Sometimes Love in Marriage Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

Sometimes Love Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

How can one jar of peanut-butter cause so much trouble?

No kidding, that’s what I wanted to know too.

Because apparently it was A Big Problem and he made that quite clear.

My husband was fed up with the sticky, slimy mess dripping down the sides of the peanut-butter jar and insisted we put a stop to the madness.

“Why can’t we keep this jar clean?! There’s no reason we should live like this and it’s driving me nuts!” He didn’t yell, but I could tell by his tone that he really meant it.

Oh, but there was a very good reason as far as I was concerned and protested against his somewhat ridiculous request.

Actually, there were eight good reasons. You see we have these things called children and one mother can’t be on top of everything!

Why so unreasonable? So demanding?

Now on his behalf, I have to tell you that my husband is not a complainer.

He doesn’t make negative remarks about my cooking. He doesn’t complain about having to throw on his robe in the morning and search for the essential items in the laundry room (oops! meant to fold and put those away…). He’s even good about patiently sitting in the car and waiting for me to get out the door. And that can be a pretty long wait sometimes.

But the goopy peanut-butter container? That just about does him in.

So how many of you moms can I count on to side with me on this one?

I mean, we have a bunch of kids and they all make their own peanut-butter sandwiches. Even the three young boys. Let’s face it – it’s a sticky, slimy world we live in.

And I basically communicated to him . . . .

Sorry. But that’s just the way it has to be. 

That we were going to have to learn to live with it. That he was asking the impossible. And I left him in the kitchen feeling quite justified in my defensive and huffy response.

Except for one thing . . . . 

Sometimes Love Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

Epiphany in the Parlor

I left the kitchen to recover and regroup in our front sitting room – our “parlor” as we call it and my very favorite room in the house.

It’s a special place.

The Parlor has pretty pillows, a tea tray, and a clear glass (yes, that would be GLASS) coffee table.

The kids are not allowed to eat in this room.

Or have their electronic gadgets.

No Legos, dirty socks, or rollerblades are permitted in the Parlor. Happy sigh.

I love this room.

Now wait! Are you beginning to wonder how it is that I can keep an entire room looking pristine even though we have all these children? With a glass coffee table, no less??

Well. It’s because it’s important to me, of course. Really important.

But I can’t keep the peanut-butter jar wiped down?


Yeah, that’s the question that got to me too.

You see, I have this tendency to take my priorities very seriously. And this room is one of those.

Not only that, but when the rest of my family do their best to keep it the way I like it?

It makes me happy.

I feel respected.

Maybe even loved.

I know. It’s a small thing. So maybe you don’t see why it’s a big deal to me.

But it kinda is.

If at all possible.

So maybe I don’t understand why all the fuss over the sloppy peanut-butter jar.

But if it’s important to him?

Makes him happy?

Feel respected?

Maybe even loved…?

Then I can do this small thing.

In fact, I’m determined to have the cleanest peanut-butter jar in town.

And if you ever find yourself anywhere near our area, I hope you’ll stop by ’cause I’d love to make you a peanut-butter sandwich. Or have that youngest son of ours make you one. He makes the best.

It’s true that you might have to step over a heaping pile of rollerblades on the front porch and overlook the baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded in the living room.

But there should be a nice place for you to sit in the parlor.

And you’ll be sure to admire the amazingly spotless peanut-butter container, won’t you?

Because he sure does.

He likes it that way.

But better than that?

He loves me.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:4

In His grace,

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*Parlor photo is with thanks to Allison Harp
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One Simple Way to Lighten the Load for Your Small Child

One Simple Way to Lighten the Load for Your Small Child

Maybe you find it strange.

That I would even think this way.

But I’m going to tell you anyway . . . with the hope that you somehow understand.

So are you ready?

I don’t like ordering for myself at a restaurant. Not if I can help it anyway.

You can ask my husband and he’ll tell you. He knows because I usually ask him to order for me.

And do you want to know why?

It’s not because I don’t have an opinion.

It’s not because I’m weak or don’t know my own mind. Or tastes. Or whatever.

It’s just because I find that I have to make decisions ALL DAY LONG. And it’s exhausting.

I have to decide what I’m going to wear. And I have to figure out what all we need to do today. I have to decide what goes on the grocery list and how many errands I can squeeze in between appointments.

