Tag Archives: marriage

Gone to My Happy Place, Be Back Soon!

I’ve adapted my own concept of a Happy Place. Leaving out the Zen, enlightened, and mystical schools of thought, I think of it as a place you visit in person and revisit in your mind to create tranquility in body, soul, and spirit.

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(My favorite t-shirt  EVER bought by dear friend, Kirsti)

During hard times, you borrow from  past happy  to face present unhappy using

  • Memories
    • Pictures
    • Souvenirs
    • Scents
    • Tastes
    • Sounds

These things evoke a time and/or place  we felt loved, secure, and peaceful. It reminds us that life isn’t always hard, painful, and grievous. You soothe your heart and mind with what soothes you  best. It doesn’t take long, either. You look at a few pictures, listen to a song, or rub a smooth stone between your fingers.

My Happy Places are usually outside places.

Any place in Montana is a Happy Place. A sagebrush, Prickly Pear cactus, or a Ponderosa pine tree brings back the contentment and joy of a wonderful childhood. Because I was happy in Montana, Montana makes me happy.

Any crick (that’s "creek" to you non-Montanans) I can stick my feet in, no matter how quickly my toes freeze from the melted snow, is a Happy Place. Actually any place with water is a Happy Place. Let me clarify, outside water, not a flooding toilet or broken pipe,  kinda’ water.

Any place with rocks to pick can be a Happy Place. Not picking rocks out of fields like the farmers in North Dakota, but the "Look! I found an agate!" kinda’ rock picking.

My house is scattered with rocks, branches, sea glass, shells, and driftwood I’ve collected from waterside visits.

may31 421My daily Happy Place is my Jeep. In fact, that’s her name. When Scott and I celebrated our 20th anniversary I’d just finished my first year of thyroid cancer treatment, (surgery, radioactive iodine, and Hyper-Hell) and had suffered a miscarriage. He surprised me and bought my dream vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler.  I wasn’t thrilled because of the dream-come-true vehicle,  I was thrilled because I was married to a man who made my dreams come true.  He loved me and supported me through the hardest year of my life.  Climbing into my Jeep is like climbing into his love.  It surrounds me.  It keeps me safe. 

But, more than Montana, a mountain stream,  a beach full of agates, and more than my Jeep, there’s a more beloved place.

The Lord invited Moses up the mountain to talk with Him. Moses couldn’t look directly on Lord’s face, but Moses could hear His voice and be in His presence. The Lord told Moses,  “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

It was holy because the Lord was there. I’m in awe that today we can still enter into the Lord’s presence.  We don’t have to follow any ceremonies, climb a mountain in sandals,  or enter a special building. Our faith in His Son gives us full access to the holy, mighty, Heavenly Father, anytime, anyplace.

I can be in His presence when I’m in Montana, wading in a mountain stream, picking rocks on a beach, or driving in my Jeep. 

I pray, He listens. 

I ask, He answers. 

I confess, He forgives. 

I weep, He comforts.

My Happiest Place is when I am in His presence.

Where are your physical, spiritual, and/or emotional Happy Places

 

Sledding Without Snow

My hubby is wary when I bring something unusual home from the thrift store or a garage sale.

Rightfully so.  Either he has to look at the thing for the rest of his life, fix it or make it into something. Remember all the gray fence boards he  helped me bring home last summer?  “Really?  You WANT all his old fence?"

Yep, really, I wanted it and used it.  Now he loves the area I created and named The Redneck Grill.  He just had his initial moments of doubt.

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He had those same doubts when I walked through the door with this.

In our neighborhood, it snows very little.  We can drive up the mountain and be around tons of snow, if we wanted to.  We rarely want to.  Scott and I were stormed in and shoveling out most of our lives while living in the upper Midwest.

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But this was a beauty I couldn’t pass up at Value Village. Don’t those wings just convince you this sled could make you fly?

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That’s why they named it the Flexible Flyer.  This model is the Airline Patrol for kids who dream of being a Pilot when they grow up.

“So, what are you going to do with it?” he asked with the caution of a man whose Honey-Do list that is always longer than the list of what a kid wants for Christmas.

I assured him I was going to use it to display food on the buffet line for the Christmas party we were hosting.  He was relieved.

