Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It was cloudy and a little bit rainy yesterday when I walked.  Ideal for alone time.  The perfect kind of quiet for noticing things I normally don't detect when the sun is shining.  Because on a bright, clear day the sun does the work for me, pointing out the obvious.  But when it's overcast and gray, the quieter, less prominent beauty shines in place of the sun.

Like the bird I noticed taking a bath in a puddle right in the middle of the grass on the side of the road.  It struck me as amusing.  And I wondered if he cared that his bathtub was normally a ditch.

I also noticed the thick clouds hanging overhead.  Just thick enough to let me see the sun's outline.  And I thought about how the only time I can actually see the sun's shape is when it's veiled by dreary clouds. That made me think about how so many times in my life I can see God most clearly just after the rain.

And that made me think about the challenge of Tuesdays Unwrapped.  Finding the gift wherever it's presented.  That's why today I'm unwrapping the gift of  a rainy day.  Because, so often in my life, I dread the dreary days.  But, in fact, they are a gift.  For noticing beauty.  For making me slow down and notice.  For teaching me to see God's faithfulness. 

What about you?  I would love to hear about the beauty you have seen in the midst of the dreary...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Prayer of Vigilance

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!Hello, my precious Vigilant Wives Club peeps.  If you are new here, WELCOME!  We are soooo glad you're here.  You might want to start here, just so you know what Mondays here at andthensomore is all about.

Can I just say, knowing that Monday is coming changes my outlook for the weekend?  I mean, every Friday since this began, I start looking for some way, ANY way, to serve my husband in some wildly creative manner so that I can come here and write about it and inspire you all in your vigilance as wives.  And, inevitably, every Sunday, I sit down to write my Monday post and come up with such thrilling originality as . . . pumping gas for him and . . . making his lunch.

Well, have no fear.  For today is no exception.

My commitment this week involves what I believe to be the most fundamental activity that any Christ-based marriage can perform.  Unfortunately, however, it is something I have always struggled with when it comes to my husband. 

It is the simple act of praying for him.

Please don't get me wrong.  I do not think that praying is boring.  (Though, I must admit there have been times I've been bored with someone else's prayer --- oops!  Did I really just admit that?)  Nor do I think that praying is easy.  What I do think is that prayer for our husbands is the most effective means of vigilant love there can be.  Because I believe that prayer is God's chosen way of getting things done that He wants to get done.  And when I pray for my husband, I get to participate in God's work in His life.  I get to learn to see my husband the way that Love Himself sees him.  When I come before God Himself, I submit myself to Him and His ways.  I learn to speak His language.  And I learn to love real love.

For whatever reason, God chose to involve us in His work.  And for whatever reason, He chose to use our prayers, our very communication with the I AM Who created life itself, to accomplish His purposes.  I believe that He has purposed marriage primarily for the display of His own glory.  In other words, I believe that God created Christian marriage in order to show Who He is.  Love itself.  Real.  Unconditional.  Love.

So when I pray for my husband, I am submitting myself and my marriage and my role as a wife to the very God Who has the power to make our marriage successful.  The real kind of successful.

That, my friends, is why I am committing today to pray daily for my husband.  Every single day this week.  I think I may use Stormy Omartian's book The Power of a Praying Wife to get me started.

Okay, your turn.  How are you being vigilant this week in your marriage?  I can't wait to hear... Know that I will pray for each of you too.

**If this is your first time linking up, please read this first.**
If you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share. A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post. To get it, publish your post, then click on the title. Then copy the entire url from the address line at the top of your browser. Now you can paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Task at Hand

Why it's so hard for me to say yes to my kids when they invite me to play I will never understand.  I mean, it's not like I enjoy emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the toilet.  But the urgency of the always-available tasks somehow offers an excuse to foster my complacency and avoid the nuisance of having to run until my sides hurt or the burden of watching Pocahontas for the three hundred forty-ninth time.

