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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Submission and Offering it Up (in Which I Don't Want Chinese Again.)

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." -Ephesians 5:21-24

We don't really like the "S" word, do we? 


It's a dirty, dirty word in our culture. And why should that be a surprise to us? Look at our culture- we've been taught that backing down is always weak and wrong, that our opinions and feelings matter above all else. 

Which, of course, is exactly opposite of what God says here in Ephesians. 

I'm a bossy person, generally speaking. Submission does not come easily to me. 

Trust me when I say this- submission is God's plan for marriage. My marriage runs much more smoothly when I make the choice to yield to my husband. We've only been married for two years, but I've learned that much already. Putting it into practice is another issue, of course. 

Submission is just that- a choice. You have to choose to submit to this man to whom you've linked your life. And honestly, it's hard.

Especially when you think you'll do something better than he can. Or when you have a big opinion about something. Or when you feel that he's putting his own desires first. 

When we try to control the men God has given to us, the men He's decided are best to lead our families, aren't we also trying to control God?

I've struggled with submission. I have a husband who takes charge of our little family- Zeke's a natural leader, and a good one. I know I'm blessed. But sometimes, can't I have things my way for once?!?! There have been plenty of times that I've been upset, and confused about why I'm upset, only to realize that I'm angry because I don't want to follow my Zeke's lead on something. 

I wish I had known, before getting married, how to submit.

Unrelated pretty flower picture.

Offer It Up

In Catholic circles, there's a practice called "offering it up." When faced with something unpleasant, or painful, or difficult, they offer it up. They deal with the pain or annoyance or difficulty by offering up the situation in prayer- an intention for someone or something else. 

Even the smallest of children can be taught that things are sometimes unpleasant, but it can be used for good. Hungry? Offer it up for those children who have no food- "God, I offer up my hunger right now- please be with those people who are starving, Lord. Provide for them." Simple. Powerful. 

And I never learned that. I deal with unpleasantness by whining and complaining and bearing it until it's over. 

I did that in my marriage, too. I submitted to my husband, but with rolling of eyes and becoming the whiniest of whiners. 

(To which you ask, "...And what's really improved, here? Adrie's still the whiniest of whiners!" True, friends, true. But His grace is good.)

After learning how to "offer it up," I've come to a stunning realization. 

Things don't always go my way. 

I'd like it if I didn't have to deal with that annoying work situation. I didn't want to get that cold sore. It wasn't in my plan to struggle to conceive.

Submitting to a situation that doesn't go my way- that's part of life. We can use it for good- to pray for someone else and be thankful for the blessings in our own lives- or we can allow it to make us miserable. Sort of like what we discussed in this post. 

Okay, that's all well and good, but what does that have to do with submission in marriage?

Submission sometimes means that things don't go your way. Whether it's going to the Chinese buffet for supper again, waiting on welcoming another life into your home, or deciding Christmas plans, you may need to accept a role of submission to that guy who leads your family.

You have a choice. You can complain and suffer for it and make everyone generally unhappy, or you can offer it up. Offer up your discomfort or disappointment with the intention that your marriage will grow strong. For those who are waiting for that right person and wondering where he is and would he just hurry up and get here, already. For those who have lost a spouse.

It makes that submission, giving up that bossy role, a little easier to accept. It helps me to trust God's plan- that He put this man (the one who always wants to go to the Chinese buffet) in my life for a reason. To trust that this man's decisions will lead me closer to God, to good things on this earth.

Right now, you don't have that husband to whom you submit. But you will, and you will disagree with him. Maybe about Chinese, maybe about something much bigger. When you do, you'll want to be well-versed in offering up your struggles.

So start doing it now. Hang-nail? Offer it up. Parking ticket? Conversation with a difficult sister? Demanding co-worker? The more you offer up your struggles now, the more natural it will become.

This post is part of a series- make your engagement a time of intentional growth to prepare you for marriage, not just a time of planning for a wedding!

"Like" A Little Wife's Happy Life on Facebook to catch more Intentional Engagement posts!