Also, how I should respond to that one email, make that other phone call, and how I’m going to get everyone . . . to every place that they need to go. On time and, preferably, in one piece.

And what to make for dinner tonight (the worst!).

So you see? If I’m so lucky to have a dinner out with the Man-I-Love, then I want to be freed from making  one more decision.

To simply sit there and be served. It’s really nice.

Because you know something about making lots of decisions?

It’s a whole lot of hard work.

But I’ve noticed this recent trend in mothering where we’re encouraged to allow our young children to make all kinds of decisions. To give them choices and plenty of them.

Do you want the blue cup or the red cup?

Do you want grapes or bananas or cheese for lunch?

What do you want to wear today?

Do you want to play with this toy or that one? Watch this show or the other one?

Do you think you’re ready for bed yet? (Please…)

And so on and so forth.

So if I (a relatively mature grown-up) find it exhausting making so many decisions day after day? What do you think that does to our young children?

That’s a heavy weight for their small shoulders to carry.

And while I’m all for children learning to make decisions – as it’s truly an important life-skill – we need to be careful we’re not asking their little shoulders to bear the weight of so many decisions.

Rather than “empowering” our children (umm…is that what we’re really after, anyway?), I find that it leads to discontented or insecure children. And sometimes both.

So let’s lighten the load for these little ones.

Just hand them the blue cup and serve them grapes and cheese for lunch. Smile brightly and teach them to respond cheerfully in return, “Thank you, Mommy!”

Then, after you’ve read a short story or two, let them know it’s time for their nap. You don’t even need to ask if they’re tired or ready.

Why? Because you’re the mom.

And you wisely know what’s best for your young child and he or she can learn to trust you in this.

Then maybe . . . just maybe when your child wakes up well-rested, you can ask if the two of you should bake something special for dessert that night?

Because that’s an easy decision to make, don’t you think?

Now the only question is what to make…..? 😉

In His grace,

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35 Healthy Habits I Hope My Daughter Takes Along When She Leaves Home

35 Healthy Habits I Hope My Daughter Takes Along When She Leaves Home

I don’t know why the article caught my eye.

But it sure did.

I don’t think it would normally have intrigued me so, except that I have a daughter who is getting ready to leave home.

She’ll soon be boarding a plane to fly across the country to attend a new college. Nearly 3,000 miles away.

2,682.7 miles to be precise.

And about 2,682 miles too far, if you ask me.

So in this article was a list of a bunch of habits every girl should have, or something to that effect.

And I had that momentary mommy-panic that we all get now and then.

Oh no. What habits will that girl of mine take with her now that she’s leaving home?

This particular post was from a secular source and, while there were some things I could agree on, there were plenty that I found either empty—or even worse.

Habits I did NOT want her to have.

So that got me thinking. Why not come up with my own list? Why not share with her the habits that I would want for her to have?

My daughter Vienna

35 Habits I Hope You Take Along, My Dear Daughter

  1. Make your bed. Every morning. First thing. An easy way to get off on the right foot.
  2. Drink lots of water. Because it’s good for you.
  3. Smile. It will make your day go better, and that of those around you too.
  4. Dress for success. Take a little trouble to wear something clean and nice.
  5. Start each day in the Word. No better way to begin your day.
  6. Pray. About all things.
  7. Count your blessings. This habit alone could change your life. Or at least your perspective.
  8. Stand up straight. It will improve your appearance and add to your confidence.
  9. Get some fresh air. You’ll feel better if you do.
  10. Exercise. A few minutes each day, if at all possible. Even a good, brisk walk counts.
  11. Eat something green. Preferably dark green and organic.
  12. Limit the carbs. They are not your friend.
  13. Dip into your stash of dark chocolate. It’s full of antioxidants and can be a real mood-changer.
  14. Don’t even think about fast-food. Junk, junk, junk.
  15. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Even if you’re in a hurry, try to grab a piece of fruit and a boiled egg.
  16. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Twice a day. But you already knew that.
  17. Invest in at least one item that makes you feel pretty. A scarf, a bracelet, or a fun hat?
  18. Always arrive on time. If at all possible. Maybe even show up a little early.
  19. Regularly attend a good, solid church. Find a strong Christian community for love and support.
  20. Don’t ever use your credit card. Save it only for emergencies. A real emergency.
  21. Don’t spend more money than you make. A simple rule that will save you a lot of trouble.
  22. Put away a small amount in savings every month. Because you just never know.
  23. Wash your face before going to bed. Improves your complexion.
  24. Get enough sleep. Your body and mind will thank you.
  25. Keep a journal. Cheaper than therapy and interesting to look back on.
  26. Keep in touch with a few good friends. Take the time, no matter how far away they live.
  27. Laugh a little each day. It really is the best medicine.
  28. Make sure your nails look nice. Clean, neat, and maybe a light polish.
  29. Don’t forget your vitamins. Preferably a good women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D3.
  30. Take Echinacea.  Pop a couple of capsules whenever you feel like you’re coming down with something.
  31. Keep the Sabbath. Not out of law, but because a day of rest goes a long way.
  32. Read a good book. Something rich that doesn’t have to do with work or school.
  33. Early to bed, early to rise. The early bird gets the worm and all that. :)
  34. Always remember you’re a princess. A child of the King.
  35. CALL YOUR MOM. Every day. Okay, at least often.

