Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Birthday's

I've mentioned before that as a child I felt jipped having a December birthday.  But these days, I just can't get enough of it.  My philosophy now is that all the coolest folks celebrate their birthday's in December (mine is the 8th, my oldest son's is the 15th, and my husband's is the 27th).  Of course, what makes the month especially special is the celebration of the birth of JESUS on the 25th.  (Disclaimer: This does not imply that my other three children that were not born in the month of December are less cool.)  Aside from frigid temperatures, there are just way cooler things to do to celebrate a December birthday than other times of the year.  Three years ago, we spent Jaden's birthday at Disney World.  Two years ago, we spent my birthday in Canton - the city of lights, last year we saw TobyMac in concert along with Chris August, Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Jamie Grace, Britt Nicole, and Group 1 Crew on their Hits Deep Tour.  This year we went to Tylertown to see their Christmas drive through display for my birthday, and we cut into the last of our wedding cake that I'd frozen to use as my birthday cake.  (It was just as good the second time around!)  As I've gotten older, I've begun to treasure making memories more than receiving gifts.

My enthusiasm seems to be contagious as this year to celebrate my son, Jaden's, 13th birthday, instead of gifts he requested a family adventure which this past Saturday led us to a little town known as Monroe, Louisiana.

Now if you are a Duck Dynasty fan a trip to that town would seem pretty awesome anytime of year, but this past Saturday, the town of Monroe was celebrating COMMANDER CHRISTMAS making the entire day quite epic.

Our trip began before daybreak.  Apparently Elvis and Cane hoped for a glimpse of the commander family too.

We were some of the first to arrive for the day which offered us some of the sights all to ourself!

Tommy was even interviewed by a local news team.  You can check out his television debut HERE.

The highlight of the day came when my four kiddos got to share the stage with Lil' Willie, John Luke, and Sadie Robertson.  (You'll notice that my kids are center stage while those other people are just off to the side.  There's no denying they were the real stars of the day!)

And an extra special treat was when the kids were joined on stage by Korie and Ms. Kay.  Ms. Kay patted the birthday boy's hand and commented how cute my four kids are.  She's very wise.

The evening ended with a flotilla including the Robertson family and a Christmas laser show.  The laser show left something to be desired and we left before it was over.

There are still two more birthday's to celebrate in our home before December is over.  They are sure to be celebrated with just as much enthusiasm and joy as the first two!

I love Christmas-time, y'all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jesus and Santa - The Great Debate

I've seen lots of posts on Facebook this week about whether or not it is okay to allow children to believe in Santa.  While the answer varies family to family, this is what our family believes.

Jesus is the reason for the season.  It is all about Him.  Everything we do - year round - point to Him.  We celebrate Jesus through giving to others, through learning more about Him using our Jesus Tree, and by sharing the joy He has given us to all that we may come in contact with.

When I was a child, I was allowed to believe in Santa.  I remember not believing the truth that he was not real even after being told by my parents.  I was sure their disbelief was based on their age - surely they'd just grown too old to remember.  And I remember the disappointment I felt when I did finally come to the realization that Santa was indeed just a myth.

Hoping to strike a balance in my family between the anti-Santa crowd and the truth that is CHRISTmas, we have always told the story of Santa as just that - a story.  There are no gifts from Santa under the tree on Christmas morning.  They are all from Mom and Dad.

We usually read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve and The Christmas Story from Luke 2 before we open gifts Christmas morning.

We have an Elf on the Shelf.  His name is Elvis.  Again, my kids know that it is pretend, but we all awake each morning through December anxiously waiting to see what mischief Elvis got into through the night.

At bedtime each night, we have family time.  We spend time in reflection, reading from the Word, singing carols, and praying.  We honor Christ in our deeds and actions.

There is no comparison between Jesus and Santa.  Jesus is real.  He came, died for our sins, and rose again.  He is alive today sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for each of us.  Santa is a fairy-tale like Snow White or Alice in Wonderland.  While the character of Santa is based on the person of St. Nicholas, Santa is just a story.  Only Jesus can change a life.  Santa is just a story.

I like how Christian recording artist, Natalie Grant, said it on her Facebook page:

In my house, we've told our children from the get go that Santa is our favorite fairy-tale. So we've never encouraged them to believe he's real. This isn't for some overly-spiritual reason or conviction. I just didn't want my little girls to look at me one day and wonder why I lied to them.

