Manager In Training

Manager In Training

cs lewis quote on photo

I was talk­ing to a friend today about man­ag­ing our homes and all that that entails. She shared that it seems over­whelm­ing, and that she strug­gles to get it all done. Home­school­ing, meals, laun­dry, dust­ing, vac­u­um­ing, bathrooms…You know the drill.

She said she feels like a fail­ure at it some­times. Boy. Can I relate!

But then, I asked her how much train­ing she received for her job as home­maker. Vir­tu­ally none.

When we hear of man­agers in busi­nesses, they typ­i­cally have been work­ing in the field for sev­eral years before being pro­moted to man­ager. Right? And then they are trained specif­i­cally for this new title. They have guide­lines, men­tors, assessments…

Home­mak­ers: zip.

Unless they have been blessed with the train­ing grow­ing up. Most haven’t been. Or have a Titus 2 woman pour­ing into their lives now. Most don’t.

Yet we beat our­selves up and think that some­how because we are female that we ought to nat­u­rally KNOW how to be home­mak­ers, how to run this major enterprise.

Is this some­thing you strug­gle with, too?

I sug­gest that we need to invest in our roles as home­mak­ers. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have it all fig­ured out. I’ve been mar­ried almost 25 years now, and I still feel like I am play­ing catch up on this front. It never occurred to me that I should invest in books and lessons on how to man­age a home. But, maybe that is exactly what we need to do! I thought I should just know how to do it.

Maybe it’s just me. How are you doing in this? Tips? Book rec­om­men­da­tions? Encour­age­ment? Thoughts? Please share.

Catching Up…

Catching Up…

I’m alive. I really am. Just in case any­one was wondering.

Life has been insanely hec­tic lately. You too?

I was invited to go out to the Men’s Advance in Troy, MO, with Covenant Fam­ily Church to spend some time speak­ing with the wives and daugh­ters who accom­pa­nied their husbands/fathers/brothers to the week­end of teach­ing. It was such a blessed time for me. I brought my old­est daugh­ter, Pey­ton, with me. It was our first mother/daughter get­away. To a Men’s Advance. Haha… A tad bit ironic. She’s too young to be look­ing for a hus­band, and I already have one. Thank­fully, we had lots of women and girls to meet and spend time with. We both felt so wel­comed and loved.

Flying to Missouri

Fly­ing to Missouri


Then, we came home, and Mike took the fam­ily ski­ing. I tagged along, although I don’t ski. I have a bum leg, and can’t do dan­ger­ous, high risk things. And, if you know me at all, you know that any­thing that takes grace and skill is high-risk for me. I stayed in the lodge and worked while watch­ing the chil­dren careen down the moun­tain. Even Faith gave it a try this year. One so short shouldn’t be doing such crazy things. But, she loved it. She told me she has a new favorite sport. Ski­ing. Funny. I don’t have a favorite sport. The idea never crossed my mind.

We came home, and then my hus­band whisked me away to a cas­tle. We spent the week­end away for our church’s annual mar­riage retreat, which my hus­band orga­nizes every year. So roman­tic. We arrived to a snowy win­ter won­der­land {The photo above the post title is the view from the win­dow in our cas­tle room the night we arrived.}. Absolutely loved it. The next day, it was warm, much of the snow melted, and we were able to spend a cou­ple of hours walk­ing out­side, sit­ting on a bench talk­ing, hold­ing hands, learn­ing, grow­ing together. Such a great invest­ment! One of the assign­ments he gave the group was that we were to talk together and each make a list: some­thing we want the other to stop doing, some­thing we want them to start doing, and some­thing we want them to con­tinue doing. I really strug­gled to come up with my list, but once I got going, it seemed to flow. He also encour­aged that the con­tinue doing list can be 4–5 things to add to the encour­age­ment. We both learned a lot about the other, and what was on our hearts. Things we might not have known before. We laughed, cried, and grew stronger. I highly rec­om­mend this exer­cise. Be open, be hon­est, and don’t be afraid. Start. Stop. Continue.

marriage retreat small

Oh! And Faith was invited to par­tic­i­pate in a com­mer­cial for a local SEO com­pany. She had so much fun. She got to wear a tiara and blow pixie dust. What 7 year old lit­tle girl wouldn’t love that? It was right up her alley.

faith commercial smallSo, that’s been our life around here lately. Busy, full, good. I’d love to hear what you have been up to! Any­thing fun?



