Lessons Learned in 3D — Four Years

This week, my husband and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary.   I told him that if they gave out badges in marriage like they do in the boy scouts, we would have earned quite a few.  We have survived much in our 48 months together as man and wife.  I am so thankful to be walking beside him.

Every week on Friday, I put together a list of things that God is teaching me — so that I don’t forget.  I need to keep growing….  these posts help me get there.

Here in no particular order are 10 things I learned this week:

1.  This was a word for year # 5 of my marriage:  I must focus on my husband’s admirable qualities, rather than on how he does not meet my unrealistic expectations.   I love this very sage guest post by Abby from Predatory Lies over at Start Marriage Right.

Side note:  I am honored to be a regular contributor for Start Marriage Right,  Moody’s awesome blog for singles, engaged, and married folk alike.  Head on over here to check out my posts.

2.  “Pack a light heart.”  — Emily from Chatting at the Sky shares “Four Tips for Vacationing with Your Family” in this post over at (in) courage.  

3.  “Sometimes, the smallest things done in love leave the biggest imprints.”  This nerdy English teacher loved, loved, loved this post by Alicia at The Overflow.  

4.  Daily, I need to “choose to sit and soak in God’s beauty, God’s essence, God’s majesty, God’s promises, and God’s glory…” — I love how Elizabeth George explains it here in her post inspired by Psalms 16:8.

5.  Best Quote from my reading this week:

“Joy comes from giving yourself

entirely & unreservedly to God.”

Jennie Allen on p. 164 of Anything

6.  True friendships will eventually land in “kick the door down and come and help me seasons,” but before that season arrives, I need to log in hours sitting across the table from my friend.  I love how Shauna, Jessica, and Angie explain it in this vlog as part of the (in) courage Bloom Book Club.  (If you haven’t read Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, you are missing a treat.)

7. “Procrastination is a slippery little bugger.”  — This is a tough lesson that I keep having to re-learn because I am a sssllloowww learner.  Ali at Embrace the Struggle reminded me it’s not worth it in this post.

8. Dionna from Beauty in the Storm gave me a great idea for a new family tradition in her guest post over at Start Marriage Right:  The Special Event Book.

9.  The Dating Divas showed me that it’s not so hard to be creative in planning an anniversary gift.  Check out the great ideas over here.

10.  My marriage is not invincible.  I can’t grow complacent.  I need to keep fighting for “us.”  Here is a list of 8 Lies that Destroy Marriage. 

Q4U: What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Jesse and friends this weekend for

Top 10 Quotes on A Woman’s Call to Prayer

wedding rings curtis pic

I am in a battle.  The enemy is out to destroy.  I wage war on my knees.

I must be vigilant and not let myself grow unguarded in the fight for my marriage.  That’s why I recently revisited a book I’d read many years ago called A Woman’s Call to Prayer:  Making Your Desire to Pray a Reality by Elizabeth George.  In 2012, the book was re-printed using the updated title The Heart of a Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You.  Elizabeth has written tons of books, and her writing encourages me and equips me to live a more effective life for God.  I don’t know about you, but I love books that are practical and teach me how to “be a better me.”

Here are my Top 10 Quotes from the Book:

1.  “…prayer and praying give us a measure of immunity against the world.  For instance, I’ve noticed that when I get up early and make prayer a priority and take time to seek God through His Word and prayer, a fire of passion for Him is ignited, fueled, and fanned until its flame is brilliant and fiery.  My time spent answering God’s call to prayer causes everything to point upward.  My thoughts, my heart, my concerns, my focus, my desires all become more noble when time is taken to lift my heart heavenward through prayer.”  pp. 24-25

2.  “When the going gets rough, we’re not to faint, lose heart, give in, and cave in.  Instead we are to pray, to ask God in supplication, to trust Him and move forward.  It’s true that ‘he stands best who kneels most.’  And, dear heart, we can always pray in helplessness when we can’t do anything else!  That’s what supplication is.  So put this prayer-weapon to good use in your times of trouble.”  p. 58

3.  “You are to pray for others…period.  You are to pray for those you love…and for those who don’t love you.  You are to pray for those you appreciate…and for those who have disappointed you and failed in their love.  You are to pray for those who faithfully serve God…and for those who have stumbled in their walk with Him.  You are to ‘bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2).”  p. 73

4.  “…realize that the means to answering God’s call to not worry is entwined with His call to pray.  Therefore, do not fail to pray… Prayer sets you free from fear and worry.”  p. 103

5.  “Give God a daily time tithe.  A spiritual mentor encouraged me to set aside  ten percent of my ‘awake’ hours to the Lord.  Doing the math reveals that such a time tithe adds up to about one-and-a-half hours per day spent in these three activities that help a woman fortify herself for each new day and its challenges:

  • Preparing — your heart for what’s ahead by reading and studying God’s Word,
  • Praying — about the specific needs in your life and day, and
  • Planning — how to best live out your God-given day.

