Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing in the Minefields

Michael saw this excellent post about marriage on Provocations & Pantings that I just had to share with you.  I love the song, & the recording showing Robertson McQuilkin's love for his wife was nothing short of beautiful.  Enjoy!

Bungalow Bustlings - Saturday


 My, what a hard life they lead!

 Fill it up at night, drink it down the next day.  Or, that's my as of yet unmet goal because I keep forgetting it's in the fridge & use the dispenser!

 "I want to be where you are!"

 He is not used to being the one on the ground!

 She's found herself a new hidey-hole . . . which Josie has also recently discovered & so let's her have little rest!

 My attempt at blueberry waffles . . .

 which apparently needed more butter on the plates!

 My subsequent attempt at pancakes.  Needless to say, I gave up after the next one burned.  I was sooo off today, culinarily speaking!

 So, we ate burgers & then reclined on our porch.  I love these little trees!

 I ended up with the song in my head for the rest of the night!  You're singing it now, too, aren't you?  ;-)


Homey & happy

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bungalow Bustlings - Friday

I ended up not feeling so hot yesterday, so there aren't as many pictures as I was hoping there would be.  But life happens, & - as I've heard tell - "it is what it is".  There are probably more pictures of the dogs than anything else!  I hope you enjoy, nonetheless!

Bungalow Bustlings

 Bacon, eggs, & tea - I feel sort of British.

 Next week looks to be busy . . . again.

 Jake at his happiest - all of his toys are protected from Josie!

 "Do you want a bone?!"

 Isn't the answer obvious?

 Of course, Josie wants in on the action, too!

 Michael + books = addiction  ;-)

 One of my least favorite chores.

 Wouldn't it be nice if those Scrubbin' Bubbles really did do all the work?

 Supper . . .

& a movie!  Can you tell which Disney movie this is?  Hint:  it's set in the state of my birth.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Home Like Philippians 2

Our couples' Bible study last evening was so excellent!  We're in between studies at the moment, so Sweet T helped us apply the first several verses of Philippians 2 to our relationships with our husbands.  I'd like to share my notes with you, because I found our time to be rather insightful & came away knowing some things I'd like to do differently.  As she pointed out, so must I:  that homes where the following qualities are exhibited are joyful homes that glorify God & draw in others.  That's the kind of home I want!  My prayer is that you'll find this as beneficial as I.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

~Philippians 2:1-8

     -Be encouraging & comfort each other in love:  Our husbands have very heavy loads that sometimes weigh them down significantly.  I can only speak to Michael's burdens, but I'm sure your experiences are the same in that sometimes he just needs encouragement.  He needs to hear that he's providing well, or that he's doing the best job possible, or that you are there for him in whatever he needs.  Whether it be work- or family-related or even just an emotionally down day, I am to be an encourager & comforter to my dearly beloved.

     -Fellowship in the Spirit:  Fellowship is defined as companionship or communion; an appropriate synonym in this instance is intimacy.  But because that word is followed by the phrase in the Spirit, we're obviously not talking about just sitting around the TV or taking in a sports event sort of companionship.  Sweet T always talks about how the Spirit in me bears witness with the Spirit in you that we belong to God.  It is a sweet thing when 2 people are able to fellowship in this way, particularly when they are husband & wife.  Some of Michael's & my most cherished times together are when we're coming before the Lord together, united as one.  We don't do this enough, though, & that's something we both want to change so that we fellowship in the Spirit more & more.

     -Affection & Sympathy:  Love that finds no expression isn't love.  Inward feelings of affection are good, but they must also be displayed outwardly.  Sympathy is the word chosen for the ESV; mercy in the NKJV; compassion in the NIV.  I think this ties in with our first admonition to be encouraging & comforting.  For me, the use of the word mercy here makes me think of the times when I've gotten angry with Michael & wanted to make him wait for forgiveness, or even those times when I've just been impatient with him.  Show mercy, Chrissy!  Let the loving feelings that you have for this beautiful man display themselves in sympathy, mercy, & compassion towards him, even when you don't feel like it!

     -Be of the same mind:  This takes communication, something that does not come naturally between the sexes & must be developed over time.  Although I think Michael & I do pretty well in this department, there are apparently times when I've expected him to know things that I haven't actually told him.  Our female friends tend to be intuitive, knowing what we're thinking or feeling by our body language.  We can even do this with our husbands; because this is our experience, we expect the same from him.  But men are straight-forward, usually no-nonsense & need to be told.  This is especially important this time of year when taxes are being done & people are deciding what to do with their refunds.  Michael wants a saw; I want to save.  To become of the same mind, we're going to have to communicate.  And since impatience & raised voices sort of defeat the purpose (being of the same mind), they're not allowed!  ;-)

    -Maintain the same love:  The first thing that came to my mind here was the importance of forgiveness.  Anytime we've been angry with each other, a silence falls over our household.  For a while, there's a stalemate as neither of us are willing to take that first step towards reconciliation.  We're not maintaining our love.  We're building a wall between us that we then have to deconstruct in order to be united again.  So, forgiveness - immediate, whole-hearted forgiveness - is key.  Also, the longer you're married, the more the temptation is to take your love for granted because of its familiarity.  It's important to really look at our husbands & remember all of the reasons why we married him & why we love him this very day.  It's even better if we write those reasons down for him to read for himself.  Then, we're maintaining our love, as well as being an encouragement & outwardly expressing our affection.  Win, win, win!

