When Our Military Spouse Is Deployed…

It is difficult to make an all-inclusive list of everything that goes on in the lives of a military family during deployment and TDYs. I have read several attempts at making lists so that friends and family may better understand our perspective. Unfortunately, they all fall short of giving the full picture of our lives. My list will fall short as well. Many things on my list apply even if my husband is not deployed but when he is gone for any length of time it makes these points much more applicable. In no particular order, and with the understanding that this can’t possibly include everything, here is some things you should know about us…

We live paycheck to paycheck.

B1~Even when my husband is home, we are out of money by the end of the month. This is not because we are always careless with our money. Anyone who knows me well knows that I do my best to manage the money well. I realize that not everyone is as organized as I am but I personally have a large binder that holds all of the bills that we pay monthly. I diligently budget out where our paycheck goes… down to the penny. Inevitably, something comes up that requires money that we were not expecting to spend and our budget for the month goes out the window.

~We do tend to spend more during deployment. Usually there is a little more money coming in the paycheck. This is the time to try and catch up with the bills, to buy that extra “toy” that we haven’t been able to afford, and to treat the kids to a restaurant or activity… all before the money runs out and we are back to our normal routine.

~We also do whatever we can to help earn more money to help the finances. If we do not have a full or part-time job, we have yard sales, home businesses (Norwex, Thirty-One, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Scentsy, etc…), we babysit, do yard work, and basically will do anything we can to earn that extra cash. The money we earn ensures that we will be ok if we grab happy meals for lunch or get an extra outfit that the kids fall in love with, so our kids can do extra curricular activities, and so that every once in a while we can pay a babysitter and go run errands for a few hours without kids.

We stay busy so that we (and the kids) don’t have time to think about Daddy (or Mommy) being gone.

B5~Very few days go by that we do not have to leave the house and go somewhere. School, appointments, play dates, church services, church activities, library, pool, lessons and practices, clubs, etc. Even if we are home, we are cleaning house, making meals, having friends over, reading, watching movies, and sleeping. A full day keeps everyone distracted so that we don’t worry about Daddy or Mommy (What they are doing, How & Why they are doing it, Where they are, and When they will get at chance to call us).

~We often do things that we do not want to do for the sake of our kids. As an example, a few weeks ago, I took the girls to the BBQ on base for families with deployed family members. It is way outside of my comfort zone to interact with people I don’t know. I was the one sitting on the bench watching the kids and not talking to anyone. But, I felt it was important for the girls to play on the bouncy house and get a backpack. This gave them something to do that was a treat out of the normal routine.

We do not know when Daddy (or Mommy) is coming home.

~We may or may not know an approximate time frame. If we do, we will answer your question usually sounding like this: “Hopefully he will get back the end of August or the beginning of September. There is a chance he could be extended and have to stay a couple of months longer. You never know with the military!” There was a time that I was told 4 different changes to his return schedule within a 4 hour timeframe!

~Most of us have learned our lesson about avoiding the countdowns with the kids. One time we were told he would get back the night before Easter. So we set out the Easter baskets early and bought a cake that said “Welcome Home!” Then, I had to deal with the aftermath of telling a 2 1/2 year old why Daddy didn’t come home while she was sleeping. Never again will I tell them he is coming home until he has set foot in our town. Often, we just surprise them and let them figure it out when he walks in the door or when they wake up in the morning and find him sleeping in bed.

We do not watch the news.

~With the exception of articles I see on facebook (which I can choose to read or not read), I do not want to see what is going on in the part of the world where he is at. It is better for me not to know and not worry as much (we never stop worrying) then for me to be constantly trying to figure out what part he may or may not play in the overseas drama. He will tell me (if he can) when he gets home. If he cannot tell me, then it confirms my reasons why I don’t want to know while he is there.

We need help but there are very few people we will ask because we do not want to be a burden.

B2~Unless you are family or a friend who we absolutely consider family, we will not ask for your help. The exception is if we are paying you to do a service like babysitting, yard work, etc. We attempt to do most everything ourselves but if for some reason we can’t it is embarrassing for us to actually ask for help.