These three daily exercises ensure that something is going in (your heart), something is going up (your prayers), and something is going on (your plan).” p.124

6.  “Wisdom applies God’s Word to everyday life — Sometimes we don’t think that a day is all that important.  Yet in reality, all we have is a day — today!  Today is all we have for doing God’s will…In other words, managing and handling today with all of its demands, quirks, and surprises in a godly and righteous and wise manner will require all of our wisdom.”  p. 144

7.  “I’ve personally discovered that praying about people problems usually results in tapping into God’s great mercy…and then my  heart is changed and I approach the matter in an entirely new way.  Surprisingly, I begin to feel empathy and compassion for those I’m praying about.”  p. 153

8.  “You will need to pray now for God’s help to say no… to yourself, to your flesh, to spontaneous invitations, to your excuses.  Pray to God to help you make it through just this one day of walking in His plan — not yours!”  p. 169

9.  “…you are to be praying all the time, to make your every breath a prayer.  As my former pastor loved to say prayer is ‘spiritual breathing.'”  p. 266

10.  “Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth.  And you, dear one, will resemble a diamond when you gather up the conditions and concerns of your life and ‘take it to the Lord in prayer.’  You will become, in a good sense, hard, tough, solid, powerful, confident, full-of-faith.” p. 272

Q4U:  What’s the best book you have read on the subject of prayer?  Do you have any advice for a sister who is trying to create a more consistent prayer life?

I am passionate about the subject of marriage and write about it frequently. Check out all my marriage posts here.

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.” Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Photo Credit:  Curtis Copeland, Copeland Photography

Lessons Learned in 3D — The Waiting Room

I’m in the waiting room right now.  I don’t mean a literal waiting room at the doctor’s office, but a figurative one where I am watching and praying and hoping.   Waiting is never easy.

Some of the best lessons are learned in the waiting room.  These weekly posts help me to remember what God is teaching me as I keep moving forward in faith.  As I wait, God is strengthening me for what lies ahead.

Here in no particular order are 10 things I learned this week:

1.  “When friends need you, sometimes, you have to get out of the boat, and together fight against the swirling waters of the unknown and the dark shadows lurking beneath.”  (Thank you for this reminder, Dina.)

2. Lisa at Lisa’s Notes reminded me that “I stink.” 

3.  A day of rest helps me to be more productive the rest of the week.  I love how Tsh explains this in her post over at (in) courage titled “Find Your Greek Island.”

4.   “There is a fine line between confiding and venting.”  Ashleigh from Ungrind shares much wisdom in her Guest Post for Start Marriage Right.  The title of her post, “The Fix-It Man and His Wife,” grabbed me because it could easily be the title for my memoir.  Her husband and mine sound like twins.

Side Note:  Start Marriage Right is a great web site for singles, engaged couples, and both newly wedded and veteran married folk.  I am honored to be a regular contributor.  Head on over here to check out my posts.

5.  This week Lori at And This is Grace made me long for “More time, more food, more closeness around the table.”  I loved her Guest Post over at (in) courage.

6.  Devotional quote of the week:

“Knowing His name means
understanding, declaring, proclaiming, and confessing
who God is and what He does.
It means discovering more and more
of the grandeur, the glory,
and the unshakable foundation of His character.
As we know His name, trust Him more fully,
and search for Him more diligently,
oppression and trouble lose their effectiveness.
The Lord is our shelter and refuge.
He has never abandoned anyone who has sought Him,
and He will never abandon us!”
Cheri Fuller on Psalms 9:9-10 in

7.  Tip to the Married Gals who are Twitter Chicks:  Follow Kat Lee for daily prayer prompt tweets for your husband like this one:

8.  This week, Anne at  Modern Mrs. Darcy shared 35 things she’s learned in honor of her 35th birthday (Happy Birthday, Anne!)   I must “Amen” her # 17:

“When you have no idea what to say to someone who’s hurting,
just say something,
and say it from the heart.
Saying nothing hurts more than saying the wrong thing.”

9.  I need to be more intentional about “giving back.”  I love these great ideas by Lisa at About Proximity. 

10.   Sarah reminded me that waiting is never without purpose in her post for (in) courage:

“And there is so much learning in the waiting.

We learn patience and long-suffering and tolerance when we wait.

We learn forgiveness and self-awareness

and we learn how to slow down.

When we wait it is one more example that life is

a journey to be walked through not a destination to be won.”

Q4U: What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Jesse and friends this weekend for

Lessons Learned in 3-D: 26, 53, & 92

This past weekend, my step son turned 26.  My husband turned 53, and my Abuelo turned 92.  Each of my men is at a much different stage in life.  I found myself looking back to my 20’s with a new perspective and thinking forward to my later years with curiosity.  If only I could time travel and tell 20-year-old me to worry less!  I look at my grandfather and see how hard he has worked and how well he has loved, and I pray that my life will be as meaningful as his.  He is deeply loved and respected by so many.

