Commitment~Part 2 of Our Adoption Story

July 17, 2014 by Pappa with thoughts from Nama

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Today we celebrate the gift of those gorgeous chocolate eyes.  9 years ago today we received our referral for N.Doumoundo B. Lamien.  We will share the very first images that arrived in our inbox of our 5th child and the miracle of Love that filled our hearts and home that day. Continue reading

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Why We Fight and How We Fight

June 30, 2014 by Pappa with Nama marriage-commitment-communication-fight-challenges-love-forever.jpg //namafish.com

Or as Tim prefers to call it…Our Rules of Engagement.

 When you do things, do not let ·selfishness [rivalry; selfish ambition] or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more ·honor [regard; value] to others than to yourselves.    Philippians 2:3 (EXB)

After Tim and i had finished writing our thoughts on fighting i went for a run, as i strolled our yard cooling down i came upon many examples of our God’s amazing  plan to  teach us patience, hard work and commitment.

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The hoped for product may not even be recognizable in the early stages of nurturing a relationship, but with enough rain, sunshine and time there will be no mistaking the beauty of the giant fall pumpkin.

Talk, discuss,fight, argue,disagree or communicate… Whatever you call it, you have to commit to engaging one another continually, both with your joy and with your heartache. The alternative is stuffing it and piling up dirty laundry…none of it is good and all of it will destroy.

When couples get engaged and start preparing for marriage they often start to plan and envision what their married lives will look like.  They frame out timelines for careers, moves, and children.  The wise ones discuss financial goals; who will pay the bills, how they will prioritize their free cash, what percentages will be saved for retirement.  If they don’t have a hard and fast plan at least they have some general ideas and try at a minimum to get on the same page.

Few, very few, plan for conflict.  It may be touched on in their pre-marital counseling, but it’s awkwardly glossed over like the fast talking at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial. Rarely is any couple fluent in healthy fight.  Maybe it would seem counter intuitive and planning for conflict somehow would seem as odd as a lifeboat drill would have seemed at the departure of the Titanic’s first trans-Atlantic crossing.  A little more crisis planning prior to that fateful April night may have saved hundreds of lives.  Likewise in marriage if we have a “plan” for conflict before it happens, it can be handled in a healthy, pre-orchestrated way and it makes that conflict feel like a normal, healthy part of the relationship.

Kaye and I didn’t necessarily have a plan, but through hard work and a little luck, we have developed some guidelines that have helped us through conflict.  As with most things in our lives I will build the framework and Kaye can decorate it with feelings and emotions.

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The tiny sprouts of promised fruit will eventually produce a sweet and delicious harvest with a little care.

First, there needs to be a foundation of trust.  During the emotions of heated conflict things can be said and insinuations made that smolder long after the skirmish is over.  If there is not a solid foundation of trust it doesn’t take much of a breeze to re-ignite that ember.

I laid that foundation early on in our marriage by telling Kaye that “Divorce is not an option for us.  I said I was committed to this marriage and we had no other options than to work through our issues or live miserably.  By removing that doubt in her mind we poured a solid foundation on which to build.  From that starting point we have developed our “Rules of Engagement”.

Kaye-When Tim says he laid a foundation, he spoke to me in a tone of gentle love and commitment.  He was not laying down the law or demanding something from me that i did not want. It was an pledge of commitment to me not a demand put on me.  Having said that, in this case i do believe Tim had the right and responsibility to set this standard for our home and i was called to be his helpmate in remaining faithful to the vows we had taken together before our Lord.

1.   Forgive your spouse’s transgressions for that day before you get out of bed in the morning – whatever that may turn out to be.  This attitude alone diffuses most conflict before it can ignite.  

Kaye-This has taken me a while to refine.  It is not so much that I wished to trudge through our Happily Ever After resentful or hating on My Man, i entered our marriage with a trunk of baggage which left me always expecting to be wounded or disappointed. i woke each morning ready to defend my position and stand my ground for the sake of survival.  It is tough to have a soft, forgiving, trusting heart when you come out with your dukes up and believe with all of your heart that your happiness is dependent on your own ability to get “this” right.

2.   Deal with things early.  The longer you let them build up the more intense they will become.

Kaye-i have had to drag Tim into this skill.  Tim is:  1. An extreme introvert, any relational engagement or communication is not natural or easy for him.  2.Tim is a shallow coper (see Larry Crab’s book, Inside out),  meaning he would rather smooth a sweet fudgy glaze over the discomfort than deal with the issue if it will require us entering a combat zone for any amount of time.      