We celebrate Santa for the magical, whimsical, fabulous fictional character that he is. We get pictures taken with him, we sing songs about him, we give each of our children a gift "from Santa" and we fill their stockings. It in no way takes away from the real meaning of CHRISTmas. We know the reason for the season, and we are all about Jesus. 
If you choose to let your children believe in Santa you'll get no judgement from me. We've just chosen to do it differently in our family. I'll never understand why legalistic Christians get all riled up about Santa. Listen, if you're a follower of Jesus, you know Christmas is about Jesus. Period. Whether you celebrate the man in the big red suit or not.  - NG

  Celebrate Jesus.  Today.  Christmas-day.  Everyday.  He is the reason for every season!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Jesus Tree

I posted on Facebook last night a tradition that our family had started last year called The Jesus Tree.  I was surprised at the interest in the post so thought I'd share what it's all about right here.

The Christmas season brings with it so much busyness.  For our family it is a fun time but can be exhausting nonetheless.  To help bring us back to the true focus of the season daily, each night before bedtime, we hang a new ornament on the tree that tells of a name of Jesus.  We discuss a corresponding scripture, sing a carol, say a prayer, and head to bed.  (Some nights we also have hot chocolate and story time.)  Each night the children take turns hanging the ornament.  It is a fun, family time centered on learning who Christ is.

And I get to use the altar Tommy made for our vow renewal!
I had purchased a white, fiber optic tree from Wal-Mart for $15 but ended up trading trees with our daughter.  She's used this one for several years and was ready for something new.  Since purple represents "royalty", I thought this was a good choice for our Jesus Tree.  I also purchased a box of 26 shatterproof ornaments from Wal-Mart for less than $5.  (We display them in a tree shaped basket.  Each night as Christmas Day grows closer the ornaments from the basket get smaller and the ones on the tree become more which makes the countdown until Christmas more visual for the kids.)  I have used every color Sharpie under the sun but discovered that black works best on these ornaments.  So for about twenty bucks you have a new tradition to last for years to come.

I chose silver and blue sparkly ornaments.  They give the tree a regal appeal.

Here are the names and scripture references we use if you want your family to join in this new tradition too!  (We're just on day four - so it's easy to catch up!!)

Day One:  Wonderful Counselor - Isaiah 9:6 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Day Two:  King of Kings - Revelation 19:16 - On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Day Three:  Immanuel - Matthew 1:23 - "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

Day Four:  The Word - John 1:1-3 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Day Five:  Lion of Judah - Revelation 5:5 - Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Day Six:  The Vine - John 15:1-8 - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Day Seven:  Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Day Eight:  Bright Morning Star - Revelation 22:16 - "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."

Day Nine:  Lamb of God - Revelation 7:9-11 - After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

Day Ten:  Friend - Proverbs 18:24 - A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Day Eleven: Messiah - John 4:5 - The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

Day Twelve:  I Am - Exodus 3:14 - 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

Day Thirteen:  Savior - Luke 2:11 - Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Day Fourteen:  Redeemer - Isaiah 59:20 - "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD.

Day Fifteen:  Alpha and Omega - Revelation 1:8 - "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Day Sixteen:  Light of the World - John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Day Seventeen:  The Good Shepherd - John 10:11 - "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Day Eighteen:  Rose of Sharon - Song of Solomon 2:1 - I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

Day Nineteen:  Bread of Life - John 6:48 - I am the bread of life.

Day Twenty:  Ancient of Days - Daniel 7:9 - "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

Day Twenty-one:  Living Water - John 4:10-14 - Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."  "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"  Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Day Twenty-two:  Jehovah - Isaiah 12:12 (KJV) - Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust , and not be afraid : for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Day Twenty-three: The Truth and The Life - John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Day Twenty-four:  Healer - Luke 9:11 - but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Day Twenty-five:  JESUS - Matthew 1:21 - She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  

Philippians 2:9-11 - Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

(You can find a printable copy of the above text HERE.  All verses are from the NIV unless otherwise noted.) 

I'll share some more of our family traditions as the month continues.  Stop back by now, ya hear!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Wedding Day

The joyful tone of our beautiful service was set by our children dancing down the aisle to Jamie Grace's song, "It's a Beautiful Day".   Immediately before that, Tommy had walked my mom to her seat as "Let My Life Be the Proof" played.  It was a very sweet moment.

Following that our beautiful Gypsy Princess and favorite guitarist began playing and singing "God Blessed the Broken Road".  It was the song to which I'd make my grand entry.  As I rounded the corner to walk down the aisle, life suddenly existed from inside a bubble.  I saw only my groom, and I floated to his side.