Who Wants A Vitamix?

Who Wants A Vitamix?

Spring is right around the cor­ner and it’s already begin­ning to be gor­geous out­side. A new sea­son can be a time to start fresh, re-evaluate your dreams and goals, and get on the right track… again. It’s the per­fect time to renew the vision of your health jour­ney and get set for greatness.

We want to help! Any­thing we can do to make your whole fam­ily, real-food jour­ney eas­ier and smoother, we are all about it. We want you to be able to make healthy meals and snacks to feed to your fam­ily in the most effi­cient way… and what bet­ter way to do that but with a Vitamix. 

win a vitamix

A group of fab­u­lous blog­gers have got­ten together to offer your fam­ily a Vita­mix 5200, val­ued at $449, for FREE!

We know how impor­tant car­ing for your fam­ily is to you and that it’s not always easy to get your own top of the line blender, so we have brought one to you. This tough cookie can do it all and is a sta­ple in most pro­fes­sional kitchens. Now it can be a sta­ple in your kitchen as well. 

The give­away goes from Tues­day, March 4th to Fri­day, March 14th and is for any­one, no mat­ter where you live. If you are out­side of the U.S. you will receive an ama­zon gift card for the Vitamix.

Enter to win through the raf­fle­copter below and get to know some new and excit­ing bloggers. 

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Dis­claimer: No pur­chase nec­es­sary. Must be 18 to enter. Void where pro­hib­ited by law. This give­away is in no way spon­sored, endorsed, or asso­ci­ated by Face­book. By enter­ing this give­away, you agree to release Face­book, Whole Fam­ily Strong and all par­tic­i­pat­ing blogs of all lia­bil­ity. Con­test ends at 12:01am EST on March 14, 2014. Win­ner is ran­domly cho­sen by Raf­fle­copter and will be emailed.

Some Thoughts About Your Thoughts

Some Thoughts About Your Thoughts

I’ve been pon­der­ing this post for a cou­ple of weeks now, try­ing to fig­ure out how I want to tackle it.

I recently wrote about sav­ing your mar­riage from an axe mur­derer, specif­i­cally talk­ing about how to pro­tect our mar­riages. I had sev­eral very thought­ful com­ments, which I thought would best be served answer­ing in its own post.

First, Laura gave a good and wise exhor­ta­tion about extend­ing grace to peo­ple who have fallen into the sin of adul­tery. She expresses her­self this way:

 Don’t judge those who have. I have seen numer­ous times that those who so vehe­mently spoke in judge­ment against those who have fallen, have ended up falling into almost the exact same sin, years later. Remem­ber, “there but the grace of God go I”. 

She is right that we all are sus­cep­ti­ble to sin of all kinds. I guess that was sort of the point of my arti­cle. We need to be proac­tive to pro­tect it. But while we are doing that, we need to remem­ber that it isn’t we who are able to save us from our­selves. It’s God alone who gives us the strength to resist temp­ta­tion. Keep our eyes on Christ while we are nur­tur­ing our hus­bands. Thanks, Laura, for your gen­tle reminder. I do pray that I didn’t come across as sound­ing judg­men­tal about peo­ple who have fallen into this. I will say that those who find them­selves ensnared in this par­tic­u­lar sin need to repent and stop doing it. It’s not judg­men­tal to say that, even to them.

She added:

When peo­ple think that they would never do the same thing or fall in this way, it is pride.


A cou­ple of the ladies who responded sug­gested that social media is the prob­lem. While it may give peo­ple more access to more peo­ple, I am pretty sure that stalk­ing, adul­tery, and temp­ta­tions to these things have been around nearly as long as peo­ple have. Even in Jesus’s time, adul­tery and sex­ual sin existed. We can’t run from the human heart. It stems from fallen man, not Face­book. We can only cocoon our­selves so much. Even­tu­ally, we have to go to the gro­cery store, where temp­ta­tion might slap us in the face in the check­out line.

