Monday, July 28, 2014

Everyday Blessings

Life is so full of blessings.

And I wanted to share a few of them with you.

So here are *ten,* simple, everyday blessings which brighten my days and I'm sure will add a bit of fun to yours.

1. Crickets 

Making nighttime sounds as the sun fades in pink and grays. (Just as long as those critters stay outside the house ... am I right? ;-)

2. Babies!

My sister is quite lovely and preggo-plump with her first born. Earlier this week, while Skyping, she mentioned how badly her back was hurting her. A later chiropractor visit revealed that she was in fact having early contractions. Wow!

3. Baby showers

My mom, a sweet friend, and I are planning my sister's babyshower. Although I will not be able to attend (she's thousands of miles away) I love tossing ideas around. Here are some of my most favorite themes:

(If you are absolutely loving these check out their homes and other ideas here! :)

4. God's Word

Yesterday morning D and stayed home from church and enjoyed reading the book of James together. It was exactly what we needed to re-connect with each other. My favorite portion was:

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

5. Downtown Walks

I haven't been walking as much as normal as it has been quite dripping-with-humidity hot lately. But yesterday I ventured out into the sunshine and loved it. The warm sun felt so nice on my skin and I loved walking pass the capital and people-watching the tourist stretch their legs.

6. Trains and Rivers

I am so very thankful we live next to both! Our little home is located in the older part of Jefferson City -- less than a mile away from busy train tracks and the muddy Missouri river. Hearing the sound of a train passing by reminds me so much of my daddy (he worked with trains for much of my childhood years) and I have always lived near a body of water.

7. Worship Hymns

I am *loving* Pandora's "Hymns 4 Worship" genre. It lifts my heart and adds so much serenity and joy to our little home to have worship music playing in the background.

Oh, and I am  l o v i n g  JJ Heller's The Boat Song. So much adorableness.

8. Cheesy, Ranch Hamburgers and Golden Potatos

Need I say anything more than yum?

9. New Friends

Moving to a new city can be a really difficult transition and so I have really appreciated finding kindred spirits out and about this beautiful city. Let's see, there is this amazing mom of three little girls who is always demonstrating lovely motherhood ... something I love observing! (And she brings me milk and veggies in exchange for my watching her fun girls once in awhile! Win!) Then there is the very sweet woman who saw me in church once and then, a few weeks later, noticed me walking down the street. Her love for the Lord is evident and I loved being "dragged" into eating dinner with her and her parents that night. :) Oh, and I can't forget one certain woman who I love chatting with about birth stories, theology, and gardens.

10. Free Finds!

How can I help being excited when I'm getting free bookcases from generous Craigslisters who are downsizing, moving, or changing their d├ęcor? ;-)

What blessings have been coming your way lately? I'd love to rejoice with you!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Poo Covered Teacups Means to Me

Sometimes days can be hard.

Like sewage-backing-up-into-the-basement-splattering-the-china-your-mother-gave-you hard.

I don't like those kind of days. In fact, I do everything possible to avoid them. I plan, schedule, and prepare so to avoid disasters. And I'm happy, so happy because most of the time my life is full of easy, happy moments.

So when a sinister root successfully breaks into the sewage pipe promoting all manner of poo to come floating though the grate I tend to get a bit irritated. Of course, my dear husband took the lead and conquered the mess (And, whewie!, does that man know how to clean a basement and look good doing it. ;-)

I later went down to manfully perform final inspection and bleach the appliances down.

But before long I was crying, crouching on the floor, hovering over my now brown-and-slimy china set. Like a small child I wept while emptying a stinky, poo-covered tote. Weeping ... I'm sure the construction workers across the street thought I was a crazy.

I was sad and hurt.

Hurt over something we couldn't predict or prepare for. Frustrated over unpleasant events.
Sorrowful for feeling like we had been let down.

