Workout and Work: Is it possible?

My life has been pretty hectic since I started working at Sprint, hence the reason this blog has been largely ignored. I’m working 40+ hours a week. And right now I’m finishing up my last week of training. Anyway, back to the blog. My goal is to go back to bi-weekly blog posts, we’ll see how that works out.

One thing that’s been difficult for me since I started working is finding time to get things done. I’ll be sBlog postharing more of my tips and tricks in the next couple of weeks, but one thing I’ve really struggled with is working out. I take long walks each day with my dog, but I’m not toning my muscles and targeting my trouble spots. Luckily for me my husband just read an article stating that if you only do a cardio workout for 5 minute increments (a couple times a day) you will see benefits, in fact it benefits you as much as doing cardio for 20-40 minutes straight.

That got me to thinking, what if I rotate 15  minute workouts with different muscle groups? What results would I see? Thus far the results are sore muscles, but I’m optimistic, after all I’ve only been doing this program for 3 days. The thing is I can easily fit a 15 minute workout into my schedule: lunch break (haven’t tried this one due to the sweat factor), after work, before going to work, etc. . . It’s not that hard to find 15 minutes to focus on my body.

Another trick I’ve learned is adding arms to basic moves. I can add a pair of weights to my squats, viola! I’m now working my arms as well as my legs. What about lunges? Another good opportunity to tone my arms! And then there’s push-UPs. If you’re good at push-ups you can add arms in my switching up your arm position, or doing one arm push-ups.

I’ve found several really good 15-minute workouts online, and I’m always posting new workouts to my Pinterest board! Here’s a list of my favorites:

  1. Back on Point Leg Workout! I added arms into this one by using weights on my lunges and squats. And I also pushed myself to hold the wall squats longer then 50 seconds.
  2. Pop Sugar No Equipment Workout! Another great full body workout. Just repeat 3 times and you’re done!
  3. Abs on Fire! Trust me they don’t lie with this title! Unfortunately the link on pinterest is bad, so don’t click on the link to the website.
  4. Reboot! Don’t click through to the actual website. Just use the poster that comes up for this one. It’s a great full body workout, and it’s easy to incorporate arms with the squats and lunges.
  5. A Better Day Workout! Really works the abs while giving you a little bit of legs. Just do three cycles and viola!
  6. The Ultimate workout with Bob Harper! Who doesn’t love Bob Harper? The great things about this workout is it doesn’t require anything, but a willingness to get your body in shape. And it’s a whole body workout!
  7. Best Bikini Body Workout! Just because I don’t wear a bikini doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a bikini body. This workout tones a little bit of everything!

Blessings

It’s been just a little over a month since Brian and I packed everything up and moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. About a month ago it was easy for us to doubt that this move was God’s will. After all, in Pennsylvania we had a place to live, work, and a church family. Down here all we had was a church family and Brian’s family, oh, and the prospect of Brian starting school in September (that is if Maranatha finished his paperwork on time). I left Pennsylvania on June 25th with my dog because I had three interviews scheduled for Friday and Saturday. I drove all day, got in at midnight, slept, dropped Charlie off at a boarding facility, and headed off to my first two interviews. At that point I needed a job, and Brian and I were planning on staying with his parents for a while. My first interview went well, and I knew I wanted the job. But then, my plans weren’t God’s plans. The first job (AT&T) really wanted to hire me, but they refused because I wouldn’t work the hours that they wanted me to on Sundays (non-discrimination, huh?). I was willing to work on Sundays between services, but they insisted I be at work during church hours. Not to mention the fact that the district manager told me “Don’t we all go to church?” And made comments about Sunday services being earlier in the day. The blessing here is God’s way is always best, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have been a good company to work for.

Brian arrived down here the Saturday after I left Pennsylvania. Crazy guy had been up for 30 hours straight by the time he pulled into the storage facility in Raleigh, NC. Talk about scary! I’m just glad he was okay on the road. That was the first of many blessings that God blessed us with since moving to NC. The next came in the form of an apartment. We got a small apartment over top a lady’s house. The price was amazing, we can keep our dog and cats with us, plus the apartment was fully furnished, and it didn’t require a lease! Anytime we want to leave we are free to go. Fully furnished is a huge blessing, because we haven’t had to take our stuff out of storage to live here. It was a huge and unexpected answer to our prayers.