And so, when one of them asks, "Mommy, do you wanna' play with me?" I say "No" more often than I'd like to admit.  And I give in to the selfish complacency that justifies itself.  Pretending to be an important task to be done.  As if completing household chores holds the same importance as bestowing value and worth to my child.  The kind that lets her know that she herself is more important than any task that lay before me. 

It's an age-old problem, really.  The problem of task-orientation that creates a distorted view of life and living.  It's the same problem that turned relationship with Love Himself into ritual and religion.  The one that made shoulds and should-nots out of covenant-living with the very Creator of Life.

I have found that when I really focus on the true task at hand as lover of God Himself, it's more about who I am than it is about what I do.  More about who He is making me than what I am doing or not doing for Him.  The same truth applies in reading my Bible, in mothering my children, serving my husband, sweeping my floor.  And it involves denying myself and my own plan.  It involves being who He has created me to be -- follower of Jesus, wife, mother, keeper of my house.

So last night I gave up the comfort of getting things done.  And I joined their lung-burning, oxygen-sucking game of freeze-tag.  It was about being the mom who shows them, by the way I live, who Jesus really is.  By loving them for real.  And enjoying them for real.

And I think I got more done last night than I did all last week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Vigilance of a Free Spirit

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!
Welcome to the Vigilant Wives Club! If it's your first Monday here, this is what it's all about.

Dave Ramsey calls me "the free spirit."  The one in our marriage who's not "the nerd."  He says that every marriage has one of each on some level.  And, I suppose in some marriages, the contrast between the two is not so stark.  But in my and my husband's marriage, the difference is clear to see.  Me the one who naturally regresses into five-year-old antention deficit disorder at the whisper of the word budget and anything financial.  My husband the nerd who starts dancing at the very thought.

So Thursday evening it was my man who dedicated his enitre evening to fixing the details that needed to be tended to after our bank was bought by another and all of our online bill paying bliss turned into chaos until we entered new account numbers and routing digits, etc.  And by about 9pm, I could tell it was more maddening than even my awesome nerd could handle.  Therefore, I suggested he put it away for the evening before he gunned down the computer leaving for another day.

He agreed.

So when Friday came and my man was at work, the papers stared at me from the kitchen table.  You know, the papers that represented the unfinished woeful task of repairing the checking account chaos.  They sat right next to the computer which remained in its same Thursday-evening home.  A reminder that the dreaded job awaited completion.  And I called to mind the pang in my heart that started several weeks ago.  The pang that started the Vigilant Wives Club.  Because, although my man is in fact a nerd, he does not enjoy being inconvenienced to redo things that have already been taken care of.  Even when it has to do with economics.  And this was definitely something that had been previously taken care of.  By my man.  Who did it so well.  A long time ago.  When he did it the first time.

So I sat down before the looming figures, papers in hand.  And I did it.  For him.  Because I was looking for a way to serve him.  And I knew this was it.

That's what vigilance looks like for me.  Looking for ways to serve my man.  And doing it.  Making the most of each opportunity I am given.

So, how about you?  I would LOVE to read about your vigilance in your marriage.  Join me, won't you?  I can't wait to read what you write...

**If this is your first time linking up, please read this first.**

If you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share. A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post. To get it, publish your post, then click on the title. Then copy the entire url from the address line at the top of your browser. Now you can paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance.

If you don't have a blog, then leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week.

Friday, April 16, 2010


There's so much going on inside that from the outside it looks like penetrating peace.  Inside my head, that is.  You know the whole writer's block enigma?  Well, I think I've got prayer's block.  (Which, incidentally, means writer's block for me.)

Because normally my whole day consists of ongoing conversation with the God Who created the day itself.

But lately.  Well, not so much.  And I don't. know. why.  It's like paralization.  In fact, I was going to title this post "Prayeralized."  But I don't know -- that sounds a little too punny.