A still, small voice whispered, "Give thanks in all things, rejoice." I tried. I failed. I tried again, yet angry emotions continued to appear. I felt worse because I had not succeeded. I wept harder and still He whispered, "Rejoice."
"Okay." And in the midst of poo-sodden teacups, over my bleach-burned hands, despite my disappointments I knew joy and peace. I learned a very important, tangible lesson--joy is always present within the sorrow. Circumstances, events, let-downs, disappointments will very often damper happiness but choosing to thankfulness will produce peace and joy.

So let the poo keep on keeping on ... well, not really. It really is the most horrible thing in the world. But may I continue to press into the grace and joy promised me by the Lord. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jane Eyre on Marriage

I absolutely love this quote from Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre. Enjoy this bit of fiction which triumphantly expresses the realities of a good marriage.

I have now been married ten years.  I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.  I hold myself supremely blest—blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.  No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.  I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together.  To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company.  We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking.  All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result.

Mr. Rochester continued blind the first two years of our union; perhaps it was that circumstance that drew us so very near—that knit us so very close: for I was then his vision, as I am still his right hand.  Literally, I was (what he often called me) the apple of his eye.  He saw nature—he saw books through me; and never did I weary of gazing for his behalf, and of putting into words the effect of field, tree, town, river, cloud, sunbeam—of the landscape before us; of the weather round us—and impressing by sound on his ear what light could no longer stamp on his eye.  Never did I weary of reading to him; never did I weary of conducting him where he wished to go: of doing for him what he wished to be done.  And there was a pleasure in my services, most full, most exquisite, even though sad—because he claimed these services without painful shame or damping humiliation.  He loved me so truly, that he knew no reluctance in profiting by my attendance: he felt I loved him so fondly, that to yield that attendance was to indulge my sweetest wishes.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The "Words of Wisdom" Notebook

I have learned (throughout my extensive lifetime ;-) that there are two kinds of people who I meet. Those who produce good, genuine fruit and those who do not. I really like the first. I like people who, however flawed, I can count on to show me exactly what Christ living in human vessels looks like; people who speak, act, and live in a manner worthy of praise. Of course, many of these dear folks have their quirks, their fears, and their failures. But they are good--because they have met the living Savior and reflect His grace continually.

For a wedding present, Dalton and I received a notebook filled with advice, encouragement, and exhortation on this thing called marriage. It is full of handwritten notes from a variety of friends and family--people like the ones I described above. I picked out some of my favorites--the ones which inspire me to think and a few which make me laugh.


Life and marriage is like the ocean! Sometimes the tide is in ... sometimes the tide is out! If you hang  in there and wait it out ... the tide will always come back in!! :)
Our advice would be to communicate, communicate, communicate. If that doesn't work(and lots of times it won't) love in spite of it. And then forgive.
Serve God above all else and you will not fail in serving each other the way He intends. 
Disagreements shouldn't be hidden from your children. If done respectively, they can see that even though people don't have the same thoughts or feelings, they can love one another and learn from each other.
Argue naked. ;-)
Never let the abundance of God's gifts cause you to forget the Giver.
The best stories ever told contain the phrase, "Don't tell _ _ _ _!"
Love like there is no tomorrow!
Find a way to serve the Lord together. Working to accomplish the same goal side by side makes strong bonds and great memories.
This is one of God's greatest gifts and one of His greatest mysteries as now you two become one; that is 1+1=1.
Let your joy in the Lord be your foundation each morning.
As you learn to increasingly honor your parents, now honor each other's parents as well. A long life is a fine thing. As you progress, what they have done and do will make more sense.
Renew your love for each other. Fifteen minutes a day, one day a week, and one week a year.
When all the newness has faded away, when you have found the great fault in your spouse that you can't live with, when their most precious trait reverses as they mature; then you must still openly give them your total loyalty and respect--honoring, loving, and adoring them in all you do. When others speak against them you stand by each other, closing your ears and heart to their words while remembering only how special you are to each other. Let your words and actions always build each other up and teach your children to respect and love your spouse. In other words, be best friends to each other.
"be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath."
Remember, Jacob didn't go with Esau because of the tenderness of the women and children. Men often think women are strong, and they are, but not as strong as men. Be her protector and friend.
If in a disagreement, don't take it to others to get other to side with you.
Both love and respect must be unconditional, not earned.  
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
:Don't forget the reason we are here in this earth.  It is so that we may know Him. (John 17:3) Everything else flows out of that. In everything that you do may you get to know Him more.
What do you think?
What bit of wisdom or encouragement has impacted your adventure of knowing Christ fully?
With love!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stinkin' Thinkin'

