Friday, February 27, 2009

The City that Never Sleeps

What a great week! We got to do so much this trip, almost to the point that we don't need to spend more than a day or 2 the next times we visit. As much as I LOVE New York, my feet wanted to kill me! We walked so much in 3 days...but it was well worth it. We arrived on Saturday and went with my PopPop to lunch. We relaxed the rest of the day because we knew we had a long couple days ahead of us.

Sunday, we headed into the city. It was rainy and freezing, so we stopped and got pizza at Ray's Pizza...DELICIOUS! One slice was half the pizza. Then we came across TKTS in Times Square. TKTS is a center in the middle of the city for discounted tickets for broadway and off-broadway shows that day or the next. Never again will I buy tickets at full price for smaller shows. We decided to pick a show since the weather really wasn't cooperating with us. We saw Altar Boyz. I thought it was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. Zach wasn't as enthusiastic. It was about a Christian Boy Band on their last night of their tour. The members were Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham (the Jewish one). It was a musical of all their different religious songs put to upbeat music with the silly dance moves and tight was hilarious. The songs mainly poked fun at the Catholic Faith so I am not sure Zach understood everything....It still made me laugh a ton.
Monday, we started our day at Madame Tussauds, the wax museum in NY. It was a lot of fun, but kind of freaky too. They look so real. Here are some of our favorites.

Spice Up your Life!
My Long Lost Love
For Kimberly

Golf Legend, Arnold Palmer

Jen was on the other side of the room. I was hoping they would have John Mayer next to her, but they didn't :(

Good Ole' John Wayne

After walking around the museum, we hopped on the City Sights Bus Tour. I would strongly suggest this tour to everyone, whether you have been to the City or not. It was so much fun and so informative. We took the downtown tour verse the uptown tour, but of course you can do both. I was more interested in Downtown because it included almost every part of town, SoHo, Financial District, Greenwich Village, Times Square and much more. Our tour guide was young and so funny. He pointed out everything along the tour from great eating spots to historic buildings to the history of the area. Very interesting. The tour is for 24 hrs and you can get of and on whenever you want.

After the tour, we went to our favorite italian restaurant with PopPop. What a great way to end a fun day....Amazing Food and Great Canolias. Tuesday was Zach's birthday. We had lunch at Borbon Street in honor of Fat Tuesday and walked around the city. We walked in Central Park and to the American Museum of Natural History. WE got so lost in the museum but it was really interesting and very educational.

Friday, February 20, 2009

FUNNY MOMENT #2 w/in 10 minutes!

Mom just said..."YO DOG" and she says..."you know like Randy".....WOW!

Moving Day

Today....oh what a day! Zach and I had to sleep in the living room on the blow-up mattress last night....BAD IDEA! I, unfortunately, forgot to turn on the heat....It has been so nice these last couple weeks that we have not had to turn on the heat. Last night, it got COLD! We did not sleep well, so I got up at about 4 and packed the last bit of stuff in the cars and left Gulf Shores by 5. Normally, Gulf Shores to Atlanta is between 4 and 5 hours....not when you have to drive 55 mph....pulling a trailer in the truck! That is right....I pulled the trailer in the truck all by myself for 7 hours!

What a DAY!

Once I got into Snellville, I started unloading the truck. Zach had to go into work this morning, so I got into town first. People....if you could see the hill my parents live would cry for me! Cry a whole river. It is a mountain. And we couldn't pull the truck up it with the trailer attached. Let's just say, I got a workout!

Zach arrived and we headed to the storage unit to unload everything else. Then we dropped the trailer off at u-haul...and here I am! Exhausted...soar...only one battle wound to the tip of my finger and a much deserved glass of wine! Zach is off to play poker with my dad and his poker buddies (hopefully he'll win some cash). And we leave for New York in the morning. I need a vacation!

Day 10: Love is Unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.---Romans 5:8

If someone were to ask you, "Why do you love your wife?" or "Why do you love your husband?"---what would you say?

