Wonder Woman: Being a Warrior is a Good Thing

Perhaps you’re finished with all the Wonder Woman hype. As long as there are new thoughts popping up about this superhero, I’ll be writing about her on my blog.

After all, in the realm of “holding out for a hero,” Wonder Woman has been worth the wait.

Last week, I wrote about Wonder Woman’s pure motives and how that makes her a better kind of superhero than most of the Marvel and DC creations.

When my Social Media Jedi shared an article on my Facebook timeline, I realized there was another reason to give Diana Prince accolades. She isn’t the original female warrior, that would be Eve.

Yes, I do mean Eve, the mother of all living. The one who God made to be a helper for Adam and who Satan convinced wasn’t living up to her full potential without the Fruit.

Woman as Warrior

As Ms. Sanchez pointed out in the article mentioned above, the very word translated “helper” is the same word used to describe God as a help during battle.

God created women to fight alongside their man (or their friends or family or whoever).

In another famous passage about women, Proverbs 31, several of the words used are generally used to describe soldier or battle. Even the word translated “virtuous” in Proverbs 31:10 is translated at “valiant” everywhere else in the Old Testament. And refers to warriors, men of valor, strong and might men.

Apparently, that seemed a little unfeminine for the translators. Shame on them for not seeing women as the warriors they were created to be.

Other words in the Proverbs 31 description of this woman also refer to soldiers. Like bringing her food from afar which refers to hunting (31:14) and girding up her loins (31:17) which is military terminology for suiting up for battle.

Women were never created as weaker or less than man. God intended for them to fight alongside others, helping win the battle against sin and evil.

Warrior with a Cause

It only takes once to get between a mother bear and her cub for an ignorant soul to learn a lesson. If they survive.

Women have many causes worth fighting for. Not the least of these is their marriage and their children. The world will try to weaken a marriage with everything from career promotions that take a spouse away to office romances.

And children arrive in our world helpless. Their mothers step up to provide everything the child needs for survival: food, drink, clothing, shelter and love. (And yes, people do need love as much as they need the physical necessities.)

When the child is sick, she fights the fever. When the child is in danger, she jumps to protect and shield him.

Women look on others with compassion and it gives them a passion to fight for the rights of the downtrodden. I love that Sanchez points out that shedding tears is not a weakness, but is a sign of having a heart closer to Christ’s.

The best part about a woman warrior is that her weapon doesn’t generally shed blood (but she will pick up that kind and use it when necessary). It cuts a conscience to the quick or snips through the BS and to the heart of the matter.

What are some other causes women fight for? Do you feel like a warrior in your life?

Like reading this? You’re a click away from getting Hero Delivery, a bulletin with deals and new releases from Sharon Hughson.

Maybe you like romance or some of my other books. I’m sure there’s something worth reading on my page.

Already read one or more of my books? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. A review is the same as the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

Monday Morning Blahs

Monday is another day. It is the day following Sunday, generally a day of worship and rest for me, and the beginning of a new week of writing. Most of the time it is no more blah than Tuesday through Saturday.

And then there was this morning.

Ugh.

What made this Monday less-than-exciting? It could have been that I woke up at 3:30 to the call of nature. Except, it’s pretty standard that I will wake up at least once in the wee morning hours for that reason.

The first hint the day was not going to go as planned, I tried to sit up and my back screamed bloody murder. My husband is grateful (I’m sure) that I clenched my teeth so the agonized scream of my old muscles emerged into sound waves as a muffled groan.

You’re welcome, Honey.

It took longer than usual to walk four feet into the bathroom and take care of business. Every slight move from my core seized my lungs as my back caterwauled out displeasure.

When I returned to bed, my cat had curled up on my pillow. He’s been doing this lately. Sometimes, out youngest girl cat will move onto the spot where my body had been moments before. They’re always happy to take the human-warmed spots.

She’d remained huddled next to my husband’s legs, but the slant-eyed look my other cat gave me warned me off trying to relocate him. Truthfully, I didn’t think my body could manage. At least, that’s what my back was whimpering into my ears.

