Monday, August 31, 2009

Marriage Monday--Girl Talk about Love

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis


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The Marriage Monday theme this month is Girl Talk: Talking to our daughters about love.

I've found this timely this week. Saturday night, German and I had a very rare date night planned. We have not been able due to scheduling commitments and baby sitting issues to have regular "dates" and when we have gone out, we have not necessarily called them dates. Jewel has been fascinated as Mommy and Daddy planned for their date night. She has asked what a date is and why you still need dates once you are married. I've answered as much as I can for a seven year old to understand. She finally summed it all up the other night by saying "so you are a better mommy and daddy when you have time to talk together." I actually think that is a pretty good summation.

That is one of the first things I hope that I communicate about loving your spouse--it takes time and work to keep it strong. We can have a good marriage within the busyness of life. However, with some effort to have alone time to talk, dream, or even vent we can take the good and make it great. I want them to understand that no relationship just happens--we must invest in the other person to grow the relationship.

Furthermore, I want them to hear from me, and see in our marriage, that love is about choosing what is best for the other person even when we don't feel the right "emotion." I want them to see it in the way their daddy and I meet each other's needs. But I also want them to hear it. We all have days that we find it hard to "feel" loving. When that happens, I want us to be honest about how hard it is to choose to love. There are times when we have had a hard day of boundary pushing that as I put Jewel to bed she will apologize for behavior and she will often ask "do you still love me?" I always make a point to not only accept the apology (and apologize when necessary) but to also remind her that no matter the behavior I will always choose to love her and that we will start over on the behavior the next day. Mirroring how to choose to love begins those life-long lessons.

Communicating about love from God's perspective instead of the world's perspective is challenging. I am fully aware that some of this is learned from the Bible verses that we are learning, but more is learned from watching their daddy and me. I can teach them that "Love is patient" all day but if I am always impatient with them or with German, they will have learned the wrong lesson. They will learn more about forgiveness and loyalty and steadfastness from watching us than from lectures from us. I pray that the lessons that they are seeing match the things I tell them.

Today they are four and seven, so "girl talk" around our house is quite general. My main goal at this time is to provide an atmosphere that is right for the talk to come naturally. If I lay this foundation firmly, then the talks of the future should be natural as well.

Just in closing, because sometimes it is easier to see what we don't want instead of what we do, I want to comment on what not to have part of my "girl talk" with my daughters. As I look back, I recall no time that my mom talked with me about falling in love with my dad, planning her wedding (there is one anecdote I know of their wedding day), dreaming for the future with my dad or anything of that sort. Instead, I heard all the things that made her unhappy both in life and in marriage. I always knew that she was disappointed with how things were. Although I recall conversations of the the "mechanics" of growing up there were none of the emotional aspects of being with someone else. That is not the memory I want my girls to recall. I want them to recall their dad and I reliving our dating days, our wedding, and the things we loved about those giddy times. I want them to see us sitting and dreaming of our future. I want them to see us holding hands and kissing and blushing from things that are whispered in ears. I want them to see love between us as well as us talk about it. That is why last week was so much fun--even before the date--because I was able to answer the questions of "why date?" which were followed by "what other dates have you done?" I told them about eagle watching with their daddy. They have heard about the hot air balloon ride, and now it can be put in the context of dating and falling in love. Their interest in our relationship provided natural opportunities to talk. And natural talk is the best kind of girl talk.

Please join the Marriage Monday group over at Chrysalis. You are sure to be blessed. I'm, personally, hoping to glean from those whose daughters are older some ideas for future girl talks around here. Now, I'm off to enjoy my holiday Monday (we have ours a week before you guys in the States). Have a lovely day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--22 August 2009

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Welcome to Stitchin' Post Saturday!

I finished Bent Creek's Summer Row, and before summer ended! These rows are so cute and the plan is to frame all four seasons the same, and then rotate them on the wall according to the season. Of course that means I still need to stich Autumn and Winter! I had to split the scan into two parts since it is longer than my scanner. The fabric is more the color of the second picture than how it came out in the first!

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Thanks for looking. Let me know in the comments links to what you are currently stitching. Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

US Holiday, part two

After a wonderful time in Texas, we were off to Branson, Missouri. We had rented an amazing house that could sleep 15, so we had plenty of room for friends and family to join us. It had a lovely view of Table Rock Lake and was close enough to town for easy access, but far enough away that it was quiet.

