Want To Take Heather’s Marriage Challenge?

Q&A Hello Jill,

After reading No More Perfect Moms, I decided to present a challenge to some dear friends: Go a whole month with out saying or doing anything negative towards our husbands.

I’m personally in the habit if rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher or re-folding laundry my way. After your book, I realized that my actions scream “my way it better and you did it all wrong”. I don’t want to be ungrateful for my husband’s willingness to help.


Do you have a list of verses/resources we can view to help us along in this challenge? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Heather

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Dear Heather,

I think your idea is a fabulous one! Good for you for taking what you read and applying it in such a practical way!  Here are some Bible verses that can help you in your challenge:

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.”  Colossians 3:13

“Treat everyone with dignity.” I Peter 2:17

“Pride leads to conflict.” Proverbs 13:10

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21

“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.  Proverbs 21:23

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45

Here’s a video that might also be encouraging. (You can find more No More Perfect Mom videos here.)

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How Do You Make Date Night Happen?

Wife first. Mother second.

Internalizing that statement has taken me most of the nearly 30 years I’ve been a mom. A mom’s knee-jerk response is to put the kids before the marriage.  After all…your child needs you to care for their basic needs…your husband can take care of his own basic needs…right?

Wrong.

The best thing we can do for our kids is to invest in our marriage. When our marriage is strong, it provides a sense of security for our kids.

Here’s a fun minute and a half video of a humorous date night Mark and I had years ago.

What about you?  How do you make date night happen in your home?

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The Real Message of Easter

100548287 Jesus experienced terrible physical pain.

He was betrayed by a friend.

He was disappointed by his friends who fell asleep when they should have been praying and when they denied knowing him.

He was falsely accused.

I’ve experience physical pain. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve experienced disappointment when someone has let me down. I’ve been falsely accused.  I bet you have experienced all of those things too.

In Jesus, you and I have a Friend who understands.

Take a few minutes today or this weekend to read Matthew chapters 26, 27, and 28. Soak in the human experience of Jesus and how He understands your struggles.  Then sit in amazement of the gift Jesus gives us in his suffering and in his resurrection.

That is the real message of Easter I want to keep at the forefront of my mind.

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Love Your Struggles!

HAH-Blog-Hop-graphic-2 Today is the Third Thursday Blog Hop and our theme is Love Your Struggles.

Chemo Brain.

That’s my struggle.

It is evident because I FORGOT THAT TODAY WAS THE THIRD THURSDAY and I’m getting my post up late!

My apologies to all my fellow bloggers who link up during the hop and have been wondering where my post is!

This is my life right now.  As my husband put it the other day, I’m a 10 cylinder brain running on 8 cylinders.

I can either fight my struggles or embrace the reality of them.  I’m learning to embrace the reality of them. Accept them. Acknowledge my real life…my real season…even if it’s not what I want it to look like.

What I have learned is that we don’t have to love our circumstances, but we can love how God grows us through our circumstances.

This is truth we find in Romans 5:3-4, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.”

There is no growth without struggle.

So I can love my struggles because I know they are strengthening my faith and maturing me in unique ways.  Right now, God is using my gaps to learn to give myself and others more grace.

How about you?  Can you love your struggles because you know it’s producing fruit in your life? 

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It’s a Chapter…Not the Book

465044903 Child #1: Mom, after I graduate, my friends and I are going to take a cross-country road trip.”

Me: Really?  That will cost a lot of money. You’ll have to pay for gas, food, and hotel or camping expenses.

Child #1: We’ll sleep in our car so we’ll keep the expense down.

Me: That will get old very soon.

TEN YEARS LATER

Child #5: Mom, after I graduate, my friends and I are going to take a cross-country road trip.”

Me: Really? Where would you like to go?

Child #5: From the east coast to the west coast.

Me: Now that would be a lot of fun!

Wisdom is gained in experience. In my early parenting years, I felt it was my job to give my kids a reality check.  Now with years under my belt, I realize that dreaming with my kids is just as important, if not more important, than setting them straight.

