National Scrapbook Day

Apr 30, 2010

May 1st is National Scrapbook Day and I will be spending the day with a fabulous girlfriend scrapbooking all day!  Very exciting!

I haven't decided if I am scrapbooking traditionally or digitally.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!!

Hopefully I'll have something to share with you.

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Next Week's Discussion-The 5 Love Languages

As I mentioned in a couple previous posts, one of my favorite marriage books is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  When I got ahold of this book, it totally changed the way I loved my husband.  Not the quantity that I love him, but the action within that love.  That may not make sense now, but it will next week when we reveal the 5 different love languages.

If you haven't read this book, run out and get a copy so you can follow along.(check your library too)  If you have read it before, dig it out and let's go through it again!!

We'll review one per day, but don't worry, the book is a very easy read.  You'll have no trouble keeping up!

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Springtime

Apr 29, 2010

I was afraid this would happen!

I become a different person when the warm weather hits.  I can't seem to keep myself inside!  Even as I write this I am sitting on my front porch!  So I will apologize now for the sketchy posting schedule! 

Speaking of the porch, you know what I hate about spring?  THE CLEANING!!

As many of you know, we have had 2 dogs the last few years.  One passed away recently.  The remaining dog, my lovely McKinley, spends a lot of time on the front porch.  She is an outside dog.  Crazy story, most of our family is allergic to dogs....but yet we own them!

This is McKinley:

I love this dog dearly, however she sheds like mad!!  You don't even have to touch her and you end up with white fur on you!

Anyway, back to the porch.  She spends most of her days on our front porch, especially in the winter time.  Now don't go calling animal control on me, she is a Siberian Husky....she was made for frigid temperatures.  She sleeps in our mud room at night, so she isn't that bad off!  So having a dog live on your front porch all winter can be a little messy (white fur everywhere!).  And it is hard to go out there and clean in 20 degree temperatures!

So that was my day yesterday......all afternoon.....hours of cleaning!  I do love my front porch.  It is enclosed, painted like the house, all beautiful windows that let the gorgeous sunshine in, a swing to enjoy...and the dog.

So now my front porch is lovely again, smells good, looks good, and still has a resident dog!! 

Oh well, I love her!

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Lessons from the Garden of Eden

Apr 27, 2010

I spent a big chunk of the day yesterday in my garden.  It wasn't the good part of gardening, it was the ugly part.  Weeding.  Back-breaking, dirty, exhausting, no-fun work.

God spoke to me in the garden.  He usually does.  Maybe because it is so quiet that I am actually listening.  Or maybe because I feel so close to the heart of God in the garden.  I don't know, but I always enjoy what he has to teach me.

When I started, much of the area looked like this:

Pretty ugly, huh?  There really are flowers in there somewhere!

As I began my work, I started thinking how weeds in the garden are much like the sin in our hearts.  It begins to invade the places where once beauty was easily seen.  But soon, the beauty is gone, and the ugliness has taken over.  Left unattended, the ugliness can soon be the only thing that is seen.  It chokes out the beauty that once occupied that place.

It made me wonder if God feels like the gardener of our soul sometimes.  Does He look down at me and see  the weeds in my heart where beauty once lived?  I shiver to think that on some days he sees only weeds.  When He is tending to the garden of my heart, pulling and digging at the stubborn weeds of sin, are these the times in my life that are painful--when I won't let go of bad habits, wrong desires, or selfish wants?  Are these the moments that I resist God's gentle hand of correction?

Genesis 3:8 tells us that God was enjoying a walk in the garden in the cool of the day.  Eden was a perfect place.  Undoubtedly God was enjoying the sites and smells of his beautiful handiwork.  He had also come in search of Adam and Eve.  But unfortunately he found weeds--sin had entered the garden through Eve's disobedience.  And so it began here.  Weeds in my garden.  Weeds in my soul.

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."
Genesis 3:17-18

After working for over an hour on the worst part of this area of the garden, I had pulled an unbelievable amount of weeds.
As I left the garden in search of a cold drink and a place to rest my weary back, I couldn't help examining my heart for the weeds that may have taken up residence.  As God was watching me in the garden, was He seeing weeds or flowers in my heart?