Now if you practice these habits – that you’ve hopefully learned at home – then you will be well on your way to a happy and healthy new season of life.

And the wonderful thing about good habits? They really do add up more than you might think over time. You’ll be glad you took these with you and you’ll see what a difference they can make.

So I wish you God’s richest blessing as you follow Him in this next adventure across the country.

And I’ll be praying for you.

Every day. 

Because that, my dear daughter, is your mom’s habit. 

With much love,


*Your turn! Anything to add to this list or advice for our daughter who is leaving home? 

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Helping Your Young Kids Dig Deeper into the Word {A Resource for Parents}

Helping Your Young Kids Dig Deeper Into the Word

So you know me.

Whenever I come across an excellent resource for you and your family, I can’t help but tell you all about it.

And I’ve lately come across just such a resource.

Are you ready?

It’s the latest from The Dig for Kids series! And it’s all about taking your children through the book of Proverbs. And it’s about gaining wisdom.

Sound wonderful? That’s what I thought too.

I want our kids to know the Word and grow in wisdom!

So I love all the books that The Dig for Kids have put out so far and this one on Proverbs is no exception. I’m always on the lookout for something that will encourage our children to dig a little deeper into the Word and make it their own.

But I don’t want it to be “cheesy” or “fake” because my kids can see right through that stuff. I want it to be real and worth wrestling with — yet accessible to their young minds — and that’s not always easy to find.

Helping Young Kids Dig Deeper Into the Word

So you want to know what I like so much about The Dig Proverbs?

Okay, here it goes . . . .

Simple: I don’t know about you, but I can quickly become overwhelmed with complicated programs—and so do my children. So I greatly appreciate that each lesson is one (ONE!) page long. Hey, I can handle that!

Engaging:  Each lesson is interesting and with just enough challenge to help your child really interact with the Scripture of the day.

Fun:  I like the fact that there’s the right amount of “fun” activities scattered throughout the book to make it sweet for young kids.

Conversational: I’m grateful for the conversation starters throughout the study. What a great way to gain wisdom and discuss these important topics with our kids!

Memorable: The short discussion questions and the easy lesson reminders are the kind that your kids will take with them as they go on in life.

The Dig

The Dig Proverbs (The Dig for Kids)

Age Range: 6 – 12 years
26 Lessons with additional activities
Paperback: 56 pages
Author: Patrick Schwenk.  Patrick and his wife Ruth are the founders of For the Family and Ruth is my friend who is behind the The Better Mom. They are a godly couple and I highly recommend both these sites!

The Dig for Kids is a simple and easy way for parents to study through books of the Bible with their children. The Dig takes the guesswork out of teaching for parents. Each lesson is just one page that contains four main parts: The Map – The Map is the overview of each lesson. It will tell you as a parent and your child what you will be studying. The Dig – The Dig is the main passage of the Bible you will be reading. There are typically three or four review questions that will help with discussion and review. The Treasure – The Treasure is the big idea of the passage you have just studied. Simply put, it is what you want your child to remember in one sentence. The Display – Archaeologists go on a dig, find a treasure, and then put it on display for all to see. This is the basic idea behind the Display. It helps your child live out what he or she has just learned.