Christine’s response really touched my heart. Thank you, Chris­tine, for shar­ing your heart. I pray that the Lord con­tin­ues to restore your mar­riage and grow you and your hus­band ever so much closer together as you grow closer to Him. It is a HARD road liv­ing the Chris­t­ian life. Respect, love, honor, sub­mis­sion. It goes against every­thing inside of us, doesn’t it? As wives, we are more closely watch­ing and see­ing the sin­ful atti­tudes of our hus­bands at their weak­est moments. And to be sure, they have a front row seat with ours! I won­der how any mar­riage sur­vives through it all. But, God is good. He is in the busi­ness of restora­tion, renew­ing, for­giv­ing, and giv­ing us hope.  As hard as it may be liv­ing the Chris­t­ian life, I think it would be a thou­sand times harder with­out Christ. Yes, we are con­victed, have to repent and FORGIVE peo­ple who hurt us. But, what a gift. Stor­ing up bit­ter­ness cer­tainly can’t be a bet­ter pill to swallow.

And then Lynn had a thought­ful response, which I really want to spend some time discussing.

I believe she either mis­un­der­stood what I was say­ing, or she was attribut­ing to me what per­haps other peo­ple have said.

If women and men can­not inter­act as friends, we miss what strength and grace may be offered to each other.
I have seen women so very over­pro­tec­tive of their hus­bands, that they become crit­i­cal, and catty, towards other women. They devolve into treat­ing their hus­bands like chil­dren, or per­haps as if they would have no self-control if left alone for a moment with the oppo­site sex or view a woman who doesn’t yet real­ize the impor­tance of dress­ing mod­estly. This leads me to ques­tion their level of self-control, trust in their hus­band, and sta­bil­ity in their marriage.

I hope I didn’t com­mu­ni­cate that women and men can­not inter­act as friends. And, it isn’t proper for Chris­t­ian women to be crit­i­cal or catty towards other women, espe­cially their sis­ters in the Lord. And, please, ladies, don’t treat your hus­bands like chil­dren. Gra­cious, I hope I didn’t con­vey *that* mes­sage. You are right that some women haven’t learned the impor­tance of dress­ing mod­estly. Some never will. We do need to treat them with grace and patience. And love. Come along­side them and try to min­is­ter to them in a way that makes them feel loved as they, and we, are sanc­ti­fied in the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit. But, that doesn’t mean that hubby should go on lunch dates with them, or have coun­sel­ing ses­sions alone with them. It just isn’t wise. And we are also to avoid the appear­ance of evil.

 Abstain from all appear­ance of evil. 1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 5:22

But that doesn’t mean we treat them like chil­dren. As to the sit­u­a­tion with the woman who said she wanted to inter­view him, how long must a woman “dis­cuss” it with a man before she actu­ally sets up an appoint­ment to do so? She was flirt­ing with him, heap­ing all man­ners of com­pli­ments on him, stroking his ego. My hus­band was gra­cious to her, say­ing that if she wanted to do an inter­view, they could set it up, but that they needed to stop chat­ting back and forth through email. He was polite, didn’t accuse her of any­thing. I wasn’t throw­ing a fit, nag­ging, etc. Glad for the oppor­tu­nity to clar­ify that, and I appre­ci­ate that you are not being pugnacious.

And then this:

To act as if we can­not inter­act alone with any man…including rel­a­tives, because surely there will be an affair, seems a lit­tle extreme to me.

I see you are respond­ing to another com­menter with this state­ment. I tend to think that this would be extreme for our fam­ily, but each fam­ily must stand and fall before God alone. I don’t know her fam­ily sit­u­a­tion, their his­tory, or the per­sonal heartaches they have faced in their lives, so I can’t really say that it is wrong to hold those views in their home. Per­haps for most peo­ple, this would be putting the hedge a bit far out there, but maybe not for them. Please know that this is not what I am advo­cat­ing at all.

My point is that we need to be proac­tive in pro­tect­ing and strength­en­ing our mar­riages. We can’t just set it on the back burner and hope that the sim­mer­ing pot doesn’t get burned. It stinks, makes a big mess, and is really hard to clean up. We have a respon­si­bil­ity to actively nur­ture our mar­riages, pro­tect­ing them from all sorts of evil that would seek to destroy a godly marriage.