I think it may be time to grab the shovel......

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The Map-Book Review

I recently finished reading The Map, The Way of All Great Men by David Murrow.  The first ten chapters are a fictional story that kept me turning pages at a rapid pace.  There was intrigue, mystery, interesting characters and unanswered questions.  I couldn't wait to see what was around the corner.  A writer is thrown into a chase around the globe for a map that must not fall into the wrong hands.

And just when I was completely entranced within the story, I turn the page to chapter 11 and the author reveals the fiction.  Yes, I knew it was fiction, but I wanted the story to continue.  Instead, David Murrow begins his unveiling of what he believes is the map of every Christian man as he journeys through his walk of faith.  He compares his findings to the life of Christ.

It is interesting reading, but once I turned this corner into the non-fiction side of the book, I was far less mesmerized.  Now to be fair, this may be because the book is written to the audience of men.  It may resonate very well with that audience.  My husband promised to read it as well and give his opinion.  I can probably guess what that will be, but I will let that remain a mystery.

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Scripture Challenge

Apr 25, 2010

I'm trying to keep up with Patter at Triple the Scraps with her Scripture Challenge that posts every other Sunday.  You would think I could since it is only every other week, but things have been a bit crazy around here!

This week her word is "Quiet".  I thought about what kind of places I enjoy the quiet and nearness of God, and it has to be in Canada at our family cabin in the woods just feet from the lake.  There is no place in the world where I feel more at peace.  It is so good for my soul.  The world melts away when I am there.  I don't care about being connected to the internet, world news, or cell phone coverage.  Here is where I can commune with God in his beautiful creation.

I decided to do a digital layout for this week because I  wanted to illustrate that peace, and the only way to showcase that is through a photo from Canada.

This scripture is such a great reminder of what God sees when he looks at us.  It is not our outward appearance, but our inner spirit and gentleness that he holds dear.

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Eager Anticipation

Apr 22, 2010

One of my absolute favorite days of the year is the first day that I get to walk through the nursery in the spring!  Blooms of color are exploding everywhere I look.  Joy springs from the bottom of my soul as I drink in the beauty all around me.

This little gem is a new variety of Dahlia and it just had to come live at my house!

I so look forward to the lilac bushes blooming every year.  I am often caught stalking these bushes, looking for one that is on no one's property so that I can steal some branches to bring into my kitchen.
Yesterday I stopped at a bush that was absolutely huge and heavy with these scent filled blossoms.  I just had to take some photos.  The owner of the property wandered out and we talked about the wonderful fragrance that was wafting through the air.  She told me I MUST pick a handful to take home with me!!  SCORE!!  I was so appreciative and didn't waste any time with that offer!

Can I just say that anyone who believes in the big bang theory of creation has never stopped to closely admire the artistry of flowers.  THAT is the creativity of my CREATOR!  God alone deserves the glory.

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Depression: Medicate or Meditate?

Apr 21, 2010

Before we begin this discussion about depression, I want to declare that this is a hot button for me. I will be expressing some very strong opinions based on my own life experiences.

Choosing medication as a treatment for depression has somehow become a debate amongst Christians. Many have expressed their opinion that depression is a spiritual issue, and can be healed by  a closer walk with God. {deep breath} THIS IS FALSE!  Yes God can heal anything he chooses.  Yes a strong faith is necessary to make it through depression.  NO it is not just a spiritual issue.

Look at this definition of depression from the Mayo Clinic:


"Depression is a medical illness that involves the mind and body. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply "snap out" of.  Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure."  It is believed that an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain causes depression. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are chemical messengers that operate within the brain to influence mood. If these get out of balance, a person can become more sensitive to the onset of depression.

This is the issue.  If you have high blood pressure, you take medication to control it.  If you have diabetes, you take insulin to control it.  If you have a headache, you take an ibuprofen.  If you have cancer, you get chemotherapy treatments.  Why has depression been chosen as a disease that should not be treated with medication?


