wore a white dress, it used to mean that she was sexually pure. While many couples choose to live together before marriage, there are those who remain pure until their wedding night. There is nothing more innocent than being able to give your whole self to your husband on your wedding night.

Violet – The violet stands for faithfulness. In a society where faithfulness is just about obsolete, that makes it all that much more important. There are so many things that try to distract us – on TV, posters at the mall, the Internet and all sorts of other advertisements try to entice us into being unfaithful. Couples need to be faithful and never let that faithfulness falter.

Thyme – This may seem a strange sort of plant to put into a bridal bouquet, but it symbolizes grace and elegance. There is no other time when a woman feels more elegant than on her wedding day. We plan everything from our hairdo to our toenails! Elegance is definitely the word of the day.

Tansy – Tansy stands for immortality. While we know that our beloved will someday pass away, our love for them will live on forever. Women I know who have lost a husband after years and years of marriage still keep little mementos around the house to remind themselves of their undying love for the one who stole their heart.

Sage – This fragrant herb symbolizes esteem. There is no greater emotion we can give to our spouses except to revere and esteem him or her. Believe me, all men like to know that they are truly adored by the woman they married and vice versa.

Rosemary – Rosemary actually has several meanings: remembrance, loyalty, friendship and the lastingness of love. Loyalty, friendship and love are all important parts of a marriage. We can’t love someone who is not our friend first. We cannot be loyal to those we don’t consider our friends. Also on a regular basis, such as our anniversary, we need to remember that we are best friends and that we love each other.

Mint – Solomon talk about “rejoicing in the wife of your youth” in the Bible. There is nothing comparable to the joy of new love that mint represents. The experience is all new and exciting. That excitement has a tendency to die down. It is work to keep a marriage alive, but it is necessary. If someday you find your love seems to not be as strong as it used to be remember what made it happen in the first place and rejoice over that.

Marjoram – Marjoram stands for beauty. A groom thinks there is nothing more beautiful than his bride walking down the aisle toward him. She is beautiful and she is radiant. All brides feel beautiful on their special day.

Lily of the Valley – Lilies symbolize the return of happiness. While it may not seem quite possible on your wedding day, disagreements will be fought and make ups will happen. Sadness may be there for a time, but we need to make sure that happiness will return again.

Lemon Balm – Lemon balm is often referred to because of its healing power. In a bride’s bouquet it stands for longevity. Difficulties will arise in marriages: finances may not always be as plentiful, jobs will be lost as well as other loved ones. But it is the healing touch that the couple can bring to one another, in the form of support that will make the marriage last for years to come.

Ivy – Ivy stands for fidelity. When we get married, we are promising ourselves and our bodies to just one person. Cheating can happen in more ways than one. What we allow our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our minds to dwell on can all be forms of infidelity. Fortunately, those are choices we can easily make by saying, “No!”

Fern – The fern symbolizes sincerity. Believe it or not, I have a friend in a miserable marriage. After she and her husband got married he told her everything about him had been a lie. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he did and said whatever he had to do to get her to be his. Marriage needs to be based on the truth and never on lies. Always be sincere in what we say and do.

Dogwood – Dogwood is a tree that can endure intense storms. It is extremely durable. Marriages also weather intense personal storms. We often hear the phrase, “it will make them or break them.” If you want to be able to go through storms and come out on the other side a stronger couple, you need to be durable like the dogwood. Stand strong together. Some couples have weathered great storms even before getting married.

Basil – Basil symbolizes the quickening of love. It seems people often fall in love at first sight and unfortunately fall out of love just as quickly. I enjoy seeing elderly couples holding hands. Their love has endured the tests of time and they are still in love just as they were at the beginning.

Azalea – Azalea stands for temperance. Often we will need to show some self-control in our marriage. Restraint in ourselves is an excellent quality at times. Arguments will be a part of our marriages, but they should only be in moderation and over something important. Remember, sometimes it’s good to give in. If something isn’t going your way, think about it. Is it important enough to argue about or should you just let it go? Certainly giving in all the time is not good. It is just an invitation to be treated like a doormat. Moderation is key. Fight for what’s important – give in for what’s not.

With all these flowers as part of a wedding bouquet, it will definitely have more meaning than simply being beautiful. Even if you don’t want to carry all these flowers around at one time, you can place them all over the church or reception hall. You can even leave place cards in front of the arrangement with the meanings typed on it. All these flowers symbolize virtues that should be part of any marriage. Keep them as a reminder to put these virtues into practice all throughout your married life.

Monday, April 6, 2015