Lately, I've been battling the grouch-o-la. You know, the irrational, emotional ups and downs which like to blindside and attack the unassuming public? How surprised my husband must be when this sweet wife sprouts horns, blows smoke, and manages a snarl within every sentence--how tiresome!
"I haven't been feeling well," I say. "It's that time of month and well ... I woke with a headache and it's so hot and ..." The whine list goes on and on as I try to account for my unbalanced, damaging flare-ups.
But the truth is that I have been waiting all day to spew my venom. Not purposefully, of course. I would never prepare to verbally and emotionally bully anyone. But inwardly, my mind has been brewing over a stout mixture of ungrateful, discontent, and bitter thoughts. Stinkin' thinkin' at its finest.
You see, thoughts really do matter. I can pretend to be sweet and good and gentle and as long as every thing goes my way I'm pretty convincing. But the moment someone rocks my boat, asks too much, or wounds my delicate pride the real Frannie reveals herself. Reactions show the inner being; the natural person hiding behind the mask.
How can I change this terrible habit? How can I truly keep sweet ... always?
Practice thinking truth. Practice being content. Practice joy.
When someone cheats you refuse to practice bitter revenge; instead employ the art of meekness. If you feel left out or passed-over learn to give "thanks in everything." If your husband doesn't understand you negate giving into a sulky, self-pitying mindset. If insecurities won't leave you be, practice thinking the truth of who you are in Christ. Do it again. And again. And again.
Because practice makes perfect.
So endeavor to practice the right thing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July: Goals and Favorites

Happy July, sweet people!

Can you believe that we are only months away from school beginning again? Or that we are five short months from Christmas time? (Oh, boy! I personally cannot wait for my first winter in the bungalow to begin ... hot chocolate, snow, Christmas lights glistening in the cold downtown air, walking muffed hand in muffed hand with my beloved ... )

But before I get too far down dream alley I need to get some things done. So here are my goals and favorites for July.


o Paint the front door
I've been wanting to paint our front door for so long! I've been doing my research and cannot wait to get this project done.

0 Change last name
Hehehe ... I'm not technically, legally, Mrs. Frannie Anne Duncan ... yet. I had a small misunderstanding of the legal process of changing one's maiden name which has created a big mishap in applying for college this semester. Need to get that resolved.

o Visit the zoo
Yes! It is on our to-do list. (Funny how you need to schedule such things.) I cannot wait to visit the St. Louis zoo next weekend, Lord willing!

0 Clean basement
Our dryer doesn't have a vent for it to ... vent itself. The poor, ancient creature deposits the collected lint along the ceilings, wall, and floor of our basement. You can imagine what horrors the lint-webs create.

0 Finish one library book
I have been loving our library. I hope to finish Country Living's Simple Country Wisdom this month -- I highly recommend this lovely book!

0 Make and freeze homemade hot pockets
I found a delicious recipe for homemade hot pockets. D loves them and I plan on making plenty and freezing them for quick, yummy lunches.


0 "Old Pine" by Ben Howard
Any time I am needing something calming and nostalgic to listen to I click on this song. So many good memories associate with it!

0 Fourth of July Carnival
D and I are so excited to spend some of tomorrow and Saturday night at the carnival so neatly squatting just a few blocks from us. I am planning a special blog post about this special day/event--keep an eye out!

0 Scrabble
Recently, D and I have been spending the evenings in an instance game of Scrabble or chess having a blast! We set the stakes high. Last time, the winner was to receive a special date day from the other. Dalton won (like always!) and the dear heart split the reward and we had two date days for each other! What an amazing husband I have!!