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Branson, of course, is known for shows. Since it was not yet “the season” we could get amazing seats at any show we wanted to see. We saw a ventriloquist/magic show that was quite entertaining. We went to the Dixie Stampede and everyone loved the show.
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Flower was not as excited about eating with her fingers—in fact she pretty much refused to eat the chicken unless I took it off the bone for her. Silly girl. We went on the Showboat and loved the ventriloquist who used live dogs instead of dummies.
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Honestly, we could have gone to shows every night but chose to stay away several nights.

Dad, Dix and Amy joined us for a few days of the trip. We went to see Shoji with them. Totally entertaining show! And, if you ever go, be sure and check out the show rooms that double as toilets. Never have I seen anything like it!

Dix and Amy rode the slingshot.
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And we just relaxed at the house.
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We spent one day at Silver Dollar City with my Dad. The girls rode every ride that they were the right height. They both loved the swings most of all. Jewel also rode her first “big” roller coaster. I love the photo taken on the coaster because German had his eyes shut tight and Jewel was taking it all in (but for German's sake will not post it). We all loved watching the blacksmiths and glass blowers. The girls took a turn weaving baskets. Of course, the free samples of homemade fudge were also a hit.
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We went up Inspiration Tower and toured Uncle Matt’s cabin.
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We visited the fish hatchery.
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We took the Duck Boat tour and the girls even drove the duck on the lake.
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We played mini golf almost every day. Flower led the family in holes in one made (she made something like nine!). She did follow most of the one’s with a six or seven, but hey, she is only four. We all made at least one hole in one, so it was not totally embarrassing.
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I did a little (okay, a lot) of shopping as well. One of the most fun days was meeting one of my *pretend* friends from a cross-stitch board I frequent. Now, she is an honest-to-goodness real friend. And we had a great time shopping at as well.
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German and the girls went go-karting.
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And German and I tried our hands at Segways.
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We saw Al Roker and bought his BBQ cookbook--which so far has some great recipes in it.
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And we were able to catch up with Uncle for a while before we caught our plane.
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It was the perfect vacation with a wonderful mix of family, activity, and rest. I cannot wait to plan the next trip away with everyone.
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I will have one more post about the trip coming, because German and I made a little side trip in the middle. Back soon.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

(No) Stitchin' Post Saturday

Although I have a small finish to show you later, no Stitchin' Post Saturday today. I'm preparing for Jewel's birthday party, have houseguests from the US, attended a funeral of a lovely lady yesterday and am feeling rather scattered. More on all of that later, but for now, I have work to do! Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

US Holiday, Part One

For a wannabe writer who is a frequent traveler, you may have noticed I have been quite remiss about actually writing about traveling. My main excuse is that since we take close to a thousand pictures each trip, it takes some time to get it organized. But the real truth is, I am mainly just lazy. I have had the pics from our January trip ready to put into a post since the end of February, I just have not written the commentary. Anyhow, I will try to remedy that over the next few weeks. Realistically I should do the earlier trip first, but since I know family would really like to see the pictures from the April trip, I think I will prioritize it. It will take at least three posts to cover it, so bear with me.

Our April trip was our annual trek back to the States. Last year, after determining how wonderful it was to just go for an actual vacation and have family join us, we decided that is how we would always like to travel. The catch in that decision is that my mother is not physically able to travel, so we knew that at least part of the holiday needed to be spent in Texas with her. So we left here on Thursday to spend Easter weekend with family in Texas before traveling up to Branson, Missouri where family and friends were invited to come and join us for the remaining 12 days.

In Texas, we stay at my Dad’s house. We spend mornings with my Mom since that is her best time of day before she becomes to weary to talk and then spend afternoon and evenings with Dad. We had lovely visits all around. Being there Easter weekend meant that we were able to celebrate Easter with my mother at her church, as well as celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

Here are a few of the pictures from the weekend:

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My *nephew* (step-brother’s son) celebrated his birthday that weekend with a Thomas the Train ride and party. Such fun!
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The highlight for my girls is always the trip out to the farm to drive the tractor with Grandad!
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Just a tad windy...
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My Dad and his birthday cake
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Some of my favorite people!
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Auntie Namesake
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Cousins
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Reading to the Nieces and Nephews
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Easter Dresses
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Family on Easter
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Grandma with the girls at church
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I seem to not have taken a picture of *my* highlight of the trip (besides being with family of course). Dix’s dear friend cooked a Mexican feast for us one of the nights there. I would have happily brought her back to England with me just to cook that amazing food. (Unfortunately, she would not be able to get the ingredients here.) Anyhow, I learned that she is one of my faithful readers and I just wanted to say again how.much.I.totally.loved.every.bite. *sigh* *drool*