The next answer came in the form of Brian getting at job at Reichhold. He has a temp job there as a Lab tech. Reichhold is the company his dad works for, so they get to carpool back and forth together. The nice thing about Brian’s job was it didn’t start till August 19th! Brian and I had a few weeks together; it was like a mini vacation. And God provided the funds so we didn’t have to worry about being jobless. I was interviewing with multiple companies during this time. I have to say I was beginning to feel like a professional job interviewee.

Another blessing during that time was my computer went out. The hard drive was bad, so we had to send it back to Dell for them to fix. Thankfully, the computer was still under warranty. The day my computer came back, Brian’s hard drive died. We were never without a computer! Huge blessing! By always having a computer I was able to apply for more jobs.

After a month of applying for jobs, I finally found a job! God provided me with a job with Sprint. I’m a Sales Representative. The unexpected blessing is that I get unlimited text, data, and calls with my job. I started working last week and I have a lot to learn. I start formal training classes next week, but until then I’m working 40 hours a week and training with talented Representatives at Sprint.

Throughout this whole move, God has continued to show Himself faithful to us. And He’s grown us both through this time. It’s been exciting to see God provide us with work, a place to live, and a good church family in North Carolina. We do miss our church family in Pennsylvania, and we look forward to visiting them all at sometime soon!

I’ve enjoyed seeing God answer prayers in His perfect timing. We haven’t gone without, instead we’ve always been blessed with exactly what we need when we need it. I’m thankful for a loving heavenly Father who meets our needs. Oh, I forgot to add Brian got accepted into Maranatha! He started classes last Tuesday. Maranatha finally realized that Brian wasn’t going to be moving to Watertown, WI. to attend classes. Also, they realized that he didn’t need to take music classes (Master of Divinity student taking Western Thought in Music, come on)! He’s taking Daniel and New Testament Theology. Right now our lives are very busy, but God’s giving us the daily grace we need to handle the tasks that He has appointed.

Turkey Bacon Dijon Wraps

With the crazy heat wave we’ve been experiencing this week added to the fact that we have VBS going on,  I haven’t done any cooking. For supper I’ve been throwing together wraps or subs, and I came up with this easy and delicious wrap recipe. I made them for supper tonight and my husband really liked them.

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Turkey Bacon Dijon Wraps

6 pieces bacon crumbled

4 pieces turkey deli meat

1 Tbls. + 2 tsp mayonnaise

1 Tbls + 1 tsp Dijon mustard

2/3 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup shredded lettuce

1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese

2 wraps

Mix the mustard and mayonnaise in a bowl together.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix with the sauce. Put into the wraps!

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The Balancing Act

Right now our lives are absolutely crazy! We’re making the move from Pennsylvania to Nortclockh Carolina on June 26th. I have to get knock out medicine for our pets to make the trips. I also have to get rabies shots for Charlie and the cats. There’s still quite a bit of packing left to be done, and next week is VBS at our church. Both Brian and I are teachers for VBS. Not to mention all the goodbyes and dinners we’ve been invited to. Needless to say our lives are pretty hectic right now. It’s times like these that make it hard for us to spend time together. There is so much needing to be done, that we struggle to find time just to be together.

Brian was saying that we need to schedule time for each other, which is totally true. But we also have to appreciate the little time that we get together. Like yesterday, we had very little time together due to having a couple friends over for supper. But we did have an hour after Brian got off from work. I know the hour was spent running to the library and stopping by Wal-Mart to make some much needed purchases, but at least we got to do it together. Brian pushed the cart around Wal-Mart and I threw things in, while we talked about everything from the plans for that evening with friends to a story I had read online. Then we had a half hour car ride back to our house, again another great time to just sit and talk to each other. Last night as I was thinking about our crazy day, I suddenly remembered the fact that we had had just snippets of time together here and there. It’s easy to take those small times together for granted when things are crazy.