Be sober, be vig­i­lant; because your adver­sary the devil walks about like a roar­ing lion, seek­ing whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

It’s not a game. It isn’t child’s play.

I pray that this post serves to clar­ify any ques­tions raised in the com­ments. And I pray that your mar­riages will be strength­ened as you draw closer to God and to your hus­bands. Thank you for join­ing in the dis­cus­sion. I appre­ci­ate the thought­ful com­ments, con­cerns, ques­tions. Bless­ings to you!

How to Save Your Marriage from an Axe Murderer

How to Save Your Marriage from an Axe Murderer

We have cre­ated a world that has lit­tle account­abil­ity, easy access, secrecy, and vir­tual iden­ti­ties. We can be who­ever we want to be when we are online. And it can prove to be very dan­ger­ous for us.

The other day, I received a pri­vate mes­sage through my Face­book account from a man who was one of my “friends.” We have sev­eral mutual friends. When he friended me long ago, I checked out our mutual friends, looked at his page to see what he was all about. Every­thing checked out. He is like-minded, our friends in com­mon hold the same con­vic­tions our fam­ily holds (and I *really* know most of them). So, I accepted his friend request and never had a word of inter­ac­tion with him. Until last week.

He sent me a com­pli­men­tary note, which both shocked me because of who I thought he was and the fact that I am mar­ried. I stopped in my tracks and con­sid­ered my options of response, if any. Do I tell my hus­band? Do I say any­thing? A sim­ple thank you? What is right and good and appropriate?

While I was con­sid­er­ing my options, he quickly sent me two fol­low on mes­sages which became aggres­sive and assault­ing. And angry.

I did some research, asked a mutual friend who I trust very much if he actu­ally knew him, and I dis­cov­ered that this man is not who he says he is. A sim­ple inter­net search told me that he has a crim­i­nal record, has served time in prison for assault­ing a female and false impris­on­ment. And appar­ently, he does this thing with inap­pro­pri­ately con­tact­ing mar­ried women. From what I have read, it can get uglier than what I expe­ri­enced by the things he sends to the mar­ried women he inter­acts with. Pic­tures and such. This “safe man” is any­thing but.

What I really want to dis­cuss is how to pre­vent the oppor­tu­nity for strangers to get under your skin and into your head. How to bol­ster your mar­riage so that when the temp­ta­tions come, you won’t be pulled toward them and away from him. And they will come.

As I dis­cussed it with my hus­band later, I noted that had I been a wife who felt unloved, unap­pre­ci­ated, dowdy, frumpy, and neglected, I very well may have found myself intrigued enough to respond with a sim­ple thanks. Or more. I could have found myself bait­ing for more com­pli­ments. Never imag­in­ing it would go fur­ther than that,  or that I could have found myself in very real dan­ger. Maybe not from this man, but from any stranger out there who knows enough about me based on what I post online to talk the talk I’m com­fort­able with. And, to note,  most peo­ple who fall into affairs never imag­ine it will get to THAT point. We all think we are stronger, more godly, above that pos­si­bil­ity. Yet, from what the recent sta­tis­tics are say­ing, 54% of women admit to hav­ing an infi­delity in a rela­tion­ship they’ve had. 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught. Even more stag­ger­ing to me is the sta­tis­tic that shows that 31 per­cent of peo­ple have had an online con­ver­sa­tion that has led to in-person sex. 1 in 3. Is your mouth gap­ing? Mine is. I pray that those num­bers don’t include Chris­tians, but I would be naive to think it is impossible.

So, how to pre­vent your­self (or your hus­band) from becom­ing one of the ugly sta­tis­tics is impor­tant to fig­ure out. I have some ideas to share with you:

1. Stay deep in the Word of God daily. Med­i­tate on His Word day and night. Don’t leave room for the enemy to get a foothold. This one should be obvi­ous, so I won’t dwell too long here. But know this: the more you spend in God’s Word, fill­ing your heart and mind with God’s beau­ti­ful truth about who you are in Him, the more equipped you will be to fight off the enemy. And don’t be fooled:  Be sober, be vig­i­lant; because your adver­sary the devil walks about like a roar­ing lion, seek­ing whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He is actively seek­ing to destroy you and your mar­riage. Don’t get lazy in this.

