Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

50% off at Payless Shoes NOW October 29, 2009

Filed under: Saving money — Kate @ 11:42 am

Here is a coupon good TODAY and TOMORROW for 50% off all shoes at Payless!  I know I need show boots for one of my kids still and maybe can find some other shoes to fill holes in our wardrobes here.  Check it out here.

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TALK it out! October 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized,Wife-ing — Gretchen @ 4:17 pm

What cultivates a deep relationship for my marriage is really simple.  I racked my brain trying to decide what to write in this post because the answer seemed too simple.  The thing that has worked the most for us is a true commitment to TALK.  We really do not get regular date nights and my husband is gone a lot for work.  When he is in town we probably talk for at least an hour everyday.  We talk about everything.  I have learned questions to ask him about work and football and he has learned to listen to me debrief the day or talk in circles (which he hates :) until I find my point about something that I am passionate about.  If we were confused or hurt by something the other did we would stay up and talk it out.  Yes this meant a TON of late nights the first 5 years of marriage.  This also has meant me learning to really understand and like a lot of the things that he likes and is interested in.  It means staying on top of who plays for his favorite team or having his coworkers over for dinner or staying on top of the news or joining a fantasy football league.  This has also meant me learning to text and message and email.  This season of life in particular I have had to learn to keep communication a priority over cleaning or having a craft of my own or many other things :)  We are blessed though through all the bouts of the stomach bug or overseas travel or family turmoil in that we are a team and we have a deep affection for one another.

 

How do you develop a deep friendship with your husband? October 26, 2009

Filed under: Wife-ing — Andie @ 2:43 pm

To piggyback off of last week’s topic, we’re chatting about friendships with our husbands this week. I personally was really encouraged to LIKE my husband, (not just agape-love him) from the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. If you read this before young children, I’d recommend that you reread it. I found it very timely during the mom-of-toddlers time of life.

DSC_0089I like this guy. He is coming up with absurd baby names in this pic.

We like to keep things light as much as possible. Certainly, there are lots of serious things to talk about in life. However, as much as possible, we make each other laugh. We use silly voices, faces, and just generally give each other a hard time about stuff. I think this improves our friendship because we like to be around each other.

I try to make sure to talk through my serious thoughts with Andrew. It is tempting for me to process with girlfriends rather than my husband. They understand me more easily than Andrew does many times. When I consistently turn to friends first, this hinders my friendship with my husband. Not to say that I do not tell my friends what’s going on, but I just make sure I cover those topics with my husband thoroughly so that he knows the deepest parts of me.

Dates. This is where we find time to talk. Andrew has made it a priority that we have a babysitter weekly. (Believe me, I know this is a tricky thing to make happen financially, etc!) The main thing is that we KNOW that we will have an uninterrupted lengthy time to talk on a regular basis. This helps me, an external processor, to make sure I am opening my heart to my husband and getting to hear his heart as well.

 

Peanut Butter Dip October 23, 2009

Filed under: Meal Planning,Recipes — Leah @ 8:00 pm

I totally should have posted this when we were talking about healthy snacks for our kiddos….but alas, I didn’t think if it until now.  :-)

This recipe came from a good friend of mine, she graciously sent it on after our kids devoured it at a swim party this summer.  It’s super easy, and I’m sure would taste just as good with cashew or almond butter substituted in for the peanut butter (if your child has allergies…).

Peanut Butter Dip

1/3 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
2 TBS milk
2 TBS honey
1 TBS apple juice or water
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Serve with apples, bananas, peaches, grapes, or melons

Place peanut butter in small bowl;  gradually stir in milk and honey until blended.  Stir in apple juice and cinnamon until mixture is smooth.  Makes about 1/2 cup dip. (I spun mine in the mini-food processor.  It worked great!)

 

Making the most of each moment

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Keeping inspired — Kate @ 3:11 pm

Well, obviously we are all in the ‘moms of toddlers’ stage of life!  There are plenty of things that call for our attentions at home and just meeting those demands can be all consuming at times.  BUT we are created to be relational beings and at some level we need and want friendships in our lives!  In order to make and maintain friendships at this stage in life, my mentality has been ‘make the most of each moment!’  Some things that I do to implement this are:

Multitasking

  • I must confess that if I am talking you to on the phone I am most liking doing something else at the same time!  I find that this gives me the time to do two things that I value highly …. caring for my family and home and also maintaining friendships!  I’m not going to be doing something that requires too much brainpower, but folding laundry, washing dishes or making sandwiches are a few things that can easily be done while having a conversation and if the conversation needs to go a little deeper I can simply stop for a moment and focus in on the call.
  • Another favorite for me are the famous ‘play dates!’  Getting to chat with another mom while our kids play together (at a home, park or play area) is a wonderful way to connect with a friend and to care for my kids at the same time.  I’m always so grateful for the time together and thankful for grace and understanding as we continue to parent our children in front of each other!