3.  Getting started is always the hard part – I can feel it coming – Kaye withdraws.  As soon as I see it coming, I need to find out what is going on in her mind.  She has to be willing to “come out with it” rather than “heaping coals on my head” by hours of the cold shoulder.  Likewise I must be willing to be honest and not “stuff it”.  That ends up just making me irritable and she knows that there is something there no matter how hard I try to hide it.

Kaye-This has come with nitty gritty commitment and elbow grease for us.  Who knew saying the words “i am having a hard time.” could take more effort than a two year kitchen remodel?   We learned the hard way, once i went “on strike” for about 2 weeks, silent cold side by side survival in the same bed, parenting 4 children together, neither wise nor productive.

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Sometimes the weeds are all you see, have eyes to see the hidden beauty.

4.  We are not allowed to use the terms “Never” or “Always” in these conversations.  (You NEVER help me around the house.  You ALWAYS leave your cloths lying around.)  First, it’s probably not true, and secondly it only takes you down rabbit holes, lengthening or side tracking the real issues.

Kaye-don’t use “you” phrasing; e.g., “you make me angry because you leave all your dirty dishes in the living room.”  Rather use i and i feel, “it feels to me like you typically choose to leave your dirty dishes sitting around for me to clean-up, i feel unappreciated when you do this.”

5.   (The hardest one for me) Do not be defensive as your spouse begins the discussion.  Whatever they are feeling at the moment will have some element of truth.  Whether 5% of the time or 95% of the time – allow them to state how the situation feels to them.

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Year one of effort= nothing, year two=8 scrawny scabby apples, three years of consistent effort doing the same things over and over and the promised harvest looks amazing.

Rules 6-10 coming next Monday. Tim has already written them, they are good!! Part 2 here.

And finally, familiarize yourself with “Love Languages”.  Find out what your spouses is as well as your own.  Giving love to them in their own language will communicate your love and commitment to them with far greater impact than random acts of affections that are not in their native tongue.  The 5 Love Languages are Words Of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch, this so very helpful.

You can find out what your languages are here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

There is a library of Love Language books available here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/books/

Really great resource for learning Marriage Communication: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication_and_conflict.aspx

Wisdom from My Man + Recipe + North Woods Pictures

First the good stuff…
My Man jotted a little thought on Facebook last evening and i had to move it over here for posterity.   He is wise, he is a man of so few words i wish to capture most of  what he says and put it in a safe box, knowing someday someone will read and learn from Tim’s years of seeking his Lord.  Here Tim talks about Goals, Gold and God.
Ahh- but the trick is to know that our goal and God’s goal for us are the same goal.  There is inherent danger in believing the financial success or achieving our own “personal” goals is in some way evidence that we are aligned with God’s vision for us.  Poverty and prison may be God’s perfect path for some.  We need to be ever so mindful that pursuit of our own goals is not inhibiting God’s refinement in our hearts. That is where the true gold lies.  by Tim Fischer/Pappa/My Man
This is also good stuff, not quite as profound, but good.  You can google a million recipes and variations on anything you might want to learn to cook for your family.  The problem i see with a blind google is this, you don’t know what you will end up with until you have tried the recipe.  i won’t say my recipes are The Best, i will say they are my family’s favorites, they are tried, you will succeed with them and usually they are easy and affordable.  i live a life of extreme dichotomy.  i want old fashioned fat filled comfort food for breakfast, by dinner time i want light, healthy, fitness promoting fare.  This recipe comes from my love affair with midwest church potluck casseroles, one of the many that  contains Campbell’s magic in a can.

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Nama’s Tater Tot Hotdish

tator-tot-hotdish-family-dinner.jpg //namafish.com

Ingredients needed:

1 pound ground beef (you could substitute turkey or chicken)

salt, pepper

onion powder,  you could use minced fresh onion (My Man is not having that)

garlic powder   (i use fresh crushed garlic)

seasoning salt

4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (any that your family enjoys), mine like corn, green beans, carrots and green peas. This is heavy on the veggies for nutrition.

2 (19 ounce) cans cream soup , you may use family favorites, i use reduced fat celery or chicken.

1 (32 ounce) package frozen potato rounds/Tater Tots/Tater Puffs….you know what i’m talking about.