Friends if you are advising someone with depression that they should not be taking medication, you are doing them wrong.  You are standing in judgment.  And the consequences could be severe.  Suicide is highest among people with depression.


I have had over 5 different episodes of depression, 2 of them severe. Severe means that I couldn't function on a daily basis.  I slept for more than 12 hours in a day.  I sat still in a chair for the remaining 12 hours.  I couldn't eat.  I couldn't concentrate on anything.   I have been on medication for each and every one of those episodes.  Even now, when it appears that life is normal for me, it is because I am on a precaution dose of that same medication.   

There is no shame in taking medication for depression!!

Now, let me step off my soap box before I fall down.  I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that, yes, there are spiritual aspects to depression.  Sin, guilt, and shame can play a major role.  A right relationship with God is crucial.  Faith in our healing Savior is, as always, a life preserver in any precarious time in our life.  My last bout of depression happened during a great time in my Christian walk.  I clung daily to the words of my God and Savior.  My bible was my constant companion, always on my lap, open to encouraging scripture.  It was during this time that I learned so much about what God wanted to teach me about myself.  It is during these times that God comes so near, you can almost feel his breath next to you.  You can read more about my story from that summer here.

I hope I haven't offended anyone with my very strong views on this subject.  God has allowed and provided many medical miracles.  Don't let a skewed understanding of depression keep you from seeking the treatment you need to fight this medical condition. 

I welcome your comments and feedback about this issue.  I have talked with many people who have been through the same experiences I have, and I am so very happy to talk to you more about it.  If you leave a comment, I promise I will stop by for a visit!  Thanks for listening!

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If you feel you may be having symptoms of depression, please see your family doctor.  They can easily diagnosis this common problem and get you started on the road back to health!!

Symptoms of Depression 
  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it's obvious something isn't right. Others people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
Depression affects each person in different ways, so depression symptoms vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you.
 




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The Destruction from Adultery-Epilogue

Apr 19, 2010

I want to thank you all so much for your encouragement through your comments here and on Twitter.  It is a nerve-wracking experience not knowing how the truth will be received.



Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32 NIV

I would like to share some resources with you that have really helped me:


1.  The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  This book entirely changed everything for me.  It made me realize why my first marriage failed, and it has greatly enhanced my new marriage.  It is a must read for any married couple.


2.  Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: 6 Secrets to a Forever Marriage by Gary and Barbara Rosberg.  My husband and I saw the Rosbergs at a Family Life Marriage Weekend a few years ago, and they were fantastic.  So many great take-aways from this book!


3.  Blessing Your Husband by Debra Evans.  I am currently reading this book and have found some great nuggets to chew on!


4.  The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  I have always prayed for my husband, but this book brought so many more areas to me that I wasn't even touching.


5.  The Power of a Praying Wife Book of Prayers by Stormie Omartian.  These are prayers taken from the book, and more added.  I love this because I can use several a day and it is small and handy.


I hope these resources will be a blessing to you and your marriage. Again, thank you for joining me on this journey.

Tomorrow's topic-Depression: Medicate or Meditate?

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Cardboard Testimonies

This is why I love my God and my Church!

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Graphic Design Work

Apr 18, 2010

I've been helping out a few bloggy friends with the designing of buttons and headers for their blogs.  Everyone has been super nice with their feedback.  I thought it was time to put the word out that I am available for hire to help anyone with blog graphics.  Just let me know what you are looking for and we'll work together to come up with something fabulous!!


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The Destruction from Adultery-Part 4

This is the fourth chapter of this life experience I am sharing with you that is very personal and soul bearing.  I entrust this experience to you with the confidence that you will not be judgmental, or think any differently of me, but will have an open and learning heart through the telling of this story.  We are all tempted to sweep the dirtiest, ugliest parts of our lives under the rug in the hopes that no one will see it.  That somehow if it is never mentioned, it can be forgotten like it never happened.  I'm sharing it with you in the hopes that I can help prevent someone else from living through this horrific experience themselves. 