Our pastor, Rev. Jim Mannon, did a beautiful job translating all of our thoughts on love and marriage into the ceremony. 

Tommy's vows to me were the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken.  As he told of his love for me, tears freely flowed from his eyes.  It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.  He blew me away so much that I'd completely forgotten the words I'd prepared to say to him.  I was completely flustered to the point that I had to wing it, but I did share my written words later and hopefully made up for my first ever "loss for words" moment.  

To divide between the next part of the service, we played the song, "Together" by Steven Curtis Chapman. When I first heard this song a few weeks ago, I shared with Tommy, "Steven Curtis Chapman has written a song just for our renewal service."  The words convey the past sixteen years of our marriage.  Here's the chorus: 

 "And if it wasn't for God’s mercy and His grace

There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together."

Pastor Jim, along with our children and youth pastors spoke eloquently during the family rose ceremony that incorporated different characteristics by each individual that create our family and make it whole.  The end result - a beautiful and memorable bouquet - that is now situated on the living room mantle.

We were again pronounced husband and wife and allowed to kiss.  Tommy was happy when the photographer hollered to do it again and said, "I don't mind."

The reception was equally as special.  Our cake was the most beautiful wedding cake I have ever seen.  It was a three tiered, hexagon, pink, champagne flavored cake with streaming live roses.  It exceeded my expectations... as did the groom's cake.  Tommy had a red-velvet, bleeding armadillo groom's cake straight from Steel Magnolias.  Cakes Etc. in Brookhaven did a fabulous job turning my dreams into reality.  I can't say enough good things about them.  I was equally impressed by the roses that The Toad House put together for me.  They worked with me extensively to ensure the exact colors that I wanted.  I now have them in a vase on a table next to me.  They are still beautiful and the scent transports me back to our special day.  

We cannot thank our friends enough for helping us pull off this day.  Mrs. Barbara who loaned us use of her beautiful home and provided my something borrowed something blue, Sidney who was by my side all day for whatever was needed, Kathy who drove in to do our pictures, Carrene and Tammy who served cake, Stasia for coming in and singing, Bro. Marvin and Ms. Susan who invest into our children's lives during guitar lessons weekly, Donna - one of my oldest and dearest friends, our wonderful staff of pastors from Brookhaven First Assembly and the members of our church family who travelled to be there.  You guys were truly the icing on the cake and I can't thank you enough.  (Oh, and I can't forget Ms. Barbara's beautiful friend, Vivian, who helped with all of the extra details through the day!)  I have to add - as my mom, Dacey, Stasia, and I were getting ready, I mentioned to them that the hardest part for me would be when they'd all gone to their designated spots and I was left alone.  Ms. Barbara and Vivian answered my prayers and stayed by my side right up until the moment I walked down the aisle.  I will never, ever forget that!!

And of course, what would a party be without dancing?  Tommy and I danced to "Rose of My Heart" by Johnny Cash.  Tommy and Dacey then danced to "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman, and Jaden, Isaac, Connor, and I danced to "Blessed" by Martina McBride.  The most fun was provided courtesy of our children when they danced to "What Does the Fox Say?".  It was choreographed by our daughter, Dacey, and gave us all a wonderful, unforgettable moment.  

Another highlight of the day was sharing it with our Scarlet.  She was the belle of the ball and had as good of a time as any of the rest of us.

The day ended with the kids blowing bubbles at us and my favorite super heroes busting out.  It was the perfect day and the most wonderful one of my life.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Guest List

Perhaps the most stressful part of planning our wedding day has been the guest list.  There are so many people that have made a difference in our lives over the years and it has been our desire to include them all.

We mailed out invitations several weeks ago and have spoken to many others directly.  Our purpose has not been to see how many people we could have in attendance, but to share our joy with those we love.

Responses to our invitations have varied greatly from: 1. I wouldn't miss it for the world.  2.  I have other plans that weekend.  3.  I'll have to wait and see.

I am okay with each response.  Ultimately this vow renewal ceremony is for our family.  We are excited to re-dedicate our family to God as we announce to those who will share in our celebration of all that God has brought us through and done for us over the past sixteen years.  It is each individual to whom an invitation has been extended to choose if this is something they wish to be a part of or not.

God has sent out an invitation too.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world for all who would believe to one day join in the party of Heaven.  But each person must choose for himself whether to accept it or not.