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Brown 1 pound ground meat in skillet, season with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp.  black pepper, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder ( or 1 tsp. crushed garlic) .  Drain excess fat.

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Mix together in large bowl:  Browned meat, frozen vegetables and cream soup.

Notice the creased back edge of this bowl, our Tylor (now 26) sat in the bowl one evening after the popcorn was all gone, making himself comfortable while finishing the movie Balto,  he was such a happy little guy in his little nest.  i treasure all the little gingerbread crumbs that remain along this family path we walk.

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Spray a 9×13 pan with aerosol olive oil, spread meat/veggie mixture evenly in pan.  i often double or triple the recipe and freeze a couple.  This was a meal for tonight, a meal for the freezer and a meal to share with a new mamma and daddy.

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Top the meat mixture with the potato things.

My clan likes the Tots alot so i waste a whole bunch of time and line them up standing on end, i really really am ridiculous enough to do this everytime i make the casserole.  You may say “just dump a bunch on, pile them up, you get lots-a- tots that way!”  The problem…they don’t all get a crisp top surface, and that crispy top really makes or breaks the tot deliciousness.  The image shows the other more reasonable options, long aligning or random dump.  Once you have your top covered in tots sprinkle ever so lightly with seasoning salt.

Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, bubbly and the Tater Tots are slightly crispy brown on top, 45min-1 hour.

Now a few more fun vacation pictures.  i am pretty sure from tater tots to tadpoles is not an ideal transition, but here goes.

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Tadpoles

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There were thousands of these guys our first evening at the beach.

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Finley loved them.

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She wanted to get closer and learned to say  “Tadpole”.

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Blessing caught them.

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A Grandma, a Nama, an Aunty, Finney and a “tadpole” that had turned into a frog. (in Grandma Linda’s hand) Grandma Linda is more fun with frogs than Nama, and is anyone else concerned about the “caution” shed in the background ?

We shared 4 of our vacation days with Tiffany’s parents and sister.  One of my favorite experiences as a grandma is sharing the grandbabies with the other set of grandparents.  Double the fun to see others treasuring our little jewels as much as we do.

Our Why and How of Marriage

june 2, 2014 by nama and pappa

How do we do this lifetime commitment?  Why did i say yes to forever?  Did i really mean forever when i said yes?   Is it possible to be happy in the everyday nitty gritty of  “until death do us part” ?

Marriage~Solid Covenant  ://Namafish.com

Marriage~Solid Covenant

John Piper talks about the “why” of marriage in his book  This Momentary Marriage. You can get a free PDF of the book at the turquoise link.

The ultimate thing we can say about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. That is, it exists to display God. Now we see how: Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to his redeemed people, the church. And therefore, the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and his church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married. If you hope to be, that should be your dream. ~ John Piper

We believe this to be truth.  Our commitment to each other is not primarily about our happiness.  It is about HIM being seen as the one and only worthy God through our commitment  to each other in marriage.

How do we live that commitment on a daily bases?  It is one thing to say i will do this day after day for the rest of my life, it is quite another to commit to one more day when things are hard, lonely, and may feel hopeless.  We will each talk a bit about one specific truth we use to walk out our daily Happily Ever After.  These are just two of the many habits we have developed in our 33 years of learning together.

I (Mary Kaye) mentioned in this  post , when asked  “How do you make marriage work?”,  i often reply, “We are committed to fighting.”  going a bit further with that thought what i actually mean when i say we are committed to fighting is we do not walk away from a misunderstanding.  Communication.  You have to talk it out, you have to work to bring any tiny ripple of descension to a united calm between the two of you before you can move on.

Ephesians 4:15 talks about speaking the truth in love, later in verse 26 we are reminded, Do not let the sun go down on your anger. 

When our adult children were small they slept on the other side of our living room walls.  One of our sons was reminiscing about the nights he would lie awake listening to Tim and i work through something.  There were times the conversation would last for hours as we worked to get to the bottom of each other’s hurt and hearts.  We just kept  talking, no one got to “be done” , no one was allowed to walk away or go to bed.  In full disclosure this particular son said, “most often I was on  Dad’s side.”  Just today Tim and i were working on some home projects.  Tim kindly took over something i had started, when i asked where it was he answered, “I’ll do that for you.” to which i responded, kindly, “Is it going to be ugly?” Oddly enough he found my question slightly off-putting.  We pursued understanding (you know what i am saying) each other, it took just a bit for us to realize we are actually on the same team just processing differently.  The thing that amazes me is that these conversations always uncover something deeper and with some history.  These “fights” are not something negative, these times of misunderstanding can be opportunities to grow deeper and understand each other clearer if we will commit to doing the hard work.  Tim and i walk this communication process with very different styles, it is not easy, even when the “issue” is trite.  It can look like a fight, we both have to stay committed and in the ring until the final bell has rung or we both lose and ultimately all those around us lose something too.  A lifetime Love is worth fighting for, Tim is not my enemy, he is my allie on a team that is committed to finding our happy in a world that says it may not be possible.