Other Posts in the Intentional Engagement Series:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Husband Paid All My Student Loans, and Accepting Grace

I graduated college with a degree in Education, a crisp teaching license, over fifty thousand dollars of debt, and absolutely no job prospects.

Yep. Laying it all out there today. 

I started paying off my loans early- a little bit at a time- all throughout college, and was dedicated to making payments every month, even if it was only $50 towards the huge principle balance.

But really, despite my diligence, my Ramen-noodle-and-apples diet, and only getting haircuts from a friend in the dorm, it was only a drop in the bucket.

Zeke knew all about my loans. I mean, how could he not? I did whine about writing checks toward 'em. He got to hear all about it every month.

I grew up in a family that did not talk about money unless it was to tell us girls that no, we couldn't have an American Girl doll because we couldn't afford it. I believe that my parents did the best they could, but as I got older, it became clear that my folks had made some bad financial decisions; ones that were affecting our family still.

So I went the opposite way. I was extremely cautious with money. I started working (fast food, but still) when I was fifteen, and quickly learned that the more I worked, the more money I could squirrel away. I worked around thirty hours a week all throughout high school, with babysitting jobs and odd jobs here and there thrown in for good measure. I didn't make much money, but I worked a ton, and the money I did make was saved and carefully guarded. My checking account never went below $100. Ever.

My habits followed me to college. I decided to attend a private school, which was expensive, but I truly loved the school, so I made sacrifices. I took a job on campus, and worked a lot- even doing double overnight shifts for a semester (and it was then that I acquired my coffee habit!), and the money I made was budgeted meticulously.

Even with all the work and all the caution and all the obsessive number crunching, I knew that I'd leave college with debt. And I hated that. But I told myself that I was better off than many of my friends- I'd started paying it off!

A year after graduation, still religiously paying those bills, I got married.

Zeke had worked all through high school and college as well, but he worked more skilled jobs, more physically demanding jobs, and he got paid a lot more. And he also saved and scrimped, and went to a community college for a few years before a state school to get his degree (and paid out of pocket for it all). And as quick as "I Do," his bank account, which had much larger numbers than mine, was now suddenly our account.

And one day, about a week after our wedding, Zeke sat me down and asked to see the loan information. I pulled out my detailed files with payment dates and plans and interest rate calculations and notes.

And then, he got out the checkbook and together, we paid them all.

As those envelopes were sealed and stamped, I felt a pit deep in my stomach.

Because I didn't make that money, but I had made that debt.

I have trouble accepting grace. Lots of trouble with it. Somehow it doesn't feel right to be given something that I didn't work for. That I didn't earn. Whether it's my husband paying off my student loans, or Jesus dying in my place, I don't accept it well.

It took me a while to be okay with Zeke's sacrifice for me. We're one person now, with one budget and one goal and one life. I know that not beginning our lives together in debt is good for both of us, that we don't have to pay thousands of dollars in interest. I know... but still- it was my debt, from my education. An education that gained me a teaching license... which I'm not using.

I did not expect him to pay my loans. But he did.

Who would have thought that Jesus would pay for our sins with his own life? It seems just far too good to be true.

All I know is that my husband gave me a very real picture that afternoon, sitting on the couch with a checkbook in hand. First, he taught me that, well, I still need to work at accepting grace. But he showed me something else, too. He gave me a small picture of what it is to redeemed.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Update 07.26.2014

So this weekend, was... well, it was interesting.

You know how Friday went down... I pretty much inhaled some chocolate...

so I was looking forward to a weekend away. I was really, really looking forward to it.

So Friday afternoon, I quickly shoved clothing and a toothbrush into a duffel bag and then jumped into a truck with Zeke to head back "home." We took a truck because he was getting rid of three couches for Camp, and by "get rid" I mean he was going to put them on his dad's burn pile at the farm.

We stopped for gas in town, and the gas station lady told us about a family whose home collapsed and ruined all their furniture, so then we took a detour to give the couches to that family. Which worked out great.

And on the way back from the detour, we saw these guys running across the road...