0 "Rejoice in the Lord" and "In every thing give thanks"
These bits of Scripture have inspired so many moments and days of peace, true joy, and happiness. I have notice how rejoicing in the Lord and giving thanks in everything seems to turn the worst days and hardest times into the best, most happiest of days. The joy of the LORD really is strengthening! How good He is!

0 Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Oh. My. Yum. Sometimes D and I enjoy a special treat and walk to Central Dairy--our local ice cream shop. Now, when I say walk I don't just mean around the corner. Its quite a few blocks away, cross a highway, and fin-daggle your way through the older, German area of Jefferson City. But oh, it is worth it. I love getting the waffle cone jammed full of birthday cake delight!

0 Skype
For the last month my dear sister and I have been enjoying our Skype visits. It has been such a special treat getting to actually see her developing pregnant belly and for me to show her my house even though we are separated by hundreds of miles!

Dear friends, what does July bring your way? I'd love to hear about your busy lives!
Love and blessings!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

House Show (And Other Little Events)

Life has begun to hum with the steady and rhythmic buzz of normality. Being married almost four months, we no longer have to purposefully call each other husband or wife as it seems we have always been married, the laundry gets done in a scheduled manner, and each day carries it's own particular meaning. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our days off, Thursday is cleaning day, and the following tend to be spent in various projects.
Along with daily routine comes the fun fact that our little home is looking more and more homey--something we both really enjoy. I thought you might enjoy a small peek into our little apartment and see what progress has been doing. (From left to right :-)

1. Come in! I love our front porch and enjoy sitting in our (hehehe ... totally free, curb-side find) chairs. As you step into our living room you'll see a bookcase full of books, our new (and much comfier!) couches, and a super fun coffee table snagged from the aisle of the local Goodwill. :)
2. Next, you will walk into the dining room full of light, and air and space. :) My mother's baking rack (passed down) sits on the side of the wall holding a few books, kitchen nick-nacks, and our fish, Basket. The fourth picture shows the wall facing back into the living room. My favorite wall! The Duncan picture over head was a thoughtful wedding present and I love the way it looks! 
3. I love our kitchen! So much like a little hobbit hole. :) Not much has changed in here from the last update except some organization behind the scenes. The last photo hides one of sweetest of rooms in the house. Our sunroom had been buried in boxes and knick-nacks. After many weeks of weeding-out things we no longer needed, packing some away, and finding places for the rest it began to look livable. Our Craigslist furniture find resulted in buying a set of couches--one in the living room and the other in here. I always like drinking my coffee in this little area. :) So fun!

It has been so much fun settling in--who knew it would take a few months? Dalton and I really treasure his days off. I try to join him and let all domestic duties and pursuits take a rest as we enjoy going about the city together.
1. Last week we went to see How to Train Your Dragon. A film we both really enjoyed!
2. Sometimes we travel outside of Jeff City. Last month we toured Columbia's downtown (super fun!), stuffed ourselves with soup and breadsticks at Olive Garden (thanks to a lovely couple's wedding gift!), and explored the one of the college campus' gardens. Dalton is sneaking his signature on an oblivious person. ;-)
3. Making lists, to-do's, and budget plans! I'm a list-making fool ... and can't get enough of it. Now to finish my lists ...
4 - 5. We had such a good time when my cousin and brother came to visit. I was so blessed to have their company and we had lots of fun walking downtown, touring the capital building, playing in the fountains, and trudging through the Missouri river's muddy banks.
6. A dear friend gave us this chalkboard and I have so much fun changing it from time to time. Chalkboards always add so much personality to its home.
Thanks so much for your love and encouragement! I love having friends all over the world who are so sweet as to share in my little bits of joy!
God bless you richly!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

DIY Fourth of July!