     -Be united in spirit:  This is the "if you go down, we all go down" mentality.  Solidarity, in a word.  Which would most display this attitude when our husbands make what turns out to be a wrong choice?

          A) Whining about how miserable our lives have been made as a result;
          B) Saying, "I told you so" or "You should have done it my way";
          C) Reminding him that God is sovereign & you support & love him

He doesn't need to hear how badly he's messed up; chances are, he's beating himself up enough without our help.  We need to let him know that we're still with him, no matter what.  And here's something to keep in mind:  do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I know, we're so perfect & never make mistakes, but on the off-chance that we have a goof-up, we'd definitely prefer this response; why wouldn't he?

     -Be intent on one purpose: The purpose of every Christian family should be to glorify God in all we say, do, or think. It's important to establish a purpose - & there's none more worthy than this - because that purpose is what you'll filter all of your decisions & actions through. For an example (that doesn't have to be copied), Michael & I got rid of his 50-some-odd inch TV soon after moving into this house. I've been an avid TV watcher all of my life, & he went through a period where he watched a whole lot of movies. Even so, we became concerned about the content that we were allowing into our home through this medium. Our consciences were pricked with the immorality & ungodly behavior we were observing. For us, we felt that watching such things was not glorifying to God, so we axed it. Our purpose of glorifying God was the standard by which we made this decision.-Be humble:  Humility can be a very uncomfortable position, but it's probably one of the most important attitudes we can ever take.  In our marriage, it takes many forms.  The most obvious is when we have to repent - both to God & to our spouse.  For some reason, it really hurts sometimes to say that we were wrong & to ask for forgiveness.  It also takes humility to relinquish a legitimate claim to retribution & extend forgiveness for a wrong.  We also need to be humble in our speech - not speaking too much or too brashly - & our dress - wearing modest clothes that protect our husband's exclusive right to view our bodies intimately.

     -Do nothing from rivalry or conceit:  I was particularly struck by the word rivalry.  How often, when we differ with our husbands do we view them as an adversary, as competition?  That's so wrong.  As Adam said of Eve, we are bone of his bone & flesh of his flesh.  When we marry, we become one.  Michael is not my opponent, he's my partner.  We're to work together.  I loved Sweet T's illustration of a yoke.  Michael & I are in the yoke together, striving to plow the same field as a team.  If we both pull together, the work is made easier & goes by more quickly.  But if he's pulling one way & I'm fighting against him going in the other direction, that field won't get plowed.  So, how do we make the decision about which direction to go when we're diametrically opposed?  This goes back to submission; I'm called to submit to him.  He sets the direction, & I'm to work with him - not against him - to accomplish our goal.  It's not always fun or easy, but it is the command of Scripture which I ignore at my own peril.  And what about the conceit part of this?  Well, to my mind, running our marriage under these precepts takes an enormous amount of "dying to self", leaving no room for conceit.

     -Count him as more important than myself:  How many times have I gotten frustrated because I haven't done this?  Here I am, trying to read a book or cook a meal or corral a dog & Michael asks me to help him in some way.  I can respond one of two ways:  with irritation at this interruption or with joy at an opportunity to serve my beloved.  It's more natural to become irritated, because it's sometimes an inconvenience to me.  But let me tell you, the times when Christ has been working through me & I've joyfully served Michael have been some of the most rewarding times of my life!  It really is more blessed to give than to receive!  Over-used or not, it's still biblical.

     -Look to the model of Christ:  Our lives as Christians, day in & day out, always return to the Gospel.  In this text, we see Jesus' humility as an example for us to follow.  Our daily dialogue should sound something like this:  "As Jesus was humble & served others, so should I"; "As Jesus forgave others, so should I"; "As Jesus relied on Scripture, so should I"; "As Jesus was devoted to His Father, so should I be"; "As Jesus loved His enemies, so should I" . . . & so on & so forth.

Just a couple more things.  I know this is long, but you've hung on for this long, so please stay with me!  1) None of this is possible under our own strength.  If we try to comfort our husbands or maintain our love or be of the same mind by our own power, we may be able to hang on for a little while, but it won't last.  We aren't strong enough.  So, rely on Christ's strength.  He's strong enough & powerful enough; all we have to do is ask.  And as Sweet T has said, we have the awesome privilege of praying for what He's commanded & the awesome promise that when we do so, He'll grant it!  2) Whether or not our husbands behave in these ways matters not even a little.  We will not answer to God for them.  He has commanded these things of us, & they are not contingent on our husbands' obedience.  It's hard, I know, but we're to obey God & have all of the aforementioned qualities even if we don't get them in return from our husbands.