Marriage~Love  ://namafish.com

Love

My Man, that would be Tim, lives forgiveness like no other human being i have ever known.  i often say,  “Tim forgives for every wrong that will come against him today before he gets out of bed each morning.”  If communication is a habit i have brought to our marraige table,  forgiveness would be one of the most important ways Tim has lead us as a couple.

Commit Love Forgive  //namafish.com

Commit Love Forgive

Pappa (Tim)  –  I was born Norwegian – (actually 1/2 German, but my ancestors must have come from the very far north of Germany because that half was Norwegian-like).  For those of  you who don’t know what that means let’s do some word “free association” for Norwegian.  Stoic, reserved, of few words, confrontation avoider,  unemotional, uninvolved, boring, “I said I love you the day we got married, I’ll let you know if anything changes”.  So poor Kaye came into our marriage expecting/hoping for great communication and I brought verbal paralysis.  For 33 years I have been learning to express my feelings, needs, and desires – Kaye has been a wonderful and patient (sometimes) teacher.  Every year has gotten better.  We are committed to keep at it.  We have intuitively developed a set of “Rules of Engagement” when we “discuss”.  We’ll lay out these rules in later posts so you can get a picture of what that looks like.  Discussions, for me, are very painful.  Not because of any certain subject matter, but to communicate on this level is out of my comfort zone. However, I always enjoy and appreciate the outcome as nothing good comes without effort, pain and being stretched.

I believe often when people in marriages start to have conflict they start to doubt if the person to whom they are married is the “perfect match”, who they were sure was their ticket to “Happily Ever After”.  When all those bad habits and personal idiosyncrasies start to rub the wrong way, they become even more convinced, I made a mistake.  But – COMMITMENT will lead to COMMUNICATION which will lead to UNDERSTANDING which will lead to FORGIVENESS, which will lead to JOY.  We will call it JOY because joy is a positive emotion that transcends circumstances, happiness is a positive emotion that comes during good circumstances and often disappears when the circumstances change.  

Joyous Ever After – I like the sound of that better.    

So, let’s conclude by saying this; Go into marriage expecting conflict.  How you handle that conflict will be directly proportional to the growth you have in the depth of that relationship and ultimately your “JOY”.  The tools you need to accomplish respectful and effective communications are in GOD’S WORD.  Many have said that marriage is a 50%-50% proposition.  I would say it is a 100%-100% proposition.  Only by each partner being willing to sacrificially give 100% will they get what they want (need) from the other.  And if done in this sweet, selfless way it makes getting it all that much better – like a gift given not out of obligation, but out of an overflow of Love.

More on our 33 year journey together:

A peek at a Valentines Celebration

Kayes tribute to our Commitment to keep on doing this

We Choose to fight for Love

 

Intentional, because it won’t just happen

Mostly i am tired and worn and look the part.

IMG_5068That is why 95% of me is cropped out of this image.  i look like a tired old Nama.  i am just not secure enough for that nonsense.

When i am tired, my default mood is C. R. A. B. B. Y.  i am a mess.  Is that normal or did i get an extra dose of ” not nice lady”?

If i run on instinct and feeling alone, most hours out of your average day or week are not going to be pretty.  i have to be intentional in my choices, i have to purpose each day to do the best rather than alot of  good.

i purpose to do what matters most.  To do what has proven to bring worthy results.  To just be stinkin kind.  To give more than i require.  To think of others for just a moment before i spout my need.  To find a gem to treasure in the gravel pit of everydayness.

Yesterday i slugged to the kitchen and baked this,
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Best Banana Bread Ever

Because Kaydra’s Cody is moving out of our little neighborhood very soon and it is his favorite and i had brown bananas and it would be good to have for the grandbabies who will be here the next two day.

Capture.JPG banana bread Here is a pin for you, i am trying hard to make our time together fun and easy for you.