Now I’m not suggesting that you just spend snippets of time together. I know for a fact that it’s not healthy for a marriage to survive on small snippets of time. But there are seasons in your life (hopefully short ones or your priorities are all wrong) where you only get to spend short amounts of time together. It’s during these seasons that you learn to make the most out of the little time that you do get together: Brian sends me texts over his lunch break,I go upstairs and pack in his office while he’s applying for jobs online, etc. . .  I’m still learning to be content and appreciate what time I do get with Brian. I know this will totally shock you, but I have been known to spend our short time together complaining that we don’t get to spend time together. It’s totally selfish of me, and I’ve had to confess my selfish to Brian and God. I really should be rejoicing that God allowed us to have those few minutes together.

I guess you could say we’re going through the balancing act right now. Trying to balance other things with spending time together. I have an amazing husband who works to schedule time for me! And God has been gracious to help us get things done, so that we can enjoy those few minutes we get together.  And the nice thing is we both realize we need to spend time together, so even though we’re busy we work to prioritize each other (that’s the way marriage is supposed to work).

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The Charlie Diaries

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged about my pets. Charlie was getting a little concerned that maybe my blog wasn’t staying true to it’s married with pets name. She says I’m a domesticated doggy mom, and if I must claim theDSCN4957m then I’m mom to the cats and a rat. But if it’s up to her, I’m just her mommy (that would be my #1 job in her mind). Anyway, Charlie suggested that I share a few pages out of her dog diary, and keep everyone posted on her life.

Charlie is officially housebroken! Daddy doesn’t believe it, but it’s true. She hasn’t had an accident in the house in weeks. The last accident she had was in her crate (she spends the night in her crate), I had slept in and didn’t get her out of her crate in time to go. She left the mess on the plastic floor far away from her blanket, and then she laid down on her blanket. She was kind enough not to get herself all messy, and mommy was most appreciative.

Charlie attended her first fireworks show last week. I didn’t realize that it would scare her as much as it did. She wouldn’t even take treats during the fireworks (which is unbelievable for Charlie seeing as how she’ll DSCN4998eat anything), that said she took it like a trooper. No running away, jerking on the leash, or trying to escape. She simply laid on the ground with her heart racing like crazy. I think mommy drove everyone around me nuts because I sat there praising her throughout the whole show. By the way, the fireworks a local Montrose citizen set off on the golf course were much better than the city of Montrose’s display.

Charlie would like everyone to know that she hates the heat. She is really looking forward to laying over an air conditioning vent in North Carolina. These days it’s all I can do to get her to play outside. I try to take her out early in the morning, but she doesn’t like running around in the heat. Basically, she’s content to lie around the house all day. Poor puppy!

Charlie wanted me to mention that she’s especially good about eating her veggies. She loves eatiDSCN4999ng baby carrots. Unfortunately, she has to be limited to one (sometimes two) at a time. Her stomach can’t handle too many carrots. Also, she hasn’t taken to water. In fact she would rather run around a body of water then swim across it. She has made some progress in this area, though.

Oh, and Charlie is officially a year old! She turned a year old in June. She said the best part about birthdays is the big bones you get. She got a shoulder bone of some animal or other. You can buy them for $5 at the Tractor Supply in Montrose, PA. I think that’s about it for the Charlie news. I can’t think of any omissions that I’ve made but I’m sure Charlie can!

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A “Cool” Summer Date Night

I was trying to think of a cheap, fun date night that involves staying cool. That’s when it came t me. Why not do a water balloon fight? I thought this would be a lot of fun! I stopped by the Dollar store on a recent shopping trip, and for $2.16, I got 200 water balloons! That’s the total cost of this date night!

Whenever I plan a date night, it comes complete with dinner. I usually try to make Brian’s favorite foods for our date nights. I don’t recommend trying new recipes for a date night, but that’s up to you. If your spouse is the type that goes to restaurants and tries new food each time, then by all means make them something new. I see date night dinners as a way of eating iDSCN5090n a restaurant at home. Just make sure if you try something new that it’s something you think they would like. Brian goes out to eat and almost always orders the same thing, so when I plan a date night I just make his favorite meal. It’s all about personality!

