Things I’m Loving this Week

I’ve always been a reader, and with half the world obsessed with reality tv or ugly politics, for me that translates to blog reading. There are about a handful of blogs I read regularly. Why? I always want to hear from these people because they’re so real, and Crystal Paine’s weekend post is one of those I look forward to in my inbox. I thrive on “off topic” randomness, and the weekend posts are just about as random as you can get, so in honor of this I want to jot a few random offerings of my own.

Hello September.png

  1. Hello September!

If you didn’t know, this month begins the season I love most. Bring on the #PSL’s– although where I live, I prefer the amazing local version which combines pumpkin spice with toasted marshmallow. It just makes me happy. At this moment, there’s a wicker basket set under my living room chair, just ready for when the hats and mittens come out. Fall means delicious breezes, a last hurrah for the roses surrounding my porch, and gorgeous colors on the trees. Our extended family spends extra time together, because birthdays! Also, there are always great events, so I’m already planning date nights for me and hubby. 🙂

What do you love about fall?

  1. Hoopla– digital streaming

I have recently discovered this tiny goldmine, brought to us by our local libraries, and I love it! It’s free, you can get the app, and you have 10 titles per month. With. Rollover. I am currently hoarding my last five titles from August until they expire, and I will carefully choose my books for September one at a time. Until the end of the month, when I’ll snag like a crazy person.  Right now, I’m finishing up Lisa-Jo Baker’s book, followed by Breaking Busy from Alli Worthington on audio. I also have three ebooks in fiction from Melissa Tagg, Colleen Coble and Denise Hunter.

I don’t have a ton of time to read, as I’m sure you don’t either. When I do, I like something good on my shelf. I love a new Bible study book or Christian fiction new release, and last season’s featured books from Lifeway are mostly on the shelves of Hoopla. You can find your favorite 2017 releases pretty quick–even for you music and video lovers–and it costs nothing. Definitely worth a shot.

What are you reading in September?

  1. Lisa Jo Baker’s Never Unfriended wrecked me in the worst possible way. The truth is, the only people I have ever unfriended are people I loved most, because of life choices and healthy boundaries–all the things that would sound responsible in a TEDTalk and feel like garbage in real life.  That being said, I never intended to read this book. I probably wouldn’t have, except for Kristy Cambron’s book club featuring…you guessed it. Never Unfriended and Lizzy & Jane. I decided to check out the audio version and let it roll while I drove to all the mom things, then folded laundry.

The thing I loved about this book is the way Lisa cuts through social pretense with a reality knife, takes the cracked sheet cake and layers it with fruit and whipped cream before she serves it up on a plate. Belle melange never tasted so good–maybe because the women who read this book  aren’t eating alone. A favorite quote refers to, “Velveteen Friendship.”

“Love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right…when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up unannounced with magazines and granola bars in an effort to say, ‘I love you.’” –Lisa Jo Baker

I hope your weekend finds a way to tell the people in your life how much you love them.

**Bonus: I’m looking forward to this Scripture writing plan on serving. Hop on over and join me!

Grace to you,

Nicki

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Loving your Kingdom Man: 3 Steps to Happy

This summer, I have been writing about the love in our lives…and making room for more.  More love.  We are expressing more love for the Father, and we are taking time to receive more of the love of God in our lives.  Now, I want to look at loving the people in our lives.  For me, that starts with loving my husband.  Let me preface this by saying that we have never had a storybook marriage.  My sister has a sign above the doorway in her den that says,

“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

I always said that my sign would probably say,

“We may not have our act together, but together…

we have an act.”

Go ahead and picture it, add a bluegrass country background, and get Joaquin and Reece to sing the soundtrack.  We are the Johnny and June of homeschool parenting, believe it or not.  When it’s good, it’s really good and when it wasn’t, well… you get the picture.

I just don’t want you to think I’m sitting up on some gated community patio sipping lemonade in a designer outfit with my hair and nails done up to perfection, trying to tell you something that I haven’t actually lived.  This is my life.  It is real.  It is gritty as the sand in a Smoky Mountain creek bed, but I do believe that God has cultivated a pearl out of the grit that wasn’t there before.

When I look at loving my man, I look to Jesus.  I have heard it said, “God made me, and He knows how to fix me.”  I believe the same is true for our relationships–especially the second most important one in our lives.  God knows how to fix what’s broken in your life and marriage.  Believe it or not, He also knows how to cultivate joy in that same relationship.

So, how does that happen, exactly?  It’s not a magic fix.  But, it is a “Promise.”  It takes a little work…and faith…and patience.  Sound familiar?  (Hebrews 6:10-12)  Here’s what I would tell my 12 years ago self, fixing to head into a rip-roaring bluegrass rollercoaster:

1.  Be Quick to Forgive…

God sees it all.  He knows what the outcome will be in every situation, but it’s kind of like I tell my kids:

If you try to “take care” of the problem your way, then I won’t be able to take care of the problem the right way.

When we choose to forgive the person we are married to (that means we lay down our “right” to respond or lash out), then we are leaving room for the Holy Spirit to free us and take care of the situation.  Forgive.  Forgive them.  Forgive yourself.  Live free.

2.  Honor Him.

Looking for little ways to honor your marriage partner is actually honoring God.  It’s not huge.  It’s not complicated.  But, it makes a really big impact.  At my house, I know that most mornings my husband will need a shirt ironed for work, and every morning he will appreciate a travel mug of coffee sitting on the kitchen counter.  Those are two things I try to do every day to bless him as he goes out the door, no matter what.  Ask your husband what he needs or do something little that he will appreciate every day.  It makes a difference.

3.  Pray for Your Kingdom Man

The most impact of anything that I have ever done in my marriage has been PRAYER!!!  I have read and prayed aloud through Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife.  I have read through the Scriptures and said them aloud with his name in them.  This summer, I picked up a book that my mother bought him for Father’s Day 3 years ago.  (Fun fact:  My husband would rather drop off the face of the earth than read a men’s self-help or marriage book.  He is a Mitford fan!)

Tony Evans’ Kingdom Man is packed with treasure about who God made your husband to be.  I began dissecting this book and praying & confessing aloud the principles of God’s Word over my husband.  (In my next post I’ll throw in a couple of these prayer confessions.)

All of this prayer has made a huge difference!  I remember reading a Dutch Sheets book that likened prayer to little sticks of dynamite, each one charging the wall of our circumstance.  They all add up!

Praying the Scripture over my marriage has really softened the rough edges of our relationship, smoothed over our differences, and shined up our love life!  I can truly say that we are two new creations in Christ!

How about you?  Maybe you are smooth sailing in your marriage and haven’t hit any bumps in the road.  Maybe you are a 25th anniversary plus veteran!  (If so, please add some comments for the rest of us!)  Maybe you are not currently in a relationship and can store up some wisdom from God’s Word for later (or apply these principles to bless others in your life).  Go ahead and comment!  Be a blessing today!