2. Pray for your hus­band. Pray for your mar­riage. Pray for your chil­dren. Remem­ber­ing these aspects of your life daily in prayer will remind you of the impor­tance of these peo­ple in your life. An affair will shat­ter their lives right along with yours. When you are dis­ap­pointed or angry with them, pray dou­bly for them. Pray that the Lord will give you an abun­dance of love for your hus­band, a respect that shines in your eyes. Focus on your role as his wife, not on his short­com­ings and irri­ta­tions. You can’t change those. You can work on you, which remark­ably tends to have an effect on him. Funny how that works.

3. Apol­o­gize and For­give daily. I don’t know how to break it to you, so I’ll just say it: You are mar­ried to a sin­ner. And so is he. As much as you want him to over­look your three or four imper­fec­tions, be will­ing to over­look his. Be sin­cere in your apolo­gies and for­give­ness. Don’t do these begrudg­ingly. I strug­gle with this one. I so eas­ily caveat every­thing with the silly notion that my part of the prob­lem is so minor com­pared to his. And some­times they actu­ally are. I find myself think­ing too highly of myself way too often. This doesn’t build my mar­riage, it tears it down.

The wise woman builds her house,
But the fool­ish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

4. Smile at him more often. I know. The daily grind gets exhaust­ing. The dia­pers need chang­ing con­stantly. They ALWAYS want to eat. every. day. The laun­dry piles up. You don’t get “employee of the month” bonuses or park­ing or even recog­ni­tion most of the time. Drudgery and dis­con­tent can surely move in and set up  house in your heart before you even hear the knock­ing on the door. Smile. With a twin­kle in your eye. You are a team. He’s yours, and you’re his. Let’s act like we are happy about that!

5. Respect him. I’ve shared this before, but my hus­band likes to fly me places for spe­cial events, like my birth­day and our anniver­sary. It always amazes me how I respond to these lit­tle jaunts. I sit there as his lone pas­sen­ger in the plane watch­ing him do his thing. He flew fight­ers in the Air Force for 20 years. I knew what he did, but I never saw this highly respected guy danc­ing in the skies with his jet, doing maneu­vers that would make my head spin. It occurs to me that most of us don’t see our hus­bands at work. They go to work, inter­act with peo­ple there, do their thing, and come home tired and hun­gry at the end of he day. We get the hun­gry and tired, but don’t see the respect they get from oth­ers. We don’t see how trained and skilled they are in their work. And they labor daily for us. I have heard it said that respect must be earned. Really? What does scrip­ture say?

 How­ever, let each one of you love his wife as him­self, and let the wife see that she respects her hus­band. Eph­esians 5:33

How would we feel if we were told that we had to earn the love of our hus­bands? If your hus­band said to you, “Wife, when you start act­ing lov­able, I will love you!” I think we would cry foul pretty quickly. How hor­ri­ble to be told such a thing! We expect uncon­di­tional love. Right? BUT-the com­mand for our hus­bands to love us is writ­ten the same way as the com­mand for us to respect our hus­bands. It isn’t based on works. Do you sus­pect that some­times it is just as hard for them to love us as it is for us to respect them? And maybe this is why God so wisely instructed us to do so? My hus­band has shared with me that the quick­est way to show him my love effec­tively is by respect­ing him. Pub­licly and pri­vately. Don’t just do it for show. Again, what if his love towards you was only for show when oth­ers were around? Do you think you might actu­ally resent it? Be sin­cere. Look at your hus­band with fresh eyes. He is the man God has gifted you with to pro­vide for you and to pro­tect you. To love you and to cher­ish you. Help him by remind­ing him through your actions why you two got mar­ried in the first place.