Now it’s time for the water balloon fight! I bought two different colors of water balloons. My original idea was for him to get the green balloons and me to get the orange. The only problem was I picked the wrong night for a water balloon fight. It started raining as we were filling up the balloons, but we pressed on. We just didn’t fill up as many due to the fact that we were already wet. By the way the filling up of the balloons is a great team activity. One person fills while the other person ties. Brian and I had fun just talking while we did this. Once we filled our balloons, we started by playing catch. We tossed the balloon back and forth stepping back every time we caught the balloon. Another fun game to play with water balloons is water balloon pop. Set up starting and finish line. Start with one balloon and race to the finish line, sit on the balloon to pop it, then race back to the starting line and get another balloon. The first person to pop five balloons wins! The nice thing about adding games to your water balloon fight is it prolongs the game!

Now it’s time for the actual fight! We just grabbed balloons and ran around throwing them at each other. Some of the smaller ones won’t burst on impact, so you have to get close and bpirate shipurst them on each other! We had a blast. Once you’re done with the fight, you need to pick up the balloon pieces. Again, it’s another team activity and it doesn’t take that long to do. Picking them up gives you a good chance to just talk.

To end the night pick out a movie that has a water theme. We watched Muppet Treasure Island, which we already owned so it cost nothing. Other good movie choices would be Flipper, Soul Surfer, Dolphin Tale, Andre, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (or any of the pirates movies), or any other movie with a water theme. The sky’s the limit! It was nice to settle down and finish the night off with a good movie. Viola! A fun and cheap date night with very little prep work!

How is Westboro Baptist Church Different from Bible-Believing Churches?

Unsaved people like to clump Westboro Baptist Church in a group with Bible-believing Churches probably to salve their consciences. Or because they don’t realize that Westboro has nothing in common with Bible-believing churches (because they know nothing about churches). But the fact of the matter is that Westboro Baptist Church is nothing like the majority of Bible-believing churches, and Westboro most definitely isn’t anything like the conservative churches that I’ve attended. What Westboro fails to realize is that someday they are going to have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and they are going to have to give account for all the people they turned away from Christ by their actions!

How is Westboro different from other churches? I’m glad you asked! They are a media-loving, attention-seeking group. They love being controversial and love the limelight. How do I know this? Just look at the things they protest! A Taylor Swift concert? Come on! I’m familiar with a lot of Taylor Swift’s lyrics, and most of them are clean and innocent. Why not protest a Pink concert? I just looked up the names of her songs (didn’t need to read the lyrics). The names of her songs use horrible profanity and endorse drinking and bad behavior. Nothing like Taylor Swift’s lyrics. So why is Westboro targeting Taylor Swift and not Pink? Simply put Taylor Swift is a media-darling and superstar. Pink doesn’t have nearly the fan base Taylor Swift does, nor does she get as much media attention. Westboro wants to make headlines so they target Taylor Swift and not Pink. It has nothing to do with standards; it has everything to do with making the headlines! Jesus never made media headlines by protesting a pop/country concert. In fact the only thing Jesus did protest in His time on earth was the usury of the temple. So instead of focusing on concerts, another good focus for Westboro (a God-honoring one) would be to protest the killing of innocent babies. Why don’t they join the throngs of Christians who stand outside abortion clinics holding signs, praying, and singing? Because it doesn’t make headlines! A lot of Christians already do that, and Westboro wants to be different enough to make media headlines.