... without a momma in sight, so we thought maybe they'd have a happy life at Dad's farm. You know, since he wasn't getting the couches, maybe he'd want some ducks.

So after all that, we got back to our hometown around ten or so.  I stopped off at my folks house to beg a dress off my sister for the wedding we were heading to the next day... but nothing fit right, really, so that was a bummer. And then we went to sleep.

The next day, we got up and had breakfast, and then I went shopping with Zeke's mom for a dress for the wedding. It was so much fun. Really. It was great. I'm not much of a shopper, to be honest- I don't like trying things on or matching this with that... ugh.

But I had so much fun with my mother-in-law. I love her. And I found a dress that was comfy and that I'll wear again, so that was good.

Zeke and I met up again, headed to the city to look at a trailer (?) and start toward the wedding.

This is the last of Zeke's buddies to get married. It was a fun wedding- at a vineyard in South Dakota (yes, they have those- I was surprised, too), and at the end of it all, they got hitched, which, I'm told, is the point of weddings, anyway.

But, I don't know. There were lots of Zeke's buddies there, but Zeke hasn't really hung out with many of them in a while. And I haven't hung out with their wives very much at all. Apparently, they've all hung out with one another a lot, though.

They also all have children (minus the busy bride and groom), so most of the conversation centered around their toddlers. Which, okay, I get that. But I just felt so left out.

I know that I shouldn't feel this way, but it was hard for me to be around so many pregnant ladies and gals with babies. Why do their bodies work and mine doesn't? It doesn't seem fair. I tried to focus on contentment and joy, but it was tough. Zeke and I have been together for years longer than the majority of his friends, and many of them are already expecting baby #2. It was hard for me. I felt a little like I was standing still, watching them all speed past us. And there's nothing I can do about it.

We left pretty early- I was tired and not much in the mood for dancing.

On the way home, Zeke's dad called to tell us that the little ducklings had died.

I got all melodramatic and moody at that point. Because seriously? God couldn't just give me that one?

I was upset most of the rest of the night. We headed back home to our own home early Sunday, just in time to catch this eye catching parade...

What more do you need to cheer you up than miles of people on tractors?

I'm hoping that this week goes a little more smoothly, I guess. Pray for me when you think of it, will you?

Have a great week!

Friday, July 25, 2014

All The Grouchies Up In Hurrr

Fridays make me grouchy.

Correction. Most days make me grouchy.


I know, I know. How can you be a big ole crank if you're surrounded by laughing children learning about God? And families finding their stride in faith and re-learning how to love each other? Don't get me wrong, I know that Camp is pretty awesome and powerful and life-changing. And I know, I know, that I'm blessed to be part of it.

But for the love of Pete.

My overly-organized perfectionist self doesn't deal well with all the flexibility.

All the "Oh, we also have another three people who decided to come to Camp with us! So we need different housing. Rightthisminute. And we'd like the most luxury housing you have available."

All the "Oh, actually, my child has a severe peanut allergy, thankyouverymuch. You'll have to remove all peanut products from the camp store. No, I didn't call about it in advance."  (They apparently didn't read this post.)

I like to be prepared. I spend hours making door signs and name tags and spreadsheets and invoices. And then the people show up, and it all CHANGES. 

So then I decide not to stress about it. To go with the flow. But the issue there is being flexible makes more work for me, too. And then more people are cranky with me because I didn't have accurate-ish numbers and we're running out of food and three families are sharing one counselor. Sprampfed if I do, Sprampfed if I don't.

But for the most part, I can overlook it. They're just people after all, and people make mistakes. I get that.

This week, though. THIS.WEEK. We gave a full scholarship to a family. That means they don't pay for anything. Not programming, not housing, not even food. They've gotten full scholarships for many years. I know, generosity and all, but really? They haven't paid anything ever? It's over $12,000 in free camp, all added up. That's a lot.