~We “save” our favors. If we know that we may need to ask a certain person for help during a deployment, we limit our requests to when we have no other option but to ask them. We do not want to overwhelm the same person with all of our potential requests.

~Even if you offer to help us, we most likely will not take you up on the offer (unless you are family or a friend who we consider family). We have found that most offers are half-hearted or completely insincere. We would rather that you do not offer at all then offer and not really mean it.

~There are a few women who act like they cannot lift a finger to do anything for themselves. These women are constantly calling their husband’s shop to demand help with everything and cause hardworking men to resent them because they insist that they be taken from their jobs & families to tend to the needy wife of their co-worker. These women give military wives a bad name but I assure you there are very few who actually fall into this category. The majority of us would only call our husband’s shop in case of emergency or something that legitimately cannot be solved without the help of a military organization (finance, family readiness, etc.).

We will help others even if we need help ourselves.

B4~This goes along with keeping busy. We often over book ourselves with activities and helping others. You may really need someone to watch your kids, carpool kids, help you with your house or yard, take care of your pets, run to the store, hang out and watch a movie, have a deep conversation about something important, etc. We will most likely do any and all of these things, even if it causes us to burn out from exhaustion, because you are our friend and we care about you.

~At any given time, WE could also need any and all of these things.

We may look like we have it all together but inside we are crumbling.

~We miss our husbands (or wives).

~We carry the fear of the unknown and the “what if’s.”

~We carry all of the stress of running a household, finances, everything that goes wrong, raising/teaching/disciplining the children, etc. because there is no way our spouse can handle any of it from afar.

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We are exhausted.

B3~We do not get enough sleep, we wake up frequently during the night, we do not get to sleep in. Enough said.

~Coffee (& coffee creamer), Tea, and Wine are essential to our survival. If we go to get a drink of any of these items and they are not in our kitchen, we feel like a tidal wave has engulfed our entire body. Coffee in the morning to help us wake up, coffee or tea for lunch or snack to keep us going, tea or wine to help relax us enough so we can go to sleep. All three (at different times) are essential to a great conversation with a friend, reading a good book, or soaking in a hot bath.

We take lots of photos.

~During deployment so that we can post them on facebook so our husbands (or wives) do not feel so disconnected from the family.

~Before deployment so that we might just happen to get photos like these:

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Here are some practical ways of helping us during a deployment or TDY:

~Pray for us.

~Write us an encouraging note.

~Bring us a meal… or a cup of coffee… or a bottle of wine.

~Support our home businesses if we sell something you love and spread the word to your friends!

~If we are relying on you for something, make sure that you follow through with what you said you would do for us.

~If you go by our house on trash day and our garbage is not on the curb, take a minute to stop and do it for us. We most likely completely forgot.

~Watch our kids for a day so that we can get some things accomplished without the constant interruption of kids. Or better yet, watch them for a whole night so that we can actually get some sleep.

~Recognize when we are crumbling and allow us to vent our frustrations or cry on your shoulder.

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All photos not marked with “Heart Treasures” were found on Google Images.

As 2013 Ends…

Here is our Christmas Letter for this year!

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Dear Family and Friends,

As you all know, we moved to New Mexico in December 2012. We found a home and moved in just in time for Christmas. We closed on our house in January. In February, we became members of Central Baptist Church. It is a much larger church than what we are used too but we connected with the people in our Sunday School class and there are many programs, activities, and ministries that have allowed us to feel at home there. By summer, we all had adjusted to our new home and with autumn came busy schedules. Throughout the year, we have met amazing friends and are grateful that God has given us family away from home so quickly!

Shane has finally completed his training to become a Flight Engineer. It was a long journey but he is now enjoying his career more so than he did before. As a part of a flight crew, he travels more frequently but he has already traveled to some amazing places in the past few months!

Alysa is currently not working outside of the home but has been keeping busy with many activities. She is in the church choir and helps in the church library. She is also a women’s core-group leader with Community Bible Study and she teaches a Crafting Through the Bible class for the homeschooling co-op kids. She is still a Juice Plus+ Distributor as well.