It’s difficult to find a comfortable spot when

  • your back is screaming
  • a cat’s butt is lodged where you want to pillow your head

As I tried to fall into oblivion, my mind kicked on. I really hate having a writer’s brain sometimes.

Here’s the thoughts that whirred in my head:

  • possible titles for the other Christian romances for First Street Church 2018 launches
  • list of things I would do when I woke up in the morning (HA! It was morning and I was awake.)
  • how to move the cat and earn another couple centimeters of pillow
  • replaying conversations with my kids the previous day
  • debating a menu for the week
  • outlining the known changes I want to make to Virtual Match #3 which I’m revising and polishing this week

and on it went.

The cat finally decided to relocate. I turned to my other side and he curled into my chest. My brain spun into neutral.

And the snoring began. Not from me. Or the cats. Process of elimination gives you…Mr. Wonderful.

I tried to nudge him, but my back seized up and I had to meditate my way back into a state of relaxation.

Eventually, I peered through my eyelids at the luminous numbers on my alarm clock. 4:20.

I maneuvered myself–and my uncooperative back–out of bed, snatched a light blanket and headed to the couch. Curling into a fetal position incited a sigh from the distraught muscles.

As I wondered if I would be able to do my workout that morning, I faded into happy nothingness.

At a few minutes after five, hubbs sat beside me, rubbed my shoulder and said, “I was snoring, huh?”

I rolled off the couch, my back proclaiming that I would NOT being doing the mixed martial arts workout I’d planned, and limped back to my bed. Once there, I cuddled into my husband’s warm pillow and…

My little cat jumped on the bed and stood on my back. Well, my side and back. Then she headed over to attack the fingers peeking out from beneath the pillow.

I did return to sleep. To be awakened around 6:00 by my husband’s ringing cell phone and his conversation held right outside the bedroom door.

I should have just gotten up at 4:20, because I didn’t feel better when I rolled out of bed at 6:25, thinking my husband had left for work without kissing me goodbye (a big no-no around here).

I stumbled around, wincing at every move, calling my old body all sorts of unflattering names.

And realized I didn’t have a blog post in the queue for this morning. I had intended to write one on Saturday, but I was over my head finishing the first draft of Love’s Late Arrival. (I was thinking about some needed additions to it during my early morning should-be-sleeping ponderings.)

There are bathrooms to clean (the Monday chore).

At least the sun is shining. I’m hoping the ibuprofen I took will relieve my back’s simpering enough that I’ll be able to take a walk later today.

The worst part? I’d rather go back to bed. Even after all this proof it won’t make anything better. Maybe I’m planning to sleep until Monday yields to Tuesday.

What makes Monday blah for you? Or is there another day of the week you generally struggle with? Also, any encouraging words for my back problems would be accepted with gratitude.

Like reading this? You’re a click away from getting Hero Delivery, a bulletin with deals and new releases from Sharon Hughson.

Maybe you like romance or some of my other books. I’m sure there’s something worth reading on my page.

Already read one or more of my books? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. A review is the same as the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

Setting Goals You Can Reach

Last week, I wrote about how small goals got me published. And I talked about the three-step process I used to attain that goal. But does that help you set goals you can reach?

Because if you can’t set reachable goals, you’re never going to move from where you are now to where you want to be.

During this month, I’ve been working through a weekly course by Kimberly Job. It’s helping me plan my writing and personal goals for 2017.

2017 is the year…

  • I sign a traditional publishing contract for a novel
  • I pitch my nonfiction book proposal at a conference
  • I get my first 1000 subscribers to my mailing list
  • I publish my third Bible study book

And all of these things are going to happen because I’m working step-by-step plans for each and every one of them.

These aren’t small goals. My post last week suggested starting small, so if you’re new to the whole “reaching goals” mentality, please read that post.

Starting small will keep you from giving up. I promise.

But if you’re ready to tackle something bigger, read on.

Evaluation

This is the most important step in setting goals.

Unfortunately, it’s also the one people tend to rush or ignore.

No wonder they aren’t reaching their goals.

Kimberly Job of Sublime Reflection spurred me to evaluate myself more deeply than I have in other years. She offered a free four-week course and the first week was all about this step.

You can check out that course here.

