“The House Don’t Fall When the Bones Are Good.”

Do you remember the game “Red Rover?”

“Red Rover Red Rover, we DON’T call the enemy over.”

It was one of my favorite games to play during recess. We would all line up in our two rows and call out players to “come over” until the teacher yelled for us all to line up & go back inside.

When I think about the way the devil attacks marriages, I kind of compare it to this game. You see, when the devil runs over to your marriage in an attempt to “break your chain” or in my analogy, hurt my marriage, I picture him running full speed trying to tear us down. When he doesn’t, he has to stick around. He then attaches himself in an attempt to continue to attack until he succeeds or is defeated. But in the scenario where he wins, or breaks through the chain, he then takes you back with him to his side.

I started talking to a young couple that had been married for 8 years and have 3 small children. Despite the amount of years being married, they were very young. It was during our conversation that they started telling me how hard it has been. The wife stays home while the husband works, they don’t have any family that live close to them, and they never get a break from their kids. In the midst of this conversation, they mentioned that they almost got a divorce last year. She said it was bad – to the point he was moving his stuff out. My heart broke for this young couple. Life is hard sometimes and it seems as if for some, it is harder.

Me and my family needed a break really bad. 2020 has been a roller coaster and we just wanted a few days out of town. We booked a couple nights at the Oprey Land Hotel in Nashville, TN. This is our home away from home. Nashville is where me and my husband met, Trevecca Nazarene University. This is where not only did I meet the love of my life and best friend but also where the foundation of my faith was strengthened. When we get a chance to go back we truely enjoy it. We make sure to take our boys to Trevecca and show them all the buildings on campus and all the other places we loved to go to that holds such a special place in our hearts. Even Oprey Land Hotel is special to us. When we were in college, we would go there to study and walk around. It was always a cheap date night. The boys love Nashville and especially the hotel. One night we decided to take the boys down to the pool and I took advantage of the hot tub. It was there I met this nice young couple. It amazes me that in just a few moments, and very short conversation, this young couple opened up about so much.

I wanted to spit up all my amazing, wonderful, and truly insightful knowledge I have on marriage and raising children because we have it all figured out ….. ya right. I did want to tell them everything we have learned in our 18 year marriage, through trials and mistakes, to help. But soon realized, instead, they needed a listening ear and encouragement. Every time they would say how they almost gave up, I said “But you didn’t!” I told them our scars are beautiful reminders of where we have been and that we made it through. I said when you have one working and one staying home this is such a stressful time on any marriage. The one at home is tired and ready to throw the kids at the one walking through the door (TAG you’re it!) and the one coming home from a long day at work is tired and just wants to rest. This is just the tip of the iceberg – this isn’t even discussing money or unspoken expectations each has for the other. Being able to be a stay at home mom was such a blessing but it is hard and this ended up being an unexpected curve ball that I never saw coming. I was able to stay home for 3 years with our first and it was amazing, but hard and hard for so many reasons that NO one tells you about.

It was through our conversation that it was clear this young couple never gets any one on one time with each other. They explained how they don’t have anyone to watch their children and that even the children sleep in their bed. I explained to them that we have always put our boys to bed at 7:30, now we are leaning to more like 8:00 due to their age. We have always had this consistent bed time routine for them and this allowed us to have time to get a few things done around the house and then have “our” time! This has been such a wonderful time for us to grow and keep our marriage strong. Guys lets all agree we need some time for us! We may want to have a glass of wine, play cards, or watch a movie snuggled on the couch. We have also always agreed on our children not sleeping in our bed. The way I look at this is once you have kids they are not to consume you and everything including your marriage. They are now a part of that but not the whole. I love my boys with everything I have, but I also know that is completely an unhealthy way to view it. You could tell this was a completely new way to look at this for this couple. In a marriage you have to work at it and continue to grow your friendship, because at the end of the day and 35 years later when you look over and an old grandpa is sitting next to you, you are gonna want that to be your best friend and partner.