Kendal and Audrey will be turning 7 and 5 in January. Both girls are also involved with many activities. They are in Awana clubs, Kid’s Central, Community Bible Study, and they play soccer on local teams. We started out the year homeschooling but after a lot of prayer and wise counsel, we decided to put Kendal in a public elementary school. So far she is enjoying the classroom setting but we are still in the process of getting her caught up academically. Please keep her in prayer as she adjusts to the new routine. Audrey is now able to have more one on one time with Alysa and Shane which has been a blessing.

Noriko has been a part of our family since August! She is an exchange student from Okinawa, Japan (which is where we were stationed for 4 years). She will be staying with us for the entire school year. She is attending the local high school, participates in dance classes at a local studio, and attends youth group at church. The girls absolutely love their new big sister! Shane and I have enjoyed having her here.

This year, we are planning to spend Christmas in Iowa with Shane’s family and New Year’s in Michigan with some of Alysa’s family. We are also hoping to take a trip to Delaware to see Alysa’s family sometime before the school year ends so that we can take Noriko to places like Washington DC. Please pray that we can work out the timing, finances, and Shane’s leave approval so that we can take these vacations!

As 2013 comes to a close, we have been reflecting on the changes our family has experienced throughout the past year. It has been said that “Change is always in your favor when you are walking with the Lord.“ Overall, we have had a very good year!

May “the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” this Christmas season and new year! (Numbers 6:24-26)

Love, Shane, Alysa, Kendal, Audrey, & Noriko

My Valley

Several years ago, I shared part of my personal testimony as a Mother’s Day post (you can see original post here). A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to share a devotional with my women’s Bible study group. A few days before I had to share,  I had a pretty personal conversation with Noriko that lead to me sharing my testimony with the women (most of which had not heard it before). I did make some changes from my original post but most of it is unchanged or just rearranged. I did not share all of this with Noriko [my exchange student from Japan who was with us during the 2013/2014 school year] just the parts below that I specifically mention her. So here is what I shared with my friends:

I was saved as a young child and grew up in a Christian but very dysfunctional home. As the oldest of 4 kids I had to grow up way too quickly while we dealt with severe illnesses, divorce, remarriages, constant moves, financial insecurity, and a whole lot more. When I was young; all I wanted in life was to get married and have kids. I dated several guys throughout high school and had serious relationship my senior year and after high school another serious relationship that lead to engagement. Shane and I started dating a few months after my previous engagement ended. We got married in 2002. I jumped into a marriage expecting it to cure all of life’s problems but I carried a lot of my childhood baggage with me. I quickly found out that life’s problems didn’t go away just because I switched households and who I was accountable to. We had a great first year of marriage. After that our careers (Shane-Military & Me-Nursing) and different shifts carried us in different directions and from there our marriage went downhill on so many different levels. We also experienced several difficulties which included me being in a major car accident which God totally and graciously spared my life. In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I had always wanted children and was very excited. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor didn’t say for sure that I was miscarrying. But as a nurse who had worked in the OB-GYN field, I knew what was going on. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote the following poem:

My Valley

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;

You give me strength to sing.

Only you know why I am going through this trial.

I can rest in your comforting arms.

Not knowing what the future holds for this life inside of me;

I give this child to you.

Like Hannah gave you Samuel before he was born,

Like Abraham gave you Isaac before the sacrifice,

I trust your will.

When I rest upon wings as eagles;

You will give me strength.

I shall run through this valley and not be weary.

I shall walk and not be faint.

When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil because of sin that Shane and I each individually had let into our lives. We almost got divorced but during the time we were trying to reconcile we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together.

We moved to Okinawa, Japan where Kendal and later Audrey was born. For seven months after Audrey was born; I dealt with medical issues including a couple of surgeries. On top of that; our family experienced another major marriage crisis and I started to fall into depression. In 2009, we left Okinawa for about a month and went home to deal with our family situation. During that experience I started to learn what it meant to fully rely on God for comfort and strength.