Just last week another mom of young adults and I were discussing parenting challenges and what we have learned through the years.  We both agreed that if we could offer one word of advice to younger mothers it would be, “Chill.”

Then she said something that captured my attention.  She said, “I have to remind myself that it’s a chapter, not the book.”  She went on to explain that when dealing with a tough time in our kids life, it’s good to remind yourself that this is a chapter in their life, not the whole book.

As I’ve thought about that saying, I would sometimes add that “it’s a page, not a chapter.” The conversation up above would qualify as a page.  No trips were being planned. No money was being saved for such a trip. No real effort was being made toward such a thing. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, mama.

Whether your child is 2, 12, or 22, don’t hesitate to dream along with them.  Resist the urge to throw a wet blanket on their fire.

If your child is going through a hard time or is making poor choices, keep the big picture in mind as you wade through the process.

After all, it’s a chapter, not the book.

What about you?  When have you needed some big picture perspective in your parenting or even in your own life?  

Posted in Parenting | 6 Comments

Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us….The Holy Creator sees you as His glorious inheritance.”  

                                                                                                                                                                                        ~Francis Chan

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Progress…not perfection

When our kids are little and learning to walk, they take two steps and then fall down.  Back on their feet, they take three steps and tumble over.

Do we see that as failure?

Not at all.  We get excited at the effort they are making and we know those steps are the beginning of a new skill.  We celebrate their progress.

Why then, when our children are older, and they figuratively take two steps and fall down learning a new skill (how to manage their time, how to be responsible with their money, how to do their homework on their own) do we see that as failure?  Why are we impatient? Frustrated? Angry?

Why? Because the perfection infection in parenting has set in.

We compare them to other kids. Our expectations are unrealistic.  We don’t know what is a healthy expectation for their age. We are tired, low on grace, and even lower on patience.

Deep down, we want perfection rather than progress.

Granted, an older child’s “falls” carry more weight than a 1 year old learning to walk. There are grades at stake, integrity and character issues, and as they get older their choices affect college possibilities, jobs, and their future in general.

Yet, what if we kept our eye out for progress and celebrated it when we saw it…no matter how small the baby step might be?  What if our kids could count on us to be their biggest cheerleader, no matter how often they fall?  What if we saw “making mistakes” as the progress that it really is?

HAH2207 CLAP printable When we apply the antidotes to Perfection Infection Parenting, we accomplish just that. CLAP: Compassion, Love, Acceptance, and Perception; these antidotes make our home and family a safe place to be.

Compassion: I’m trying to feel what you’re feeling.
Love: I love you no matter what.
Acceptance: You belong to me and this family no matter what.
Perception: I see you and I’m in tune with what’s going on with you.

Apply these antidotes and you’re on your way to celebrate progress and leave the expectation of perfection behind!

Download your free printable of: Four Keys To Loving Your Child For Who They Are

What about you?  Of the four antidotes listed above, which one do you need to include more in your parenting? 

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Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic  ”Grace is the face God wears when He meets our imperfection, sin, weaknesses and failures.”

~Unknown

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What’s Your Magnifying Glass Focused On? 6 Steps To Better Relationships

magnifying One of the things I remember about being at my grandpa’s house was a magnifying glass that he kept on the table beside his chair.  It was a heavy duty lens and I loved positioning it over different items and looking at them in larger-than-life form.

When you look at something under magnification it looks bigger than it really is. The magnified image is no longer congruent to real life because you’re seeing one thing larger than the other things around it.  Magnifying something gives a warped sense of how something really is.

These results happen when we look at an object under the magnifying glass. They also happen when we look at relationships under a magnified lens.

The people we live with are imperfect human beings. They have faults. They make mistakes. They let us down on occasion.  Because we live so closely with other human beings, it becomes very easy to look at their faults through a magnifying glass.  I’ll even venture to say that someone–the god of this world–the enemy who wants to steal, divide, and destroy–helps to position the magnifying lens on the actions or attitudes that cause us the most hurt, disappointment, or rejection. (John 10:10 and I Peter 5:8)

Without realizing it, we move from believing the best about our spouse, our child, our relative, or our friend to believing the worst about them.  With their faults maximized and their strengths minimized, we slowly close off our heart to them.  Before we know it, a relational wall has been erected by our skewed perspective and unrealistic expectations (that they won’t make mistakes, that they should have made a different decision, etc).