There is so much coming at marriages these days. Sexual temptations, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, lack of contentment, and so much more. How on earth do we ever think we could possibly overcome these battles and struggles. We won’t! We can never overcome all of this on our own, we need GOD. We need God in our marriages and it is only with Him that we can overcome these many wolves that are waiting and ready to devour our marriages. We have to fight and really understand that our children need this also. They need both of us, both of us together. Now I understand that some times divorce is the best option due to many things like abuse and addiction. Divorce also is not always our choice, the other chooses this whether we want to or not. In both of these cases divorce is reality. Let’s be honest though in those cases the route causes are selfishness, lack of contentment, and falling to sexual temptations just to name a few. These wolves will destroy everything if we don’t stand guard and allow the ONE who can be our foundation and bones to “BE.”

There is an amazing song named “The Bones” by Maren Morris. In this song she sings about going through hard times and how ‘The wolves came and went, but in the end the House don’t fall when the bones are good”. Man this song gets me every time I listen to it. I even find myself screaming the lyrics when singing in the car by myself (I know that’s a sight). WOW it is so good though. Not sure if Maren has the same meaning as I do for the foundation and bones, but it is such a powerful song. When leaving this couple I turned to them and said I want you all to say next time it’s been 20 years married. He said, “wow me too!”

“No, it don’t always go the way we planned it but the wolves came and went and we’re still standing.”

Next time you’re going through it and think you’re tempted to allow the enemy to break your chain or your foundation, remember God provided you a wonderful blessing. An opportunity to learn to be more like Jesus by learning patience and forgiveness. You’ve now “built this right. Nothing’s ever gonna move it” unless you allow it to. Put priority on the foundation and then the rest is easy. “The paint could peel, the glass could shatter, but let it rain” – ’cause you (your marriage/your foundation) will remain the same.

The Bones – Maren Morris

I know this has been a little bit longer than usual and this has been our first blog in a while. Life has happened in so many ways, but we are now getting back to the place were we are able to have time to share. We both feel so strongly about the importance of putting our marriages first & couldn’t wait to collaborate together on our first dual blog post. We hope you’ve enjoyed it & encourage you to provide feedback! We will be posting more insights, rants, and funny stories so I invite you to sit and share with us.

So – Keep it Classy, Keep it Crazy!

J & K. 🙂

HOPE – I SEE IT AND SMILE!

During this time of “social distancing” and finding a new routine with being a full time employee from home, teacher to my children, full time parent, and co-manger of our house, I have been bombarded with many different emotions. This is defiantly a completely new situation that we all find ourselves in. We have been overloaded with information during this time regarding mental health, many ideas for engaging with your kids and family, advise on exercising, and so on. Why is this so hard for us with the way the typically go through our daily lives? We are so individualistic on many levels. We all have privacy fences, would rather build relationships on social media, let our children play gaming systems and electronics for an unlimited amount of time and none of this “social distancing” ever bothered us before, why does it now? It’s funny to think we all were operating in a “normal” environment of self inflicted social distancing and it never bother us until someone said we shouldn’t be in contact with others, and that’s when we all freaked out. It’s sad to say this new recommendation shouldn’t have altered how each of us continue to go about our daily lives. How many times before this did you think about talking to your neighbor? Try to come up with a new game for you and your kids to play? Talked with a loved one, or better yet, when was the last time you went to see them before all of this? In response to this pandemic we are now coming up with ways to socialize without being face-to-face, yet in meaningful ways (face time, zoom meetings, sitting in your drive way talking to others as they walk by, taking walks, sitting on your front porch, and regularly checking up on co-workers and church members).

Now I can sit here and write about how horrible this has been and how, at times, fear has changed how I process this new situation, but that is not what I am wanting to focus on. Yes, the fear is real and at the end of the day there is nothing I can do to change it. I can abide by the recommendations, and I am, and I can keep a positive face for my children, and keep their schedules the same, but at the end of the day the only thing I have is HOPE.

All of this gives me hope. I hope when this is all said and done we return to a more meaningful way of having relationships. It seems more of us are going back to the way it used to be before social media destroyed and/or altered true relationship. It really encourages me to hear families coming up with ways to spend time together and now getting out and taking walks together – we seem to enjoy the little human interaction we are getting. It becomes precious – and that’s the way it should be. If you think about it our TVs aren’t broke and our internet is still working, yet all I read or hear about are ways families are trying to be creative with their time (puzzles, games, reading, car rides, walking, etc…). At a time like this it is hard to see a positive, but when I look outside and see all of this taking place, I smile. This is our positive – we are becoming social again! We are checking in on others and helping them by making sure they have what we need. This is encouraging and I pray we do not loose the insight we have gained through “social distancing.” This is an opportunity to live a more meaningful life with others. We need each other and if our current situation doesn’t prove this, well then, nothing will.