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In the years since then I have been allowing God to work on me in a way that I never have before that year. The biggest continuing struggle for me has been the anger and bitterness in my life. Each time I experienced a crisis it just added to the problem. I have been able to truly forgive those who have hurt me just like Jesus forgave me on the cross. And I have been able to make time to focus on my relationship with God and my family. I journey with God regularly by praying, writing, singing, and accountability and He continues to heal me on a daily basis. I have not made it to where I need to be yet; but I am daily running the race and pressing towards the goal of being more Christlike. Through everything; God has continued to bless me, my marriage, and my family as a whole.

A few days ago, Noriko (my exchange student) and I had a conversation that inspired me to share all of this with you. Keep in mind that often when we have to explain things to her we have to continuously use her translator for words or concepts she is unfamiliar with. So it is not always a quick explanation. She was asking why Americans have middle names. This led into me explaining that we often choose names based on meaning or family connection. Audrey means Noble Woman and her middle name, Lynae, pays tribute to both my mom whose middle name is Lynn and Shane’s mom who’s first name is Lynn. I told Noriko that Kendal’s name was even more meaningful and explained to her that I had lost 2 babies through miscarriage before she was born. We chose the name Kendal back during our first miscarriage based on the poem which I wrote “as I walk through the valley of death”. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” We thought that it would be a fitting name for a baby who overcame the valley of death and lived. Noriko seemed to be in awe over all of this.

At the end of my poem I referenced my favorite Bible verses Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

While I was Okinawa, I found a plaque that has the passage in both English and Japanese which is now hanging in our hallway. I showed it to Noriko and after she read it, I explained that when we are tired and broken and are going through things that bring us down, we put our trust in Jesus and he carries us back up so that we can fly again. In response, Noriko said that she likes Christian thinking 🙂

So in conclusion, I would like to emphasize that I give God all of the glory for continuing to work in my life through my trials. My message to all of you is God never promised that we would always be happy when we have Jesus as our Savior; instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 Paul says “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. And he can always use our testimonies to impact other people and draw them into His kingdom.

(Eagle Photo found here)

About Boycotting…

I have spent a week praying about the topic that I am going to blog about today. In the past week, I have also asked several Christian friends their opinions on the subject. I found that most people agreed with me but there were a few who did not. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the opinion of friends who do not believe in the Bible, so I do not presume to know their opinion of the topic except for what I have seen expressed on facebook or in online comments on news articles.

If you have seen the news or have had any presence online in the last week or so, I am sure that you have heard of the conflict between the media and Chick Fil-A. In an interview, the company’s CEO stated that he supports traditional marriage which caused an uproar in the gay and liberal communities. Anyone who knows anything about Chick Fil-A would also know that the company was founded by a Christian man and has been run with Christian based values its entire existence. Despite pressure from communities, Chick Fil-A closes its doors on Sundays so that its employees have the option to go to church if they choose to do so.

(Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the New Chick Fil-A song)

What surprises me (well actually it doesn’t really) is that when the company’s CEO was asked his opinion in the interview, and he stated it according to well-known Christian beliefs, the media acted shocked at his response.

Of course, the gay community immediately jumped to the conclusion that Chick Fil-A and its CEO and owners hates all gays. This is something that I do not understand. Why does disagreeing with homosexuality automatically equal hatred towards or afraid of homosexuals? I might disagree with someone on any topic (religion, how to raise kids, what movies or books we like, how we spend our money, etc) but that doesn’t mean I hate them or am afraid of them. In my opinion, only when someone’s actions show that they are hateful or afraid, should that argument be used (such as Westboro church has so frequently demonstrated). Anyway, due to their misguided opinion, a lot of the liberal community has declared a boycott on Chick Fil-A. For some reason, it seems as though gays only seem to have an intolerance toward Christians and Christian companies when Biblically based beliefs are expressed. I wonder if they realize that all Abrahamic religions (Christian, Judaism, Islam) as well as other world religions find homosexuality morally wrong.

Which brings me to the point of my post. Obviously most people tend to support companies either that support their values and/or that provide goods/services that we need or want. (For example, if I need a Christian book I more than likely will purchase it from a Christian book store instead of a large book store chain unless the Christian book store didn’t have the book I needed). But what reason(s) would make someone choose to boycott certain companies? When I asked this question of friends, I received several responses.