Here are the categories she uses in this process:

  • Memories and accomplishments
  • Self and relationships
  • Struggles and challenges
  • Lessons learned

Before you set out to make any goals, take time to journal through 2016 in each of these areas. You might be surprised what you discover about your successes.

Also, this reflection should focus your thoughts on what is possible and what doesn’t work. Both of these things are important to know before you can establish attainable goals.

Brainstorming

The Sublime Reflection course spends the entire second week on brainstorming.

If you’re not a fan of brainstorming, I know you screwed your face into a wrinkle-causing grimace.

Stop!

The way the course breaks your life into ten segments and has you generate ideas specific to those makes the process run smoothly.

My favorite part was coloring the Wheel of Balance. It also showed me which areas of my life needed my attention.

Wouldn’t you like to know where to focus your attention in 2017?

Why set another goal of “exercising more” if that’s really not what you need to do in order to reach the bottom line you want?

And what does “exercise more” even mean? You’ll need to make your goals narrow and specific in order to know if you’ve reached them.

Here are the ten areas of life according to Ms. Job:

  • Marriage/relationship
  • Family & friends
  • Fun
  • Spirituality
  • Finances
  • Giving
  • Personal development
  • Physical environment
  • Health & fitness
  • Career

Can you guess which areas received the lowest rank in my world? What tops your list?

After I discovered my three very weak and two additional not-strong categories, I brainstormed a list of things I would like to accomplish in each area. Job encouraged us to list at least five in every category…and to leave the lid off.

Yes, if there were no constraints, what would you like to do with your career? Or your physical environment?

The thing about letting out the crazy dreams during brainstorming is that sometimes we realize they might not be so crazy after all. Not if we can figure out how to build a series of baby steps to reach them.

Nailing it Down

You can’t do it all.

Thinking you can will lead to failure. Sure, it might give you a false sense of accomplishment for a few weeks or months.

Then the stress will blindside you. And the urge to pack up your pencils and bury yourself beneath the covers will rear up.

This is why I have limited myself to ONE goal in each of the four areas of my life. (These areas are spiritual, physical, relational and career.)

If I set the goal too low, I can always add another goal once the first is reached. But I’ll be able to check off a box.

“I reached that goal this year.”

It feels great to make that mark.

The important thing about your goals is to make them specific.

For example, my career goal is not “sign a publishing contract.” That’s pretty broad.

Instead, it looks like this:

Sign a contract for ELEPHANT IN THE TEAROOM with a major publishing house

If I sell the book to a small press, I won’t have reached this goal. Of course, I might decide that’s a fair compromise and don’t need to consider that a failure.

But setting a specific goal will make me work furiously on the rewrites and edits for this manuscript so I can start querying agencies in February or March. Because it will take six to nine months to get a response once they ask for the full manuscript.

Goals Require Plans

Each one of the goals you set for 2017 requires it’s own plan of action.

People don’t get published on accident.

People don’t lose weight without working at it (unless they’re ill and then that’s not a good thing).

Your life will not get better if you don’t take steps toward making it better.

I talked about creating a plan last week. Check out that post or follow the links to other wise planners below.

4 Tips

Setting Goals

Action 16

What’s the best goal-setting advice you’ve ever received?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.

Already read one of more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.


		

Women Date Iron Man but Marry Captain America

Maybe you’re all sick of hearing about Captain America. But not sick of looking at him, right?

"Look at those guns."
“Look at those guns.”

But this post isn’t about Cap. Or his falling out with Iron Man in the newest Captain America film. This blog is about a woman’s need to find a hero.

Yes, this is probably the point where all the “I don’t need a man” women will want to stop reading. I won’t make women out to be weak and needy in this post, but I will expound on proven psychological needs.

Iron Man’s Appeal

During one of my lengthy Twitter conversation with an author friend of mine, she admitted Iron Man is a more interesting character. During the breakup of the Avengers, she sided with him mostly because she liked his attitude.

Tony Stark is the king of snark. His deadpan sarcasm adds plenty of entertainment value in the Marvel universe.

Funny, sure. But also a player. Even if he loves Pepper, he can’t commit to what she wants.