An hour later I had a burst of genius. “Scott, there was a longer sled there, too, but I passed it up because I didn’t know what to do with it.  Now, I know what I want to do with it.  It would make a perfect coffee table!” 

A few hours later, we drove back to Value Village.

It.

was.

gone.

I was so disappointed.  Why can’t I be genius when I’m standing in front of an item, not after it’s sold to somebody whose light bulb went off in the store?

The gorgeous Flexible Flyer had to become a coffee table, and my old sled that usually decorates the front porch would go on the buffet table.

Various crates were tried underneath, they were too big. I wandered around the house, in the garage and the sheds looking for inspiration.  I crawled up in the attic, but only succeeded in hitting my head.

I had to break the news to hubby. I needed help.  He was The Help. After all, it was Saturday and he had the whole day off to be at my disposal.  At least that’s the way I looked at the situation.

We debated back and forth on how to make the vision come true. The frame couldn’t take away from the beauty of the sled.  It had to be easy to build.  It had to be cheap. It had to be sturdy enough to put coffee cups on without spilling. I hate wasting good coffee.

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This is what we came up with.  Together.  Because neither of us is right all the time, but mostly I am.

Just kidding!

He’s just learned that when I have a project vision, I’m not asking him to change the vision, but help it come true. I’ve learned that my ideas aren’t always practical or possible, so we have to talk until we can breathe life into the vision.

I loved his little details of covering the screws with those little brown half-circle thingies and the stabilizing bar across the middle. I would have been satisfied with less, but he went the extra mile.

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The moment of celebration!

As we sat and admired the coffee table,  I realized it was good for me to make  ask him to do this.  He  loves working with wood and it’s a great stress reliever.  He has a lot of stress in his life.  I always worry about his heart health, but you know men and doctors.  The only men that go to check-ups willingly are the docs themselves.

Anyhoo –

He relaxed.

He laughed.

He enjoyed.

He’s pleased with the work of his hands and the ability to make my vision come true.

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The sled coffee table is a success in so many ways.

I think the more Honey-Do Projects I come up with, the longer my Honey will be around to do them.

During an IM exchange a few days later, he said,

“i really love building and creating:  sort of my art work
and…my dad was a great carpenter

can’t wait for the next project… bring it on”

Guess I’ll be taking more trips to the thrift store looking for unusual items.

 

Just Because Flowers

My husband buys flowers for Valentine’s Day.

My husband buys flowers for the first day of school.

My husband buys flowers for my birthday.

He is smart enough  NOT to buy flowers after a fight,
because what wife wants the reminder?

But, to be honest, the best kinda’ flowers…..

…are the JUST BECAUSE flowers.

Flowers

Just

Because

He

Loves

Me.

Scott didn’t know at the

same time

he was picking out this bouquet,
I was reading a disturbing email that upset me greatly.

I was home, trying to figure out how to handle the situation,
crying and praying, when my dear hubby walked in with his warming smile,
these beautiful flowers and a hug of assurance.

It wasn’t just a confirmation of my husband’s love for me,
but of the Lord’s love and concern.

Before I could even tell my husband my problem, the Lord was working through him.

For over a week flowers in the middle of the dining room table preached,
“Mindy, I KNOW and I CARE. Before you can even tell anyone your problelms,
I am working in ways you don’t know or understand.
I will handle all of your problems. TRUST ME.”

I have a dear hubby and a Heavenly Father who are loving me and helping me through the joys and sorrows of life

Just

Because

They

Love

Me.

What About That Toilet Seat?

 Writers wax eloquent about this topic.

 Comedians garnish laughs and build their careers by bringing it to light.

 Marriage counselors discuss it with struggling couples.

 Where two or three married women are gathered,
the subject is likely to come up.

 Pregnant women are given serious warnings
to watch for this behavior by their spouses.

toilet,

Apparently, I’m not the only married woman who  had this problem.

 Durng pregnancy, midnight trips to the bathroom were grueling.  I  heaved myself up, trying not to bounce my husband off  the bed. Because he faced a classroom of teenagers each morning, I left the hall light off.   I felt my way down the hallway with my toes,  testing one step at a time, so I didn’t  lose balance if I stepped on a Lego or a ball. I left the bathroom light off, too.