That relational wall begins a process of separation in our heart and mind.  It divides our loyalties and moves us away from the relationship rather than towards the relationship that means so much to us.

It’s not the big things that kill relationships. It’s often the little things that accumulate over time. Looking at faults through a magnifying glass is a little thing that can do damage over the long haul unless we do something about it.

Here are six ways to see others in a more balanced way:

1) Move the magnifying glass.  Move your focus from what they do wrong to what they do right.  If you’re finding yourself critical of or angry or disgusted with your spouse, you’ve likely had tunnel vision on their imperfections.  Sit down and make a list of their strengths and what they contribute positively to the relationship.

2) Stay focused on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bothers you, all you will see are the things that tick you off. Keep your eyes on what you love so you fill your heart with love.

3) Resist the temptation. The enemy is cunning and will do his best to get your emotions tangled up and engaged. Once your emotions are engaged it becomes easier to see your spouse, your challenging child, your sister-in-law, or your friend as an enemy.  This is the first step of dividing and destroying. Don’t take the bait!

4) Believe the best about your loved one.  Resist the urge to make their mistake a personal offense towards you.  Beware of statements you might make to yourself like, “If he really loved me he wouldn’t have done that,” or “She did that just to tick me off.” These kinds of statements are fertilizer to negative emotions.

5) Get perspective. Are you making a mountain out of a molehill?  In the big scheme of things, is this really a big deal?  When you measure this imperfection, mistake, or disappointment against all the good things about the person, you’ll quickly see that this situation isn’t worth the energy you’re giving it. You need spiritual perspective as well. Remind yourself who the real enemy is (Satan) and what his agenda is (to divide and destroy).  Don’t let yourself get sucked into his distraction and deception.

6) Learn to move forward.  Sometimes we need to give grace, forgive, and let it go.  Sometimes we need to have a conversation with the person, but only after our emotions have calmed down. And sometimes we need to realize that our own pride or insecurity is the bigger issue here and its helpful to move the magnifying glass from our loved one to ourselves for a few convicting minutes.  Don’t let it sit there for too long or you’ll move from conviction to condemnation in no time.

NMPM cover with subtitle and correct colors That old magnifying glass of my grandpa’s had it’s place in this world. It helped him see things more clearly at times.

Magnifying glasses in relationships can do the same.

It all depends on what you’re looking at.

What about you? Where have you had your relational magnifying glass pointed at the wrong things?  What are you making bigger than it needs to be? 

Posted in Marriage, Parenting | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Organic or Not?

153763376 As we’ve been changing our eating habits at the Savage household, one thing I’ve started to be more aware of is what produce I should be buying organic.

As a mom feeding seven hungry people, I usually disregarded organic options in the past because of cost. Our food budget was stretched pretty thin! Yet, I also understood that some fruits and vegetables absorb pesticides more than others and I certainly didn’t want to be feeding that to my family.

When I was introduced to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15″ lists, it provided me with a balanced perspective of where it is valuable to spend the extra money for organic produce and where I can still choose non-organic and be safe.

If you’re not familiar with these lists, I’m including the 2014 list here. You can also find more information here.

Clean Fifteen — these are okay to buy non-organic

Asparagus
Avocados
Cabbage
178473099 Cantaloupe
Sweet Corn
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Mangoes
Mushrooms
Onions
Papayas
Pineapples
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potatoes

Dirty Dozen Plus–If you can, consider organic 

Apples
Celery
Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Grapes
Hot Peppers
Nectarines
178279243 Peaches
Potatoes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sweet Bell Peppers
Kale/Collard Greens
Summer Squash

It’s taking a little more effort as I change some of my purchasing practices, but I believe the health trade-off is worth it.

What about you?  Have you changed any of your eating or shopping practices in exchange for health benefits?

Posted in In The Kitchen | 9 Comments