Most men would probably say something about their wife's beauty, her sense of humor, her kindness, her inner strength. Women would probably say something about their husband's good looks or his personality, that he's generous. He's helpful. But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of these things. Would you still love them? If your reasons for loving your spouse all have something to do with his or her qualities, and then those same qualities suddenly or gradually disappear. Your basis for love is over.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

The Bible refers to this kind of love by using the Greek word agape. It differs from the other types of love, which are phileo (friendship) and eros (sexual love). Both friendship and sex are important in a marriage, and are definitely part of the house you build together as husband and wife. But if your marriage totally depends on having common interested or enjoying a healthy sex life, then the foundation of your relationship is unstable.

and Eros love fluctuate based on feelings, Agape love is selfless and unconditional. Agape love is "in sickness and in health" love, "for richer or poorer" love, "for better or worse" love. It is the only kind of love that is true love.

That is not to say, though, that love which began for the wrong reasons cannot be restored and redeemed. In fact, when you rebuild your marriage with agape as its foundation, then the friendship and romantic aspects of your love become more endearing than ever before. When your enjoyment of each other as best friends and loves is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieves any other way.

But you will struggle and fail to attain this kind of marriage unless you allow God to begin growing His love within you. Love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7) does not come from within. It can only come from God. This is God's kind of love. And thankfully, by your choice, it can become your kind of love. But first you must receive it and share it.

And don't be surprised, when your spouse begins living confidently under its shade, if he or she doesn't become even more lovable to you than you remember. You will no longer say, "I love you because..." You will now say, "I love you, period."

Today's Dare
Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse, something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

***So...I was a day late..OOoopps...I was moving :) I will be taking a break (but still applying everything I have learned the last 10 days) while Zach and I are in NY. Love Dare will be resumed when we return next Friday.

P.S. If you are planning to move any time soon, it is REALLY, REALLY hard to practice patience from Day prepared!


My mom just started singing Zach happy birthday.....50 cent style. It came out...."It's your birdday"....Can't stop laughing and Zach questions, once again, "What have I gotten myself in to!"

I thought Kaitlin and Chrysti would enjoy this one!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 9: Love makes a Good Impression

Greet one another with a kiss of love.---1 Peter 5:14

You can tell a lot about the state of a couple's relationship from the way they greet one another. You can see it in their expression and countenance, as well as how they speak to each other. It is even more obvious by their physical contact. But how much importance should you give a greeting.

How do you greet your friends, coworkers, and neighbors? How about acquaintances and those you meet in public? You may even encounter someone you don't necessarily like yet still acknowledge them out of courtesy. So if you're this nice and polite to other people, doesn't your spouse deserve the same? Times ten?

It's probably something you don't think about very often---the first thing you say to him or her when you wake up in the morning, the look on your face when you get in the car, the energy in your voice when you speak on the phone. But here's something else you probably don't stop to consider--the difference it would make in your spouse's day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them.

When someone communicates that they are glad to see you, your personal sense of self-worth increases. You feel more important and valued. That's because a good greeting sets the stage for positive and healthy interaction. Like love, it puts wind in your sail.

Think of the opportunities you have to greet each other on a regular basis. When coming through the door. When meeting for lunch. When saying good-night. When talking on the phone. It doesn't have to be bold and dramatic every time. But adding warmth and enthusiasm gives you the chance to tough your mate's heart in subtle, unspoken ways.

Remember, love is a choice. So choose to change your greeting. Choose to love.

For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love. (Philemon 7)

Today's Dare

Think of a specific way you'd like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

*** Loved burning the list. Of course, I read it again first, prayed for the strength to see past these minor attributes, and BURNED. It made me laugh too, reading the part in the book about being jealous about the husband playing golf. Exactly us yesterday. I was home packing and he was out playing golf. He came home and told he how well he did...he had the biggest smile on his face...and I just started laughing so hard. It makes me much happier seeing that big smile than to be upset that he wasn't home helping me. Point well taken!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 8: Love is not Jealous

Love is a strong as death, it jealousy unyielding as the grave. it burns like blazing fire.---Song of Solomon 8:6

Jealousy comes from the root word zeal and means "to burn with an intense fire." There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy. Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else.