Hello, sweet friends!
My, it has been too long since I tried my hand at blogging. It's just that I have so many ideas floating around in my mind but am having the hardest time penning them down. :)
Last weekend, my dear mom came for a visit. What a blessing it was! It was so sweet enjoying her company, showing her our little home's progress, and spending hours some time in a local antique shop.
She also had the great idea of making these adorable Forth of July fabric balls. They were super easy (and affordable) to make. I plan on switching out the fabric pieces according to the season ... how fun is that?
All you need is fabric of your choice (we bought three different pieces at 1/2 a yard), scissors, sewing pins, and Styrofoam balls. We simply cut the fabric into 1/2 inch strips and pulled the pieces around the balls, pinning them in place. Add some twine for a special, super cute touch!
Thank you, Mom, for the lovely visit ... and for my new dining table attraction! ;-)
Off to an essential oils class!
With love to you,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Marriage: At 88 Days

Marriage at 88 days still blows my mind. We’ve had our firsts—first nights of love, first mornings of breakfast in bed, first “hold me as I cry,” first grocery trips as a couple, first week a part, first couch purchase, and first visits home.

Then there are the steady repeats—the events which seem old hat at nearly three months. I now know that he can’t stand it when I critique my appearance after he offers a compliment and he understands that sometimes the whirlwind of conversation pouring from me means I need him to listen and not act. I know him inside and out yet each day surprises me with new lessons on how unique, how gentle, how treasurable this man is.

I suppose the biggest surprises are the repeats which always feel like firsts. It doesn’t matter how many times your beloved holds you while you cry about your lostness, your fears, and your struggles with the world. It never gets old. Each time you worry; “Will he still accept me as I am?” “Will I still be loved?”

But the same old hug enfolds you; the memorable arms still reach around you and words like, “It will be okay,” or, “God will show you”  reassure. And it feels like the world is new and the night isn’t as lonely as you thought and the repeats become firsts all over again.

And it really is a picture of the old, old story—of Jesus and His love.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer To-Do's

After a week away from my beloved and our cozy, little home I am ~so~ thankful to be back in my recliner sipping water and munching on homemade goodies. Last week my family and I crowded into two cars and drove cross country twenty-one hours to Tucson, Arizona. Whew! What an adventure. :) We made the grand trek in order to celebrate my younger sister's wedding! Allie and Wade were soon engaged after Dalton and I and it was so special celebrating their union with them.

But now that I'm back home I've begun writing my to-do lists with fervor. After browsing through Angel's Summer Bucket List I've decided to scratch up my own wish list of summer activities.

Lately, I have been feeling lost; before marriage I was busy with two jobs (off and on), school full time, helping at home, and being a Sunday school teacher. Since our wedding day I've released many of those roles and have felt that because I wasn't "busy" I was being lazy or neglectful. Feeling this way has led to many ridiculous rendezvous; take yesterday for example--I spent two hours nervously chewing my finger nails to the bone because I had asked for an application at a crowded, small Thai restaurant which badly needed a cook. As soon as the scrawny, eager waiter requested for me to come back within two hours I knew I was making a mistake. I didn't want to fill my schedule for the sake of filling it; and for heaven's sake! I just quite a five year long job working as a cook and was rather enjoying not spending every moment chopping, dicing, and steaming my hair with boiling pasta water.

So I am going to calm down or as my dear husband says, "Wait. God will bring you something; just wait for it."

(Isn't he so smart?)

So, without further ado, here is my summer bucket list

Clean/wipe down the Sunroom
Start and Complete One Rag Garland
Develop and Hang Pictures Throughout the House
Make (and Take!) Cookies to Neighbors on both Sides of House
Complete and Send Out Thank-you Letters
Finish Application for College
Begin and Maintain Regular Bible Reading
Stick to Weekly/Monthly Cleaning Schedule
Visit a Zoo :)
Visit (two!) of Jeff City's Many Lakes
Take D out for Steak One of These Days :)
Mop Basement Floor
Create and Make "Emergency Basket"
Apply for Substitute Teacher Allowance
Finish Bringing Items from Mom and Dad's House ;)
And I do hope to blog about some of these endeavors; what do you have on your summer to-do list?
God bless you!!


Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Say Goodbye to Your Husband Box

My sweet baby sister marries her beloved in four days. Eee! This means my severL of my family members have dawned our traveling gear, stowed away an amazing amount of luggage and odd tidbits into two small cars, and have begun the twenty plus hours of driving to the state of her union--Arizona. 

My sweet husband stayed behind and is manfully toughing his way through our first week apart all by his lonesome. It's only been one day but it has been really hard being away from my dear man! 

Before I left I made a little box of goodies for him.

It's my "I Love How Box" and  in it I wrote a special note for each day detailing a special something I love and appreciate about him.

I doodled a little picture going with the card's theme. Some ideas were "I love how you encourage me in The Lord" and "I love how you help me around the house." 

Little things but in reality they are quite big. Sometimes I forget to verbalized my thankfulness for all he does to bless my life. This was a fun, easy project to make and guess what? He LOVED it! 

Especially when it was topped with a $1 package of sunflower seeds--a favorite snack of his! :D

What are some cute ideas you love to use to encourage the special people in your life? I'd love to hear may even spark some inspiration! :)

With love, 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Happy, Rich, Little Woman and Her Pocketbook

"All of the riches in the world which sparkle with the best
Hold nothing but a candle to the beauties of the rest.
A strong, warm hand to guide my way,
A home to house my stay,
A few small coins to buy my bread
and work to fill my day
An ocean strong, a gentle brook
Some yarn, some paint, a favorite book
A loving family all near by
and the joy of fish caught on the hook
These are the riches which hold my eye when the world tries to dismay
For memories, love, and contentment keep the heart lovely as the month of May."
Hello, sweet friends. Summer is creeping upon us begging for windows to be open, kites to be flown, and memories to be made. Life is lovely here in our lovely little place--how Dalton and I treasure these early days. We spend much of our time walking the city, visiting Farmer's Markets, working on our house, and enjoying each other's company.
A lesson I am currently learning is to trust in the Lord ... with all my heart ... and the beauty (and joys!) of contentment. Like many newly weds (and not so newly weds) money can sometimes be tight and it is so tempting to despair and let needless shadows cause our smiles to become frowns and our minds to fret. D and I have been experiencing some of this. What, with an unexpected flat tire, traveling expenses (for my dear sister's wedding!), and other minor purchases it is easy to begin grumbling about our pocket books. But these wishes and grumblings and fears only cause heartache and bring unwelcome hardships.
This is why I wrote the above poem. Whenever I am tempted to pine over Country Living's beautiful home decorations or weep over the beautiful items on Etsy I want to remember how rich I really am.
I know and love and am loved by the Creator of this world. I am healthy and have many good, upcoming opportunities for advancement in school and my personal goals. I've been munching on yummy bread I recently made with the Kitchen Aid and other utensils we were given for our marriage. There is a lovely rose bush preparing to bloom outside my window and herbs growing in my wee garden. I have clothes hanging on the line outside and dishes soaking in suds and bubbles ready to be washed. Louisa May Alcott is currently entertaining my quiet moments and I am packing to visit my dear sister for her wedding. I have a unique, gentle husband who loves me very much; he brings me coffee in bed, makes me laugh, and blesses me with his great desire for loving the Lord and bringing joy to others. I have work to keep my mind and hands busy and ways to bless others and family who bring me joy through phone calls and letters.
Oh, yes, I am a very rich young woman.
And I am so very thankful.
What are you thankful for today?
With love,

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Mom

My Mom is an amazing woman.
She is a wife, a bride. A mother. A soon-to-be grandmother. A daughter. A sister. She is a teacher. A college student. A boom operator in the Alaska Air Guard. She is a keeper of her home. A secretary of the greatest kind. She is a quilter. A (most wonderful) cook. A listener. A binder of wounds. A lover of God's Word and all things family ... oh, and a lover of Silver Dollar City, too.


She is full of grace and humility. And Love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control. She is full of Christ and it radiates from her works and eyes.
She taught me of Jesus and my ABC's. She read countless books aloud to my siblings and I. She has jumped out of airplanes and traveled the world.