I grew up in  a Christian home and accepted Christ at a very young age.  I married a devout Catholic.  We were very different in this area.  I eventually gave up trying to do both, so I became Catholic after our daughter was born.  It just wasn't the same experience I was used to, so I slowly pulled away and didn't have much of a relationship with Jesus.  I just continued to do things on my own.  I had become a Carnal Christian.  If you are not familiar with that term, it means I accepted Christ, but I still lived life as a part of this world.  Remember the drinking?  Parties, fowl language, late nights out, hangovers.....ugliness.  There was no room for Jesus.  What is even more shameful is that I told people I was a Christian, and yet this was the behavior I showed.  I was the worst witness for Christ ever.

So when temptation found me, I was an easy target.  I had no shield of faith to protect me, I had no scripture in my mind to ward off the evil thoughts of my desire, and I had no accountability.  My conscience had gone silent and numb.

Let me be very clear.  I do not believe that God abandoned me, but rather I had shut him out of my life.  You see, God doesn't come into your heart uninvited, and he certainly will not assert himself into your life when you  are drowning in the consequences of poor choices.  He grieves over you and for you.  He waits, and he waits for you to cry out his name so he can reach down and hold you and pick you up off the floor.   But he will not intervene when you are engaging in your own free will.

As you've read previously, my world came crashing down and I hit rock bottom.  I was in a place so low, I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't concentrate.  I went from a size 10 to a size 4 in just 2 months.  Depression and anxiety were reeking havoc on my body and mind.

My brother suggested a church in town that he knew had a great young adult ministry.  He and his wife went along with me the first time, and I was completely blown away.  I re-committed to attending church every week.  It is kind of funny looking back on now, because I was already married/had a daughter/divorced before most of the people attending had ever had a serious relationship.  They didn't know quite how to react to me.  But I was immediately invited to join a small group, and they were a life-saver.  Several women from that first small group are still some of my best friends.

So I continued to reach out to God.  I grieved over my wretched sin and life-altering mistakes.  God was faithful.  He is always faithful!  He was with me every step of the way through my recovery.  He gifted me with relationships that truly blessed my life and my daughter's.  She was an adorable 4 year old at the time and everyone loved this little blond bundle of energy.

I have attended this same church ever since. My spiritual walk with the Lord has grown to something I never thought possible.   I eventually met my current husband at this church. (That is a story for another time, but an awesome showcase of God's love and redemption.)

To be continued.......tomorrow my final thoughts.

Protecting Your Marriage

~Don't leave God out of your life or marriage.  He should be at the center at all times.
~I am a very firm believer in christians marrying christians.  Being yoked with an unbeliever can be a constant struggle and strain on a marriage.(Read this post for more on this subject)

 

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Weekend!

Apr 17, 2010

I don't typically post on the weekends so I can focus on my family.

I hope you'll stop back Monday as we start to wrap up this series on Adultery.

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Destruction from Adultery-Part 3

Apr 15, 2010

 This is the third chapter of this life experience I am sharing with you over the next several days that is very personal and soul bearing.  I entrust this experience to you with the confidence that you will not be judgmental, or think any differently of me, but will have an open and learning heart through the telling of this story.  We are all tempted to sweep the dirtiest, ugliest parts of our lives under the rug in the hopes that no one will see it.  That somehow if it is never mentioned, it can be forgotten like it never happened.  I'm sharing it with you in the hopes that I can help prevent someone else from living through this horrific experience themselves. 


He had fallen in love with a co-worker.  Someone I knew.  Someone I had been out with socially.  Suddenly so many things made sense:  the out of town business trips-he was at her house, the different smells-came from her, unreachable-time spent with her.  I begged and pleaded with both of them to stop this madness and let us get on with our lives together.  We could still fix this.  We had a family that needed to be protected and cared for.  My words were in vain.  Neither would relinquish.

So he moved out-left me and our daughter with no car and no job.  I continued to plead for our marriage.  I couldn't face that it was really over.  This is not what I had signed up for.  Divorce was not an option.  I had stayed with him through so much.  I had followed him from city to city with his job promotions. Our daughter needed her parents together. This couldn't be happening!