Please take a moment and look around, smile and see this hope for all of us!

-J

Wild & Crazy – But lots of FUN!

The other day I was on the phone with my sister and I could hear her house or lack of hearing anything from her house other than her classical music playing in the background while she reads and drinks a glass of wine.  Now here is what she hears from my house – running, screaming, and banging due to the large nerf war that I was caught in the middle of and soon became a causality of our own WWIII.  Our homes are so different from style to volume level.  We have always thought it was due to her having a daughter and a son where I have two boys, I’ve always said having two or more boys is like raising a pack of dogs due to them feeding off of each other’s energy.  Her kids are very quiet and don’t really require a lot of interaction, unlike mine.  The last time she watched my boys she was exhausted and needed that glass of wine from before.  My boys are energetic, talkative, demand interaction, and have healthy appetites.  They want to talk to you, tell you every show they have ever watched, want to see what you have for snacks (mostly the youngest one), and want to play with their cousins.  My boys are well-behaved, sweet, and tender hearted, but when you look up the true definition of Boy – I do believe their pictures are there.  They love to run, get dirty, spit, burp, and of course farting is hysterical.  I will NEVER understand that – ever!  They also are very affectionate, and love to give hugs.    My sister loves “her” quiet time and, well, I used to too, but I think that ran away the day I brought my first little man home and it has never been seen again.  

 Here is one of the many conversations I thought I would never have and the joys of raising boys.  I was saying prayers with my youngest and half way through I noticed he had something in his mouth.  I said spit out the finger nail (yes he bites his finger nails then mauls on them for a while – I know gross) he said it’s not my finger nail as he was pulling it out of his mouth, please note the little head jerk and attitude when he said this – I just looked at him.  He said it’s my toe nail and then showed it to me.  Just when my gag reflex went into full gear and I struggled to fight back throwing up I told him never to do that and just how gross it was.  He said well Daddy does it – I said NO he does not! He said well he bites his finer nails….the joy of boys!

Love the mom life!

Focus for today:

Love where you are at, the stage and all that comes with it – it will be gone in an instant!

Would love to hear about some of those conversations you’d thought you would never have to have…

-J

When will your family be enough?

One of my biggest frustrations is when I hear, “My wife never met my needs, so I had an affair” or “My husband was never there for me or told me I was beautiful.” This is such a weak way of thinking and going about life. People like this need to grow up and understand how their actions effect others.

My father left my mother almost 15 years ago; it would have been their 30th wedding anniversary. I didn’t know it growing up but my father had a hard time seeing past his own needs, wants, and pain. Looking back over my childhood I thought we had it all, the perfect family. Now, we weren’t rich and I didn’t have everything I asked for, but we were given more than we probably needed and most importantly I had loving parents. Only when I got older did I start to see the truth, subtle at first then painfully obvious. Shortly after I graduated college and during my first two years of marriage my family exploded.

My father had multiple affairs over the course of their marriage and now not only destroyed our family but others as well. Wow, how selfish can you be? He used to tell me “You don’t know the whole truth.” Like any additional information would justify all his actions/decisions. Just take responsibility- you did this because you are selfish and all you think about is YOU! If you were so unhappy how about work on it. I don’t know, put all that time and energy that you put into sneaking around and creating this alternate happiness into your current marriage. Other questions I would have to ask is why are you so unhappy? What else do you need to be happy? I have found that the ones hurt and most effected by this type of selfish behavior will never get the answers to these questions.

In most cases, divorce is such a devastating tragedy. I completely agree that their are circumstances where divorce is necessary, but in both my parents’ and my sister’s divorce this was not the case. Both of these tragic events were the result of ONE person thinking of their own “needs” and “happiness” as more important than the people they were supposed to love more than anything. I know people reading this will say “Do you really want someone to stay just because of the vows they took, regardless if they are miserable?” My response would be the same as above, how about you put all that time and energy into your marriage/family and see how that turns out. Too many times people want to run because the “spark” they initially felt is gone. What they fail to understand is that the spark they first felt is no more than the infancy stage of a relationship. A deep, meaningful marriage takes hard work and a dedication to the other. Putting their needs above yours is not easy and sometimes feels as if it will snuff the “spark,” but these seemingly tough times lead to something much brighter than a spark.