Oh!  And PRAISE, DON'T NAG!  ;-)

I thoroughly enjoyed our study time in Philippians 2, & I hope you enjoyed my notes & thoughts on the topic.  I hope y'all have a good night.  Blessings.

Bungalow Bustlings - Thursday: Our Missing Day

Okay, so here's the deal.  The camera in our battery died.  It's been suggested that it might possibly have a little bit to maybe do with the fact that I've been taking an awful lot of pictures over the last few days, but I'm admitting to nothing.  ;-)  But, seriously, Michael took the battery out to charge it overnight Wednesday, & then brilliant me forgot to put it back in.  Oh, rest assured, I had the camera . . . sans battery.  Battery-less cameras don't work, as I found out when I tried to immortalize my honey-bun on film (or whatever that little card thingy is).  And because we were on the run pretty much all day yesterday, I had no chance to replace the battery.  Sooo, to make this very long story a teensy bit shorter, there are no pictures from Thursday.  I was bummed to say the least.  No pictures of my rushed honey-bun breakfast (I know, very nutritious), no pictures of the ladies' Bible study, our lunch at Applebee's, or our hours-long errand to Verizon.  Also missing are photos from the couples' Bible study last evening.  I know you're probably insanely bummed - as I was - so I'm going to make it up to you!  This photo essay is supposed to run through Sunday, but I'll do it through Monday to replace our missing day.  That means pictures of a piece of our time with our AL nieces & nephews!  Fun, fun!  So, please stay tuned!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bungalow Bustlings - Wednesday

As I said in my previous post, Wednesday was a sad day for me.  I grieved intensely for my sweet Ginger, wishing that she were still here with me.  You're about to see pictures from our day, which - grieving aside - was actually a good day.  Of course, it wasn't easy to compartmentalize my grief & enjoy it very much, but I can look at these pictures & know that we had a good day regardless.  What you won't see are the tearful sobfests or my visit to Dr. H to thank him for taking such good care of my baby girl.  Some things are better left to memory.  But, now on to the good things!

 YUMMY breakfast!

 Cooking the meat . . .

 for taco soup!

 Michael had a unit meeting . . .

 during which time I bought fabric for a new skirt to replace the one that I ruined in the "pen in the dryer" episode!

 We bought some new supplements at a local health food store.

 I prefer Lowe's, so Michael went in alone.  ;-)

 Michael's mom stopped by & got acquainted with Josie.

 Prayer meeting + Membership meeting = Leaving late.
It was worth it!

Hopefully wearing themselves out so they sleep soundly!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bungalow Bustlings - Tuesday

I'm sorry this is so late.  I intended to get these pictures up earlier this morning, but life happened.  Life, today, meant grieving over Ginger.  Most days, I do pretty well, some tears here & there.  I have good days more so than bad days, but today was a bad day.  BUT, yesterday was a good day!  So, let's reminisce about happier times & take a trip down this very recent memory lane.

 Michael ordering a new CD using . . .

 one of his Valentine's Day coupons.

 Me in the middle of yesterday's post.

 Josie soaking up some Mama love!

 Jake & Josie's reaction to . . .

 Michael vacuuming the living room.

 Ingredients set out for our breakfast smoothies!  Raw milk, coconut oil, raw honey, strawberry yogurt, farm-fresh eggs (don't try this with store-bought), banana, flax seed, almonds, strawberries, & blueberries -- Mmmm, mmmm good!

 Our stripped bed - washing & drying the sheets & bedspread was an all-day venture!

 I think the sun makes them more frisky!

 He had a 'fro!  Now he looks like he's enlisting in the Marines!

  Michael cashed in another coupon for a picnic down by the river.

He snuck in my yearly Valentine's Day love note, which was sweet, as always!  I love that man!!!

We finished off the day by watching this movie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bungalow Bustlings - Monday

When people find out that I'm a housewife who gets to spend the majority of her week with her dearly beloved, they often ask what we do.  Nothing grand, I assure you, but I thought I might make a photo essay of one week to show the happenings here at the Bungalow to answer that burning question.  For your viewing pleasure, I present . . .

Bungalow Bustlings

 Nothing starts the morning off right like play time . . .

 and honeysuckle candles!!!

 Michael replaced our worn-out diverter & now our shower works beautifully!

 More play time . . .

 followed by nap time!

 A tall glass of raw milk & a piece of King cake courtesy of Publix - a snack perfectly suited for this Louisiana girl during Mardi Gras!

 Some things have been allowed to slide since Josie came along.

 Playing with the new rope.

 New puppy = constantly dirty clothes = forever running washer!

 Enjoying the spring-like weather . . .

 in the backyard.

 Our hyacinths are coming up!

 Talking to Mama

 Sitting on the porch enjoying the weather ourselves!

 Another view.  Wish I'd taken a picture of our visit from a neighbor & her dog.  :-(

 Our date night meal . . .

 followed by a visit to, well, you can see where . . .

 & finished off with some ice cream!

Home sweet home