Another way Westboro is different from other churches is in what they protest. No other church would protest at  the funerals of fallen soldiers. Yes, the military does allow gays in, but that doesn’t mean you should protest soldiers’ funerals. Westboro came to my hometown to protest the funeral of a soldier. I know the soldier and his family attended a Bible-believing church, and I believe he was saved, but I can’t say for sure. Why protest a fellow believer’s funeral? Because they wanted to gain attention. Most of the soldiers’ funerals that Westboro has protested were straight. These soldiers have nothing to do with allowing gays into the military, and some of them don’t condone the military’s actions. Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Probably the biggest difference between Westboro and Bible believing churches is the Bible. Wesboro is all about getting their name in the media, but they could care less about the Bible and what it says. Publically calling Taylor Swift “A whore” and a “serial-fornicator” isn’t loving. What about protesting fallen soldiers’ funerals? Again it’s not loving! John 13:34 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Jesus didn’t go around protesting at sinners’ funerals. Instead, he showed sinners mercy and love. And Jesus didn’t call sinners names. He never called the woman who washed his feet  (Luke 7:37-50) names. And he certainly had a right to. He could have rightly called her “a whore” and a “serial-fornicator,” but he didn’t. He showed that women love. Westboro fails to show Christ’s love to the world. Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Westboro hasn’t showed mercy to the soldiers’ families, Taylor Swift, or the soldiers themselves. Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Westboro’s actions aren’t kind and certainly aren’t just. “And [Jesus] answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) You won’t see Bible believing churches out protesting at funerals and concerts like Westboro does. Why? Because Bible believing churches take seriously God’s commands to “love our neighbors,” to “walk humbly with [our] God,” “to love kindness,” and to love “as [Christ has] loved [us].” Westboro blatantly disobeys God’s commands. Instead they show hatred. Matthew 5:43-44 says “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And 1 John 3:15 says “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” On this verse I can fairly safely make the assumption that Westboro church is a church consisting largely of unbelievers. Westboro’s actions are incredibly hateful towards those they protest. Don’t even get me started about the mega-phones and the horrible things they yell during their protests.

Honestly, the best thing that could happen to Westboro is if the media started ignoring all of their protests! I wonder how long they would keep protesting if they didn’t get attention. I for one am all for ignoring them so they won’t get the media attention they so desperately seek. I’m also all for praying for them, because they have shown themselves to be a bunch of unbelieving sinners. And because if they don’t discover the love of God, then someday they will be “thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

Fun Couples Questionnaire!

holding handsIn honor of our 3 years of marriage, I came up with this questionnaire.  Ironically, the questionnaire ended up being 3 pages (not intentionally). And you  write in 3 answers to each question. Once we were done, we took turns reading each other’s answers aloud. We found at times that our answers were the same, and at other times our answers were very different. The questionnaire got us talking, and helped us both learn more about each other. I discovered some things about Brian I really didn’t know, and I also learned more about the things he liked.

In order to do this questionnaire, you have to make some rules. You have to promise to be completely honest answering the questions. Also, you have to answer every single question, and come up with at least 3 answers. I did add a couple of extra answers to some of these questions. And there were questions where I only had one answer, but I had to come up with 2 extra answers. You’ll have a lot more fun if you follow the rules! And make sure you take plenty of time afterwards to read the answers. When you’re done, hold on to your partner’s answers. Trust me, you won’t want to lose these. And most importantly have fun and enjoy being together! Couples seriously don’t talk enough, I know we don’t. Anytime, we do a questionnaire it ends up being stimulus to long conversations. Communication is key if you want to have good marriage (so don’t take time for questionnaires if you want a bad marriage).

I found that questionnaires are a lot of fun to do on date nights. Generally, if I come up with one, I save it for a date night. Just don’t plan on the questionnaire to be the only date night activity. Try pairing it with a meal, movie, etc. . .

Date Night Questionnaire

 

 

 

 

How to Stay Cool and Save Money in the Summer

I’m an Illinois girl, born and bred. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the heat (I do). On a side note, I also hate the cold (which is why I’m excited about moving to North Carolina). Right now we’re living in Pennsylvania. Growing up in Illinois, our summers were rather hot. Good thing we had air conditioning. I always assumed everyone had air conditioning. Why wouldn’t you? Let’s just say that when we moved to Pennsylvania and I found out that no one had air conditioning, it was huge culture shock for me! I had never heard of such a place, especially not in the United States! I couldn’t believe it! I’m told that most New England states don’t have air conditioning! Shocker! I’m also told that it usually doesn’t get that hot up here (not true). It was a squelcher last summer. This summer it’s been cooler, but the temperature is beginning to rise. Being a stay at home pet mom/housewife, I’ve had to find ways to stay cool. dog wash

