Well, we’ve just finished up the first half of the year. How are y’all doing on your goals/words/baby steps for this year?

My goal to be clear about what I want and need has become a habit. I keep a light watch on it and so far, so good.

My word for the year - gracious has been an ongoing adventure. It’s resulted in a change of heart and mind as God teaches me about His grace. It’s so enormous and heart changing, it’s hard not to be nice to others. I keep getting swallowed up in His kindness and goodness. It certainly makes all kinds of things that would normally bug the snot of me feel small or unimportant. Others become more important than things and life is more adventure than battle.

Just a reminder: If you’ve fallen off the wagon, no biggie. Just get up and think it through a bit. Is your goal still do-able? Did life momentarily blow you off course or is your goal too big and overwhelming (break it into smaller steps)? Do you need better reminders? Do you need to organize a spot in your house to make your goal easier to do? Do you need an accountability partner?

Change happens one baby step at a time.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

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Day 10 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge  Pray for a deepening sense of trust in your marriage.

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The XY Code: You Might be Sexually Normal If… You are normal (not broken or defective).

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One Flesh Marriage: 3 Things You Need to Bring About Change in Your Marriage Love these sound, simple perspectives.

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XES by Joy McMillan

Subtitled Why Church Girls Tend to Get It Backwards … and how to get it right, it’s an invitation to a healthy married sex life. It’s also a redemption story (one that begs the need for kleenex).

I found myself nodding frequently as I turned the pages and laughing like a loon (there will be no chocolate pancakes in our house, yes, you will have to read the book to get that one).

I’d say the book is written for anyone with questions or struggles with sex, but the book covers so much more, any woman could benefit from it. There are little nuggets of truth and encouragement throughout the book. I walked away inspired to be more grace-filled and generous toward my husband. 

(I will be giving away a copy of this book in the next contest. Something to look forward to … oh, and I have some very spiffy cards that a friend of mine made that will be giveaways too. Fun, fun, fun.)

Storyline by Donald Miller

I just finished working through this book/workbook with a couple of friends. I was curious about the book, but at $30 I wasn’t going to bite. Then these friends got excited about it and, well, they are worth way more than $30 so I shelled out the bucks and off we went. I wasn’t expecting much (I have a rather sad history with most coaching books), so I was pleasantly surprised (ecstatic actually) when I actually learned something new about myself and shaped a few storylines for my life. I’m pretty excited about working through some of my dreams.

His perspectives are fresh and his stories poignant. Lovely sense of humor. He’s an amazing writer so his book reads like candy.

Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch

I knew I was going to like this book. I follow Kristen’s blog We are THAT Family and I enjoy her writing style and heart to serve others.

It’s more than the story of Mercy House, it’s the story of her personal struggles both past and present. She’s vulnerable, brave, funny and a little bit crazy (the good kind). Her story is larger than life, but she makes it feel doable. Her God is big and He comes through for her in amazing and unexpected ways. By story’s end you know that God can do the same for you, though your life’s work is going to look different than hers.

This is the kind of book you want to read if your heart is embers and you need a little push to catch fire again.

One Zentangle a Day by Beckah Krahula

I checked this one out from the library on a lark and it’s had a very profound effect on my life. I didn’t realize how many creative outlets I’d let go of and how drab that made my life. This little gem is a step-by-step guide to the world of Zentangle®. It takes just a few minutes to create a tangle and that adds life and color to my day. 

Enough by Will Davis

This is another library book. It’s written by a guy from Austin, TX (where I used to live) and it’s about living a simpler life so that we have the time, money and energy to live a life with meaning. I thought he handled the subject well. He has a real heart to serve and his perspectives are sound. It’s a good read if you feel your life is too busy and crazy. He will definitely help you think through your values.

Waking Up in Heaven by Crystal McVea

Yet another library book that peaked my curiosity. I thought I was going to get a look at heaven, but instead I got a redemption story (this seems to be the month for that). The gal had a difficult life and God loves her through the hard times and into His presence when she dies (for 9 minutes). There’s something about coming nose to nose with Jesus that changes a person. If you battle feelings of worthlessness or carry baggage that leaves you struggling with shame, this would be a great book to read.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter  Scazzero

I’m reading and discussing this book with another group (I think this is my fifth time through). Hey, I need all the help I can get and it’s just that good. Workbook  Daily Office

That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit.  Amos Bronson Alcott

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Day 9 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge Pray for creative ideas (this effects everything from lovemaking to date night ideas to problem solving).