Early on in The Dig you will meet a character named Doc. He will be your expert and experienced tour guide. Through each Dig, Doc will help guide a child systematically through books of the Bible. The Dig for Kids is a great resource for parents because it makes teaching children the Bible simple, fun, and interactive! ~ The Publisher

Available here: The Dig Proverbs (The Dig for Kids)

So if you’re looking for a resource to help your young kids dig deeper into the Word? Then I’d definitely recommend The Dig Proverbs {Words of Wisdom}  as a very helpful and fun study!

In His grace,

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*If you purchase The Dig Proverbs through my link here, then I get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my honest review of the book. See my full disclosure here.

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7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being A New Mom

7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being A New Mom

She asked if I’d share what she should know about being a New Mom.

Because she had never been a mommy before.

And she had so many questions.

Didn’t feel confident about what she was doing and what she should expect.

And boy! did I get what she meant by that.

No one had told me what it would be like and what motherhood was really all about. They made it seem like it was going to be so “natural” and that everything would somehow “click” when the baby was born.

And there was some truth to that.

But there were so many other moments when I felt incredibly clueless and wondered if I was even doing it right.

7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being a New Mom

So while there are plenty of things about motherhood that you just have to experience for yourself, here are a few things that I wish somebody would have told me . . .

1.   You’re bound to make a few mistakes.

Maybe even more than a few.

And that’s okay.

Perfectionism is highly over-rated. Especially in motherhood.

So, yes, I did place our first-born son in the baby swing and plopped him in the thing all wrong.

And he fell out.

Onto the FLOOR.

The little guy recovered after a only a couple of minutes . . . but I woke up sobbing with the memory (my poor husband) in the middle of the night. On more than one night.

Wondering what God was thinking to have entrusted me with a real, live baby.

But you’ll be glad to hear that our son is now 21 years old, seems to be doing well, and I’ve nearly recovered from the experience.

So you might as well reconcile yourself now that you will make mistakes.

As do all the other moms.

And you’re going to be fine.

There’s a beautiful place for grace in motherhood.

2.   You will never know everything you think you should know.

You can study and you can learn.

You can read articles and books. Ask questions and observe.

But there will be many times when you will simply scratch your head and wonder what in the world you should do.

You will find yourself on your knees and crying out to God – asking for more wisdom or more strength or more patience. And likely all three.

This is not because you are not a good mom or that you are doing something “wrong.” This is because being a mom is a really big deal and no one has ever raised your child before.

It’s just you. For the first time.

So how could you possibly know all there is to know?

Grace for you.

3.   Being a mom will reveal stuff about yourself like nothing else.

I didn’t know I had a temper . . . until I had children.

I thought I was one of the more patient people you’d ever meet.

But then I had kids.

Blew that myth clear out of the water.

It turned out that I could get mad. Rather mad.

Frustrated to the point of yelling.

And realized that I had an area I needed to work on.

It was humbling.

But good for me too, if you know what I mean?

So motherhood will grow you – if you let it.

Grace and growth. Now isn’t that exciting? 

4.   Motherhood will be harder than you might have imagined.

Motherhood goes on all day. Every day.

And throughout the night too.

Day after day and year after year.

It takes all you’ve got – and sometimes more than you think you’ve got.

So if you feel stretched to your limit?

Then you’re probably doing it right.

His grace is sufficient for you. (2 Cor. 12:9)

5.   But more wonderful than you ever thought possible.

Each day is fresh and different.

Always something new to explore and something interesting to learn.

This phase and that season.

It will keep you on your toes. Give you something to think about and talk about and wonder over.

Some people complain about this reality, but not you.

You are going to love it. And drink it in. And thank God for all the possibilities.

Tiny feet and cooing sounds.

Giggles and stories and mud-puddles.

They’re all going to be beautiful to you.

Late night talks and heart-felt prayers. A few tears.

It will add up to so much wonderful that you’ll hardly be able to stand it.

Loving grace poured out over you.

6.   Motherhood doesn’t get any easier.

Nobody wants to admit this.

They want to make you feel better by telling you it will get better soon.

But only a true friend will give it to you straight: it doesn’t get easier. It only gets different.