More than one time I  carefully lowered myself onto the seat  in the dark and SPLASH!  My awkward body  made contact with the slippery narrow porcelain ridge then slid  into the water.  The winter temperature of toilet water in an unheated mobile home was frigid.  Heaving a large body out of a small hole was frustrating. Trying to quietly clean up and simmer down in the dark took a lot of energy.

When my dear hubby learned to lower the lid, he forgot where the laundry hamper was placed.

As a newlywed, my friend, Julia, had described  marriage to me. She said, (gushed)  “I just love picking up his socks off the floor, because it means  I have a husband to care for and love.”     When reaching for those dirty Hanes, she would think thoughts of love and pray for him. Still single, I pined for stinky socks in my bedroom.

When I married the next year, I got the stinky socks. I copied her loving attitude for many years, but  recently  had to refresh my attitude.

Our hamper is outside the door of our bedroom.  But, night after night, the clothes are dropped in a  little pile  on the floor  inside the bedroom door.  The distance from the pile on the floor to the hamper is 59 inches.

I measured it. 

Once, to demonstrate to my husband his incompetence,  I picked up his clothes, opened the door and deposited them in the hamper, teasing and  counting aloud, “One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand.”

I timed it.

He laughed at my Academy Award winning performance, smiled, nodded, and agreed to comply.  Score!  It lasts a few days every few days.

Instead of forcing the issue, I was forced to look at my heart. I was concentrating on things he didn’t do.  Little, tiny things.  I was not celebrating the things he does.  The big, amazing things.

My husband works 10-12 hour days and cooks dinner at least once a week.  He runs errands and fixes things on the weekends.  He makes sure I take my medication and brews my coffee every morning.  He delivers a steaming mug to my bed or desk, or leaves a love note beside the coffee pot if I am still sleeping.

If he does so much for me, why am I so unwilling to do something so small for him?

I will only have to walk 59 inches.

I measured it.

It will only take two seconds.

I timed it.

Thirty years later, my friend Julia is still right.

Those dirty socks mean I have a husband to love.

 

Laughter Doeth the Marriage Well

Not that 24 years makes me an expert, but I think I have learned a few things about marriage.

Laughter makes all things better.

Sometimes you have to laugh, or you would cry.

Marriage is hard because well, uh, because men are men and women are women.

I know,  that’s deep.

We’re different.  We think differently.  We act differently.  We find solutions to problems differently.  We define what’s a problem differently.

The Lord certainly had a sense of humor, and of course, a sense of purpose, when he determined a man and a woman would marry and “the two shall become as one.”

Two completely different human beings have to  learn to live and act together in harmony for the good of their marriage, their immediate family and others around.

A high calling from the God Most High.

Yet, after 24 years of those struggles and trials that either make you crazy or crazy in love, we have become one of those couples who finish each other’s sentences, say the same things at the same time, or utter a few words of direction and the other person knows what it means.

Most of the time. And when that isn’t working, laughter works.

I can joke about my husband’s ears.  It is easier than getting angry.

I can joke about my husband’s eyes.  It is easier than getting angry.

The reality is, it will only get worse, because we actually will begin losing our physical sight and hearing as we age.  I guess the older I get, the LOUDER I will have to laugh, making sure he is standing in front of me so he can read my lips in case he STILL can’t hear me.

I have learned to accept him, as he has learned to accept me.  Since he doesn’t blog, he doesn’t have the occasion to tell you I RARELY remember to check the gas gauge  before I drive off – always a few minutes late. This behavior is unfathomable to him, but he has learned to accept this, laugh, and try to help keep the vehicles in gas and keep me on time. By his kind example, my children have also learned to look out for me in my areas of weakness, helping and reminding, and yes, sometimes laughing.

Some things that bother us about our spouse can change with time, with changes in habits and with gentle encouragements. But in reality, those things that irritate us, are probably the things that are doing the most good to make us more kind, more patient, more loving and more understanding as humans.

Who would you rather go through life-changing moments with?  Someone who loves you or a stranger?  I would much rather have my husband point out something in my life.  He is saying it for my good, a stranger might be saying something out of annoyance or to avoid being affected by the consequences of my actions.

 

Laughter blows off steam in the same way anger does, but the release will have no guilt, no apology needed, and can bring about the relaxed attitude needed to find common ground and resolution in a situation.