I look at my niece and nephew and just can’t understand what on earth could you (my brother-n-law) possible want more than this? Why on earth, when you look at your family picture can you say “this isn’t enough”? I actually asked him this question, but to be honest there isn’t an answer that would be good enough. I love my brother-n-law, and it truly saddens me that he has allowed “the grass is greener” lie to break up his wonderful family. The truth is both my father and brother-n-law are both on their third marriage and still looking for what makes them “Happy”.

In my previous post, “Focused Eyes”https://classedupcrazy.com/2019/08/16/focused-eyes/ it focuses on the blessing in your life, especially those that your missing through the events of everyday life. I also mention that many people look at the “green grass” on the other side and wish they had more, but they fail to realize that that “green” grass still has to be watered, mowed, and taken care of or it too will turn brown and die. Everything great in your life requires hard work and lots of time. The sad truth is that I no longer have a relationship with my father, but it’s not due to me holding on to the past and not forgiving him. I have forgiven him, but it is clear that he hasn’t stopped to see anyone else but himself and I’m not sure that he even knows how anymore.

I wish people would stop and see that this horrible and devastating lie, that so many are being lured in by, as the ugly and awful thing it is. The greener grass is just a fake and false sense of reality that will strip you of everything you hold dear and hurt the very people that you love the most. Please do not fall into this mindset; learn to take your blinders off and see the many blessings you have right in front of you each day!

“The happiest man on earth is the one that is content with what he has.”

J

First Impressions

First impressions are crucial – whether we like it or not our first impression can be a make-it or break-it.  From your business to personal life, you get one shot at this and you should always bring your best.  I was recently at my son’s open house at his middle school (he is going into the 6th grade this year).  I left so frustrated and less confident than I have ever been regarding the ability of a school to care for my child due to, or lack of, the first impression. Every question, with exception of one, was answered with “I don’t know” by many of the staff.  My questions ranged from “where will his locker be?” to “how do we sign him up for the bus?”  Not only did we get an “I don’t know” but each also came with the usual shoulder shrug and unenthusiastic look.  When asking where his home room class would be we were given three different locations which all were incorrect.  We did finally get the correct location of his home room, but his teacher was not there to meet the parents on the Open House night.  My husband and I have never had this kind of experience at an Open House, the purpose of these things is to communicate and inform parents, we ended up leaving confused and frustrated.

You know, they had one shot to show that they cared or even tried to be prepared for this parent’s night, however, all they wanted to talk about was their reputation and the dress code policy. Both of these are important, but this was also their chance to explain their expectations of their incoming students, and what the incoming students could expect as well.  I heard many times that night that middle school is harder on the parents than the kids.  Ok, so you are aware, you could have done some of the simplest things to help.  It would have been great to have been told what a day in the life of our children would look like, how they will transition from their classes, how they are to prepare their binders with school supplies, or go over their expectations of homework.

It’s kinda like when you are car shopping or buying a house.  If the prior owner hasn’t taken care of the “smalls” then I immediately become worried because most likely they haven’t taken care of the “bigs”.  The “smalls” are when you see broken blinds.  I then think if they haven’t fixed that knowing they are trying to sell their home then most likely they have not maintained the “bigs” like the heating and cooling system.  If they haven’t cleaned the trash out of the car, “smalls”, (and yes, this actually happened to me and my husband when test driving cars from a dealership – let’s just say we left) then did they bother to do major maintenance or regular oil changes “bigs”? 

Or like my husband.  He was a police officer for almost ten years.  He used to always say that the way he presented himself spoke a lot to the people he interacted with, Officer Presence.  His presence was not only the uniform itself, it was how he carried himself, his confidence.  He always made sure his uniform was tailored, cleaned, pressed, shoes shined, and car washed.  He respected his role and the community he served and you could tell this not only by his words and actions but in his level of attention to his physical appearance as well.  In his role, all of this was crucial to his safety and effectively doing his job.