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Unfading Beauty: His & Hers DIY Sharpie Mugs Just thought this was a cute idea.  :)  (FYI: I’m told that DecoArt glass paint markers work better when it comes to having your artwork survive the dishwasher.)

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Paul and I are donation supported. If you feel lead, you can give to our support through The Marriage Bed, Inc. (tax deductible giving for US folks). Please mention “Paul & Lori” when donating through Paypal and JustGive. Thanks so much for your prayers and support.  Razoo  Paypal  JustGive

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Images courtesy of Amazon.com

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Pillow Talk

June 29, 2014

in the generous life

Write a small note of appreciation and leave it on your husband’s pillow.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.  Blaise Pascal

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Day 8 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge Pray for your sense of unity and ability to act as a team.

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It’s been awhile since I mentioned this, but creating coupons for your sweetie makes for some pretty ingenious fun (that your husband will not complain about at all).

Coupons can be made for any price range (from free to extravagant). You can use them to speak any love language. Use them to celebrate or “just because.” You can create an array of gift ideas or center them around a theme. You can leave the redeem time open ended or be specific about how they can be redeemed. (And if your guy has “gifts” for a love language, he gets gifted twice – once as a coupon and again when the coupon is redeemed.)

Coupons rock.

Creativity is the fun of putting together unexpected ideas.  Hazel Edwards

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Day 7 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge Pray for patience with each other.

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Calm Healthy Sexy: 5 Ways to Think (and Act!) Like Your Husband’s Lover We can enjoy a steamy sex life!

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Love and Respect: It Takes Two to Make a Marriage Work Not the “two” you might think.

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Image credit © The Marriage Bed, Inc.

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Seth Godin’s recent post, Cat food is for people, has really stuck with me. His basic premise is that a lot of giving is more about the giver and how they feel about themselves when they give the gift (rather than if the person really wants the gift).

In thinking about gifts for your husband, do you give him books that you want him to read? Do you buy him clothing that suits your taste? Do you give him items that he “should” like? Do you invite him to go places and do things in celebration that you like (or make you look or feel good)?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take into consideration our wants and likes or that we shouldn’t give people things we like and enjoy giving. I’m just saying that when it comes to gifts, it’s not a bad idea to consider what the other person really wants. It doesn’t have to make good sense to you. It doesn’t have to be something you like. It’s supposed to be something they would like and enjoy. That’s why it’s a gift for them.

Next time you are buying or making a gift for your sweetie, do a check. Is this about him and what he wants?

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Day 6 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge  Pray for opportunities to share laughter.

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Happy Wives Club: The Most Common Trait of Happy Marriages Must read post! Really! Click the link now. 

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Negotiating Chores with your Spouse: Who Does What? This is a day for must read posts. Do click this link too.

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Image credit © Dragos Daniel Iliescu | Dreamstime.com

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A Bit of Play

June 26, 2014

in the generous life

I was sitting out in my backyard writing when I looked over and saw my dog, Widget, doing this.

I had to laugh. He was enjoying himself, rolling around and then chewing a stick and then rolling around some more. I thought about how easy it was for him to play. God’s creation rolling around in the beauty of the rest of his creation.

I need to learn to play like that (not so much the rolling in grass and chewing on sticks, just the play part). I never really learned to play as a child, though I did a bit of playing with my children when they were small. I do enjoy playing the card game golf with friends and Zentangle is creative play for me.

Play is healthy. What does play look like for you? For you and your husband?

It is a happy talent to know how to play. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Day 5 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge Pray that the Lord would soften your husband’s heart toward you.

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The Forgiven Wife: You Reap What You Sow Lovely analogy about investing in your marriage.

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Darby Dugger: My Own Selfishness Seeing your selfishness in everyday light.

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Image credit © Lori Byerly

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From The Generous Wife archive:

What vitamins or supplements does your husband take? Make sure he is well supplied.

(It’s a good idea to go through your medicines as well. Keep the basic over-the-counter medications handy. Remove any that have expired.)

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.  Jim Rohn

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Day 4 in the 30 Day Prayer Challenge Pray for moments of shared intimacy – perhaps sharing a beautiful view, sharing from your hearts or experiencing an especially close time in your marriage bed.

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Praying as a Couple: 10 Ways to Make it Easy and Natural Crazy good list of prayer ideas. I love the white board idea.

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Refine Us: Your Husband’s Greatest Fear Help him fight the fear.

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Image courtesy of Getideaka / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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