The Bible describes God has having this kind of righteous jealousy for His people. It's not that He is envious of us, wishing He had what we have (since He already owns everything). It's that He deeply longs for us, desiring for us to keep Him as our first love. He doesn't want us to let anything take precedence over Him in our hearts. The Bible warns us not to worship anything but Him because "the Lord your God is a consuming fire, is a jealous God" (Deuteronomy 4:24).

With this established, we will shift our focus to the illegitimate kind of jealousy that is in opposition to love---the one that is rooted in selfishness. This is to be jealousy of someone, to be "moved with envy."

Jealousy is a common struggle. It is sparked when someone else upstages you and gets something you want. This can be very painful depending on how selfish you are. If you're not careful, jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships. It can poison you from living the life of love God intended.

You don't usually get jealous of disconnected strangers. The ones you're tempted to be jealous of are primarily in the same arena with you. They work in your office, play in your league, run in your circles...or live in your house. Yes, if you aren't careful, jealousy can also infect your marriage.

When you are married, you are given the role of becoming your spouse's biggest cheerleader and the captain of his or her fan club. Both of you became one and were to share in the enjoyment of the other. But if selfishness rules, any good thing happening to only one of you can be a catalyst for envy rather than congratulations.

He may be enjoying golf on the weekend while she stays home cleaning the house. He boasts to her about shooting a great score and she feels like shooting him. A loving husband doesn't mind his wife being better at something, having more fun, or getting more applause. He sees her as completing him, not competing with him. A loving wife will be the first to cheer for her man when he wins. She does not compare her weaknesses to his strengths. She throws a celebration, not a pity party.

It is time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. It's time to let your mate's successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love.

Today's Dare
Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set you heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Them share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

***I made the lists. I have not smiled as big as I did making the positive list in a while. I loved writing down everything I loved about Zach. All the things that I see in him that make me know I made the right choice. I was so happy and it came so easily. But then I started the negative list and, no joke, my face completely changed; I felt awful. I hated writing down the things I didn't like about him and I hated more how easy it was for me to think of them...because I know the things I don't like about him well. But the good far outweigh the bad and the way I felt writing the good, felt so much better than writing the bad.

Monday, February 16, 2009


So Zach and I discovered this a couple weeks ago and it has been heaven sent. Finding entertainment that isn't going to empty our pockets is difficult down here. But Redbox has come to the rescue. Redbox is located in our Walmart. Movies cost $1 to rent per night. $1! No, they don't have as large of a selection as Blockbuster, but they are $1! They have all the new releases and some old ones, too. You simply choose a movie, swipe your credit or debt card and it charges you $1 plus tax. It makes for a great date night. For Zach last week, I rented 2 movies, candy and popcorn for under $10. You can't beat that. Once you are ready to return, all you have to do is go back to the same Redbox, hit the return DVD button and slide the movie back in. Perfect! Go to and find the one nearest to you!

Day 7: Love Believes the Best

Love believes all things, hopes all things.---Corinthians 13:7

In the deep ans private corridors of you heart, there is a room. It's called the Appreciation Room. It's where your thoughts go when you encounter positive and encouraging things about your spouse. ON the walls are written kind words and good attribute of your mate. When you think about these things, your appreciation for your spouse beings to increase. In fact, the more time you spend meditating on these positive attributes, the more grateful you are for your mate. But, there is a competing room nearby.

Down another darker corridor of your heart lies the Depreciation Room, and unfortunately you visit there as well. On it's walls are written the things that bother or irritate you about your spouse. The things were placed there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and the disappointment of unmet expectations. If you stay in this room long enough, you get depressed and start expressing things like, "My wife is so selfish," or "My husband can be such a jerk."

But know this. Spending time in the Depreciation Room kills marriages. Divorces are plotted in this room and violent plans are schemed. The more time you spend in this place, the more your heart devalues your spouse.

You may say, "But these things are true!" Yes, but so are the things in the Appreciation Room. Everyone fails ans has areas that need growth. Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal baggage. We have all sinned. But we have this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes while putting our partner's failures under a magnifying glass.