  1. Put container of water in the fridge, and drink plenty of water! The cold water will help you chill off and drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated. I’m not a huge fan of ice, so I like this option better. Just be disciplined enough to refill it every time you use it, otherwise you will run out of cold water.
  2. Find local rivers to hike. Just look up local waterfalls and rivers on the internet. You can probably find some good places that you can visit for free. About 5 minutes from where we live is Salt Springs State Park. This park consists of a multi-tiered waterfall. I love hiking up the waterfall with my feet in the water. If you’re really adventurous you can actually swim in the water. I personally don’t swim because I think the water is gross.
  3. Go hang out in the shade. A shady park is probably a lot cooler then a non-air conditioned house during the summer.
  4. Have a water balloon fight. These cost less then just running your hose continually, and they are super fun. Head to the local dollar store and pick up a bag of water balloons (these usually come with a nozzle). Fill them up and start the fight. I like to play games with them before the actual fight starts. By playing games with them you can have fun for a longer time.
  5. Give the dog a bath. If your dog is anything like mine then she hates the water. Trust me I almost always get wet giving Charlie a bath (usually not soaked, but hey wet works).
  6. Wash the car! The car needs a good washing and you need to get cool. Put on a swimsuit, get the hose out, and have fun!
  7. Window fans! These pipe in the cool air from outdoors. I recommend using these at night to cool off your house.
  8. When you wake up in the morning take the window fans out of the window and shut the window. Keep doors to rooms closed throughout the day. That way you aren’t losing the cold air. Your rooms will stay relatively cool throughout the day. Only do this in rooms that can be closed off.
  9. Cover your windows! Why not invest in those cute curtains that you’ve been dreaming about. During the day keep your shades down and your curtains drawn. By keeping the sun out of your house you’re keeping your house cooler.
  10. On a really hot day skip the hot meal. Try making a cold soup (I promise they do exist) or subs! How about a salad? Or try eating a meal consisting of fruits and veggies! Or try cooking a bunch of meat on a cooler day, then when it’s hot you can just warm-up the meat in the microwave or eat it cold. Instant taco salad, chicken salad, fajitas, etc. . .
  11. Make smoothies! In the summer consider substituting frozen yogurt for regular yogurt! Your smoothie will be colder and taste like a healthier version of a milkshake.
  12. Dance in the rain! Rain cools things off and it can cool you off. Take the opportunity to enjoy just running around in the rain! It’s tons of fun and also refreshing. If you have a trampoline, I highly recommend bouncing on it in the rain (although it’s probably not the safest thing to do, jump at your own risk).
  13. Cold showers! Not only do you save money by not using the water heater, but you can cool off. These are amazing right after a sweaty workout. Added bonus: it’s better for your skin to take a cold shower.
  14. Find a local park with a pool! Since I’m an adult, I would have to wade through when there are no kids around, otherwise I might upset parents. But if you have kids feel free to take a dip along with them. If you’re desperate to cool off just borrow somebody’s kids for a couple of hours (the parents will love having a couple hours kid-free).
  15. Most amusement parks provide ice cold water free of charge. Look into this while planning your next trip. Not only will you save on bottled water, but you won’t have to carry a back-pack into the park. Hershey Park is one of the parks that provides cold water. All you have to do is ask a vendor for a glass of water (no purchase necessary).
  16. If you have a beach nearby, then use it regularly! Most beaches don’t charge admission, so it’s a great way to swim for free.
  17. Wear less clothing (but only in the house)! There is nothing inappropriate about running around in a spaghetti top and short-shorts during the summer (in the house). Just remember to keep another pair of shorts and a shirt near the door in case of company. BTW your husband will love seeing you run around the house like this! :)
  18. Be lazy! At least during the hotter hours of the day. Try reading a good book or watching a movie! Or if you insist on getting things done, sit down and write thank you notes, reply to e-mails, or take care of computer business during the hotter hours.

That’s my list! What are some of the ways you’ve come up with to stay cool in the summer? I’m always looking for new ways to cool off.

Wedding Vows

On June 19th, 2010, I vowed in the sight of God, Brian, and witnesses “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, and obey, till death do us part, and hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.” Pretty serious stuff! Well trust me I’ve had plenty of opportunities to keep those vows, and I’ve also failed those vows plenty of times.