She is my dearest friend and oldest one too.
She is precious.
And I love her.
Happy birthday and Mother's Day, Marm!
Always your Franniegirl


Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Love Your Husband or A Tutorial from a Fifty-three Day Long Marriage and Counting

Hello, sweet, sweet friends!

Ah, I have missed you! I hope this finds you all well and rejoicing in the love and incredible mercy of our Lord! I am doing very well – lots of joy and delight in our little area. Currently, we are preparing for D's days off. We’ve loaded our pantry with goodies like apples, chicken quarters, and chocolate chips, rented "The Lord of the Ring" for movie night, and have fun plans which certainly include walks downtown and mornings slept in.

What is married life truly like at *almost* two months?

You really want to know?

It is delightful.

I am so enjoying marriage. I love waking up next to my best friend. I adore greeting him when he comes home from work. I enjoy hearing his plans and dreams. I appreciate his hand holding mine as we listen to the Sunday morning sermon. It is truly beautiful.

Along with the happy, genuine joys of marriage there are the difficult moments too. I hope I always reflect both sides of marriage while blogging—a balanced approach to life as I (silly, little Frannie) sees it. Which brings me to the question,

            “How can I always love my husband?”

I’m sure many of you sweet dears find that a frivolous, ridiculous question. “Are you kidding me, Frannie?! Pshh … what kind of question is that? Obviously, someone is ungrateful!” (I can relate because I use to think the same thing! ;)

But I am serious. How can we always love our husbands?

Well, I have *good news* for you … I’m still unsure. ;) Truly, there are those days when loving your husband (or any human being) is the last thing you want to do. You may have a cold and wish he would stop asking you what you plan to place before his hungry mouth. Perhaps, he made a joke at the expense of your (dear, heavenly, perfect) mother or maybe he insists on re-arranging your *ahem* pantry. Whatever the case may be, loving your husband fully, purposefully, and continuously is a task which can seem impossible to fulfill. So, how can we love these dear men in our lives? I have a few ideas which I’ve noticed and am constantly trying to remember.

1. Love him purposefully

            Silly, right? No, it isn’t, actually. Loving people requires focus, intention, and purpose. It is a choice. Choose to love that hard working (or maybe not so hardworking) man of yours. Love him on purpose. Love him whether or not he helps around the house or whether or not he picks the most holiest of movies to watch. Love him when he’s weak. Love him when he’s strong. Love him daily, on purpose, and not because he is perfect but because he’s yours, he’s a handiwork of God’s, and he needs it … just like you.

2. Practice kindness

            This idea came to me while I was putting away dishes and meditating on Romans 12:1. When we “present [our]selves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” we give Him our best. Our best attitudes, our best works, our best selves. Why not try giving our best to our husbands? Why not practice kindness?

            In order to see if this really worked, I purposed to really love Dalton for the next week. I mean, I was going to put my best foot forward--just like I had when we started dating. I purposed to be the sweetest, kindest, gentlest gal he knew and so each day I chose (remember point one?) to practice being kind. I spoke extra kindly, listened extra hard, and loved more earnestly. And guess what happened? My already kind, dear, gentle husband became even more kind, dear, and gentle. He responded to my rush of kindness with kindness. It works. It really does.

3. Hear his heart

            I can be a sensitive person. I rarely catch sarcasm and tend to take offense when the most harmless of jokes (I’m sorry I’m such a baby!) is aimed at me or my loved ones. In contrast, Dalton is a teaser--something I have always appreciated about him. But things get ugly when I miss the joke—and more often than not, get offended. Once that happens I pick a fight. High pitched, barbed questions fly out of my tempered mouth, “What do you mean I’m not nice to your mother?!” or “I do not spend too much money—have you seen my raggedy shoe collection!?” Typically, Dalton just shakes his head and remarks on how feisty I am and wonders why I can’t take a joke. And I sit there, arms crossed, ready to battle the man I vowed my life to.