Everyday  most days i read all or part of these daily thoughts.  They are filled with sound old wisdom, i can count on them.  They bring me back to Truth and Hope and the things that are worthy of  intentional commitment.

Streams in the Desert

My Utmost for His Highest

Charles Spurgeon

Daily Light on the Daily Path

We have our California Jewels without Mamma and Daddy for the rest of the week.

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Pappa filled some buckets with water last night so they would warm overnight.  We could have run to Walmart and grabbed a kiddie pool.  We are intentionally choosing to treasure what we already have been blessed with + when you are tired and nearing crabby it isn’t wise to add one more thing to the list, at least it is not wise in our neck of the woods.  Buckets work just fine, right?

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We are all a bit weary from the parade of fun, the baby girls have fevers.

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We are going to step over this, yes that is a swing in our kitchen.

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We are going to leave this sit right there for later play.

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We are ignoring this until a day when the babies aren’t here.  We only have THIS moment, that is truth whether they live in California or our basement bedroom.

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We are going to laugh.  (Kingston was teasing Aunty Kaydra.)

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We are going to work together.  (Blessing got both babies ready for bed all by herself because “I can just tell you are tired, Mamma.”)

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And we will snuggle.

Because these things last.  i do not do well in disorder but i can not allow the clatter of the urgent and ever undone to crowd out the important.  i must intentionally say no over and over to create room for saying yes to the best.

Say yes to your  intentional BEST today.  Say no to something that “needs” to be done so you can say yes to something that must be done.

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This little guy was exploring Nama and Pappa’s house last night. Several times he said,   ” Nama, i member this!”  Kingston is a young three year old, he has been to our home a generous handful of time.  Nama and Pappa’s is a long trip from California.  But he remembers, he is being affected by our choices.  We are imprinting those around us whether we are intentional about it or not.  (the paci is because Daddy is in California and Mamma is in Milwaukee and Nama and Pappa are pushovers.)  Sorry Travis and Melissa, but not all that sorry.

Read something of value today.  Stop the rat race long enough to reflect on what you want to remember about today.  Make time to invest in another life.  Build a relationship.  Share a story of hope.  Decide what things matter most and do those things intentionally and with all of your heart.

I am going to snuggle those big brown eyes while his sissy sleeps.  In 48 hours he will be on a plane headed back to California with his mamma.  If we want him to care what we have to say 15 years from now, we will have to prove to him we care and are worthy of his time by sharing legos, and tigers and Toy Story now.

Blog Business: i am not apologizing for the poor iphone pictures.  The phone is what i could reach at the moment and that was good enough for me.

Are you tired of my “why the little i?” links yet ?

You should really try that Banana Bread, it is good.  Our Cody has eaten most of a loaf.

 

We Choose Happily Ever After

may 27, 2014 by nama

Sunday Mornings we look pretty good.  Tuesday evenings can be a whole different story.  For years we have been asked, “How do you make marriage work?”IMG_3797

They don’t ask about happy, just work.  Maybe happy is too much to hope for.

For years we have had a reliable repertoire of replies.

“We are committed to fighting.”

“Hmmm” with a shoulder shrug.

“We are both tenacious and stubborn, we just keep going.”

There is this raised eyebrow, every so slight smile thing Tim does when he respects the question but doesn’t have a formulated reply.

Honestly, much of our 33 years together we have just been doing our best, muddling along, seeking, asking, talking, working hardhoping we are getting enough of  “it” right to give us “Good”.001

If opposites attract, we are ATTRACTED, like the opposite ends of a magnet.

Tim is a strong introvert, i am an over the top relational extravert.  If men have 7,000 words to use in a day,Tim being every budget wise allows himself perhaps 4 to 5 thousand.  A woman’s typical 20,000 words probably lands somewhere in the 30,000’s for me.

Tim told me shortly after we were married that one of his concerns before he proposed was that he would get weary of my constant chatter.  I recently told Tim (keeping with the current personality evaluation trend) “as an extrovert married to an introvert i have been lonely since we said “I Do”.”  A wise 3rd party in the conversation pointed out that Tim probably stopped talking 33 years ago, realizing there was no point in competing with my word count and strength.  Tim smiled.