Love knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists. But love chooses not to live there.

Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. It refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions. And when our worst hopes are proven to be true, love makes every effort to deal with them and move forward. As much as possible, love focuses on the positive.

It's time to let love lead your thoughts and your focus. The only reason you should glance in the door of the Depreciation Room is the know how to pray for your spouse. It's time to move into the Appreciation Room, to settle down and make it your home. Your spouse is a living, breathing, endless book to be read. Dreams and hopes have yet to be realized. Talents and abilities may be discovered like hidden treasures. But the choice to explore them starts with a decision by you. It is a decision you make, whether they deserve it or not.

Today's Dare
For Today's Dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

***No tough situations to deal with yesterday, which made me very happy. But the list portion of this dare was difficult. Not tough to write, but tough to face for me. It is amazing though because all the things that I know I need to change, are all the things that irritate Zach. It all makes sense. And the things that don't irritate Zach, I am sure they irritate someone. It is worth the change, but that doesn't mean it will be easy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 6: Love is not Irritable

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.---Proverbs 16:32
Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive. How easily do you get irritated and offended? Some people have the motto, "never pass up an opportunity to get upset with your spouse." When something goes wrong, they quickly take full advantage of it by expressing how hurt or frustrated they are. But this is the opposite reaction of love.

The truth is, love does not get angry or hurt unless there is a legitimate and just reason in the sight of God. A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. Rage and violence are out of the question. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control.

Why do people become irritable? There are at least 2 key reasons that contribute to it:
Stress. Stress weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invited you to be cranky. It can be brought on by relational causes: arguing, division, and bitterness. There are excessive causes: overworking, overplaying, and overspending. And there are deficiencies: not getting enough rest, nutrition, or exercise. Oftentimes we inflict these daggers on ourselves, and this sets us up to be irritable.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. This means you must balance, prioritize, and pace yourself.

The Bible can help you avoid unhealthy stress. It teaches you to let love guide your relationship so you aren't caught up in unnecessary arguments (Colossians 3:12-14). To pray through your anxieties instead of tackling then on your own (Philippians 4:6-7). To delegate when you are overworked (Exodus 18:17-23). To avoid overindulgence (Proverbs 25:16).

But there is a deeper reason why we become irritable---
Selfishness. When you're irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the moth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Some people are like lemons: when life squeezes them, they pour out a sour response. Some are like peaches: when the pressure is on, the result is still sweet. Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule. But selfishness also wears many other masks:

is the result of being ungrateful for what you have and choosing to covet or burn with passion for something that is forbidden.

takes root when you respond in a judgmental way and refuse to work through your anger.

for more money and possessions will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires. These strong cravings coupled with dissatisfaction lead you to lash our at anyone who stands in your way.

leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation.

These motivations can never be satisfied. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things.
Love will lead you to forgive instead of holding grudges. To be grateful instead of greedy. To be content rather than rushing into more debt. Love encourages you to be happy when someone else succeeds rather than lying awake at night in envy. In each decision, love ultimately lowers your stress and helps you release the venom that can build up inside.

Today's Dare
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list on a piece of paper of areas where you need to ass margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

***So I asked the question....I asked what irritated him about me...not exactly the question you want to ask on V-Day...or better the answer you want to hear. At lunch, I asked, and he was silent....SILENT....he couldn't think of anything. Seriously? So I told him to think about it the rest of the day and let me know. Bad idea (but good). The rest of the day all I heard was...."that is what annoys me"....if I did anything that frustrated him. Needless to say, it was more than 3 times. But none of them surprised me. I am really learning a lot about my self through this dare. Not only how I can be better in my marriage, but in general to everyone. The Golden Rule which we all have heard forever....well it really makes sense. If I am asking him something that I wouldn't want to be asked....I shouldn't ask it. If I am yelling at him....would I want to be yelled at?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I know, I is just a Hallmark Holiday...but I thought I would write a couple things that I LOVE about Zach!

1. I love his playfulness. He is rarely serious and never lets me takes things to seriously. It is refreshing.

2. I love that our feet always touch while we fall asleep at night. We can't cuddle, we both get way too hot. But this is a way for us to show our's the little things!