Maybe that means she isn’t the right woman for him. But it could also mean he’s not the man for a long-term relationship.

Nothing wrong with that. As long as you’re on the dating stage and aren’t looking for anything permanent.

For me? Dating was the interview process for finding Mr. Right.

Why Cap is better for the Long Term

Enter my ideal hero: Captain America. Decades encased in ice couldn’t change the love he had for Peggy Carter.

Let’s consider that Steve Rogers grew up in a different culture than Tony Stark. There were no electronic gadgets. He could barely scrape together money for bus fare.

It was a time when women wanted a man to take care of them. This wasn’t about jobs or perceived weakness. Women had value as the queen of a man’s domain.

Every king needs a queen, right? (Although it doesn’t appear that every queen needs a king if you look at matriarchal monarchies. That’s a different topic.)

Steve Rogers stands up for those who need an advocate. He’s willing to throw himself on a grenade for a group of strangers. His life has value only as long as he can help other people defeat their bullies.

The reason he was attracted to Peggy Carter was because she didn’t need to be rescued. But Steve saw her as someone who DESERVED to be protected.

He respected her for who she was. She hated that he wanted to protect her because she thought it meant he considered her as less, as needy. But his charm won her over once she realized his respect knew no bounds.

She could see that for the long haul, Steve would treat her right, stand by her and put her needs above his own (although not above those of the world when it needed saving).

Iron Man or Captain America

What’s your opinion?

Do you think Iron Man would be more fun on a date than Captain America?

Or maybe, like me, you’d prefer a man whose goal is to be YOUR hero. He’s not worried so much about saving the world as making it a place fit for his queen.

Maybe this means I wouldn’t marry either of these guys.

I’ve already found my hero. And married him.

And aren't we a happy couple?
And aren’t we a happy couple?

Let Cap save the world (it needs saving for sure). Meanwhile, my superhero makes my favorite breakfast on the weekends.

What do you think? Is Captain America marriage material? Or would you take Iron Man instead?

Happy Birthday to The Man

Happy birthday to the man…

Born June 27, 1965
Born June 27, 1965
  • of the hour
  • I’m married to
  • of my dreams
  • who puts up with me day after day
  • who proposed to me 29 years ago and married me 28 years ago
  • who is the best father my boys could have
  • who I’m glad to grow old with
  • who spoils me
  • I love…still…after all this time
  • who looks at me with awestruck eyes
  • who loves me…still…after living with me for nearly three decades

Okay, the man’s a saint! I admit it. I’m the one who calls him “Mr. Wonderful” after all.

Back in 1982 when two cute seniors flirted with me the day before school started, I never would have imagined one of them would be my husband. And it wasn’t the one I dated first, either.

P4300107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a man who stood beside me through the births of two sons (well, there were those few moments he was nearly passing out, but I hardly remember that).

After the birth of son #1
After the birth of son #1

This is the man who taught our sons to shoot hoops, ride a bike and drive a car.

tanner_0019

Yes, he’s an amazing father. My boys are blessed.

A0064

 

 

 

He spoils me with great trips

Caribbean 2016
Caribbean 2016

And I let him spoil himself with Mustang convertibles

P6180269

He has a sense of adventure that parallels mine

Ziplining 2016
Ziplining 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention a sense of humor

Thanksgiving 2012 -085

And didn’t he help me make handsome children?

Now we’re blessed with daughters, and our family is complete.

Thad & Kacy Wedding 2016 - 0627

Happy birthday, Mr. Wonderful. I’m glad you let me talk you into dating me and then trick you into marrying me. I hope I make you half as happy as you’ve made me.

Here’s to another 50-some years, right?

 

Vacation Days are NOT supposed to become Sick Leave

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take a week off from your job and only have positive memories? That’s what a vacation is supposed to be, right? Even if your company says all Paid Time Off is the same, you never equate vacation days to sick leave.

Unless you’re my husband.

I love the man, truly I do. You’ve heard me extol his virtues. He’s nicknamed Mr. Wonderful because he is indeed amazing.

However, he gets sick at the most inopportune moments.

Like his twenty-first birthday – before he had anything alcoholic to drink.