The affair continued right in front of me.  I decided I didn't want to live in the same city with him and so many memories of life together.  This is the city where our daughter was born.  It was haunted.  Too many things were there to remind me of what once was. Our friends told us they couldn't choose between us, so they would not stay in touch with either one of us.  My heart was shattered in many directions.  I decided to move to a new city where I had not lived with him before to start over fresh.

Depression set in deep and fast.  I couldn't cope with the reality that was before me.  It was too much.  I went to live with my brother for a couple of weeks because I couldn't function.  My daughter needed attention and I couldn't move myself to do anything.  She was scared and confused, and I had no capacity to coach her through it.  I didn't want to be a part of this life any longer, but I didn't want to die either.  My daughter needed me and I couldn't give up.  I wanted escape from this horrific reality that had become my life.  I saw many doctors during this time.  My mom took great care of me, and gently led me through all that needed to be done. It took a long time for meds to move me out of the dark hole where I had taken up residence.

I began going to counseling and it changed my life.  I credit this fantastic man with saving my life.  I can't describe the process of healing that took place.  It was like putting pieces of a puzzle together, where he helped me find the ones that had been stuck in the box for a long time.  The hurt, confusion, and anger were still there, but I was beginning to make peace with my situation.  It was a long journey.

I found a job, started going to a new church, and bought a house for my daughter and I.  The divorce was quick, but agonizing.  Emotions dictated decisions.  I was only happy that my daughter was young enough to not remember seeing her parents at their absolute worst.

My daughter is now  19 and attending college in Accounting.  Remarkably  through God's grace, she survived our divorce far better than I ever thought possible.  She is a beautiful young woman with a fantastic life before her.

Have you noticed that through this story there has been no mention of God's place in this disaster?

To be continued....

Protecting Your Marriage

~I cannot speak highly enough of Christian counseling.  Sometimes it can seem too expensive, but your marriage is worth the investment.  In my case, individual counseling made life bearable during the darkest times.  It helped me keep my sanity.
~Marriage is a team sport, and everyone must participate!
~Pride, shame and guilt can keep you from getting the help you may need.  Please quickly put these aside and focus on helping yourself get better.  Depression and anxiety are medical conditions that can be controlled to help you manage life in difficult situations.

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The Destruction from Adultery-Part 2

 This is the second chapter of this life experience I am sharing with you over the next several days that is very personal and soul bearing. (First chapter is here.) I entrust this experience to you with the confidence that you will not be judgmental, or think any differently of me, but will have an open and learning heart through the telling of this story.  We are all tempted to sweep the dirtiest, ugliest parts of our lives under the rug in the hopes that no one will see it.  That somehow if it is never mentioned, it can be forgotten like it never happened.  I'm sharing it with you in the hopes that I can help prevent someone else from living through this horrific experience themselves. 
It didn't take long for my husband to realize that something wasn't right.  I had no intention of telling him anything.  But one night, it all came flowing out, brutal, ugly, and confusing.  Of course, he was devastated.  I believe I killed a part of his soul that day, and it still rings as clear as a bell in the dark places of my memory.  We existed in a haze for quite some time, but determined to stay together and work through it.  We saw a couple counselors and eventually moved on with life.

We decided to have a baby.  Like most young and naive couples, we thought that would bring us closer and help us get through this time together.  We had always talked about it.  Our beautiful daughter was born in 1990.  We were a happy little family, or so I thought.

Another promotion came, this time to Minneapolis, Minnesota-a place I had never been.  My first time in the city was the day we moved there.  We lived in a hotel for a couple weeks while we found a place to live.

I found another great job, even better than the last as an Executive Assistant at a collection agency.  It was very interesting work, and I really enjoyed getting to know the employees.  My husband and I found entertainment in drinking....lots of drinking.  Our daughter turned 2 the year we moved and we lived here for about 2 years.  I was ready to try for another baby, but my husband said he wasn't ready.

