Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grow Together through Internantional Missions

After a week in Honduras, Clay and I felt like we had grown exponentially closer to one another and to the Lord. What is it about getting on a plane for a few hours that creates the perfect environment for growth?

I think it's because we are forced to rely on one another and in our over-scheduled, frappucino land, that's rare. Clay and I have found that serving on mission teams for only one week each year improves our marriage during the other fifty-one weeks of the year.

While Clay and I were riding on the bus in Honduras. we were undoubtedly out of our usual comfort zone. We were bouncing, turning, and running red lights through the streets of Tegucigalpa...holding hands the entire way. Below are eight comfort zones you leave behind as you volunteer for an international mission trip. They are guaranteed to force you and your spouse to hold on tight to one another:

Language Comfort Zone - Communicating with your spouse suddenly doesn't seem so tough when compared to speaking Spanish, French or Italian. While you are out of the country, you start to realize that you and your honey have more in common than you thought.

Food Comfort Zone - Trying new tastes, textures and delicacies together will create memories... good, bad, sweet. sour and slimy.

Routine Comfort Zone - At home, we often fly on autopilot because our daily schedules dictate where to go and when. On a mission trip, we are more open to the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit and you can experience God's power as you seek His call.

Cellphone Comfort Zone - Even if you carry a phone that works in foreign countries, you will not be texting, calling and e-mailing all day on a mission trip. As you look up from the technology, you might actually see your spouse as you have never seen them before.

Friend Comfort Zone - Our buddies can be like cushions, surrounding us and protecting us from outsiders. When we get out from the middle of the huddle and open ourselves to new people, we can't help but see the world anew.

Culture Comfort Zone - New sights, new sounds, new ideas... ponder them all together.

Church Comfort Zone - As join the body of Christ worldwide, you will certainly be overwhelmed by the omnipresence of God. He does not live in your little church at home or within the boundaries of your worship service from from 10:30 AM until 11:45 AM every Sunday morning.

Transportation Comfort Zone - There is nothing like placing your life in the hands of a busdriver nicknamed, "Whiplash Willie" to increase your faith and remind you how much you treasure your life and marriage.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

12 Character-Building Moments in Marriage

Our friend, Michael Wang was outside his house, working on the lawn, when I stopped by to see him and his precious wife, Ashley this afternoon. It is steaming hot in Atlanta today and their yard is enormous, but he was determined to fix the mower and finish the job.

I was laughing as he described the old mower and the way his legs shook as he rode it for THREE hours at a time. It reminded me of Clay, working on our old mower when we lived in our first house on Briar Pond Way.

Cutting the grass with a hand-me-down mower is just one of the character-building moments in a young marriage. One day, Michael and Ashley will laugh at their pain, but today, they might just sweat. Below are twelve more character builders that young couples have the priviledge of experiencing.

1. Painting a room together (or in our case, an entire house... along with some wonderful friends who probably hate us after that)

2. Creating your first budget

3. Renting a tiny apartment and loving every square inch of it

4. Taking the plunge to buy the first house... and then moving all of your junk into it

5. Taking care of your spouse when he or she has the stomach flu

6. Getting lost together, without a GPS

7. Assembling any kind of furniture

8. Potty-training a dog together

9. Scurrying to prepare for your first dinner party

10. Trying to fix your own plumbing problems

11. Rescuing your spouse whose car has died on the side of the road

12. Searching for keys together

Sunday, June 14, 2009

6 Reasons a Clemson and Auburn Marriage Might Work

I am sad to report that the Auburn family has been forced to accept a new member into our little clan. My friend Haley, a die hard Auburn fan, recently married... a Clemson graduate. I know what you are thinking - "At least she did not marry a Bama fan or dare I say, a Florida Gator." But it's still a tough situation. I mean, think about their poor children.

However, I am going out on a limb by predicting that this marriage has a chance. Generally, when I see the bumper stickers that read, "House Divided", I predict that the union will not last, but a marriage of Auburn and Clemson could prevail for the following reasons:

1. They are both Tigers.

2. They both wear orange. Who wants to walk hand-in-hand with someone wearing crimson?

3. Clemson has been called, "Auburn with a Lake", so they have a similar upbringing.

4. Clemson does not have some horrible fight song (like Rocky Top) that will drive your spouse crazy after a number of years.

5. Clemson and Auburn are not located in the same state, so residents will not force them to make a choice.

6. Auburn and Clemson are not even in the same conference so they will not necessarily play one another every year. Plus, the SEC is so dominant that comentators do not even compare these two teams.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a prediction or if you have had the unfortunate experience of marrying someone who is not an Auburn Tiger.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, June 9, 2009

Marybeth Whalin, a writer and speaker who works with Proverbs 31 Ministries, has a great blog and she found this method of posting from The Simple Woman's Daybook. If you are a blogger, try it one day. It's a great exercise! Also, you can register with The Simple Woman and she will link to your site!

Outside my window... Sunset on the golf course.

I am thinking...Why does Shelby come in the front door and then whine to go out the back door?

I am thankful many friends who are supporting Clay and me through the crazy world of adoption.

From the kitchen...Clay is eating Golden Grahams and watching the NBA Finals. Go Orlando!

I am striped pajama pants

I am creating...videos on my new pocket video camera. Hopefully, I will figure out how to add videos to my blog soon

I am Haley Myer's Wedding this weekend!