Be Spontaneous –

  • Like Leah mentioned in her post, inviting someone over for dinner at the last minute might seem unconventional, but it never hurts to try it!  I like to call people when I am thinking of them and invite them for sometime that week.  Maybe it works and we are able to connect, maybe it doesn’t and then we can get something on the calendar for a later date.
  • Sit down and write a note/e-mail or make a phone call right when I think about it.  Most thoughts don’t survive in my pregnant brain too long, so doing something about those thoughts in the moment is a must!  (If I don’t have time for something right at the moment, I write it down … lists are a MUST around here!)

Are there some ways that YOU ‘make the most of each moment’ with your friendships???

 

The Not-so-social Butterfly October 21, 2009

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Hospitality,Keeping inspired — Leah @ 6:00 am

I totally agree with the points that Andie made yesterday:  Friendships were leagues easier to maintain before marriage and children arrived on the scene!  But unlike Andie, I do not have the natural desire to be overly social.   Therefore, as my time is spent caring for my husband, my home, and my children- I can very easily neglect friendships without even meaning to!  Here are some ways I have found to encourage myself to seek out friendships:

Pick your friends wisely: My husband and I aim to spend time with other couples/families that will not only spur us on, but who we can encourage as well- knowing that God often blesses us through our relationships.

Remind yourself that your family is not necessarily built like you are: I have to remind myself often that just because I am content at home with a book or a movie…my kids and husband may not be!  I try to schedule some kind of playdate (for the kids) and talktime (for the grown-ups) each week.  Sometimes it’s during the day with just me and kids and other times it’s in the evening or on a weekend when Daddy can join us.

I know, some of you are thinking “ONLY ONCE A WEEK!?!?” but trust me- that’s a big deal for some of us.  :-)

Invite someone over on a whim: If I think about it too much- the invite never happens….so I am realizing more and more that it’s not wierd (and often not even inconvenient!) to invite someone over for dinner with just a hour or two to spare before mealtime.  Families with children are flexible beings and are almost always up for  the adventure!

 

Time for friends?? October 20, 2009

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Hospitality,Keeping inspired — Andie @ 8:17 am

This week we will be discussing the question, “How do you maintain friendships without neglecting your other responsibilities?”

This has not honestly been a topic that I have given a lot of intentional thought to. At this stage of life, I think I have sort of let the chips fall as they will. Immediate family relationships come first and then friendships fit in around them. Somehow, I have managed to see my friends on a semi-regular basis.   Having small children has forced me to have a more narrow group of consistent friendships than I had before. I still have lots of people I consider friends, but very few are “every week” sort of friends. For that matter, even my closest buddies are not “every week” buddies anymore. Here are a fews ways I maintain friendships:

-Make sure to celebrate!- One way I keep up with friends is to make special occasions a priority. Who cares if it’s the second little baby girl in a family and there is ‘no need’ for a shower? We have a party anyway! It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is precious to celebrate life’s special moments with friends and it provides an opportunity to catch up. In addition to this, I have some friends I always celebrate birthdays with. This usually only happens with a few friends in my life, but it insures that I have non-kid time with those friends at least a few times a year.

-Friendships change with time aka. I can’t be committed to everyone deeply all at the same time- As I mentioned before, my group of consistent friends is smaller than ever before. Less free time has meant less deep friendships. I am super social and there are many people I would love to see more often, but I purposely hold myself back from planning dates with all the people I’d like to hang out with. I have to make myself FOCUS on the friendships I feel God wants me to pour more deeply into. With that said, I do look out for newcomers.  I know how hard it is to be new and not know anyone. When I moved here, I mostly only knew Gretchen. She let me come to her house every day for awhile because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. That was such a blessing to me and I try to make it a point to welcome newcomers who cross my path in the same way. This can be time-intensive (in a totally positive way) for awhile. Eventually newcomers make other friends, too, and I don’t see them as much. This is okay with me and this ebb and flow idea is how I approach most friendships in my life.

-Do it when you can and do it right away- This is something I find helpful for keeping up with the people I love but don’t see or talk to often. If there is a person on my heart I haven’t been in contact with, I just write a quick note or email. I try not to put it off until I have time to write something long because then it never happens. It doesn’t have to be a full update to be meaningful. Just a note that says, “This reminded me of you….” or “I was laughing about the time when we….” tends to really encourage people.