3. I love his love of kids and wanting children. I love when he holds a baby. He is so careful and gentle...I love it!

4. I love when I suggest something to him when he is getting ready...whether he should iron his shirt or wear different shoes. He asks like he doesn't care what I say, but always changes the thing I suggest. I makes me feel like he really values my opinion.

4. I love that he tells me how beautiful I am constantly (this is what I mean by loving the things that COST NOTHING!)

5. I love that he always thanks me for the nice things I do for him.

6. I love when I asked him what has surprised him most about being married and he said "how easy it is."

7. I love that he tells me "I love you" so much you could get sick of I? Absolutely not!

8. I love when he acts so hard and tough, but I know how loving he really is.

9. I love his eyes; how they are brown around the pupil but then fade into green....beautiful!

10. I love that the first time he told me loved me...he was so nervous...he texted it. I, of course, called him RIGHT AWAY and can't say those things in a text message. But I loved it!

11. I love that he shows emotion. He has cried twice in front of me and I have never felt so much love for him then at those two moments.

12. I love his voice. It was one of the first things that attracted me to him. Although we met in person, our relationship really grew over the phone and everyday I looked forward to hearing his voice. He also can melts my heart.

13. I love praying with him. It shows me a side of him that isn't always shown. Sometimes when we pray together, I open my eyes to watch him. His eyebrows go really high and his eyes are shut so tight and he holds my hands so gently. This moment I look forward to everyday.

14. I love how natural it feels to love him; like I have known him my whole life.

Day 5: Love is not Rude

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.---Proverbs 27:14
Nothing irritates others as quickly as being rude. Rudeness is unnecessarily saying or doing things that are unpleasant for another person to be around. As always, love has something to say about this. When a man is driven by love, he intentionally behaves in a way that's more pleasant for his wife to be around. If she desires to love him, she purposefully avoids things that frustrate him or cause him discomfort.
The bottom line is that genuine love minds its manners. When you have good manners, you say to your husband or wife, "I value you enough to exercise some self-control around you. I want to be a person who's a pleasure to be with." When you allow love to change your behavior---even in the smallest ways---you restore an atmosphere of honor to your relationship.
There are two main reasons why people are rude: ignorance and selfishness. Neither, or course, is a good thing. Test yourself with these questions:
How does your spouse feel about the way you speak and act around them?
How does your behavior affect your mate's sense of worth or self-esteem?
Would your husband or wife say you're a blessing, or that you're condescending and embarrassing?
If you're thinking that your spouse---not you---is the one who needs work in this area, you're likely suffering from a bad case of ignorance, with a secondary condition of selfishness. Remember, love is not rude but lifts you to a higher standard.
Do you wish your spouse would quit doing the things that bother you? Then it's time to stop doing the things that bother them. Will you dare to be delightful?
Here are 3 guiding principles when it comes to practicing etiquette in your marriage:
1. Guard the Golden Rule. Treat your mate the same way you want to be treated.
2. No Double Standards. Be as considerate to your spouse as you are to strangers and coworkers.
3. Honor Requests. Consider what your husband or wife already asked you to do or not do. If in doubt, then ask.
Today's Dare
Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.
***So I asked Zach yesterday what I could do for him...if he needed anything. I got a "" Which made me laugh, but made me realize that I really don't ask this enough. It is such an easy thing to ask, so why don't we do it more? Oh is because we think more about ourselves. I am going to try to make a point to ask this question more and then hopefully it will become a habit.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Let me Explain

Some of you, especially the ones who have known me for a while, my be questioning what is going on with me. That this is not the Rebecca they have known in the past.

Have you ever opened your eyes and realized that there is more to life?...more than a new Coach purse, a pair of beautiful diamond earrings, the "things" we all want so badly...(even though I do love those things)? I have realized this...and I WANT more! My eyes have been opened to the life that I was meant to live and I have never treasured life more than now!