Speaking of bad first impressions, just the other day my husband and I were working out in the garage, and the door was up. This is not something I enjoy, but that’s for another story. While we were working out, a man in a truck pulled up close to our mail box and appeared to be going through some trash. He gathered, what I thought was trash and threw it out his window next to our mail box. In an instant I screamed at him and said “NO NO – DON’T YOU DO THAT!” He immediately looked at me and my husband jumped up, not knowing what was going on. The man was still looking at me and slowly moved on to my neighbors house. My husband looked at me and I was like “I can’t believe he just dropped his trash in our yard”. My husband said “he is delivering phone books”. I was instantly embarrassed and desperately wanted to run after his car to catch up with him to apologize, at which my husband said running after him was probably not the best idea after screaming at him. My husband laughed and said I wanted to look at him and whisper “just drive away” – I told him that’s not funny! I can only imagine what he thinks of the people that live in That House.

 So in this situation with the school, if they aren’t willing or see the importance of communicating the “smalls” then how will they be throughout the year with the “bigs”.   This school may be great. However, the first impression did not leave me with confidence in their willingness to communicate throughout the year . 

Focus for today:

You have one, ONE shot at a first impression – understand just how invaluable this truly is!

-J

Customer Temper Tantrums

What is up with the way people react to the word “NO”? Every time I am put in a position to uphold to a policy the first response I get lately is “Your treating me less than human” or “Your treating me as a 3rd class citizen” – What? Why is it that when people are told “no” or “you need to do …. first” the first thing that comes to their mind is – That’s not fair! Every time this happens I have to take a double take – because I thought I was speaking to an adult in an higher education/healthcare setting not with children. Then reality hits and I AM speaking with an adult, but this response is what I get from my 7 and 11 year old. We have done such a disservice to our youth and young adults by letting them think that they need to challenge everything. Yes I am a huge component of asking questions and being completely informed, but having unrealistic demands is obnoxious and shows lack of maturity.

Everyone of us live by rules whether they are written, spoken, or a part of daily expectations. In my offices we are 100% customer service focused and we do this well (in prior post “Customer Service – not a job task, it’s a mindset” you can see my passion on providing great customer service), but it really seems that in the moments this is called into question it typically is when the customer does not like to hear “No” or “Wait”. Accusations of poor customer service never stem from the customer actually being treated poorly or receiving poor product, but from an unrealistic since of entitlement. Let’s call this what it is – an over sized temper tantrum. You are not showing your superior intelligence by trying to always buck the system or prove your injustices, some things are put in place for a reason. As long as those rules and policies are not truly an injustice then follow the policy and move forward.

-J

Expectations/Standards – too low?

I am a mother of two boys and I have noticed more now than ever the difference in standards when it comes to boys versus girls. It seems as though society has a lower level of expectations for men than women and this is extremely frustrating on many levels for me. Why is it an accepted and normal way of thinking that men will always lust after women. I have heard many say “they can look but not touch”, “boys will be boys”, and “they have needs”. I know women who allow their husbands/boyfriends to go to strip clubs, and this is acceptable? WHAT! Why would we let men settle to this way of thinking? Why would we let our significant other devalue a woman in such a way. How about the fact that they are disrespecting the one they are with? They are strong and very capable with resisting these behaviors; they are not mindless animals. The women that are playing into this stereotype often feel like this is the way to satisfy their men and keep them happy by not putting boundaries on them – Really! These women need to get a backbone and pick men that love them and are completely devoted to them, these are the men that do not need external stimulation to feel satisfied. Enough is enough with this weak view of men and women putting up with this substandard type of relationship.

I can’t handle that everything from food, cars, drinking, and sports (just to name a few) are sold with sex. Let’s be real they are not selling to women they are trying to entice men. Even our consumer market thinks males are mindless animals and if I were a man I would be insulted. This is the very struggle I have with raising my sons. I am very aware that men and women are completely different. I also understand that men are more physical by nature than women, however to believe that they can not live without subjectifying women is absurd. Society is guilty of putting this on our men and not expecting more from them. It is a known fact that individuals rise to expectations that are set for them, with knowing this we need to set higher ones.

Our men need to stand up too. Peer pressure from other men is just as bad as the constant bombarding that they get everyday from the media and society. We need to teach our sons that they are not weird and need to have standards. Not falling into these social norms does not lesson their manhood at all.