I am reading...Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing

I am hoping... to finish the first draft of my next book very soon

I am hearing...TV and the phone telling me there is a new text and Tweet Deck saying that people are tweeting

Around the house...Stacks of books by my bed, by the couch, on the table and downstairs. Stacks everywhere!

One of my favorite things... laughing with Clay when he sings the wrong words to songs, which is everytime he sings

A few plans for the rest of the week: Hanging by the pool with Joy and Christeene, Going to the wedding in Greenville, Radio Interview with a DJ I met on Twitter

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is a picture of the team that is going on a mission trip to Honduras soon. I am thinking that this is the "before" pic... before God does something wonderful with a group of expectant followers. How exciting!

If you want to try The Simple Woman's Daybook, go for it, and add your name to the list:

Monday, June 8, 2009

How to Drag Your Spouse into the 21st Century

It's the same old story every time I purchase a new piece of technology. I love it. I think it is revolutionary. I can't stop talking about it. My husband thinks it's useless.

Within two weeks, he is kind of interested. Within a month, he is talking to his friends about it. At some point, he comes around and starts using the technology. Not long after he accepts the NEW THING, he thinks it was his idea all along.

This happened with the iPOD a few years ago. Clay did not see any reason to have one. But now, he is one of those runners who cannot fathom a workout without his music strapped to his arm. This happened with Facebook. He had a million and one reasons why he was too cool to be a part of the revolution. Now, he checks it everyday.

And it's happening again with our new Kindle and with Twitter. He is reluctant. He is hesitant. He is laughing at me when I post something from Tweet Deck. He rolls his eyes when I show him my newspaper on Kindle. But he will come around. This is how I do it:

1. I talk with other cool people about the technology in front of him. This lets him know that hip, happening people are using the technology.

2. I show him articles about how this equipment or Website is changing the world (like the cover of TIME Magazine for June 15th).

3. I use terms that he does not know, like "Twitterverse" or "Tweet" or "Twellow".

4. I download something he will appreciate, like a free sporting newspaper on the Kindle.

5. I use the technology in front of him without asking him if he wants to share.

6. I wait for him to ask questions.

7. Sometimes, I can't stand it and I just force him to see what he is missing. I think this might be counterproductive, but I can't help it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

7 Reasons You and Your Spouse Should Have a Pet

I remember the day, eight years ago, when Clay brought our golden retriever home. We named her Molly, but after two weeks, we knew that she was a Shelby. Shelby has moved with us from Marietta to Woodstock to McDonough. She was there for Clay when he had his shoulder surgery and she cuddled with me when I had a stomach flu. She has been such a wonderful part of our married life.
It's hard to believe that I had to convince Clay to get a dog. If you are trying to decide whether or not to adopt a pet, here are seven reasons why you should:
1. It's good practice if you do not have kids and good entertainment if you do have them.
2. You always have someone to blame the farts on ("Shelby, what did you eat tonight?")
3. A dog wakes up every morning with the excitement of a little kid on Christmas morning.
4. You can ask serious questions with a lighthearted tone in the presence of a puppy ("Shelby, does your Daddy think money grows on trees?")
5. You feel like the most important person in the world when you arrive home after a long day at work and your beloved pet knocks you down with kisses (picture Dino on the cartoon, The Flinstones, attacking Fred as he enters the house).
6. Dogs are a great example of unconditional love.
7. They make the cutest pictures for your scrapbook, blog and facebook pages.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why I am a Better Wife in the Summer

Today is the first full day of summer and no one is happier about that than Clay. Even though he is still working, he gets to live with SUMMER EMILY for two whole months. Summer Emily, aka "The Summer Wife" comes alive during the months of June and July and she goes back into hibernation in the Fall.

I must admit that it's nice to be a stay-at-home wife for two months out of the year. Here are 10 Reasons Why I am a Better Wife in the Summer:

1. Once my closets are clean, I am more at peace.

2. When I make dinner, I am not too tired to clean the dishes.

3. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy! John Denver was right after all.

4. I am at home. Clay is at work. When he comes home, I feel like June Cleaver waiting for him.

5. I feel good about myself when I am tan and have time to exercise!

6. My birthday is in the summer so I have to be really nice and butter him up for a good present.

7. Time for tennis = Emily is happy.

8. Clay and I sit on the porch for dinner and watch the golfers stroll by. It's very relaxing.

9. We grill. We sip lemonade. We take more time to chat.

10. Beach time is the best time to reconnect.

Monday, June 1, 2009

4 Times Clay has Unconditionally Loved Me This Week

Our Lifegroup at Eagles Landing First Baptist just finished the Fireproof Curriculum, and the last chapter described "unconditional love." That phrase is used so often that I am almost numb to it.

We all assume that we love our spouses unconditionally, but do we really? Do we love them unconditionally when their socks are in the kitchen sink (yes, that has happened)? What about when they forget our anniversary (Clay has never done that, but I imagine I would be pretty upset).

This week, I have been a bit of a mess. I had a hundred things to do and no time to do them. And I noticed that Clay was loving me and supporting me unconditionally. And I must say... it felt great. Below are 4 ways Clay has unconditionally loved me in small ways that made a big difference.

1. He volunteered at a charity event with me - and did not complain (to my face).

2. He told me how pretty I looked every morning, even though I know I looked terrible.

3. He witheld sarcastic comments about the tornado that came through the house.

4. He rubbed my shoulders as I was working feverishly at the computer.