A couple years ago Tim approached me about the possibility of doing a large remodel on our kitchen.  I hate disorder, mess, dust and lack of control, in general all things that construction brings to your world (my home in this case).  Tim thrives in creativity, the unknown, new, demolition and dust + he really wanted to turn our 1960’s tangerine kitchen into my pinterest board.  My reply was this,  “You know i will be unkind and bossy and crabby for the entire project.”   Tim’s reply,  “Yup, I am okay with that.”  So we started the project.  You will be pleased to hear i was mostly kind.  I will show you pictures some day.  i am so grateful for the kitchen My Man built.IMG_7750

We are very different, i do not tend to leave a sleeping dog lie.  i need to point out, work it through, understand and be understood.  Tim may not even notice the sleeping dog, and he would never beat a dead horse.  i need more, Tim just needs a little peace and quiet.

We do like each other, we like each other more each and every day.  More with each anniversary we add to our tally.  The more we work and build and commit to each other the more we respect, and like and love each other.  We love each other till death do us part.

But the facebook status’s that say…

“My very best buddy, best friend ever”, or

“No one brings me more joy than you and only you every single moment of our live long life!”  don’t always ring true here.

We work hard, what we have involves lots of commitment and forgiving and starting over.  Some weeks i connect more easily with a girlfriend  (she has more words).  Tim finds more calm and refreshment putting up sheetrock with a man friend or throwing a football with his sons somedays.  We are not each other’s everything.  i don’t think this marriage thing was ever intended to fill each other’s every need.

We choose to love what we have together.  We choose to say “I love you” often.  We try hard to put the other first especially when it feels like i haven’t been first in, Oh.. let’s say forever.

i have a favorite book that is ragged from page turning.  Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  The subtitle is: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

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What if ?

Am i still in this deal if being made more like my Saviour is promised but HAPPY is always just a bit elusive?  If you wonder why this lifetime commitment isn’t making you happy, please get this book.  It is worth your time and money.  Read it with an open heart, a soft teachable spirit.  It will change everything.  Life changer.  Marriage mender.

My longtime favorite is getting a nudge from this recent find, This Momentary Marriage by John Piper.  You can get a free PDF copy at the teal link.

In his book John Piper explains this passage of scripture:

Mark 10:8–9  

‘The two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 

When a couple speaks their vows, it is not a man or a woman or a pastor or parent who is the main actor—the main doer. God is. God joins a husband and a wife into a one-flesh union. God does that. The world does not know this. Which is one of the reasons why marriage is treated so casually. And Christians often act like they don’t know it, which is one of the reasons marriage in the church is not seen as the wonder it is. Marriage is God’s doing because it is a one-flesh union that God himself performs.  ~ John Piper in The Momentary Marriage

One Flesh.

Is it any wonder there is endless pain and mess when we chose to rip that one flesh into two?

My passion for God honoring Marriage runs deep.  i come from a twice broken home.  i wrote endless letters as a little girl to my daddy asking him to love Jesus and come back to our family.  In my teens i pleaded with my God to please give me a husband that would love Jesus and build a home that honored Jesus,a man who would teach our children of Christ’s Love.  My mom was a God honoring woman, she spent many years raising 6 rowdy children on her own, she did an exceptional job.  i still was painfully aware this is not how it was meant to be and i longed to have a whole home someday.

Somewhere into our first year of marriage a bicker over something small sent me down the path of…

“This will not work, we may as well quit now, divorce is where we will end up, why try?”  Tim immediately responded with,

“Divorce will never be a part of our story, we may fight, we may dislike each other, we may both be miserable but we will be all those things in this home together.  Neither of us will ever say the word divorce again, it is not an option!”  The word divorce has never been spoken again.  We fight, we annoy the living daylights out of each other, we are lonely and sad some days. We get up and we do another day together because His Holy Word commands us “let no man separate!”

In our Lord’s gracious love, the hard work brings harvest.  One of my favorite things to do has become sitting silently with my man over a dinner out.  Quietly treasuring what He is building for us.  Somedays Tim asks me for more words, he was sad that i have felt lonely.IMG_3861

Nothing of worth comes about without hard work.  Why do we so easily give up on the one commitment that promises immeasurable pay out as soon it feels more like work than the latest chick-flick released from Hollywood.

One of our sons and his bride used this song in their wedding.  It says it all.  Listen, pray and commit to the fight.  Love is not a fight.

Happily Ever After

Till Death do us Part

 

 

What’s your stopping price??