Before I knew what hit me, my world began to unravel at a pace I couldn't think possible.  Another job transfer was offered back to the city where we had moved from.  I really didn't want to leave this time, as I loved my job and was really tired of moving.  As I started the process once again,  it became very clear that something was very wrong.  My husband was disappearing at times and I couldn't locate him.  He was on lots of out of town business trips, and unreachable.  He came home smelling different.  He found excuses to not be at home in the evenings.  No, it didn't make sense at the time, but it soon would.

The ugliness of betrayal once again reared it's wretched head and we were deep in the mire of more adultery.  Even as I write this, parts of me still can't believe it.  It seems I am writing about someone else's life, fiction if you will.   I did live through it, but barely.

The truth of his deception was more than I could bare.  For 8 years he had carried unforgiveness and resentfulness in his heart.  He couldn't get past my adultery and had stopped loving me.  I couldn't believe I had lived a lie for so long.  How had he hidden this from me so well?  We didn't have a perfect marriage, but it wasn't that bad.  We still had good times together.  We still loved our daughter to pieces.  How had this happened?  How had he allowed this to go on for so long without trying to work through it with me?  These are questions of which I still don't have answers.


To be continued.....

Protect your Marriage

~If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.  Be proactive in your marriage.  Don't wait until something is VERY wrong, before discussing it.  Little things turn into big things very quickly.
~I highly recommend counseling, but the key is finding a Christian counselor who shares your core beliefs.  Anyone else will not relate to your convictions and therefore will not have the right advice for you.
~Too much time away from each other will create individual lives that divide.  It is great to have outside interests, but limits and boundaries must be set. Find common interests to do together.
~Unforgiveness and bitterness are poison to the heart.  If you have the least bit hiding in your heart, it must be addressed.  Yes it hurts to work through disagreements, but the alternative is worse.


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The Destruction from Adultery-Part 1

Apr 14, 2010

I have a life experience to share with you over the next several days that is very personal and soul bearing.  I entrust this experience to you with the confidence that you will not be judgmental, or think any differently of me, but will have an open and learning heart through the telling of this story.  We are all tempted to sweep the dirtiest, ugliest parts of our lives under the rug in the hopes that no one will see it.  That somehow if it is never mentioned, it can be forgotten like it never happened.  I'm sharing it with you in the hopes that I can help prevent someone else from living through this horrific experience themselves. 


Adultery has become an epidemic in this country.  We see it everywhere, especially in Hollywood, as if it were an acceptable practice.  Sadly far too many people have been touched and effected by it, and it is ugly.  It destroys lives and families, friendships and relationships.  And life is never the same......

I was married at the age of 20 to my high school sweetheart.  We moved into a one bedroom apartment in the city, both had good jobs, and quickly made friends.  My dad died of cancer when we had been married for only 8 months. It was the hardest thing I had ever experienced in my lifetime.  But our marriage was pretty good for that first couple years.  Then he began doing so well at his job that he was given more and more responsibilities.  I didn't see him much.  A promotion moved us to another city.  So we started over, making new friends, finding a job for me.  I saw him even less.

I found a job I really enjoyed.  The people were fun, and very different from anything I had experienced, a road construction company.  I threw myself into my work and got some promotions of my own.  He wasn't home much, so I went out with work friends a lot.

Conversations happen.  You get to know people by sharing your life with them.  I was still grieving the loss of my dad.  Turns out my supervisor had lost his dad in much the same way.  We talked a lot about that.  We went to lunch to discuss work, but discussed ourselves, sharing information........information that should have been only for our spouses.

Like an out of body experience, it all happened before I knew what hit me.  We had spent so much time together, feelings quickly developed. Plans started emerging to find ways to see each other outside of work.  He had become my best friend and confidant.  He understood me in ways my husband didn't.  My husband wasn't paying attention to me, still involved in work and deep responsibilities.

Another promotion was offered in yet a different city.  He didn't hesitate to say yes.  My heart was a mess.  My deceit was deep.  I drug my feet during the moving transition.  I made it happen as slow as possible.  Even though this new city was an hour away, I found reasons to return to my job to "help" those who I had left in charge after I had resigned.  I spent more futile time with him.