Jesus said, "Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

Many openly respond, "I wouldn't miss it for the world."  Others, outright refuse.  Still more say, "I'll have to wait and see."

Jesus says in Matthew 22:14 that "many are invited".  He wants to share in the celebration of Heaven with everyone.  He extended this gracious invitation at the cross by the shedding of His blood.  But the final decision lies with you.  Have you accepted His eternal invitation?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Final Days...

We are just three days away from our wedding.  It is a day that I have been waiting for since I was a little girl.  Everything is coming together just as I always dreamed.  And if the rain holds off, it'll be the grand and wonderful day I've always hoped for.

Having been a wife for sixteen years but being a first time "bride" has given me a different perspective during this journey.  It has given me a deeper understanding of Christ as our bridegroom and how marriage is meant to represent the relationship between Christ and the Church.  In these last few days, however, God's showing me something else.

Over the past couple of weeks, Tommy and I have spent more time together discussing our marriage, our relationship, where we've been and where we're going.  We have enjoyed reading through The Love Dare nightly for the 40 days leading up to our ceremony.  I have amped up my work-outs, drank more water and less coffee.  I have purchased and began using new whitening toothpaste, new make-up, and new facial cleanser.  I even got my ears pierced.  Last weekend we did last minute alterations to my dress and have had it laid out to "air out" so that it looks and smells fabulous.  And today, I am wearing the "shoes" that I'll wear on the big day in order to break them in a bit.

All in preparation to meet my groom at the altar.  I hope to present myself to him as the most beautiful I have ever been.  I hope that I am everything he has envisioned.  I hope that I "wow" him.

As believers we should be just as eager to prepare ourselves for the day when Christ, the bridegroom, will rapture the Church, his bride.  We should exercise our faith, grow closer to Him in prayer and Bible study, and pay careful attention to what we allow to go in and come out of us.  We should be preparing ourselves so that we may present ourselves before Him without blemish.

Revelation 19:7 says, "  Let us be glad and rejoice,

    and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
    and his bride has prepared herself."

As I consider that passage and the plans and details I have worked toward for our reception, I become all the more excited as I anticipate the wedding feast of the Lamb.  What a cake that will be!

How about you?  Are you preparing yourself daily to present yourself before Christ at His return?  If not, what can you do so that on that day you will be spotless, faultless, and without blemish?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Love Believes All Things

We are just fifteen days away from our renewal ceremony which puts us on day 25 of The Love Dare.

As we have gone through this book together one thing that has stood out to me is the fact that every time and to everyone that you say the words, "I love you", you are actually making the promise to that person to be all the things that love is: patient, kind, longsuffering, bearing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things, and never failing them.  What a commitment to live up too.  It should make you think twice before so carelessly letting those words pass through your lips.

All of the details of the wedding have been put together.  We worked with the florist this week to get the exact shades of roses that I've dreamed of for the wedding.  Complete with one which is called "Angel's Love" which I found as ironic since Tommy always refers to me as his angel.  <insert dreamy sigh>

Tommy and the kids worked together last weekend to build an altar for our ceremony.  I can't express how special this is to me as it is something I'd had in mind since we had started making plans for the ceremony but had not shared with Tommy until, well, last weekend.  He understood my vision exactly and transformed some old wood from our house into the piece I'd dreamed of.  After the ceremony is will be brought home and proudly displayed in our living room as a constant reminder of the faith our family is built upon.

We have this weekend and next to finish up the details and then the next will bring the day we have waited for all year.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Oh, and if you haven't checked it out yet, our "back story" can be found on our wedding page at:  www.weddingwire.com/sivilsandgold .

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"It's no wonder with all this wedding non-sense.."

Today I am experiencing a total burn out from the previous few weeks running around.  I am wiped out and have only left my bed twice today - both times to go to the bathroom.  No worries - I'm sure I'll be my usual bouncy self once I've rested a bit.

Friday evening I had the pure joy and honor of accompanying my mom to purchase her mother of the bride outfit.  It was one of those experiences that will bring a smile to my face with each memory of it.  When she tried it on, tears came to my eyes.  She looked stunning.  I can't wait for her to wow for our ceremony.

 Then yesterday she accompanied me as...(drumroll please).... I got my ear pierced.  (Yes, the woman at the jewelry counter admitted that I'm the oldest person whose ears she has ever pierced.)