One friend says he has a loose boycott of all large corporations.  Whenever possible he shops local and pays slightly more for things but he does so knowing that 100% of the retail markup goes to local people; who then spend it locally. This doesn’t prevent him from shopping at larger corporations if commissions from his purchases will help a personal friend or if a local shop is closed and there is an immediate need for an item or service.

Another friend tries to avoid all companies that he knows are pro-gay.

Yet another friend has a whole list of companies that she boycotts based on the following three reasons “1) open hatred of Christians in general 2) Use of practices that are in direct opposition to God’s will, like using aborted stem cells for flavor enhancement and 3) support of agendas that hurt the morality of the country, abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity etc. “

Another friend points out that “in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is telling believers that there is no harm in buying and eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. The issue he was addressing was one of whether eating that meat caused a brother to stumble, but the context of the verse is that in the first-century, pagan temples funded themselves in part by selling the meat that they sacrificed. A Christian, knowing that idols are nothing, could purchase and eat that meat without fear of incurring the wrath of said idol, but apparently, Paul had no problem with money passing into hands of pagan temples from Christian pockets.”

My husband said that according to the Bible, we should fast in private without announcing it to the world which would bring glory to ourselves instead of God. So he feels that if a Christian is going to boycott a company, they should do it quietly so as to not draw attention to themselves so that they do not seem “more holy than thou, preachy, a bully, or intolerant.”

So, what do I think? I think in most cases, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. We Christians want non-Christians to be to tolerant of our religious beliefs. Gays want Christians to be tolerant of their sexual orientation. Yet when both sides boycott every company that may or may not disagree with our beliefs, both sides are in fact being intolerant. Our country was founded on freedom. In this country, I have the right to be a Christian. Someone else has the right to be gay. I also have the right to believe that homosexuality is morally wrong just as someone who is not a Christian has the right to not believe in my God or my Bible. All that being said, if someone (conservative or liberal) truly has a conviction to boycott a company or cause, I believe they should follow their convictions. But they should do it without spouting hate and judgement towards the company they are boycotting. There are companies/organizations that I do not support because they go against my beliefs. There are also plenty of companies that I still shop at or use their services even though they may have some history of disagreeing with my beliefs. We should stick to our convictions with humility and recognize that others have different convictions without being judgemental towards each other.

I love the following song which reminds us that sometimes we as Christians stand in the way of others knowing Jesus.

Jesus, Friend Of Sinners  By: Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners
We have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name
But the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners
The truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You
But they’re tripping over me

Always looking around but never looking up
I’m so double minded
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands
And a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world
At the end our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinners
The One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away
And the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we’re for
Only what we’re against
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs
Crossed over the lines
And loved like You did

You love every lost cause
You reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame
They’re the reason that You came
Lord, I was that lost cause
And I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me
A grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good
You are good
And Your love endures forever
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And just for fun, here is the New Chick Fil-A song by Tim Hawkins…