I have always heard people talk about following God, praying, the whole kit and caboodle, but never really "got it", so to speak. I have always gone to Church. I was raised Catholic, and still am, but I have finally realized what it means to be a Christian....a True Catholic. I have found a new love and respect for my faith, one that I have never given thought to or paid attention to. And I LOVE IT!

I have finally started my relationship with God at 23. I hate that it took me that long, but so glad I am here. I have never been happier and I feel like I always have someone beside me to help me with everything I go through. Someone who can take on all the things I can't do by myself. When I say that God has a plan, I know that it was in His plan that I would finally love Him now, at this time in my life. At this time, I realize that I need Him and never want to live without Him. Not only is God there for me, but He has given me the greatest amazing man to share this life with, to go through ups and downs with, to give my love and support to...He gave me Zach to show me how much I can love and how much I WANT to love. So cool right?

This blog may have been completely unnecessary, but I felt the need to talk about the change in my life so my friends and family know that it is sincere. It isn't a phase or trend I want to follow, this life changing time for me is a blessing and I can't wait to see what this new found love and life holds!

Day 4: Love is Thoughtful

How precious also are your thoughts to me...How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.---Psalm 139:17-18

Love thinks. When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing is done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, YOURSELF. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate.

If you don't learn to be thoughtful, you end up regretting missed opportunities to demonstrate love. Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a loving relationship.

Let's be honest! Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget about the rest of the world. A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. Adding to this, a woman also thinks relationally. When she works on something, she is cognizant of all the people who are somehow connected to it.

Both of these tendencies are examples of how God designed women to complete their men. As God said at creation, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:28). But these differences also create opportunities for misunderstanding.

Men tend to think in headlines and say exactly what they mean. Not much is needed to understand the message. But women think and speak between the lines. They tend to hint. A man often has to listen for what is implied if he wants to get the full meaning. If a couple doesn't understand this about one another, the fallout can result in endless disagreements.

Love requires thoughtfulness---on both sides---the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks. A husband should listen to his wife and learn to be considerate of her unspoken messages. A wife should learn to communicate truthfully and not say one thing meaning another.

When is the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? What's the next event you could be preparing for? Great marriages come from great thinking.

Today's Dare
Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.
Philippians 1:3

***I am loving hearing from you all about you taking up the dare. Isn't if fun (but hard at times)? I have learned so much about myself in the last 3 days that I never realized before. Yesterday's dare we had to buy something for our spouse? What did you get? I gave Zach money to buy lunch. I know what you are thinking.....What? This is a battle that Zach and I go back and forth about. I think it is such a waste to buy lunch that cost $6 when we can buy 2 weeks worth of lunch for the same amount....that is a woman's mindset, I guess. Well yesterday, I gave him the money to buy lunch (something he truly loves doing). I wrote him a note telling him how much I appreciate his hard work. It felt good writing the words. Encouraging him is so fulfilling (as it should be). Patience is still hard...I think it will be always be a battle I face...but as long as I am aware of it...I can get better at it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 3: Love is not Selfish

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.---Romans 12:10

We live in a world that is enamored with "self." The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.

If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. Yet you cannot point out the many ways your spouse is selfish without admitting that you can be selfish. That would be hypocritical.

Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for our mate? The answer is a painful pill to swallow. We are selfish.

When a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities in front of his wife, that's a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that's a sign of selfishness. Loving couples, the ones who are enjoying the full purpose of marriage, are bent on taking good care of the other flawed human they get to share life with. That's because true love looks for ways to say YES.

One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward.

Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritize the well-being of your mate, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love. The truth is, when you relinquish your rights for the sake of your mate, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage.

Remember, your marriage partner also has the challenge of loving a selfish person. So determine to be first to demonstrate real love to them, with your eyes WIDE OPEN. And when all is said and done, you'll both be more fulfilled.

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves

Philippians 2:3

Today's Dare

Whatever you put time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today."