Or maybe when you’re in the car driving for five hours.

Even when you’re experiencing Sea World for the first time, the man is likely to get a turbulent tummy or woozy skull.

How about spending two days of a seven-day vacation flat on his back with flu-like symptoms? Sounds fun, right? Add to that the cherry of another day of inability to leave the room, and you have our Indio vacation.

It’s Vacation

Our friends suggested that perhaps hubby’s body was finally at rest enough to rebel for the constant travel of the past few months.

Maybe they exposed him to the flu-like virus that had plagued their local schools.

Airplanes are a hotbed of germiness, what with only recirculated air to breathe for hours on end.

We’ll never know why my spouse took sick on the vacation when his body could have used actual sick days if it had waited five more days.

It’s probably the fault of his employer. After all, they consider anything Paid Time Off-be it vacation or sick leave.

Sick Leave away from Home

Our Worldmark ownership provides us a home away from home. We’re not renting those condominiums we stay it, we own them. Sort of.

So, being sick at Worldmark Indio should have been tantamount to suffering illness at home. Right?

Wrong.

We didn’t have any medicine with us. The mini-market at the resort provided single doses of cold and flu meds for $2. And even though it was obvious he was burning with fever, I had no thermometer with which to measure the severity.

Even the water tasted wrong. Everyone knows you need to drink gallons of it when you’re sick. Flush out the virus and all that.

As much as we loved this resort, it wasn’t the place to experience severe illness.

Nurse or Playmate?

I was on vacation, too. Who did that leave to take care of the sick man?

“Go to the park,” my feverish husband whispered. The crud stole his voice along with his vitality. “I’m going to sleep all day. I’ll be fine.”

So I went.

One among many: a Joshua Tree in the park
One among many: a Joshua Tree in the park

Off to Joshua Tree National Park in the back seat of my friends’ rental car.

I was the worst nurse in history.

Of course, I’m not much better when I stay around to offer up medicine, liquids and bites of food.

The second day, he didn’t even pretend to feel like taking a shower. This was my spa day. But his eighteen holes of golf weren’t going to happen.

I’m an evil person. I didn’t think about him tossing and turning, drenched in the soft sheets on our king-sized bed once while enjoying my pampering.

I did offer to make him lunch and brought him medicine. I’d rushed out to the pharmacy to stock up on cough and cold medicine before I went to the spa. I happily doled out the doses now, doubling up on the amount of cough medicine because his wracking cough hurt me.

Then I went to the pool with my book.

Can't you feel the relaxation already?
Can’t you feel the relaxation already?

Now you know what sort of person I really am. The kind of person who attempts to stay on vacation when a twist of fate turns it into sick leave.

What would you have done? Stayed locked inside the condo when you chose the location so you could soak in the Vitamin D?

Consider this my official protest against PTO days that trick a vacation into becoming sick leave.

Shopping – Caribbean Style

On our recent cruise, we went shopping.

Apparently, this is something everyone does in the Caribbean. And, according to the shopping expert for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (yes, they have a crew member whose only job is to tell you how to shop), people go to the Caribbean to buy one thing.

Diamonds.

I never did fully grasp WHY the Caribbean was such an awesome place to purchase diamonds. After all, they don’t mine them there. Maybe they cut and finish them on those pretty little islands.

In any case, the cruise line has some sort of agreement with a large diamond wholesaler (and retailer), Diamonds International. They promoted them at every turn, to the extent that cruisers get a free, unique charm at the DI store on each island.

“Don’t forget to get your charms” one of my friends told me as I prepared for the cruise.

I was a noob. I had no clue what she was talking about.

Now I do.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. Well, for sure it is CHEAPER at times.

Diamonds are Forever

You know this old saying, right? I think it was probably a marketing slogan for a jeweler at some point in the past.

We know it was the title of a James Bond movie. It may have originated before that time, but it’s been around since 1971 (pretty much my whole life).

Question: if diamonds are forever, why do people get new diamond jewelry?

Silly me.

Because they need a pendant and earrings to complement their stunning wedding ring.