Why I Do Not Read Erotic Fiction

I tend to read secular books that are controversial so that I can be prepared when I get into a discussion about them. I try not to completely judge a book based on what people say because a lot of people refuse to read (or insist on reading) a book… just because of the hype. Even Christian books throughout the ages have been judged poorly when they first were written (C.S. Lewis fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia, for example). I’ve read The Davinci Code, the Harry Potter series, Twilight saga, The Hunger Games trilogy, and several other controversial books. I don’t care for some of them and others I have no problem with. No matter what my view is on these books, I can have a knowledgeable discussion about each of them should they come up in conversation. The same goes with movies. I will often watch a movie just because it is controversial so that if someone asks I can give my honest opinion. And just to be fair, I have also read “Christian” books that many Christians love which I personally feel should never have had a Christian label due to bad theology (for example The Shack-see my review here).
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When it comes to the above mentioned books, I find that people question whether or not I should have read them. Yet, often they still come to me to get my opinion about books or movies on their radar. Generally, instead of saying “yes or no” about whether they should read or watch something, I will just tell them what the book or movie is about and let them make their own decision based on their convictions. If they ask questions like, “Isn’t there a lot of witchcraft in that book?” or “Do you think the book could lead someone astray?” I will answer truthfully.
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All that being said, there are some types of books and movies that I will not read or watch.
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One type being horror, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to instill extreme fear. I don’t mind most thrillers like murder mysteries, crime drama, or suspense (like Frank Peretti books or Morgan Freeman movies). I just don’t like to fill my mind with books or movies that have no other purpose than to cause extreme fear.
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Another type being erotic, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to arouse a person sexually. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post… A facebook page that I follow posted the following article I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The author lists four reasons why she is not going to read the book Fifty Shades of Grey both from a personal and biblical perspective (I highly recommend that you read this article because she discusses more reasons than I plan to list here). On the facebook post, both sides were discussing if the book was appropriate to read using the same arguments that people use for other controversial books/movies (“it is not biblical” or “it is just a fiction story”). I have not read this book but I gave my opinion. Someone who has read the book accused people of being judgemental. Personally, from reading the posts, I did not feel that anyone was being judgemental but were just stating their opinions based on what they believe to be true according to the Bible. I believe that it is okay to discern whether or not you should read or watch certain media. It is also okay to state your opinion and/or debate as long as you do it humbly. I do not know if the accusation was aimed at me or someone else but it prompted me to want to elaborate on what I was saying in the discussion. So here is my opinion…
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Unfortunately, even in the Christian community, there is a problem with pornography addictions. Marriages have hit rock bottom or have even lead to divorce because of this problem.  Most people associate pornography addictions with men but women can be addicted to porn as well. Many people also associate pornography with magazines or movies but I believe that erotic romances should be added to that list.
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One online dictionary defines pornography as the following:
1. the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3. the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction
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Most women are not stimulated by photos in the same way that men are BUT we are stimulated by words and attention. This is one reason why women are more prone to having an emotional affair with a man who gives her attention and says all of the right things. When it comes to books, most avid readers would admit that they get caught up in the story as if they are apart of it. Readers can imagine the scenes, conversation, and actions as they are reading (even if they have never seen the movie that was made for that particular book). Most readers agree that books are generally better than movies because of the amount of detail given in a book that would be impossible to show on-screen. My husband (who is not a reader) thinks it is hilarious when I am reading a book and have tears flowing down my face. He also thinks I’m crazy if I am reading a book and bust out laughing. My point is, a book can bring out just as many emotions as a movie can: joy, sadness, anger, fear, love, lust, etc.
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Most Christians would agree that adultery is a sin. The Bible takes it one step further and says that lust is also a sin:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 KJV)
So, using the above scripture as guidelines, read the following Amazon description of the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Then, make an informed decision on whether or not you should read it.

“When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”

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Bottom line is, I have not read this book and I don’t plan to because of the erotic label. I have read books and have watched movies in the past that I never should have read or watched. I have learned from my mistakes and I don’t want or need to fill my mind with images and emotions that are not pleasing to God or my husband.
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Here are two great resources for dealing with sexual temptation and sin:
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457981: Every Woman"s Battle with Workbook: Discovering God"s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment Every Woman’s Battle with Workbook: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment

By Shannon Ethridge / Random House

457974: Every Man"s Battle with Workbook: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time Every Man’s Battle with Workbook: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time

By Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker / Random House

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Juice Plus+

 

Juice Plus+: Have you ever heard of Juice Plus? I just became a distributer for this great product! Juice Plus+ helps people get their FULL daily servings of fruits & vegetables in capsule or chewable form (to be used in addition to also eating fruit & veggies). It is considered FOOD, not medicine or vitamin. It has no added sugar. It is really good for the immune system, DNA, pregnancy, cardiac, etc. My sister Jenn sells it and is using it instead of prenatal vitamins. Shane, the girls, and I have been taking it for 3 months now. It has definitely helped me with my Irritable Bowl Syndrome. There are many testimonials of different things it has helped with in different people. More importantly though is the value of making sure you are getting the nutrients you need! There is a GREAT video on my Juice Plus+ home page that explains how Juice Plus+ is made and how it works!