***How did yesterday go? Was it hard or fun? For me, it was so much fun. I love giving things and surprises. This dare was a piece of cake. I planned a date night for us. I rented 2 movies that I would have NEVER rented, but that Zach really wanted to see. I got his favorite candy and his favorite popcorn and I made him his favorite dinner. Yesterday, though, I struggled with Patience. I got frustrated with him and after reading today's dare, I realized it was because I am so selfish! Don't you hate that! When you catch yourself acting a certain way; a way that you hate seeing in yourself. Well, after my act of kindness yesterday, Zach did something that really upset me and my first thought was, " I just did all this for him and he is going to act that way towards me." Selfish! And this is why I am taking the dare....I am a work in progress...a least when I got upset, I didn't start an argument!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update on Us

Slowly but surely, we are starting to clean out closets and pack up our things. We had a yard sale this past weekend to help get rid of any things we didn't want to move with us. It was quite successful and any other things we didn't sell and don't want to keep, we are donating. We will officially be moving to Atlanta on February 20th. Please keep us in your prayers during our move, that everything goes smoothly and we travel safely.

As I said earlier, I am starting an internship on March 2nd. I am very much looking forward to it. I can't wait to dive into the design field and begin a career (not a JOB but a career). Please keep me in your prayers, too. :)

As for Zach, he has applied for an Assistants position in Atlanta and should here back about it by next week. PLEASE PLEASE pray for him, the position, the men doing the hiring!

I know I am asking a lot from you all, but the power of prayer is crazy and I truly believe that with all of you thinking about us....that something positive is sure to come from it. Whether it be this specific job, or that God directs us in another way, we appreciate all your prayers!

Day 2: Love is Kind

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.----Ephesians 4:32
Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other proactive. These two sides of love are the cornerstones on which many of the other attributes we will discuss are built.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on a tablet on your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man
Proverbs 3:3-4
4 basic core ingredients to kindness:
Gentleness. When you're operating from kindness, you're careful how you treat your spouse, never being unnecessarily harsh. You are sensitive. Tender. Even if you need to say hard things, you'll bend over backwards to make your rebuke or challenge as easy to hear as possible. You speak the truth in love.
Helpfulness. Being kind means you meet the needs of the moment. If it's housework, you get busy. A listening ear? You give it. Kindness graces a wife with the ability to serve her husband without worrying about her rights. Kindness makes a husband curious to discover what his wife needs, then motivates him to be the one who steps up and ensures those needs are met---even if his are put on hold.
Willingness. Kindness inspires you to be agreeable. Instead of being obstinate, reluctant, or stubborn, you cooperate, you stay flexible. Rather than complaining and making excuses, you look for reasons to compromise and accommodate. A kind husband ends thousands of potential arguments by his willingness to listen first rather than demand his way.
Initiative. Kindness thinks ahead, then takes the first step. It doesn't sit around waiting to be prompted or coerced before getting off the couch. The kind husband or wife will be the one who greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. They don't require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need, then make your move. First.
*** I love these 4 parts of kindness and how each one of us can relate to at least one of them, if not all. Willingness really hit home for me. I feel like the book was directly talking to me. Willingness is one thing I struggle with in our marriage and in my relationships, period. I am stubborn, but the more I can be agreeable and flexible, I think it will make me a better and kinder person all around.
Did any of the 4 really make you think about how you could change and be more kind?
Today's Dare
In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
How did you do yesterday if you are taking on the dare? Zach and I really don't disagree much, so it wasn't too difficult for me. But, it did make me think before I spoke. I usually don't do this. But I am sure over the next 40 days, even the next 40 years, there will be a time when I can fully apply Patience to our marriage (I am not that niave). I just hope when that time arrives and every time it is present, I apply patience and I listen quickly but I am slow to speak.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 1: Love is Patient

Be Completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ---Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Day 1 is all about Patience; which cracks me up since this is my New Year's Resolution. Here are some of the points that I thought were really valuable from the chapter:

Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is. Those pillars are patience and kindness. All other characteristics of love are extensions of these two attributes. And that's where your dare will begin.

Love will inspire you to become a patient person. When you CHOOSE to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger.

Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, it usually generates additional problems. But patience stops problems in their tracks. More than biting your lip, more than clapping a hand over your mouth, patience is a deep breath. It clears the air. It stops foolishness from whipping its scorpion tail all over the room. It is a CHOICE to control your emotion rather than allowing your emotion to control you, and shows discretion instead of returning evil for evil.