Have you ever felt like you have so much to talk to God about that you just don't know how to get it out?  So you can't even start?  Strange thing is, He already knows.  Problem is, I can't settle my heart to the point where I can get a single thought out.  Cool thing is, He's okay with it.

Because He. is. Faithful.  No matter what.  Even when I don't know what to say to Him.  He's still there.  Right next to me.  Constant Companion.  Forever Friend.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

He Didn't Have To

In my world, spring lends itself to excited and joyful admiration of God's creation. Because I.love.spring.

And as I watch the dogwoods and magnolias flower and turn to green in anticipation of the sunshine that summer will bring, I can not help myself. I can not quiet my adoring heart in pure and simple praise of the God Who thought this all up.  I can not get over the fact of all that He did not have to do. But He did.

He didn't have to make hyacinths smell so good.  But He did.

He didn't have to make more than one kind of flower. He didn't even have to make flowers at all.  But He did.

He didn't have to make fields so fun to run in.  But He did.

Or put flowers at the top of weeds.  But He did.

He didn't have to make strawberries so juicy. And brussels sprouts so...ummm...different tasting (yucky).  He didn't even have to give us taste buds.  But He did.

He didn't have to make kisses so nice.  And hugs so comforting.  But He did.

Just like the addition of a bow on a pretty package. The gift itself is enough. But the bow makes it even better.

He didn't have to make anything even better.  But He did.  Because that's Who God is. The God of Abundance.

He didn't have to choose me. Or even love me. But He couldn't help it. Because that's Who God is. The God of Extravagant Love that I will never understand but always enjoy.

As we unwrap the gift that is today with Emily over at Tuesdays Unwrapped, let's play a game of extravagance.

Fill in the blank: He didn't have to ...

Monday, April 12, 2010


Marriage has changed for me since that day almost fourteen years ago when I said, "I do."

On August 31, 1996, I agreed to a long list of promises.  "To love as God loves me.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance." 

We have it hanging on the wall in our bedroom.  So we don't forget.

But sometimes I think that the bedroom is perhaps the easiest place to remember those promises.  So maybe I should hang it in the kitchen where I make chicken soup when he's sick.  Then I could remind myself how excited I was that day in August when I made the promise to cherish him.  Even when he lays in bed all day with a box of kleenex and the television remote.  (I am not very merciful with my husband when he's sick.  Sad.  But true.)  Or maybe I should hang it by the computer where we pay the bills and work out the monthly budget.  So I remember how delighted I was on my wedding day when I promised to have him and to hold him no matter what kind of cars we drive.  Or how many times he takes me out to eat.

Because when I'm excited about something, it's easy to serve.  But when the stomach flu and job-changes and children's schedules enter in, the promise gets harder to keep.  And the faithfulness has to kick in when the fresh excitement steps out.

That's why I've taken on this new vigilance challenge

According to http://www.dictionary.com/, vigilance means, "keenly watchful to detect danger; wary: a vigilant sentry. ever awake and alert; sleeplessly watchful." 

If I am truly going to keep these vows that I made that sunny day in August when I was all dressed up and beautiful,  with all of my loved ones looking on, then I have to stay "keenly watchful to detect danger."  I have to be "ever awake and alert."  I can't let up even for a minute.

Something about that sounds so . . . tiring.  And, in all truth, I can not do it.  To some extent because I'm a wuss who tires easily.  But, more than that, because I am human.  But the good news is that if I humbly look to the very God Who created marriage, He'll give me whatever it takes to do it.  He'll show me how to be vigilant in my marriage.  1 Peter 5:5-7 says,

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Then, right after that it says, the "enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

In other words, even though there is an enemy who vigilantly looks for ways to destroy us (and our marriages, I believe), if I recognize that I've got nothing to get this done right, and then, with that very attitude, I look to the very God Who created marriage, the very One Who gave my husband to me, He will take care of it.  I just gotta' ask Him.  And listen to Him through His Word.

So my vigilance includes my commitment to learn God's ways.  And to do what He says.  Which includes serving my husband.  And keeping my vows.  It's truly the only real hope there is. In marriage. In life.  And especially in vigilance.