And then they came to my office the other day to complain. First, the counselor running the camp store "wasn't very nice" when they asked for a reduced cost on a t-shirt. And secondly, because they don't eat pork, and the chef didn't know that. So now the cook is providing an alternative menu for this family. (Can't they just not eat the pork and eat salad bar and rolls and green beans instead?!? Apparently not.) AND THEY'RE NOT PAYING FOR ANY OF IT, ANYWAY.

Saying little prayers up in this joint. Because jeez. I'm so far from the love of Christ with these folks, it's not even funny. I'm really trying to channel the "if he asks for your cloak, give him your tunic, as well" thing.

But the wind's a'blowin'. Crab.Bee.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five Ridiculous Favorite Solutions.

Full disclosure- this post contains affiliate links. That means, if you buy anything after clicking the links on this page, I'll earn about 3 cents. And I like earning 3 cents per post- that's why I write this blog. 

Okay, that's a lie. 3 cents is not really why I write this blog. But the rest is true. 


So, I have this... trouble. I have "shy bowels." I don't poo in public restrooms. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I can't. Which made summer camp really fun as a kid. 

Well, and it's not limited to public restrooms. I didn't go #2 in Zeke's folks' house until we'd been married for 19 months (and yes, I remember the exact number of months. It was a little traumatic.)

It's gotten better over the years, but not much better. I can now poo in gas station restrooms, but only while texting or playing phone games or reading something. But still, it's a bit of an issue.

Feel like you've now learned way more about me than you ever wanted to? 

You're welcome.

Anyway. Solution? (Well, my problem is a little more complicated than just smell, but this will help. I just know it.)

Apparently, you "Spritz the Bowl Before You Go and No One Else Will Ever Know." So your poo will literally smell like lavender. What? I know. 


I pulled all the cushion covers out of our new camper (and I say "new" meaning "from the early 1980's, making it older than either one of us, but new to us") to wash them and then hang them to dry... and lo and behold, rain.

What's a girl to do? 

Well, you could either get one of these... 

...or, you could just set up a gorgeous cross-living-room laundry line system. You know. Whatever you prefer, really.


I've never really liked just biting into an apple. The juice goes all over your face... ugh. Not for me. 
I typically cut my apples before I eat them. Time consuming, yes. But totally worth it. 

Even more worth it with something as awesome as this...

I have a thing for turtles. 


Throughout my childhood and young pre-married adulthood, I thought I would marry a businessman. Like my dad. He'd wear suits to work, or on Fridays, a blazer and jeans. And he'd carry a briefcase and get a tie for Christmas and his birthday every year, just like my dad. Because isn't that what all kids think- that they'll marry someone a little like their dad? 

Cut to me marrying a man who's a full foot taller than my father, I've only seen him in a suit at weddings and funerals, and he carries this to work with him, not a briefcase. 

So what do you get a guy like that for his birthday? I've only seen him wear a tie three times ever! 


This. Every birthday, and every Christmas. Because two in the lake and one under a building somewhere.


After a long day at work (long, long, long! This week has been a little nuts), the best solution is a little of this... 

and money really can't buy something like that. 

Even if I'd earn 3 cents if you did buy it. 

Have a great weekend, all!

This post is linked to Five Favorites over at Mama Knows. Thanks for hosting, Heather!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us." - Romans 6:7-10 

I like to be in control.

I think my sisters have called me "bossy" more often than I'd like to admit- of course, looking back on my childhood, "bossy" seems more than kind given some of the things I forced upon them!

And unfortunately, I didn't really grow out of it... I'm just bossy in more socially acceptable ways (let's hope).

It steals my peace and pulls me further from Him. I struggle against trusting God, shouting "No! I can do it!" like a two-year-old trying to put on her own shoes. And, like that two-year-old, I eventually learn that giving up and letting my heavenly Father take care of me is what I should have done all along.

Well, I learn it until next time, anyway.

I'm breakable and fragile and yet I hold this amazing gift- the life and salvation of Jesus. I can't understand why Jesus would want to make a home in me. I'm limited and weak. My body doesn't always do what I would like it to do. My mind doesn't hold on to things for very long. I can only handle so much.