The website has a lot of information, videos, research studies, etc. on it. Most people who have never heard of it think that it is just another “health” product that people try to make money off of. The difference with Juice Plus+ is that there are major universities & companies who have done research on Juice Plus+ specifically and back up the product based on their studies. You can read the research on the website here.

Also, in case you are interested, they have a children’s health study for kids 4 & older. A child can get their supply (gummies) of Juice Plus for free with a purchase of an adult supply (capsules or gummies).

www.alysajuiceplus.com

First Things First

This book is written by Kurt & Brenda Warner. Kurt is a well known football player that lead the Rams to a Super Bowl victory. Most recently he took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl against the Steelers (anyone playing against the Steelers has my vote!). Although I have had a favorite football team since childhood (Dallas Cowboys) I do not watch football regularly. Unless it is a Dallas game, I really don’t care about football at all. What attracted me to this book was the picture of Kurt, Brenda, & seven kids on the front cover. I was immediately interested in how a celebrity family raises that many kids. When I read that they were Christians I was even more interested!

Kurt & Brenda openly share their stories of before and after they got married and his career took off. They share of hardships and blessings they encountered relating to having a special needs child, money, the pressures of a public life, etc. They share their family rules throughout the book. They share about their charities and ministries. They share how each of their children uniquely fit into the family dynamics.

I was surprised about how easy it was to read this book. I felt like I was in the middle of a conversation during the whole book. I could feel the Warner’s emotions as they talked about their frustrations, hurts, victories, and love. They are transparent and honest when they talk about their feelings for each other, their children, and the people they help with their ministries. I love how they try to instill a servant’s heart in each of their children. Since both of them know what it is like to not have any money, they are careful to give God the glory for their current financial blessings by tithing (even multi million checks) and funding charities and ministries for communities and those less fortunate. They seem to really work together as a team in their marriage and with parenting. Overall, I think that this is an excellent book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the Warner family. More importantly, I would recommend it to anyone trying to raise multiple children. The Warner “rules” for marriage and parenting are practical and would be easy to adapt to any family of any size. I look forward to sharing some of them with my husband (since he probably won’t read the book) to see if we can incorporate them into our family.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

First Things First: The Rules of Being a Warner

By Brenda & Kurt Warner with Jennifer Schuchmann / Tyndale House

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I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Finding The Hero In Your Husband-Intro

I get the marriage podcasts from Focus on the Family. Recently I listened to a series that featured Dr. Juli Slattery speaking on how wives have the power to make their marriages better. If you know me at all, you know that Shane & I have had our share of trials, pain, and bad circumstances throughout our marriage. Last year when we hit rock bottom, it took God to bring us out of our pit. I had to face forgiveness, I have been working on my anger issues, and I have been working on the concepts of respect and submission. I ordered Dr. Slattery’s book and just received it in the mail a couple of days ago. So far, I have only read the introduction and I am excited to read the rest soon! Here is an excerpt from the intro:

“Because women are so unaware of their power to shape their marriages, they often misuse their influence. There are two vital mistakes a woman can make which can result in the destruction of her marriage. The first one is ignoring her power all together. She denies that God has given her any substantial influence with her husband. In fact, she may even believe it is unbiblical to be a strong woman. This critical mistake results in a husband who has neither accountability, nor direction for the use of his leadership.

The second big mistake that a woman can make is to abuse her power. Even while a wife is convinced that she is a victim, she may be using her influence to destroy or discourage her husband. Whether through subtle or overt measures, it is easy for a woman to shatter her husband’s confidence, trust in her and leadership ability through the misuse of her power in marriage.”

I think this book will be a great addition to my marriage series. Let’s explore how to find the hero in our husbands!

“The wise woman builds her house,

but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Finding the Hero in Your Husband: Surrendering the Way God Intended – revised ed.

By Dr. Julianna Slattery / FaithWords

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I would love to hear your thoughts and stories if you are married!

Please feel free to comment on my posts and/or e-mail me at:

hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

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You can find links to all posts in this series on the Marriage Series Index page.

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