So, how about linking up with me today in your vigilance as a wife? Can't wait to read what you write...

**If this is your first time linking up, please read this first.**
If you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share. A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post. To get it, publish your post, then click on the title. Then copy the entire url from the address line at the top of your browser. Now you can paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance.

If you don't have a blog, then leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Abundant Spring

 I am forever in awe of how God chooses to show His love and care through so many of the details of Creation.

Like, the fact that He made flowers not only pretty to look at but also lovely to smell.

And He knows the perfect time to make them bloom.  Just when I'm at my end with the seemingly endless gloom of dirty snow and dead grass, a budding crocus pokes through and reminds me that He always keeps His promise.  And life prevails.  Always. 
The trees and dead foliage will give way to fresh life and bright color yet again.
And I breathe it in.  Relieved.

I wonder why He made trees that flower.

He didn't have to do that.  But He did.  And with such precision.  Such perfectly awe-inspiring beauty.
And I am reminded that He is a God of abundance.

That's how He fed more than 5,000 people with two fish and fives loaves of bread and then had 12 baskets full of leftovers (Mark 6).  It's why in Mark chapter 2 He didn't just heal the paralyzed man's legs, but He healed his heart as well, forgiving his sins.  It's why in Ephesians 1 Paul writes about "...the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us..."(vv.7-8,NIV)

Because He is a God of abundance.  He is The God of Abundance.
It's Who He is.  It's how He rolls.
He didn't spray His grace on us.  No.  He lavished it!
Because He is awesome beyond understanding.

So when I see the rich colors of spring as they make way before my very eyes, I can't help but wonder... What might heaven look like?  What colors might there be that my eyes have never taken in, or maybe never could in this temporary structure that holds my soul for now?
If His creation is this amazing, what must He Himself look like?
I can't know until I reach my Forever Home.
So until then I'll just settle for spring.

"To him be the glory forever! Amen."
Romans 11:36 NIV

Friday, April 9, 2010


Having just returned home from a fabulous vacation to . . . Detroit, Michigan, I am reuniting with my beloved computer. We didn't take it with us because my man doesn't like the idea of connecting to the world of cyber-space at hotels where some geek-like thug could hack into our personal files and wreak havoc in the land of identity thievery. And I trust his judgment. My man's got it going on. He's super smart. :)

Since he had to travel for work during the week of spring break, he invited us to tag along. So I took the cue to spend undivided-attention kind of time with my kids while Daddy worked during the day. No computer. No blogging. No following other blogs. No laundry. No dinner-making. The change of scenery was much needed. Okay, Detroit is really no vacation mecca. But, seriously, I needed to be bored a little bit. For my kids' sake. For my own sake. For my blog's sake too, I think.

And the boredom let me reunite with my kids a bit. Swimming in the hotel pool at least daily. Laying around reading books and watching cartoons. Not thinking about anything. Except that we're not thinking about anything.

And now we're home. And I can't wait for bedtime. When I am reunited with my bed.

But for now, I need to go reunite with my washing machine...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vigilance This Week

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Vigilant Wives Club!!  I am so excited about today.  Can't wait to read how God is using you to love and serve your husband.  Please know I have praying for each of you.  And I am so encouraged that you've decided to join in.  Welcome!

It's spring break for my 2nd-grader this week.  So I'm practicing the art of vigilance as a mom.

And, for me, that's a way to be vigilant in my marriage.  Because when my children feel truly loved all day long, my husband doesn't have as many gaps to fill in when he gets home from work at the end of the day.

How about you?  What's your vigilance plan for the week?  I can't wait to read your posts.

**If this is your first time linking up, please read this first.**
If you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share.  A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post.  To get it, publish your post, then click on the title.  Then copy the entire url from the address line at the top of your browser.  Now you can paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance.  

If you don't have a blog, then leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week.
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