Allowing men to be a stereotype is also damaging to Marriages. These sacred relationships cannot thrive when one partner is behaving this selfishly. This lack of respect is appalling and so hurtful. It is a horrible example for children and again I will go back to how this hurts when raising them. A lot of times this is a cycle and and how can we expect young boys to resist this lifestyle when they are bombarded via the media, friends, and now . . . parents.

I love my boys and I want them to thrive in healthy relationships. I am truly blessed that their father is an amazing example of how unselfish devotion can grow a marriage. Let’s not forget that a marriage takes both partners giving all of themselves all of the time. Raising our children to believe differently will ultimately require a societal shift. This may seem overwhelming, but I know these types of changes begin at home.

-J

“30 day” Challenge – Part two

Well I promised I would keep this short so I think it would be best to put a weeks worth of daily entries in each blog. This challenge is a 30 day challenge that does not include rest days.

Day 1: I thought I was going to die. My legs felt like jello and I struggled to complete the list of exercises. I’m not being overly dramatic and I understand that the list is not filled with majorly intense items ( it is labeled “Beginners”), but I am not used to this. I told my husband “There is no way I can do this every night for 30 days.”

The next morning I was so sore to the fact it hurt to sit in my chair at work. When I would need to get up to walk to the bathroom or get a drink of water, I’m sure it looked like I had road a horse for 8 hours when I walked. I was so sore that I scared my self out of working out tonight. I am going to extend this workout for 60 days and do every other day. You have to let your body rest.

Day 2: I worked out last night even though I was incredibly still sore from my first night workout, which was two days ago. I was dreading this all day at work and repeatedly told co-workers there is no way I’m going to be able to do this tonight – I’m too sore. When I got home I made sure to go ahead and get it done. WOW I was able to do it and it didn’t really take that much of my time. I was sore but nothing that actually stoped me from finishing the routine. I am actually excited to see if I can work out again tomorrow and not have that rest day. I’m feeling good!

Day3: I worked out and I am completely surprised that the soreness doesn’t impact or stop me from working out. I still have no clue how I’m going to be able to keep increasing intensity every day. By the end of this challenge It is going to have me do so much more than I think I am capable of doing.

Day 4-6: I actually skipped these days. I’m not happy about it, but we had so much planned this weekend and I didn’t want to give up family time. I think I am going to rest on the weekends – which yes it will increase the amount of time I am doing this “30 day” challenge. At this point not sure I even should call it a “30 day” challenge anymore. More like Never ending/Hard as crap challenge!

Day 7: (which is really Day 4 in the workout routine): Well as you know each days workout increases and is basically freakin hard/crazy. Let’s just say missing 3 days was not my best decision to make. I was hurting and exhausted at the end of it. I still have no clue how this is all going to play out but I am wanting to really stick with this one through.

AKA..Day 5: I worked out again!!! This is really an accomplishment in it’s self. I am hurting and it is getting intense, but the soreness still hasn’t stopped me from completing all of the exercises. My husband keeps telling me that you should have a day in-between to let your muscles rest, but I am trying to complete this challenge as close to the design as possible. Well see how it goes.

Day 6 – went well and yes still getting harder, but I feel so good because I have kept up with it!!! Now I’m gonna go rest!

Wrap Up: Well it is going better than I expected, and maybe this is part of my problem – low expectations or negative expectations. I can find the positive in at least I am wanting to work out, at least I am “Kinda” sticking with it and haven’t thrown in the towel. I am going to continue and lest see how this next week goes – I will only post one more – “the final” and this will wrap up my overall experience and what I gained from this challenge.

Let me know how you do with these challenges.

-J

Love with out Action – is what?

To love someone is more than just having emotional feelings or saying that you love them, it is action. Love with out action is void and empty. How can I say I love you but never help you, take care of you, support you, or walk with you through something. Love requires a tangible action or it simply is not love.

“For God So loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe that in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In this scripture we see God’s love expressed in a tangible action – He gave His only begotten Son. What was the reason He gave His only Son? So that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves us so much that He gave something, something extremely special and invaluable- His Son. This is probably one of the fundamental scriptures for believers. However, it should be more than our foundation for faith, it should be the foundation for how we Love others. As Christians we should be God’s example to the world and the best way to do this is to LOVE.