Time slips by quickly. (I can’t believe it’s July already!).  That is why on Fridays I try to create a list of the things God is teaching me — so that I don’t forget the important stuff.

Here in no particular order are the top ten things I learned this week:

1.  Her.meneutics picked up a post from Kay Warren’s Facebook page that touched me deeply:

“Another day, another moment of surrender.

Another day, another opportunity to choose joy.

Another day to live seriously disturbed,

dangerously surrendered

and gloriously ruined for your Kingdom.

I am yours.”

2.  There is always hope because God redeems all if we will let Him in.  I love the redemption story shared by Therese in her Guest Post over at Inspiration-Driven Life:

“Marriage has shown me that His story,

even in the deepest valleys,

is better than anything I could write for myself.”

3. Revival will never come if I don’t get on my knees and ask for it to begin with me.  If you read anything at all this week, please read this prophetic post by Beth Moore.

4.  “Love covers so much.  (Thank you for this reminder, Sarah!)

5.  “Love and prayer are mighty works indeed.”  I discovered this devotional post through a friend’s Facebook page.  Have you ever read The Daily Bread?  I used to read it every day when I was in high school — This is how I spent my quiet time in my early years as a Christ follower.

6.  I was overjoyed this week to discover Statigram (Instagram Online).

7.  Lisa at Lisa’s Notes taught me that “Mercy is Freedom’s sidekick.” 

8. In less than ten minutes, I can do something flirty and fun for my husband.  The Dating Divas provide inspiration every Friday in their “Love on the Run” posts.

9.  I am passionate about creating memories and establishing family traditions.  I loved this great idea by Julie in her post for Do Not DepartFamily Vacation Faith Journal

10.  Kristen at We are THAT Family provided another great idea for an end of school year tradition:  How to Host a Kid’s Day

Q4U: What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Jesse and friends this weekend for

Top 10 Quotes on a Sacred Marriage

wedding pics by marie from CD 096

Almost four years ago, I bought an outrageously expensive white dress and walked down an aisle to exchange vows with my best friend.  One of the songs played during our wedding was “Center” by Charlie Hall.  Our prayer still remains that Christ will be the center of our marriage.  This is a commitment that requires a daily investment — it’s an intentional choice to put your spouse and others first.  I am so thankful that I made that choice four years ago.

One way that I work to stay invested in improving my marriage is by reading Christian non-fiction books on the subject.  A favorite read for me was Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  Today, I am going to share “the goodness” with you.  This book is so rich… it is a “must” read.

Here are my top 10 quotes from the book:

1.  “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  p. 13

2.  “Strong Christian marriages will be struck by lightning — sexual temptation, communication problems, frustrations, unrealized expectations–but if the marriages are heavily watered with an unwavering commitment to please God above everything else, the conditions won’t be ripe for a devastating fire to follow the lightning strike.” p. 36

3.  “Allow your marriage relationship to stretch your love and to enlarge your capacity for love–to teach you to be a Christian.  Use marriage as a practice court, where you learn to accept another person and serve him or her.” p.42

4.  “While many people fight to receive respect, Christian marriage calls for us to focus our efforts on giving respect.  We are called to honor someone even when we know only too well their deepest character flaws.  We are called to stretch ourselves, to find out how we can learn to respect this person with whom we’ve become so familiar.” p. 55

5.  “Marriage can force us to become stronger people, because if we want to maintain a strong prayer life as married partners, we must learn to forgive.  We must become expert reconcilers.”  p. 81

6.  “A mature Christian finds his or her fulfillment in living faithfully before God–that is, in being a mature person, not in being around a particular person.  Much of our marital dissatisfaction stems in actuality from self-hatred.  We don’t like what we’ve done or become; we’ve let selfish and sinful attitudes poison our thoughts and lead us into shameful behaviors, and suddenly all we want is out.  The mature response, however, is not to leave; it’s to change–ourselves.  Whenever marital dissatisfaction rears its head in my marriage–as it does in virtually every marriage–I simply check my focus.   The times I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better husband rather than from demanding a ‘better’ wife.” p. 101

7.  “… the ‘collisions’ of marriage can create relationships of beauty.  Beauty is often birthed in struggle.” p. 128

8.  “To fully sanctify the marital relationship, we must live it together as Jesus lived His life–embracing the discipline of sacrifice and service as a daily practiceIn the same way that Jesus gave His body for us, we are to lay down our energy,, our bodies, and our lives for others.” p. 187

9.  “Marital dissatisfaction, on whatever level, is best met with the prayer, ‘That’s why I need You, O God.’ We are reminded of the transcendent ache in our soul that even this one very special person can’t relieve entirely on his or her own.” p. 237

10.  “A spiritually alive marriage will remain a marriage of two individuals in pursuit of a common vision outside of themselves.” p. 255

Q4U:  What’s the best book you have read on the subject or marriage or relationships?

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.