SAMSUNG

May 20, 2014  by Pappafish

Earlier this spring I was sitting in a left turn lane waiting for the green arrow that would send me on my way to lunch.  I glanced down and saw what I thought was a $5 bill laying crumpled and peaking from under the snow in the gutter beneath my window.  I only saw enough to be 50% sure it was legitimately a $5 bill.

I knew I had only seconds to decide if I should unbuckle, put the truck in park, get out and investigate.  I also knew that the crossing traffic light had gone yellow and I would be backing up traffic if I were to get out which would undoubtedly get a few impatient honks and maybe even some sort of salute if you know what I mean. But the thought of a free cheeseburger and fries was too tempting, so I slammed the truck into park, jumped out and freed the scrap of paper from it’s icy bondage.  To my delight I was rewarded with a soggy, but still valid Federal Reserve Note which I could immediately return to circulation.  Well, maybe I’d let it dry for a day first.

I have noticed coins laying in the gutter in this exact situation before.  Pennies; stopping never crossed my mind.  Nickels; likewise.  I recently drove off on a quarter, but I did check my rearview mirror on that one.  If it hadn’t been for the 3 cars behind me, I would have most certainly dove into the gutter for those 2 bits.

So, looking back on it, my stopping price is somewhere between $.25 and $5.  What is yours????

imagesMYRUML0R

This experience got me thinking.  In general, what will we stop for?  At what expense will we interrupt our busy schedule to get involved in an unexpected detour.  Would you stop if you drove past a women on the freeway, alone, with a flat?  Would you consider the time of day or the traffic, or the proximity to the nearest town before you pulled over?  It could cost you being late for work, or not getting home at your usual time.  Everyone has cell phones now, surely she can call her husband or father or ?.

What about if you saw kids rough-housing on the playground.  Would you slow enough to try and figure out if both children were willing partners in this tet-a-tet?  Would you stop if it was obvious he or she was not?  The price is somewhere between $Not-worth-my-time and $Emotionally-too-costly.

As followers of Christ, I believe, our obligation (and reward) come into play here.  We ARE CALLED to be vested in other peoples struggles, but rarely do we heed.  It is too easy in our society to be sealed in the sanitary plastic wrapper of home/car/cell phone conversation, isolated from the plight and suffering of others, however minute it may seem to us at the time.

As Paul said – “I am chief among the sinners” and I think I am most often guilty of driving off into the sunset, or to lunch.  I can usually play the “get out of jail free” card that all of us introverts keep in our mental wallets.  My personality type doesn’t enjoy personal interaction.  God wired me that way so surely he won’t hold me accountable for walking past.  I’m sure he has one of those “Type A” persons in the queue and ready to get involved any minute now.  Thanks FaceBook for helping me understand myself better – I took the quiz and I’m off the hook.

Alas – Me thinks not.  I guess I’ll be stopping for the pennies.

I Fix therefore I am – By Pappafish

may 13, 2014 by PappaThe-Art-of-Fixing-ThingsPart 1 of many (July 3, 2011) . . . .Hi, My name is Tim and I’m a fixaholic. I have been a fixaholic all my life, I don’t remember not wanting to fix things. It consumes me. My motivation in developing lingual skills came in an effort to explain to my father how to fix the broken latch on my crib. The solution was quite obvious if I remember correctly. Most people would be fishing, or boating, or beaching on a beautiful 4th of July weekend. Not me – I line up the projects from 5 PM Friday to 10 PM Monday night; repairs, reconditions, replacements.

imagesI’ve often wondered if I chose it, or did it choose me. Was it genetic, environmental or a random act of cosmic karma (all of which God is ultimately in control of). Was I a clean slate as a new born babe only to have the boney fingers of poverty and necessity write this epilog onto my sub-consciences before I had even written the introduction?

I chose a moderately paying career and a wife whose heart and passion are toward home and family. Wouldn’t have it any other way. And how ironic that I supervise a crew of men who “fix things”. This choice of conservative lifestyle has left us with the reality of an older home, pre-owned cars and “gently used” everything else. Is it any wonder then that my life is full of fixin’. Now did I subconsciously chose this life just so I could have things to fix. Had I chose a vocation of doctoring, lawyering, banking, I would probably have a new home, a new car, and a sunburn earned on the river or golf course rather than on a broken mower. No – I’ll have no part of that . . . what would there be to fix? Fixing brings a quality of life which I could find no other way. I feel the same rush of adrenaline from hearing the “schlanck” of golden brown bread bursting from the top of newly reconditioned toaster as Dr. Frankenstein must have from the reanimation of that lifeless corpse.