Or they need bigger earrings. Or a larger diamond carat weight on their finger. After all, who will notice that little chip their husband could afford back in the day, when they were both poor college graduates.

Diamonds are hard. They won’t lose their value (much- depending on the jeweler you try to pawn them to).

Not only do they sparkle in sunlight and glitter under bright lights, diamonds are the traditional stone for wedding and anniversary rings.

Because diamonds are forever. Like love should be. Like marriage is supposed to be. A perfect symbol for those enduring institutions.

Diamond Rings

I’ve had three different wedding rings in my life. I never planned it that way. In fact, I never thought much about a wedding ring at all.

Until I got engaged.

Here’s the rundown on my rings:

Ring #1: An heirloom wedding set from my grandmother. I wore this on my wedding day and for several months because my husband wanted to get me the “perfect” ring I wanted.

Ring #2: A custom made ring wrapping the diamond solitaire with a flower of rubies and diamonds.

Ring #3: Another ring, similar to ring two, with the one difference being a larger (half-carat) marquis cut diamond as the centerpiece.

In the Caribbean, my husband bought me wedding ring number four, and I won’t be looking for anything different for another 27 years (or more).

Diamond Love

I didn’t go to the Caribbean to buy a diamond – regardless of what the cruise line tried to tell me. My planned purchases: gifts for my kids and parents, a few souvenirs to help me remember the trip.

So, it goes without saying that we didn’t intend to purchase a new ring when we walked into DI to pick up our “free” charm. (You see how this is a huge marketing trap now, right? Consider yourself warned.)

In fact, I wanted to look at upgrading my diamond stud earrings. Not because I needed bigger stones. The posts make my ears break out. Since I leave them in my second piercing all the time, this creates problems.

Painful ones.

crown of lightHowever, the shopping guru on the ship had dazzled me with her engagement ring. It was a special cut called Crown of Light. The diamond has 90 facets to showcase all the brilliance hidden in its depths.

It’s unique to DI. They even have a website dedicated to it. Don’t believe me? Click here.

Innocent me walked into the den of diamonds.

What happened next?

Read about this epic shopping adventure in the next post.

Encouragement at the Right Moment

This morning, I woke up feeling alone. I wasn’t. My husband’s alarm had just blared, and a cat curled against either side of my body.

My heart gaped, a barren wilderness.

Why do humans experience this? Everything around us goes along like the Friday evening commuter train, but our emotions bottom out.

What’s worse: people have complimented me on my amazing marriage.

Ha! That’s what I wanted to yell this morning.

My husband and I are miles apart. I tried to talk to him about x and he kept watching the football game. When I asked him to do y with me, he was too busy cleaning out the garage.

And I want the garage cleaned out as much as the next person. Truly. While he watched football, I read a chapter or two from three separate books I’m plowing through at the moment.

It’s not like it was a life-or-death moment.

But it’s become the norm in our home, rather than the exception.

When Paths Diverge

Many years ago now, I experienced a similar feeling.

We were in a much different place. Our boys had both just begun attending school full-time (now they are college graduates). My husband had a job that required travel, and I was a volunteer at the school, still unsure what to do with time that had previously been dedicated to entertaining my preschool-aged child.

The only similarity: I was trying to pursue my writing dream.

I gave it up back then.

When I described this time to my cousin, I said:

“We’re on different paths. His is moving steadily away from mine. The only way to change things is to turn them toward each other. So I make the choice to abandon my path and join his.”

Those words replayed again this morning. And my immediate thought was, “Well, I changed paths last time so it’s his turn.”

Now you know the truth about how unselfish I’m not.

Love is a Choice

My biggest issue with romance novels and romance movies is they paint love as some intense feeling.

Love-is-a-decisionTwo people meet. They’re physically attracted to each other. Somehow one of them helps the other out of a jam (maybe they help each other). Hands touch and sparks fly. Lips meet and it’s an earthquake of epic proportions.

Reality is a bit different. Sure, it might start the same way, but once two people commit to a lifetime together, things change.

No matter how perfect someone is, they will eventually rub you the wrong way. Voices will raise. Words which can’t be unspoken will slash tender feelings.