But glory, glory- He's with me always! Patiently waiting for me to get frustrated, broken down, and disappointed because doing it my way doesn't work. And when I'm ready to finally surrender to Him, to trust Him to know what's best for me, He's there to shape me and guide me.

I find such peace when I stop fighting, and simply enjoy the safety and love in the Potter's hands.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Bloom: Stop Waiting, Start Growing

Going from single to married is life changing; so much so that the Bible describes it as two people becoming one. It's an irreversible change of identity.

I think it's easy for the "un-marrieds" and the "marrieds" to keep to themselves. Of course, I don't think that's really the best thing, but we'll cover that another time.

See, attached or unattached, we have a lot that we can learn. We have so very much growing to do. The thing is, I've found that there are so many more wonderful resources for women with a gold band on their finger. What about the ones whose ring finger is bare?

Well, we've talked about that glorious transition time (which can be frenzied and disjointed, or intentional and purposeful) in a long, drawn out bunch of posts.

But what about you?

You, who aren't married? You, who aren't engaged? You, who aren't even doing that "dating" thing just now?

Where's the advice for you?

That's the trouble, really. There isn't much. And here's the thing. To be healthy in relationships, to someday be healthy in a marriage, you first need to be spiritually healthy in you. And if you're not called to marriage, then you of course still need to be growing and healthy spiritually.

I know so many young ladies out there who are focused on getting married, on dating, on finding the perfect man. They've been praying for him for years. I'm not saying that's a bad thing- but I've noticed that when we focus on our Mr. Right, we forget ourselves. We're so focused on the external that we don't grow internally.

Or, (as in my case, but you'll hear about that later) you find yourself in a series of negative dating relationships that warp your sense of self. You miss the warning signs, or you make decisions that harm yourself or others. We kill relationships because we've cut ourselves off from truth, and as a result, we're wounded and scarred, or we think we need that other person to push us towards growth. And that's simply not true. 

Start growing now. Find your way now. Become the woman God intended you to be now.

-  -  -  -  -  

In August, we'll be switching focus from intentional engagement to a purposeful time of growing while single, as well as some advice for those ladies doing that thing called "dating." I've got some great posts lined up, and some awesome guest bloggers sharing their perspectives.

Stay tuned for those posts in August, okay?

And of course, you can follow me on Facebook or subscribe via e-mail to make sure that you don't miss this exciting new series! I'm really looking forward to it.

PS- No longer in that "dating" phase? Want to share your hard-earned, time tested wisdom with those who are? I'm still accepting a few more guest bloggers. If you'd like to be considered or you have a great idea of what to include, please shoot me an e-mail!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Little Garden PHFR



My marigolds are blooming! I planted them from seeds (which I've never done before) and ended up with so many weeds that I wasn't sure that I'd actually get any marigolds... but a couple weeding sessions and some time, and ta da! Pretty. 


Okay, so not technically garden related...

Due to some unseasonably cool weather this week, we've had our windows open quite a bit. If it were up to me, we'd go without air conditioning more frequently and just strategically open and close windows, but alas, the head of the household gets too warm rather easily. But having our windows open for the past few days has really been lovely. I'll take it.


Patience is not one of my strongest virtues. 


My peas are not doing so hot.

The past two weeks, I've sort of forgotten that plants need water, and so... they're suffering from my neglect. Hopefully the good rain shower early this week and some extra love and care (and water) the rest of this week will help make up for it. The few peas that we've gotten have been so yummy- I'd like a lot more! 

------  ------  ------

Links this week: 

FIGHT FAIR: PERSPECTIVE, TATER TOTS, AND TRUTH - Because learning how to fight is so essential to a marriage (and to a friendship, too.)

YOUNG MARRIAGE AND ROLE MODELS- We all need a little something to inspire us. Or a little someone.

THE HOPE TO WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU- What Biblical hope really means, and what it means for us.

Head on over to see more Pretty, Happy, Funny, and Real stuff over at Like Mother Like Daughter!