6. Actively LOVE him. Phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, every way you can. You know, you can’t love him too much. Find out what makes him tick. Does he like you to just sit with him? Does he like it when your hand touches his? What makes his heart soar with the knowl­edge that you love him? Find out if you don’t know. Ask him. While you are meet­ing his emo­tional needs, make sure you explore how to meet his phys­i­cal needs. Per­haps you have an idea in your mind of what fills that need. But, I want to encour­age you to ask him. Ask for specifics. You may be sur­prised at what he tells you. What you may feel is enough, may not be to him. Or, it could be the other way around. You never know unless you talk about it. Don’t be shy. He is your hus­band, and you don’t belong to your­self. You each belong to the other like nobody else on earth. This is such a beau­ti­ful gift. If you find that you are over­whelmed with the basics of life that this aspect of your mar­riage is suf­fer­ing, talk about it with him. Are you neglect­ing him because you have sev­eral young chil­dren who demand too much of you to have much left at the end of the day for him? Are the laun­dry, dishes, mop­ping, food prep tak­ing all of your energy? Tell him. He actu­ally may have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties than you do. Many men would rather pay some­one to come help you dur­ing the day in order to have you at night. No amount of house­work is worth the sac­ri­fice of your mar­riage. And the chil­dren grow. Don’t be strangers at the end of the day. Make him your first pri­or­ity after your rela­tion­ship with God. And don’t put God at the bot­tom of the pile either. It’s not much con­so­la­tion to a man to know he’s right behind God on your pri­or­ity list, only to find out that God is way down there after every­thing else in your life.

7. Flirt with your hus­band. Admit­tedly, this is some­thing that will look dif­fer­ent for every cou­ple. It’s hard to put this one in a sim­ple box. But, show him you are think­ing about him through­out the day. Text him lit­tle mes­sages. Or email, what­ever works for you. Hug him and whis­per sweet words to him when he walks in the door after work. Linger. Remind him sub­tly and not so sub­tly that you are his wife, and that you embrace this role in his life. Keep his eyes focused on yours in such a sweet and inti­mate way. He’s your man. God has given you to each other. 

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

While we, as women, are vul­ner­a­ble online to temp­ta­tions and advances of men, our hus­bands are also sub­ject to the same sort of issues. Many years ago, my hus­band received an email from a woman who was flat­ter­ing to him. She explained that she wanted to write an arti­cle about him. She gushed (in my opin­ion) about how mar­velous he was in all of his endeav­ors, and thought he’d make a great sub­ject for some­thing she was writ­ing. Since we have an open pol­icy about read­ing each other’s email, I saw their cor­re­spon­dences. I warned my hus­band that I thought the woman was insin­cere about her motives, and I cau­tioned him about con­tin­u­ing the cor­re­spon­dence. He wasn’t sure he agreed with my assess­ment, but in an act of honor towards me, told her that he needed to end their cor­re­spon­dence. If she wanted to do an inter­view, then I would be with him for that time. Inter­est­ingly, she became very irate and hate­ful. He hadn’t accused her of any­thing, but she responded as though he did. Her response spoke vol­umes, and my hus­band real­ized that I had been right in my assess­ment of her. Yet, he had been naive about it. We joke that the woman just seemed to be a smart, astute per­son who appre­ci­ated all of his won­der­ful qual­i­ties. I’m thank­ful that we have a strong rela­tion­ship based on trust and pru­dence. He eas­ily could have found him­self trapped in a place he never intended to go.

So, as we hang out with friends online, it’s good to remem­ber that we actu­ally may not really know the peo­ple behind the key­boards. While we invest in their lives, we may be set­ting our­selves up for real dan­ger. Please be care­ful. And, per­haps instead of fear­ing what might hap­pen in the great unknown out there, we ought to be invest­ing in the real life rela­tion­ship with our hus­band. Spend­ing time build­ing our mar­riages may in fact be the sin­gle most impor­tant thing that pro­tects our mar­riages from being vul­ner­a­ble to the crazy stalker who is look­ing for a way into our lives. And while we are at it, we are bless­ing our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren with a faith­ful­ness that over­flows into many gen­er­a­tions. What a legacy and gift! May the Lord be pleased with all we say and do. Noth­ing is secret from Him!

I’ve linked this post at Cor­ner­stone Con­fes­sions and Grow­ing Home. Be sure to stop by and check out other arti­cles you might find interesting.

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