Now it’s time for love to step in. Love says, “I forgive you.” It chooses to forget the hurt and focus on the positive things. It won’t hold a grudge-ever.

Did I feel like letting go of the anger? After all, I was RIGHT. He should have to say it (and we should write it down because it has happened only a handful of times in our nearly three decades together).

I choose to love. Love says, “My way is not as important as keeping the peace.”

I know, completely not what human nature wants to say.

But, when I’m not “feeling the love,” I can still choose to act in a loving way. Because love is a choice.

Encouragement via Email

I follow a few dozen blogs. Some of them appear automatically on my WordPress reader. Others show up in email form.

This Monday, two emails came from two different Christian authors I follow.

The first one, entitled Loving for Life (from Melinda Inman), got a scan. I mean, I didn’t feel like being reminded that I had made a promise on May 27, 1988.

But a few phrases made it past my stubbornness anyway:

“They didn’t mesh seamlessly from day one.”

“Every marriage has the potential to fall apart-all it takes is one of the two partners deciding they’ve had enough.”

But I wasn’t deciding THAT. I just wanted to bask in my right-ness for a few minutes.

So the next email says “The mechanics of love (this is not as boring as it sounds).”

I had to click through to read the entire post. I’m glad I did.

Not because Pastor Bubna said anything new. Nope. I’d heard it all before. Many times. I’d even said some of it when doling out advice.

I needed to hear it today. These two writers spoke straight to my heart.

Their encouragement landed in my inbox at the exact moment I needed it.

And I put my right to being right aside. Seriously. Who needs it? Wouldn’t I rather have a husband who is my best friend?

The little voice that whispered, “It’s the writing that’s the problem” got snuffed, too.

It isn’t the writing. In fact, the writing has the potential to offer the same sort of encouragement to a world of people who I will never meet face-to-face. Like the two emails did for me.

The writing is a gift from the Giver of Life, and He recently showed me a more perfect way to use it for Him. So, of course, the enemy stepped right up hoping to discourage me from moving in that direction.

Friends, choose love today. You might not feel like it, but that’s okay. Love is always the right choice – and rarely the easy choice.

Any of my regular readers have any experience similar to these? Share your lessons. Be the encouragement others need.

Scrapbooking a Wedding – Part 2 – The Engagement

In the wake of one whirlwind wedding, the memorabilia for another waxed and waned. Without an engagement, there would be no wedding. Right?

Engagements are epic. Entire movies have been plotted around popping the question.

Why was it so difficult to put this spread of pages together?

Call me creatively stifled. Or dumbfounded by the over-abundance of information.

The Plan

Never let it be said that my youngest son doesn’t have a plan.

It may look like haphazard meandering. Especially if you’ve seen how he keeps his clean clothes *frowns*

He had everything set up. Reservations at the restaurant he wanted, buddies lined up to set the proposal site in order.

Even video and photo equipment.

So – he was early for the reservations. Better than late though.

The dinner was excellent. The dessert a delicious “enjoy me later” delicacy from The Cheesecake Factory.

Flower petals were strewn with obvious care in the private glen on campus.

Perfect.

The Photos

Darkness curtained this romantic setting. And someone didn’t have a flash. Or something to add light for the video.

Pictures were taken. Filming progressed.

In the end, the Dark Side prevailed.

The only remaining proof lay in the minds of those in attendance.

It’s pretty hard to use that for scrapbook images.

And then there were two

The all-important question was posed. The lovely girl said, “Yes.”

So they are engaged.

Both of them blogged their side of the story. And posted pictures taken with their camera phones at the restaurant. (One of those moments when a phone that is also a camera is a wonderful thing.)

Those images and recollections are all the fodder I had to make a memorable page layout in their keepsake book.

Thankfully, the weather turned wet. The man worked late.

Messing up the table with all my paper paraphernalia seemed like a profitable use of time.

And the project continues. Now, my creative future daughter is planning on making 200 wedding invitations.

Talk about some scraps for the book…

Whirlwind Wedding

This isn’t a shotgun wedding. It wasn’t a whirlwind romance. No, they had nearly five years of dating and another year of friendship. But in those last two weeks, a cyclone descended.