Monday morning came around very quickly, and it was time for us to fly to Tulsa and collect our rental car and drive to Branson. We left with fewer tears this trip, since we knew Dad, Dix and Amy were joining us in a few days. More on the Branson part of the trip soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Other Words---Embracing Loneliness

“Rather than turn from loneliness, what if we turned toward it? Could it be that loneliness is not a curse but a gift? A gift from God?”
Max Lucado
Traveling Light: The Promise of Psalm 23


I do not do loneliness well. That is actually surprising because I do alone great. The introvert in me wants others to go away and leave me alone. Nevertheless, I do not like to be lonely. I like to know that there is someone to call on, be with, play with or talk with when I am ready to be with others. In spite of my not doing loneliness well, God seems to bring me to periods of loneliness often. Even when I do not immediately see it, I do think that it is often a gift.

For much of our time in England I had a time of loneliness. First, it was a new place, then I had a new baby, then another new baby and truly, there was not much time to develop the depth of friendships that I thought I needed. I came close more than once, but in the expat community, people move on and each time I was enjoying a blossoming friendship, she would move. Just when I was truly ready to throw my hands in the air and proclaim that I would always be lonely, God gave me a truly amazing friend. She was the first friend I had ever had that I talked with or texted every single day. We met to pray together. Our kids played together. We just fit together. We *got* each other in ways that I have not experienced before. It was heavenly to experience. Moreover, it was timely because I experienced some frustration in a situation where I needed not to be alone in my own thoughts. I needed a friend to tell me to “get a grip” and she told me that more than once. Then it happened. She moved. She did not just move, she moved somewhere that it is not possible to just give her a call or text her or even drop her note. Once again, I find myself “gifted” with loneliness.

And I do not like it. Not at all.

I have struggled against it. I have ranted and fussed and complained. I have prayed for this period not to be long.

I have done all of those things. But I have not embraced it. I have not turned toward it. I have not sought to see *God’s why* in this time. In the past, I can see the lonely times as gifts to allow me to get my footing, to learn new lessons and to trust in God. Why would this be any different? In truth, my walk with God has deepened in the past few months. I know that dependence on God is imperative at this time. Yet, part of the reason I believe that is because she sharpened that into me.
This quote is challenging me to turn toward what God is giving and embrace it. I will not venture that I am anywhere near there yet. I will seek it. God’s promise is that when we seek him, we will find him. For today, I will rest in that.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13


Father God help me to embrace each season you bring into my life. When it is a season of friendship, help me be a faithful friend. When it is a season of loneliness, help me to seek you and lean on you. Amen.

Patricia at Typing One-Handed is our hostess this week. Please visit the others and be blessed by their reflections on this quote.

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Goals

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Wait! How is it already the 10th? Good intentions to post this on time, failed.

July goals revisited:
1. Complete Stargazer!--actually completed 8/6/09
2. Complete Bent Creek Season Row--Summer--50%
3. Finish 3 blocks for sampler quilt and pin top--no quilting
4. Finish revamping header and blog look (watch this space!)--YAY!!!
5. Meet a Cross Stitch Board friend for the first time! ;-)--bummer, didn't work out
6. Complete closet clean-out (have done mine and girls, need to do German's closet)--uhm...no

August goals:
1. Finish Bent Creek Season Row
2. Finish England block on NRR1
3. Spend time quilting anything
4. Celebrate as Jewel turns 7!
5. Enter current family tree information into updated program
6. Try again to get German's closet cleaned out
7. Complete planning for new school year
8. Plan a holiday

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Stitchin' Post---8 August 2009

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Time for another Stitchin' Post!

Introducing.....Stargazer Complete!
She took 78 hours to stitch and bead.
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I had always said that I would never do a Mirabilia design. Although beautiful, the beading seemed tedious and unnecessary to a cross-stitch design. Then this pattern came out about the same time we bought our telescope and became "stargazers." I made the comment on a stitching message board that this one might change my mind. Late the next week I received the pattern in the mail. I had been RAK'd by two dear friends. It has taken me a long time to get the motivation to start it. But I can honestly say, I have never enjoyed a pattern from start to finish as much as this one! And the pictures do not do it justice at all--the beads are an amazing, necessary part of this pattern! I've bought Fairy Moon as well and will eventually stitch it on the same fabric. I'm working on reversing the pattern so that the two will face each other. And I'm removing the wings, because I'm not a fan of fairies, but that means filling in the wing space with the star field behind.

Next week I should have another small finish, then it is back to an old WIP for completion before any new starts.

Thanks for coming by for Stitchin' Post Saturday. Let me know what you are working on in the comments. Have a fun-filled weekend. We are off to explore a maize maze. Hope we find our way out!