I have no choice . . . I . . . . Must . . . . . Fix!!

 

A week in review . . .

Dryer broke . . First attempt to repair lasted a mere day or two. Now I am confident that with the proper amount of duct tape and solder, a couple of electrical switches from Menards (one for heat – one for blower), and I could have had that bugger working for another year, maybe two, but that would be the folly of the single man. Being married 30+ years has given me the intuitive ability to know when to hold and when to haul. Now you might think that a fixaholic would find that hard to swallow, but my fixaholism is uniquely counterbalanced by another addiction: I-can’t-pay-retail-aholism. So my sweats and shakes from fixious interuptous were quickly squelched by the rush of surfing “Overstock.com”. Auction won, invoice paid, delivery within 7 to 10 working days. $700 dryer in the basement for $350. Handyman cocaine brother, handyman cocaine.

Driving 1998 van down the interstate. Hard to tell with all the vibration coming from the scalloped tires due to the bad tie rods but pretty sure that the tranny is slipping. Currently shopping Craig’s List, and Ebay – wait on in folks – fodder for future blogs.

 

Finally ready to go to bed at 2 AM Friday morn – hear terrible racket coming from frig. Tear apart ice-maker to isolate noise. Can’t leave is as is – something is definitely wrong. Can’t turn it off til morning – everything will spoil – 90 degrees in there. A few well placed fist bumps with the Frigidaire and an ice cube dislodges from the fan – I’m feeling fiiiiiine.

Friday evening – head over to Ty’s house (a repo house to a fixaholic is like a liquor store to a alcoholic). Working on pressure tank to eliminate air at plumbing fixtures. Great company (thanks for the help Corey) and maybe a fix – we’ll call it a draw until we get a little more data over time. As I walk through the house my pulse races like a child in Fleet Farm’s toyland the week before Christmas – so may projects, so may “fixes”. Just a little saliva seeping from the corner of my mouth. I quickly lick my lips to hide any signs before anyone can see.

Saturday morning – doing some dishes as an act of love for my beautiful wife – notice drain basket is broken – add to mental list. Remove old dryer from basement in preparation for new one coming in 7 to 10 business days. Notice need to clean out lint vent – jumped on it. I have a homemade cleaner stick all ready – foam rubber in a sweat sock taped to a layup stick (duct tape of course). Works beautifully – job complete in 15 minutes (also noticed need to fix vent cover/flap on side of house) added to mental list. Got dolly and moved dryer outside – noticed door handle on basement door about to fall off – added to mental list. Loaded mowers onto trailer – rider and push, noticed weather stipping falling off van door – added to mental list, then erased from mental list since we have to buy a new vehicle due to slippy-tranny. Checking email on computer – noticed water spitting out of window air conditioner – definitely something not right – added to mental list. Wife shows me broken coat hook ( 7 year old with hidden repelling skills) – maybe record fix/replace – like two minutes front to end. Went to Ty’s and mowed the lawn – flipped rider mower while loading – thinking burial at sea might be most appropriate, but spirit buoyed by thought of finding a deal on a new, or rather gently used one. Oil from upside down mower leaked all over neighboring church’s parking lot which I used to unload. Heading to Menard’s to buy oil dry (kitty litter). While at Menards – buy supplies for next 4 projects. Dryer vent for my house – dryer vent to fix Ty’s dryer vent issues, water line splice for Ty’s ice maker, clips for gas line temped through Ty’s basement with pieces of twine, and of course a roll of duct tape because you just never know. Saturday evening – very nice time with Parker/Kristi/Kaydra/Ble and K at China Inn. Had several glasses of “Pessi”. Can’t help but notice many things around that place that needed to be “fixed”. Spend time in between mouthfuls of Gen. Tsao’s chicken calculation time estimates on each project. Then home for some ice cream while I cap the night off with fixing Kristi’s car (which I have been putting off for many months now, so this is a good opportunity to get ‘er done).

 

Replaced right turn signal, replaced right headlight, straightened fender, replaced left headlight, troubleshot and replaced faulty light bulb that came with new headlight. Bright, dim, and directionals all working. Fixed front license plate holder, replaced rear license plate, fixed fuel tank cover – mosquitoes drove me inside or I would have gotten to the windshield washer line and the brakes. But at least now I have something to fix tomorrow . . .

To be continued . . . (because we live in a decaying world)