We’ve only been married 3 years, but in those 3 years we’ve had a taste of what marriage is like. We’ve gone through the DSCN5090worse. The times where I was a pistol to live with. Poor Brian has had to put up with a contemptuous wife at times (me failing my wedding vows). There was the time Brian had chronic hiccups. He couldn’t stop hiccuping for days on end, and he could barely eat. Not one of our better moments. Or the days where all we did was fight. We’ve definitely seen the worse times (maybe not the worst, though). We’ve also seen the better times. Those days when we can spend the whole day just enjoying each other’s company. The alone time we enjoy. Small trips we’ve taken to Williamsburg, VA., Gatlinburg, TN., and Charleston, SC. The walks we take, the nights we stay up late talking about things, and the crazy things we’ve done. Yeah, we’ve experienced some “better” moments.

When we first got married we quickly learned what the “for poorer” meant. In fact, I broke my hand less then 2 months after we got married. And we had no idea how we would pay for it. Thankfully, I broke it at a church youth function so the church’s insurance covered it. That blew my job prospects for a few months. We were dipping into the last of our savings when I finally got a job. Or what about the time we moved from South Carolina to Pennsylvania. We lived off our savings for 3 months before God provided me with a job (Brian was working at the church at the time, but his paycheck didn’t cover all of our expenses). God has definitely been good to us. We’ve also had our richer moments (richer by our standards). When we could pay the bills, put some money into savings, and still cover little extras. God provided for Brian to be able to build a new computer as his old one just about failed.

We’ve also gone through the sickness and health. We’re both pretty healthy right now, but we’ve had our moments of sickness. I broke my hand, sprained my ankle, and had a few colds. Brian experienced the chronic hiccups and he’s gotten numerous colds.

Then there’s been the chances to show that we love each other. We’ve had chances to show our love for each other with gifts, cards, notes, actions, etc. . . Brian’s surprised me with candy, Oreos, Ever After soundtrack, National Treasure, and flowers. He’s done the dishes because I’m tired, got up early to finish Sunday School lessons so he can spend time with me, cooked supper so I can have a break, and watched chick flicks with me just because I like them. I’ve had opportunities to show him my love by packing him lunch to take to work, sending him texts, getting him Fastbreak bars, getting things ready for Wednesday night kids group (so he didn’t have to worry about it), and going hiking with him. I’ve also failed to show hiSANYO DIGITAL CAMERAm love countless times. I’ve said things that I regretted later, I’ve stomped around the house when I was mad, I’ve done things that he doesn’t like me to do, and I’ve let him know when I wasn’t happy. It’s easy to show Brian love when I feel loving towards him. But it’s hard to show him love when I don’t feel loving towards him. But love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a choice. When I made those vows to love him, I didn’t just vow to love him when he was loveable or when I felt loving. Instead, I vowed to love him “till death do us part” and beyond. So showing him love when I only feel loving is wrong. I’m supposed to show love even when I don’t feel loving (a lesson that I’m still struggling to learn).

The part about honoring isn’t always easy. I haven’t always respected and honored my husband as I vowed I would. There have been times where I’ve made disparaging comments about his ideas or plan. Or the times I’ve pointed out that I think he’s just wrong about something.

Then there’s the opportunities I’ve had to obey. This like other parts of my vows is a hit a miss area. Sometimes, I’m the loving, submissive wife. Other times, I’m an unloving, disobedient wife. Submission is easy when Brian asks me to do things that I want to or I enjoy doing, but it’s really hard when he asks me to do something that I don’t want to do. It’s hard bringing myself under his authority when I don’t like what he likes. I’ve obeyed complaining the whole time more times then I’d like to admit. I’m still working on being the submissive wife that God has called me to be.

The fact of the matter is I haven’t kept my vows as I vowed that I would. But I am blessed to have a forgiving husband, and a forgiving God. The last 3 years of my life haven’t been easy, but they have been the best 3 years of my life. Marriage isn’t supposed to be easy. I firmly believe that God created marriage as a stimulus for spiritual growth (growth that I desperately need). God also created marriage for companionship. Brian is the best companion I could ever ask for. He is a loving and patient husband, a good provider, a humble man, and my best friend. I couldn’t ask for a better husband. God blessed me 3 years ago by giving me Brian for my husband, and He has blessed me every day since. Our marriage hasn’t always been beautiful, but what can you expect of two sinners living together? But God is working to create something beautiful out of our marriage.

Thank you, Brian McBrayer for marrying me and blessing me daily with your love and godly leadership. Happy Anniversary, sweetheart!