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly
Proverbs 14:29
A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute
Proverbs 15:18
See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another
1 Thessalonians 5:15
Everyone must be quick to hear, low to speak and slow to anger
James 1:19

Patience is where love meets wisdom! And every marriage needs that combination to stay healthy.

Today's Dare
The First Part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, CHOOSE not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Do you Dare?

This weekend, Zach and I watched Fireproof. Ok so the acting wasn't 4 stars or anything but the message far exceeds any number of stars. Even though Zach and I have only been married 6 months, I could relate to the couple featured. We have been tested, even before we got married, with challenges that some might back down from in a relationship. The couple in the movie were facing divorce....and I don't want to give it away because you should rent it too. But the main character was "Dared" to improve his marriage before giving into divorce.

One thing that I loved about this movie and the concept, was that we don't have to wait until we are at the breaking point or the end of our marriage, that all of us can improve our marriage with this Dare! No, Zach and I are fine....growing stronger everyday. But, for us both, I am taking the dare.

Today, I am going to the bookstore and buying "The Love Dare" for Zach. I am not buying it for him to do for me, I am buying it for me to do for him (it makes more sense after you have seen the movie or visit the website). Over the next 40 days, I will blog about the experience and share the book with you too, if you want to take on the dare as well!

I dare you! I dare you to make your marriage or relationship all it can be. I dare you to live in a marriage the way God intended it to be! In this month of love, Do you Dare?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Email Congress

I received this flier at Church last week. Many of our homilies as of late have been revolved around the sanctity of life and Fight FOCA. Here is what the flier stated and if you feel so compelled, visit and email Congress.

We are facing the most serious threat to pro-life ever---the "Freedom of Choice Act", or FOCA. This bill would create a right to abortion the government could not limit and bring a national abortion policy far worse than the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. For the first time, abortion would become an entitlement the government must fund and promote. Citizens would lose the freedom they now have to enact even modest regulation of abortion industry. FOCA would:

-Eliminate regulations that protect women from unsafe clinics and unscrupulous abortionists

-Force American Taxpayers (YOU AND ME) to fund abortions

-Force every state to allow partial birth abortions---its sponsors have said a primary purpose of the bill is to ensure that killing partially born children will again be permitted nationwide

-Run roughshod over the conscience rights of physicians, nurses and hospitals that oppose abortion on religious, moral or ethical grounds

-Strip parents of their right and responsibility to be involved in their minor daughter's abortion decision

Your voice is needed more than ever! At this time of serious national challenge, Americans should united to serve the good of all, born and unborn---not single out the most defenseless human beings for an expanded attack on their lives

Please urge your federal elected to oppose FOCA or any similar measure, and to retain laws against the federal funding and promotion of abortion. FOCA embodies the public policy goals of pro-abortion groups. These groups will promote the bill's passage directly, and advance its agenda by working to reverse pro-life laws at a time

What can you do to at! The message to Congress is already written for you. You merely sign and give your email address. It is that simple and look at the cause it could help!

Change is in the AiR!

I've got good news and bad news (but it is really good news).

Last Friday, Sherrie and Dan let me know that they could no longer afford me as their nanny. Both of them are self-employed and have not had work since November. This may be perceived as bad news, but it is far from. It is a blessing and an answer to my prayers. I have been having a really hard time working here the last couple months and have been praying for a sign of hope, something to give me the boost to keep going. I got my answer last Friday. Zach and I have been having much conversation revolving around our "next step" in life this past week and feel confident in what we have decided.

We have both come to the conclusion that Atlanta will be the best place for us right now. I have found an internship in my field...YAY....and will be starting at the beginning of March. Zach has started his search in Atlanta and has applied to some courses. We are both really excited and very nervous. Our biggest prayer is to not have to be separated. So, prayers are in order. Please be thinking of us in these next couple months. We greatly appreciate all your prayers to this point and humbly ask for more.

We will see where the Lord leads us!