When I was in high school, my earring got caught in the sleeve of a sweater and ripped my lobe.  I loved my earrings like I loved my lipstick back in that day.  It was quite dis-heartening.  So twenty years later, someone finally had the idea to make strips for folks that have a ripped lobe to enable them to wear earrings in the torn ear, so I had to have my other ear pierced to wear the earrings my sweet mother had purchased for me for the wedding.

Days 12 and 13 of The Love Dare are: "Love lets the other win" and "Love fights fair".  Tommy and I cracked up at the title of Day 12 and thought for sure we'd finally found the topic we'd struggle with most - we are both highly competitive!  However, it wasn't about drive-way basketball games, but rather sometimes to win a disagreement, you have to agree to disagree and move on.  "Love fights fair" means that you don't bring up past arguments, you don't say things you don't mean, you don't get physical.  You don't compromise love to come out ahead.

I have updated our "wedding website" with all of the details of how we met, our first wedding, and what's brought us to wear we are now.  You can view it at: www.weddingwire.com/sivilsandgold .  Be sure to sign the guestbook and RSVP if you'll be attending the ceremony.

That's it for now folks.  I'm going to go get some more rest where I can start all over on the general busyness of life again tomorrow!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Love Cherishes

We are on Day 11 of The Love Dare which means...(drum roll please)...just twenty-nine days until the big day!!

Today's Dare is "Love Cherishes".

Husbands ought also to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.  Ephesians 5:28, 29

When we marry, we become one with our spouse.  Pain inflicted on them, is pain inflicted on yourself.  Just as you lovingly nurture and care for your own body, you should nurture and care for your spouse.  Purposely injuring your spouses emotions is the same as self-mutilation.  You are dividing what God has joined together and ultimately fighting against yourself.

Determine to cherish your spouse.  Show them you cherish them with your words and actions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I feel like a kid at Christmas!

Each day is bringing with it a new anticipation for our special day.  Tuesday we painted mason jars and inadvertently turned me into King Midas before all was said and done.  Yesterday we went and looked at the grounds of the home of a very special lady where our ceremony will be hosted to "pick a tree".  And this morning another package arrived in the mail that contained some special aspects to our day.  Over the past week, God has given me even more ideas of how to include the kids in the service that we hope will bring a smile to our guest and sweet memories for us all.

Last night Tommy and I read Day 10 of The Love Dare - "Love is Unconditional".  It defined the three types of love:  agape (unconditional), phileo (friendship), and eros (sexual).  While the most important love (agape) is offered without conditions, all three form a very important part in the equation of a happy marriage.

1 Corinthians 13:7 says, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Love is so much more than just a feeling.  It is a lifetime commitment to seek the best for someone else before yourself.  If it is based on conditions, eventually love will fade because as time takes its toil on our human bodies and minds, those conditions will eventually fade as well.

Take time to consider what is the glue that holds your love secure to your spouse?  If it has to do with appearance, intelligence, humor, or charm, it isn't going to make it for the long haul.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Greet With a Kiss

Now that, I can do!

Day 9 of The Love Dare is "Love Makes Good Impressions".   The focal verse is from 1 Peter 5:14.  It says, "Greet one another with a kiss of love."

Tommy calls me on his lunch break and as he leaves work each day.  When I answer the phone, his greeting is always the same, "Hi, beautiful."  It makes me look forward to his calls.  If instead of such a lovely greeting, I was bombarded with all of the trials of his day, I'd be much less receptive.

The same is true when he walks through the door daily.  I always meet him with a hug and/or a kiss.  (Or on days like yesterday, I stand on the sidewalk in front of the house bouncing up and down like a three year old as he turns into the driveway.)  It's that excitement that makes him ready to come home.  If instead he was greeted with all of the horrible things the kids had put me through during the day, he'd dread coming home.

Greeting's are important.  They are an insight into what is to come.  A cheerful greeting can warm the coldest heart.  Whether you are greeting your spouse, your neighbor, your children, or a stranger on the streets, a friendly greeting goes a long way to convey God's love.

Our celebration of love ceremony is exactly one month from today!!!!  Details are becoming more complete daily.  I can't wait to say "I still do" to my wonderful husband.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

32 Days 5 Hours 5 Minutes

Most of the details of planning our wedding are moving right along.  We have had SEVERAL bumps in the road but nothing too big for our Almighty God.  We have also made a few adjustments to give our beautiful children more of a role in the celebrations and are so excited about how that is coming along!!  