I could give many excuses and reasons to justify my behavior.  Like, my husband wasn't there for me when I needed him, or it wasn't adultery because it wasn't physically consummated, or I really needed someone who could understand what I was going through after the loss of my dad.  All empty and hollow excuses for my deep sin and betrayal.  My heart was fully engaged.  He had taken the place of my husband.

To be continued........

Protect Your Marriage

1.  Make an agreement with your husband that neither of you will have any meals alone with anyone other than each other.
2.  If you spend any time at all thinking about someone repeatedly throughout the day, you need to examine those thoughts and turn away.
3.  Guard your conversations with others by not sharing personal information and feelings that should only be shared with your spouse.

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Blessing Your Marriage

Apr 13, 2010


Are you protecting your marriage?  Remember that Devil, who prowls around looking for someone to devour?  Marriages are his prime target.  He'll use whatever device available to him to put cracks in your marriage where he can attack.  It starts small, unnoticeable.  But soon, it develops into something much bigger.  Doubts, unhappiness, anger, resentment, bitterness.  Most times you don't even know where it came from.

Your marriage is a living relationship that needs your time and attention.  It cannot survive on its own.  Would you take some time today to infuse your marriage with some new energy?  Here are some ideas:

~When your husband arrives home from work today, be the first to greet him at the door with a hug and kiss.

~Ask your husband if you can cook him his favorite meal this week.

~Write your husband a love note and place it somewhere he will find it: in his lunch, on his pillow, in a book he is reading, in his Bible

~Be mindful of words that tear him down.  Use some affirming words today that will encourage him.

~Thank him for the hard work he does to provide for your family.

~Encourage him to partake in outside activities with friends.

~And most importantly, give your marriage to God to watch over and protect.  Pray for your husband each day.

Ladies, your marriage is precious and needs constant attention.  Don't let it wither away to a hollow relationship with a roommate.

Why is it so important to me to convey this to you?  Visit me again tomorrow as I share with you how I learned the hard way.

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Drawing a Blank

Apr 12, 2010

Last week was a very busy week helping my mom move to a new house.  I was very excited for her, but boy it is exhausting!  And today I find my mind a blank for writing.  So just enjoy this beautiful tulip from my back yard while I pull my brain together to post something spectacular tomorrow!!

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Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Apr 8, 2010



Ultimate Blog Party 2010


I am so excited you have joined me for the 2010 Ultimate Blog Party!  I can't wait to blog hop all week to meet all of you!

I'm Cherie.  I am married to my best friend, and we are raising three beautiful girls, ages 19, 10, and 8.
Here we are being crazy on my birthday!
I've been blogging for less than a year, and have really enjoyed meeting many fabulous women in the blogosphere.

Here's a few random things about me:

1.  I love picture taking and scrapbooking.  Unfortunately, the amount of photos has overtaken me and the majority have not found their home in scrapbooks yet!  Can anyone else relate? (Check out my tab at the top for free photos you can use on your blog.... just my little gift to you).

2.  I went back to college at the age of 42 to obtain a Certificate in Graphic Design.

3.  I love water.  Oceans, lakes, rivers, streams.  My dream home would be on a lake in the woods, with internet of course!

4.  I'm married to a math teacher and am very thankful for that 'cause my kids would fail math under my tutelage. 

5.  Gardening is one of my absolute favorite hobbies.  There are never enough flowers in my yard.  Grass is over-rated!



6.  We've owned a boat for 3 years and it has only worked for 1 summer.  (Sore subject, don't ask!!)  I love water skiing!

7.  I love rubber stamping and paper crafting.  Paper is my weakness and I have far more than I will ever use in my stash.

8.  I hate cleaning.  There are so many other fun things I'd rather be doing.

9.  I love all kinds of crafting and finding fun things to make.  I have an Etsy Shop where I sell some of my creations. 



10.  My kids bring me great joy.  They are at very fun ages and make me laugh all the time.

11.  When I dropped my oldest daughter off at college last fall, I wanted to stay and be one of the girls.  I never went away to a four year college and it looked like so much fun!