Monday, July 14, 2014


I was sitting with my mom in a coffee shop in my hometown when a song came on the radio. Most of the time, our conversation would continue over the music, but the lyrics are the kind that stick with ya.

"I want to leave a legacy." I think a legacy is something that most of us would like to leave. We want to make an impact. We want to be remembered.

(Here, you can listen to it, too.)

So how do we do that?

Well, we need to be intentional. We're supposed to look carefully at our lives, at the way we're living. We need to be pliable and teachable and open to the word of God. We need to be wise.

Wisdom is the ability to apply God's truth to our everyday lives.

Make the Best Use of Time
The first step is to make the most of the time we've been given. It's easy to let time pass us by without making any progress if we don't know what we're progressing towards! We have to know where we're going.

Take some time to think about your legacy. Think big. What is it that you're trying to do with your life? For example, some of my goals in life are to be a loving and godly wife. Someday, I want to be a mother who leads her children close to God. I want to make a difference in the life of other women by encouraging them and helping them to walk with God.

What if you're not even close to your goals? It feels a lot further off when you're just graduated from high school, and while you have goals in mind, it doesn't seem like there's much you can do to work towards them.

Don't be discouraged! Let's say a goal of yours is to be a godly wife. Well, start becoming a godly woman.

Don't spend your life waiting. Use your time wisely, and use it wisely now.

Discern God's Will
This is a tricky one, because really, we're human. And how can a human being even try to understand the will of all-knowing, incredible God?

Now, I'm not saying that we'll ever be able to understand His will completely. But He's given us a manual in His word.  Try to find the big picture by learning the truth in the Bible, applying it to your life, and living in obedience to Him. Spend time in prayer.

You should also be talking to people. We've been given a community for a reason! Ask for advice from those you respect spiritually, people who have evidence of truth and faith in their lives. Listen to God first, and go to others for confirmation.

Be Influenced by the Spirit
We're easily influenced. By music, movies, billboards, the thing your high school boyfriend said to you fifteen years ago...

We need to be careful. It's important to protect our minds and hearts from the things that the culture deems "true," and focus instead on the things the Bible tells us are true.

Think about it. How much of your day is spent consuming culture? In my household, we watch about an hour and a half of TV every evening. My officemate listens to the radio at work, so I'm usually hearing about five hours of secular music. So really, I'm inundated with our culture for at least seven hours a day.

How many hours do I spend in God's word? How many hours do I spend reading blogs from Christians, how many hours of devotionals? Maybe three hours, tops.

So what has a greater influence on my way of thinking?

Focus on Thankfulness
Take a couple of seconds to think about someone who made a huge positive influence on your life. Someone who you admire, or a role model. Someone you'd like to emulate.

Thinking of 'em?

I always think of grandma when I think about godly women.

And one of her greatest qualities was her thankful spirit. Focusing on the blessings we do have, rather than complaining or dwelling on issues... it makes a big difference in our attitudes and in the atmosphere around us.

Live a legacy-building lifestyle. Make a spiritual impact.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Coffee, B.O., and Bunnies

This week marks the official half-way point of summer camp season. I'm torn between "how did that happen!?" and "Oh, thank goodness. We're almost done."

Mmm. A permanent fixture on my desk lately.

This post made my heart sing a little.

Went to the dentist this week. Is there anything worse than being poked in the gums with that stupid mini-metal harpoon? Ugh. My shoulders are still sore from being tensed up for an hour.

Zeke has officially moved into the part of the summer when he changes outfits three times a day. Although I doubt he considers them "outfits." But seriously, doing a load of laundry a day is barely cutting it. Seven loads a week. For two people. <Sigh> It's a maintenance man kind of life.

After a busy week with 107 middle school students running all over the place, I've come to the conclusion that Camp will smell like B.O. for the next six years. Peeeee ewww! We need some lessons on deodorant along with Bible Study time, methinks.

They're a stinky bunch.

Even though I'm pretty sure that this bunny rabbit is the flower-eating culprit, it was still pretty darn cool to be able to get right next to him. Fearless little garden eater, this one.