It is easy to say – I love everyone, I love people because they are God’s creation, or I am called to love you because I am a Christian. This is not love at all or at least not the type of love God showed us. His love had action, His example is true love. The good news is we can love like God, we can love others with action. I can say all day how I love children, but when my church needs volunteers for nursery or help teaching Children’s church and I constantly make excuses to why I can’t help am I loving?

I was taking my boys to school and my oldest was rushing me because he wanted to get out of the car quickly. I kept trying to get him to hold off, but that is when he said “she needs my help”. I looked over and a staff member was getting out of her van and going to her wheelchair in the back. I told him he could go and he ran to help her. He stood by her and got her belongings out of the van, walked beside her, and then held the door open for her. I was so touched watching him help someone when all the other children ran past them. He never cared about what others thought. He was in the moment showing “ACTION.”

Last Sunday we were driving to church and my seven year old saw a homeless man with a sign that said “anything welcomed”. We were running a little behind and it was the night my oldest was getting baptized, so I was trying to go through my mental list to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. When my son said “can we help him?” My husband asked “How would you help him buddy?” He said “Give him money”, my husband said “Wouldn’t it be better if we gave him some food?” This whole time we continuing driving towards church. I look at my husband and said turn around. I said we need to let him do this. We turned around and went to McDonald’s and let him pick out a meal to give this man. My son was able to give this man a warm meal, small Bible, and a letter. These moments help foster God’s teaching in our children.

I want my kids to truly love others and not just say “Oh I feel bad for them”, but to put God’s love in action – do what you can to help. This could be volunteering (homeless shelter, food pantry, church, schools, hospitals, or counseling centers – to name a few), praying regularly for those around you, and most importantly loving others you interact with on a daily basis at work, church, children’s schools, or events. Get to know others and be there for them, walk with them during good and difficult times, support them, and live this “love is action” life everyday in front of them.

Love others with action!

-J

Choose to love the one you’re with.

Do you want to know what can really get me on my soap box? When people say “Oh, we just fell out of love.” I’m sorry – okay, not that sorry – but that is total BS.

“We fell out of love.”

“They stopped taking me out.”

“They stopped telling me I’m beautiful.”

Okay, but what about taking personal responsibility for what YOU are doing or not doing anymore? When was the last time YOU suggested you go out for dinner? Or when was the last time you told THEM that THEY were beautiful/handsome/fine/*insert compliment of choice*? If you have been 100% open and honest with your feelings and what you are searching for and they still refuse to give this to you, sure. You might have a few issues that need to be worked out. However, I can guarantee you most of the time a simple change in your own lifestyle and communication can make a huge difference.

I’ve always dated with intent. For as long as I can remember I was running “boys” off with trying to be too “serious.” I would get upset when they cheated. I would get upset when they lied. They always left me feeling foolish because I was “too young to settle down.” However, I don’t see the point in wasting my time & wasting my youth on a relationship that I know isn’t going to result in a future. If you lie and cheat on me now, you’ll lie and cheat on me later in life & I’m just not about to let that happen.

The first night I hung out with my, now husband, we laid it all out there on the line. He said “this is what I’m looking for… this is what I want…. I’m looking for a wife… this is my past & this is my reputation.” As weird as this may sound, it was exactly what I wanted to hear. I had wasted too many years on things that would never last. I was looking for a future and this man was it.

Now I’m not going to say we are perfect. But I would say we are as close as you can get. I’m very proud of what we have. Sure, we have our differences. & Yes – there are things that sometimes get on my nerves. But you know the difference in our marriage and others out there? We’re too stubborn to give up. We are going to work through the challenges. We are going to communicate and continue to put each other’s happiness before our own. & you know what? THAT is going to last.

No one “falls out of love.” Love goes through cycles. You have to learn to grow together, not apart. You have to CHOOSE to love each other every day. Even when they haven’t taken you out in a while, even if their compliments have been lacking lately. Be intentional. Tell them what you want. Tell them what makes you happy. When they choose your happiness above their own, and you do the same, there is no reason why anyone should be unhappy.

Marriage is for life. Marriage is NOT “until I no longer feel like working for it.” If you are willing to break one of the most sacred vows there is in existence, what else are you willing to do?

Keep it classy,

K.