 Sweet ones, learn from my mistakes. Hear your husband’s heart. If he is anything like my beloved, he never purposefully speaks unkind words or jokes. So before you jump the gun and drag the poor soul to the execution take a breath. Ask him what he meant. Or maybe just laugh a little; you’ll see soon enough whether or not your breath really smells like canned dog food.

4. Practice being vulnerable

            Alright, I’m going to dive into a subject many of my fellow conservative, Christian beings will find awkward—but hey, I like swimming in the deep. ;)

            Ladies, you can love your husband by practicing vulnerability. I know we all have areas on our bodies we personally find distasteful. I tend to think I look far more attractive with a cute sundress on than without but my husband thinks differently. (Ew, gross … actually, no, no it isn’t). Practice being vulnerable; and boy, does it take practice.

God made men to be (typically) visual creatures (a.k.a they want to see ya naked! ;) It is a sacrifice … our pride, our self-image, and our confidence is on the line. We tremble thinking, “What if he doesn’t like what he sees? I sure don’t!” So in our fear (which isn’t of God by the way) we cover up. We hide ourselves. We jump under the covers quickly and refuse to let his eyes see the treasure he married. And indirectly, we tell our husbands that they aren’t worth taking risks for; our refusals proclaim a lack of trust. And that isn’t loving.

So sweet ones, practice love by trusting in your man. Practice love by taking risks. And for heaven’s sake, practice love by taking it off! ;)

Whew! There they are--four tips on how to really love your husband. Remember, love is a choice so purpose to love him daily. Practice kindness—it works! Listen to his heart instead of jumping at his throat. And finally, practice the beautiful trait of vulnerability. Of course, I have a lot to learn on the subject of marriage. But I have found that practicing these four points goes far in the harmonious, successful marriage department. I would love to hear your input, encouragement and insight – what are some of the ways you love other people? Do tell!

            With lots and lots of love and blessings,


Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Misunderstandings of the Character of God

As a Christian have you ever felt dried out, broken or bitter toward God when following His will and Word is difficult to do or at least feels like it?

            I have.
            Until I was struck with a very important, life-changing idea.
            God is love and He loves it when I obey Him.
            See, I had a very misconstrued concept of who my Abba Daddy was. Even though I proclaimed God to be a loving Father I saw Him as a displeased, distant judge. Even though I knew He was the Good Shepard I believed His hands were the heavy-handed kind, not given to the gentle touch I often need.
            I haven’t always had this view of the character of God but lately I have struggled with huge amounts of condemnation, fear, and doubt. I knew I loved God but felt like I didn’t feel love. And sadly, when I don’t feel something I often have a hard time doing it even if it is the right thing. Besides, if God is a severe ruler who will not be pleased, why try? I’ve had employers who would not be pleased with my best efforts; their attitude made even the most pleasant tasks unenjoyable and difficult to follow through with. I felt like God resembled those same employers … and it made me want to quit.
            Thankfully, God changed my view. I have been reading through Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling and came across a very powerful page which read,
            “Relax in My healing presence. As you spend time with Me [God], your thoughts tend to jump ahead to today’s plans and problems. Bring your mind back to Me for refreshment and renewal. Let the Light of My Presence soak into you as you focus your thoughts on Me. Thus I equip you to face whatever the day brings. This sacrifice of time pleases Me and strengthens you. Do not skimp on our time together. Resist the clamor of tasks waiting to be done. You have chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from you.”
            I realized, quite suddenly, that God could be pleased. Even before I was born He loved me. He had called me out of this world to be His daughter … surely, He wouldn’t show such care if He in fact did not care. And while my own good works were not enough to deliver me from death His were. Thank the Lord He does not see my own efforts but Jesus Christ’s, the Son of God who died and rose again for me! Not only has He delivered me from the power of sin but He has given me work to do and He is pleased by my obedience and love! What a good God we serve!
            I know that these concepts are very basic. But if you are one of God’s people who struggle with condemnation and even anger with the difficulty in obeying God’s commands then realizing that He truly loves you and cares for you can make His ways light and a delight to do.
                        With so much love!