I may have told Zeke that we could go on a camping/dirt bike trip this weekend. Because we bought a new camper and all, and his birthday is coming up, and the last time he took the dirtbike out of the garage was this time...
See the snow? Yeah.
... but it's Friday, and I've done none of the following: clean the camper, pack, figure out food for the weekend, finish folding laundry (see #4). So this could be an interesting weekend. Or maybe a disappointing one for that hubby of mine. Or maybe we'll just do a recreation of the last time we went camping...


MOST POPULAR POST THIS WEEK THAT WAS POSTED THIS WEEK: (still following me?) In which I spill my guts and tell you about all the feels.

And honestly? I'm just so glad it's Friday. 

Have a good one, all! 

Linked to Conversion Diary for Seven Quick Takes!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Light of Your Life Makes a Difference- Part II {Light Changes Everything}

I was having a bad day. In the Great Scheme of Bad Days, probably not the worst ever, but still... a bad day. Work was demanding and busy, expectations weren't being met, and I was disappointed. My attitude was light-years away from where it needed to be. 

And in strode Allison. Allison is a co-worker, and is one of those... cheerful people. You know. The kind who are constantly peppy... those "gratitude list" making, God's-got-our-back, building-people-up kind of people.

I wanted to complain. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to stew in my bad attitude and blame everyone for everything and just sit and pout. 

And Allison? She wasn't going to sit and pout with me. No, her attitude was right. And I felt a tug in my heart. Because just the simple comparison of her outlook with mine? I was definitely in the wrong. 


As followers of Christ, we know that there's really and truly nothing that we did or could ever do to earn the tremendous gift of salvation. Even so, we've got all these rules that we're somehow supposed to follow.

We've already talked about the fact that we're different, and that our lives should be a reflection of that truth...

But what's with that, anyway? Why does our lifestyle matter?

Have you noticed that it's hard to live in a bubble in this day and age (yes, I'm ninety)?

I mean, I live at a Bible Camp, for goodness sakes, and I still encounter plenty of darkness on the daily. Seriously. If it's not right there in my own attitude, it's popping up in the things I watch, what I read, the people I meet, the drama going on in my family, and oh, the comment section on any article on Facebook. Darkness.

Sometimes it all feels like too much.

Why would God put us in these dark places?

Well, because we're supposed to show what different looks like.

We're supposed to be light in all that darkness. 

Our lives need to show others what it is to have a relationship with Jesus, what that looks like exactly.

No pressure- it's small potatoes, right? You're just representing a relationship with the Almighty to everyone you meet. No biggie. (Ha!)

I think sometimes, I really want to do that well. To prove to the outside world that Christianity is all rainbows and butterflies and smiles. And then I turn into some very soft-spoken, demure, Stepford-Wife-esque thing that looks nothing like me. And I don't think that's what God wants. Authenticity, yes. Honesty, yes. Vapid me? No.

So how are we supposed to be a light in the darkness?

1. Doing what is right- justice, connecting with other real-life other people, meeting needs in our communities

2. Living in truth- being honest and authentic, not hiding our own hurts or struggles, even if it hurts our pride. 
 3. Making Jesus the priority- focusing on pleasing our Lord more than making other people happy, putting Him first, keeping faith central in our lives, being learning, growing disciples

A life that's in relationship with Jesus looks different than the lifestyles around us.

And that difference leads us to the next point....

Our lifestyle exposes the sin around us.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.- Ephesians 5:11-14
Our lives, the way we live, helps to expose and convict other people of their own sin. Like Allison. Her attitude, her cheerfulness... it showed me just how far out of whack my own attitude really was. That tug on my heart was conviction. 

Paul says that we're to expose sin- but he makes it clear that we're not supposed to be talking about it.

Do you know people who really like drama? The more tragic, the more depraved, the more horrible a situation or sin, the more interesting and dramatic it is! That's why soap operas exist, really. It's all about the drama. The trouble with that is that drama makes our own lives look sort of... boring. And lack-luster. And it makes sin look far more appealing that it is. 