We are on Day 8 of The Love Dare and our fast.  The Love Dare has highlighted many areas that I need to improve in that I was not aware of prior to beginning this journey.  I'm thankful for God (and Tommy's) patience with me.  I'm a mess!  

Day 8 is titled "Love is not Jealous".  

"Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire."  Song of Solomon 8:6

The author points out that there are two forms of jealousy:  1. Legitimate jealousy based on love, 2. Illegitimate jealousy based on envy.  Legitimate jealousy says, "Hey, that is mine.  Back off, bud!"  Illegitimate jealousy, on the other hand, forms out of our own selfish desires. 

This is another area that Tommy and I do not seem to have trouble with.  We both genuinely support and wish for each other's success in all avenues of life.  We are each other's number one fan and biggest cheerleader, motivator, and supporter.  When he wins, I win and vice-versa.    

The countdown continues.  Thanks for being part of the ride!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Love, Love, Love

Day's six and seven of The Love Dare are "Love is not Irritable" and "Love Believes the Best".

Wow, do I ever fall short on loving when it comes to irritability.  Sleep deprivation, hunger, and monthly cycles seem to bring out the worst in me.  I tend to lash out at those to whom I'm closest.  The first couple of days in this study, and I was thinking, "Gee, I'm pretty good at this business of love," but then they pull out the big guns and I realize how much work I have to do.  Proverbs 16:32 says, "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  Lord, strengthen me to love better by not letting my feathers get ruffled as easily.

Love always believes the best is easier for me.  I tend to consider all of the things that Tommy does that makes me still smitten after all these years rather than the million and one reasons he irritates the daylights out of me.  Focusing on the positive more than the negative creates a deeper love between us.  All of his annoyances aside, he is the greatest man alive and was made just for me.  Why would I not choose to think about that instead of his limited flaws.  (We won't talk about my many flaws... just glad Tommy chooses to overlook them usually too!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013


In five short weeks, we will be getting decked out for the big day!  I am glad to see the craziness of planning such an event come to an end, and at the same time, cannot wait for the day itself!

Last night Tommy and I read day five of The Love Dare.  It was titled "Love is not Rude".  Love does not laugh or make jokes at your spouses expense.  Love doesn't roll its eyes.  Love doesn't respond sarcastically.  Love is not rude.

The Golden Rule found in Luke 6:31 says it best, "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."  


My boots which complete my wedding attire (along with a few other purchases) came in yesterday.  It was a fun moment since I had literally been stalking this specific pair of boots since March.  They are even more beautiful than they appear online and fit perfectly.  I wore them around the house on and off all day yesterday in an attempt to break them in properly.  I have a feeling I will spend a lot of time doing that between now and November 16.

Today we are heading to a baby shower to celebrate the impending arrival of our children's pastors first child.  What a blessing babies are!  It's going to be another great day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Love is Thoughtful

Day four of The Love Dare is about the thoughtfulness of love.  It's getting your spouse a cup of coffee in the morning or fixing his favorite meal for supper.  One of the things that I do yearly for Tommy as act of love and being thoughtful is to stack up on his favorite candy - chocolate covered cherries - during the Christmas season.  As soon as they start putting them on the shelves, I buy a box or two each time I shop until the store empties out of them again.  It's small, but it says, "I love you and thought of you today."  Roses for me from Tommy seem to have the same effect.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you.  Psalm 139:17-18

Yesterday was a fun day.  We had our cake tasting.  Our cake is being prepared by the good folks at Cake Etc. in Brookhaven.  If the actual wedding cake is half as good as the scrumptious treat we had yesterday, I will be beyond pleased!  We taste tested white wedding, white chocolate, champagne, almond, and red velvet.  There were two that we had a hard time choosing between and finally voted with one winning by a small margin.  (Nope, I'm not going to tell you!)  The kids are having a great time helping to plan and especially didn't mind this part of the chore list.  My mom went with us too, making the day even more special!  

Tommy cleaned his plate!
After the tasting, the boys and girls split ways.  The boys went home for a pizza night while we ladies went to the mall and had a make-up consultation.  Estee Lauder is having their yearly special where you get goodies if you spend a certain amount of money.  I racked up on the goodies!  And being breast cancer awareness month, there were delightful hostesses walking through the store with appetizers and drinks.  It added to the specialness of the day.  But now absolutely no more treats for me until the big day!

Come back by tomorrow and I'll share day 5 of The Love Dare and show you some goodies I got in the mail today!!!

36 days to go!!!!!