12..  I recently joined 8 other women in starting a new blog called Gather Inspirit.  Our  vision is simply to inspire, encourage and uplift all bloggers in their journey and in life. We believe that if you put the Lord first, all other things will fall in place. He will show us the way even in blogging.

13.  I have a Facebook Fan Page here

14.  You can follow me on Twitter @MySoulReflects..

So there you have it, a little about me.  I hope you'll leave a comment and tell me a little more about yourself.

Just for fun, anyone who signs up to follow my blog  will be entered to win a free design package from me.  I will design a couple of blog buttons for you to match your blog,  create a graphic for a series you are running on your blog, or create a blinkie for your blog.  Whatever you would like. I'll draw a winner at the end of the Blog Party.

Have fun at the blog party!!  Can't wait to meet everyone!

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Every Home for Christ

Apr 6, 2010

My girls came home from church last week with a fabulous prayer tool that I would like to share with you.  It is called "Adventures in Prayer...Kids World Prayer Map" from an organization called Every Home for Christ.  


As you can see from the photo above, it folds out to show a world map.  On the reverse side all of those countries and people groups are listed by numbers on the map.  They are then broken into days of the week so that you can pray for a different nation or people group each day of the week.  It is a fantastic tool to teach our children to be praying for our world beyond our back door.

And guess what?  There is an adult version too!  It is called "A Call to the Wall" and has the same concept and map inside to pray for unreached nations for Christ.
Would you like a set of these for your family?  I have 5 sets to give away to the first 5 comments on this post. 

" Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."  Matthew 28:19

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No More Middle Man

Apr 5, 2010

Jesus is Risen!

The tomb could not hold him.  Death had no power over him.

And in one simple sentence often missed, our spiritual lives changed.  Don't miss it's importance.

"At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." Matthew 27:51

"The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." Mark 15:38

The need for an intercessor for prayer and forgiveness was gone.  The curtain in the holy temple which separated the people from God's holy presence was torn in two, opening the gates for direct communication with God.  Christ had now become the only sacrifice needed to enter the gates of heaven.

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men." I Timothy 2:5-6

It is an unbelievable gift that we can communicate openly with the God of the universe.  The God that made the heavens, the oceans, the creatures big and small; He wants to talk with you.  You don't need an appointment, walk-ins are welcome!

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Apr 1, 2010

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Grieving a Loss

My eyes are still swollen from the tears that began on Monday evening when we lost our sweet Sydney to pneumonia brought on by a bacterial infection.  A family is never prepared for the loss of a pet, and we have been no exception.  It has been a hard week.  We do have another dog, and she is just as confused as we are.  Sydney was her best friend and playmate.

grief:  emotional suffering caused
by the loss of a love one.

As we have sifted through our emotions this week, God has been evident.  (Yes, I believe God is in the little things.  Sydney, after all, was his creation, by his design, and he grieves her passing as well.)  As we worried over how our 10 year old K would handle this news, we began to pray for her throughout the evening.  She feels things very deeply and we knew she would be the most affected of our children.  My husband and I had prepared ourselves that if they were too upset in the morning, we would allow them to stay home from school.  This was the reaction we expected.  But God went before us and brought peace to their hearts upon hearing the news and they both went to school.  I couldn't believe God's peace was covering them so completely.

That evening, K was doing her devotions and brought her bible downstairs to me.  She had mentioned she had gotten behind and missed several.  But as she opened her bible on this night, she was presented with a devotion entitled "When Bad Things Happen" and the story of Job and all that he had lost, but remained solidly faithful to his God.  K couldn't believe her eyes.  She turned to the next devotion and it was entitled "Just Being There Helps", which reassured her that hanging out with her family was sometimes the best medicine when you were feeling sad.  Did God stop here with the lessons he had prepared for K?  No!  The next devotion was entitled "It's OK to Cry". 

I don't know why I am continuously surprised by God.  I shouldn't be.  He knows me and my family better than we know ourselves.  He knew what we needed this week as we said goodbye to our sweet girl, and He provided.  THAT is awesome!


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