We're not supposed to get wrapped up in the drama- it's shameful to even speak about those dark, secret things. 

Just live for Jesus. God will do the rest. Let Him do the convicting. We're just to live our lives for Him, and He'll change hearts. 

But we shouldn't be surprised when our way of life is attacked, or when the way we live makes people angry.

See, if we're living a lifestyle that's in harmony with our God, people notice. They'll see it. And honestly, they won't always be very happy- because it makes them uncomfortable. 

Conviction makes people crabby- we don't like to change, after all. And we really don't like being proven wrong. 

Our lifestyle will draw people to Christ

So, we've been looking at Ephesians, right? 

Well, I think it's worth noting, here, that the city that Paul's talking about, Ephesus? 

It was a dark place. They were pretty heavy into idol worship, magic spells, calling upon demons and making curses... there was a lot of darkness there. 

And it changed

In fact, within three years of the church beginning in Ephesus, the city changed so much that businesses that once were very successful- those marketing idols, in particular- went out of business. 

People were being drawn to Christ. 

Our lifestyle matters. It really does. Not because living a certain way or following certain rules will help us to earn our salvation, and not because we want people to think we have it all together. No, authentic, honest, real-life relationship with Jesus changes us. And that change? It can change the world. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sand, Sand Everywhere

{Pretty and Happy}

Okay, so not technically sand. But there is sand in the vicinity.


Children always seem to find a way to get the greatest possible volume of sand all over their little bodies. ("Yes! I do want to rub three handfuls of sand in my hair! Definitely!")


Summer time in our household brings lots of sand... into the house. 

Entryway sand, from Tuesday. At noon. (I try to sweep the entryway twice a day in the summer- yes, it's that bad.)

But hey, I'll take a sandy house over a snowstorm any day!


And now for some links and things! 


I'm a huge baby and get super attached to inanimate objects (see post here wherein I cry over a car). I think that may be part of why this post hit home... 

... and I'm gonna have to do this by tonight, because these would be totally perfect for watching fireworks...


Camp totally has my heart these days ... mostly because I.never.leave. 

We bought a new camper (!!) last weekend, which means that this may have been the last camping trip in ye old tiny trailer...

... and we got some news this past week that there will be no Testicle Festival this year. Sad.


Please pray for safety this weekend- there are gonna be tons of people driving their boats around on the lake (yay Fourth of July!)

And also pray for a family in the area who lost their mother- a young mom was riding her bicycle with her 1-year-old and 3-year-old in a carrier, and was hit by a vehicle. She passed away in the hospital- both her children are doing all right. 

Also- say a special prayer for all those who serve our country, and for their families! Their sacrifice has made it possible for us to have the freedoms we enjoy! Thank you!

Thanks to Like Mother Like Daughter (and congrats on the newest addition to the family, ladies! He's beautiful!) and Clan Donaldson!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weekender 06.28.14


High: Home from work at precisely 5:15 pm. Zeke was miraculously already there.
 Low: None really. Except a misunderstanding at work? But that doesn't really count- it wasn't the weekend yet.

High: Tied between hanging out with Zeke's cousin Tim, and "the bunny" that Zeke and Tim shot with bow and arrow... and actually using the bows and arrows for the first time since Zeke brought 'em home.
Zeke came into the house and told me they'd shot a bunny with bow and arrow and that they put it in the golf cart. I flipped out a little. Until I met "The Bunny." See his floppy ear?
 Low: Another tie... leaving my purse in the archery store (whoops!), and getting a welt on my arm from the string of my bow snapping back (I'm a big baby, I know.) 


High: Slept in, missing all three church services we could have potentially attended, but oh, the snuggles and snoozing were just too good. I needed it. And also, my purse was untouched and waiting for me at the archery place. And also, we bought a camper off of Craigslist.
Low: Headache. I think it was due to lack of caffeine. I'm an addict.

All in all, a pretty nice, quiet (and a little boring- but don't we need that once in a while?) weekend.

On to the week! Happy Tuesday, all!

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