It’s not laughing in mockery.  It’s not laughing at sin or a situation that is serious.  The laughter isn’t in refusal to admit there’s a problem, but it’s a cheerful acceptance of the situation until the Lord gives wisdom for resolution.

If you are having marriage ills, try laughing. It’s good  medicine.

HAPPILY EVER AFTERS Don’t Just HAPPEN

Everyone, especially women, adores love stories with the Happily Ever After Ending. They have this fairy tale idea that the Happy Ever After automatically begins right after the honeymoon.

 

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We’ve all heard the saying “The Honeymoon’s Over.” That saying isn’t without cause. When the wedding planning, the ceremony and the honeymoon are over, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and WORK on the marriage. Sometimes I wonder – if brides put as much effort into planning their marriages as their weddings, would our divorce rate divebomb instead of skyrocket?

There’s a delusion that a girl’s loneliness, problems, and inner struggles will be solved IF she can just marry the prince.

Truth be told, issues will only be magnified by the marriage until they can be resolved. They aren’t resolved by the signing of the marriage license or by saying “I Do” through a misty, romantic lace veil. Marriage isn’t a band-aid to put over owies. Marriage is the union of two people committed to stay together to love one another, heal one another and help one another be transformed into a more Christ-like image.

A few days ago, I blogged about my husband. Young single women may have sighed and longed for a spiritual man such as my husband. Young brides may have been inwardly disappointed that their husbands aren’t quite like mine. Older women probably smiled knowingly, understanding what was written between the lines. Because, I didn’t tell you the whole story.

That isn’t the man I married.

I didn’t marry a perfect man. I married a man with a Perfect Savior and one who allowed trials, older believers and the Word of God to transform him into the man he is today.

Happily Ever Afters Just Don’t HAPPEN.

This isn’t to indicate that I was the perfect wife, that I upheld the marriage single-handedly and transformed my husband into the man he is today. We both had faults, we both were immature, we both needed to grow. But, we loved one another fiercely, we were committed, and we were best friends. I don’t want to sit and list all of his mistakes, they are as far as the east is from the west. I don’t want to talk about mine either, at this time. I just want to talk about my role as a HELPMEET during our formative, growing-up-together years.

1.  I loved him. No matter what, I chose to love him. Titus 2:4
2.  I prayed about each character issue, fault, or sin I thought I saw in him. I purposed to not say anything about the issue until I had prayed about it at least three times. That reduces the fleshly tendency to nag. It reduces irritability. It forces you to be humble before the Lord; as you begin to confess your husband’s faults, you get convicted about your own. Sometimes you begin to see the log in your own eye. Matthew 7:3

3.  I purposed to be a helpmeet. In Genesis 2, Eve was created to be a “help-meet” to Adam. In the Hebrew it simply means “one who helps.” Are you willing to help with all areas of your husband’s life? We only think of helpmeet in terms of household chores and spiritual ministries. What about besetting sins? What about weaknesses? What about sins of omission? It is still your job to help. Remember the old-fashioned vows – for better and worse?

4.  I submitted. This is not a word the world loves, but since the Lord uses it, we should understand it, love it and honor it. I learned to submit with a pure and loving heart, not just gritting my teeth and displaying outward physical obedience. I knew submission had to begin inwardly and I understood I was following the Lord as I followed my husband.

5.  I trusted the LORD to continue the work He began in my husband. Philippians 1:6 Women sometimes think they can marry any man and make him into the man they want him to be. An older woman, Ann, once warned me, “You get what you marry.” It wasn’t my job to change him, it was the Lord’s.

The overall goal in our lives for our husbands has to be for their good and for the glory of the Lord, not for our own benefit. Do we want our husbands to grow so they can be intimate with the Lord, or so they don’t irritate us as much?

 

For our 20th anniversary, my husband planted a beautiful  rose bush in our front yard so he could bring me red roses often. We learned to prune correctly to force, not hinder growth. To keep damage from spreading, we  pinch off and pick up all leaves with fungus and bugs. We fertilize and water. Even when we do all these things and the roses bloom month after month, there are still the thorns. Because of the beauty of the flower, we continue to put diligent work into the bush, even though we often get scratched. Sometimes we bleed.

A beautiful rose just doesn’t happen. Neither does a marriage.

 

 

Read my husband’s story and why he’s glad he’s not
The Man She Married
.