Now I don’t say this for you to despair.

Because hopefully . . . hopefully you will – at some point – get more sleep.

(Until they get to be teens, of course, and then all bets are off.)

But really? Is it easy that we’re looking for? Surely not.

It’s love and relationship – not ease and comfort – that fill our hearts.

Grace upon grace. 

7.   You will never be the same again.

Because now you’re a mom.

And this little person that you hold? Will want to look to you and be near you.

Will be eager for you to understand them and believe that you’ll always be there.

To laugh with, cry on, and pray over.

Not only now as a baby, but for the rest of your lives together.

But don’t even try to take that all in.

Just do today.

Because today is a gift.

Much like that sweet child you’re holding.

Blessings on you and your new baby, my friend. You’re going to love being a mom!

Grace and peace to you,

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*So does anyone have any other words of wisdom or encouragement to add here? I’d love to hear them! 

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How to Let Your Man Know What You Truly Need from Him

How to Let Your Man Know (1)

You wouldn’t have to know me long.

Before you concluded I could use a break now and then.

You’d soon be saying, I bet that lady needs a tall latte.

Maybe even a dark chocolate truffle.

I wouldn’t need to explain all this.

You would just know.

As a woman, it would be obvious to you.

You’d take one look at my full-to-overflowing days . . . and you’d understand exactly what was needed.

A small retreat.

Away from the noisy house and the busy children.

Yes. I’m thinking a 16-ounce latte and a quiet, uninterrupted conversation with a tall grown-up.

Preferably him – the one who thinks so clearly and has such broad, caring shoulders.

Oh, yeah, definitely him.

Now isn’t that readily apparent to you?

But for some reason it was NOT apparent to my husband and I had a hard time believing he couldn’t see it.

An Eye-Opening Conversation

So one day we had a conversation about this need of mine.

It began by my asking, “Can I tell you a little bit about me?”


“Well, I love being your wife.

And I love being a mother.

And I could keep going on like this for the rest of my life.”

Small pause, so he’d see I was sincere.

“But you know something else about me? I do sooo much better when I get to step away from here occasionally.

“Not only get away, but go out and have time together with you. It would do me a world of good.”

I drew breath and then finished with, “So do you think we could pull that off? You know . . . arrange for that on a regular basis?”

He started to laugh (though I didn’t really see the humor).

His response? “Strange. I never looked at it that way.”

My turn. “Ummm….So how do you look at it, Dear?”

“Well, I guess that since I’m away from the house all day, my favorite thing is to come home to my family. I love it when we’re sitting around together and don’t feel a particular need to go back out again. And I thought you felt the same way.

So as it turned out, he really was unaware.

I had to explain what I was hoping for and even what that looked like to me. I wasn’t asking for a Mediterranean Cruise or an expensive dinner out – just a latte, please (though chocolate wouldn’t hurt).

Mostly I wanted time with him.

But in his mind, our evenings together at home counted as “time.”

It didn’t count so much with me.

He didn’t know what I needed. That was something he had to hear from me.

How to Let Your Man Know What You Really Need From Him

How to Let Your Man Know What You Truly Need from Him


Bring it before The Lord first. Ask Him to help you say what you want to say in a loving manner. Also, ask Him to prepare your husband’s heart to hear you.

Come clean.

Let go of any bitterness or resentment that might have built up before this. Come with a fresh spirit.

Prepare him.

Let him know you’ve got something on your mind and you’re looking forward to sharing it with him.

Approach him.

Gently. With words seasoned with grace. Not accusing or demanding, simply laying down your needs before him.

Be patient.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to sink in. Or if you have to repeat your request periodically and in different ways. Patiently and lovingly remind him of your needs.

Show appreciation.

If he tries at all, then express gratitude for his efforts. Don’t only say it in words, but also in your attitude. Make sure he sees what a difference it makes in your life.

Be willing to leave it there.

This might be the hardest one. Some needs can go for a long time before they’re met. Others never will be met. At least by him. Because God is the only One who promises to supply all you need (Phil. 4:19).

So go ahead and let him know what you need. Whatever it might be.

And, of course, what I need these days is a tall latte.


Above all, some time away with my Man.

But you already knew that…. 😉

In His grace,

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