Toward the middle of July, my oldest son showed up during the middle of the day. He needed to borrow the Internet, he said.

Next thing I know, he’s standing in front of my desk holding a tell-tale jeweler’s box. He’d just paid cash for this beautiful wedding ring.

“When are you going to propose?” A shrug was his answer.

I showered him with romantic ideas. I would later learn that he come up with a fantastic one of his own. Was there ever a doubt?

A few weeks went by. I said nothing. Pretended I knew nothing whenever I was around his lovely girlfriend. It would have given a lesser woman an ulcer.

At the beginning of the month, we’re playing games with our out-of-town guests. A text from Sara. “It finally happened!”

A picture of the ring came with the next text. What did we do back in the day before we could show off our engagement ring to the world with a snap and click?

Our bevy of congratulatory texts went back to her and my son. The Facebook status was updated the next day.

Two days later, I get a text from my husband. “The wedding is Friday at the courthouse.”

Friday. As in two DAYS from now?

Whoops. Next Friday. Oh, as in nine days. That’s so much better.

Before I can barely start the next day, my future daughter calls.

“Can we get married at your house next Saturday?”

What happened to Friday? But I have to admit, our living room or backyard will be a nicer setting than a courtroom.

Even without solid green, this is better than some sterile courtroom. Right?
Even without solid green, this is better than some sterile courtroom. Right?

A bunch of pictures of dresses come zipping across the digital phone waves (if that’s a thing) and light up the screen of my smart phone.

This is really happening. My oldest son is going to get married in a few days.

We want to help. We drive to my son’s apartment (soon to be the residence of newlyweds) and talk about what they want: for the ceremony and afterward, and in moving her stuff to his place.

I’m in charge of purchasing two dozen white roses. She’s going to make her own bouquet. The photo she sends is gorgeous.

The night before the wedding, she shows up with her sisters. My other future daughter comes with baby’s breath ( “I could have bought that, too”) and ice cream.

What the video said would take an hour to make FOUR of, takes an hour and ten minutes to construct a single arrangement. But it’s lovely.

Too lovely to toss
Too lovely to toss

And it’s late. And I can’t sleep.

I get up early. Sweep the house again (did it two days earlier). Wipe off the kitchen counter. Twice.

My husband is outside setting up chairs. He already hosed down the patio and moved everything out of sight. Our half-brown yard looks as good as it can get.

The couple who was engaged first. Wedding set for January 2, 2016
The couple who was engaged first. Wedding: January 2, 2016

 

My youngest son’s fiance is the first to show up. More than two hours before the wedding.

Even though we joked about him being late, the groom shows up 30 minutes later. With a shirt and slacks that are just-out-of-the-package wrinkled. Good, a task to concentrate on.

A few minutes later, my youngest son and the minister arrive. It’s still more than an hour until the wedding and I have a house full of people. I’m still running around in shorts without any makeup on.

So, I let the dryer steam the shirt and I go get ready.

A text. The bride is running late.

So the groom gets grilled. Does he have everything? Like what. Ring? Check. License?

License?

Yeah, you know that thing the minister and witnesses are supposed to sign to make this marriage legal.

Whoops. It’s on the counter at his apartment – about twenty minutes away. It’s fifteen minutes to “go time.”

The bride is alerted and she agrees to turn around and go pick it up. (When this story is told in the future, everyone will understand it was the groom’s fault the wedding didn’t start on time.)

Needless to say, while a whirlwind juggled everything in the ten days prior to the wedding, the wedding started nearly 40 minutes late.

The bride’s family arrived before the bride.

The bride needed to change into her dress when she did arrive. Her sisters and mother wanted to inspect it. The other guests waited in the backyard.

Traditional vows
Traditional vows

As far as whirlwind timing, the wedding ceremony itself lasted about five minutes. Pictures took another ten to fifteen minutes. And a gust sent everyone off to the after-wedding luncheon.

Many women want a big fancy wedding ceremony with all the trappings. Some people just want to be married.

Whirlwind or traditional – you’re married just the same.

What type of wedding did you have? Any regrets? Like maybe you wished you saved those thousands of dollars for a down payment on a house?