Keeps us humble!

Parenting…it really does keep me on my knees…which is a very good place to be!
Ok. So here is a not so funny antidote about living our lives out before everyone...I failed the other day.

My two sons were in the living room wrestling…if you have boys you may know the drill. The dog barking furiously to help… It always starts out fun, wrestling around on the living room floor, then someone gets their arm bent the wrong way or head bonked on the couch too hard and it turns into WWIII.
Maybe not at your house but almost always at ours.  :0(

I was in the kitchen, trying to make dinner and 1000 other things at the same time. I had asked them to stop several times and when they didn’t, I got angry. Instead of doing the mature thing and going in there to make them stop I proceeded to yell at the top of my lungs about obeying.
At that same moment our dear pastor appeared at our door to pick up his jugs of Kangen water and obviously heard the rucus. He stuck his head in the open screen door and said, “Hey Matthew, get off your brother and help me with these jugs will you?” 
Mortified would be an understatement. Well, having kids has done a wonderful thing for me…it keeps me humble. :0)
May GOD bless you today!
Advertisements

Guest Author Interview Elaine W. Miller

1. Did we ALL marry idiots? What caused you to name a book, We All Married Idiots: Three
Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can.

Years ago during an argument with my husband I thought, I must have been an idiot to marry
this idiot! Then I burst out laughing realizing that makes me an idiot too! Later I learned the
word “idiot” is derived from the Greek word “common man.” Well, aren’t we all common man?
In fact there was only one uncommon man—Jesus Christ. When we look to our spouses to
fulfill needs that only Christ can fulfill, then husbands and wives become dissatisfied with their
marriages. So yes, we all did marry idiots; and so did our spouses.

2. What is the purpose of We All Married Idiots?

With the divorce rate around 50% for Christians and non-Christians, my heart is broken for
marriages. Too many couples give up too soon for too little reason. They enter a second marriage
only to realize, Ugh, this person is an idiot too! My purpose is to change that divorce statistic.
We All Married Idiots will help couples enjoy marriage as God intended. One were their mate is
esteemed as a gift to treasure not as an idiot to tolerate.

3. Tell us about your marriage?

Dan and I have been married 41 years. Our first years of marriage were rough. I packed his
bags numerous times because I was looking to him to fulfill needs that only Jesus could fulfill.
I wasn’t happy, so I thought (as many unhappily married people think), perhaps I married the
wrong person. I shudder thinking what my life would have been like had I successfully thrown
away this wonderful man who I love with all of my heart.

4. Did your marriage face a crisis and how did it turn around?

Our marriage is a miracle, really. One August afternoon I knew it was over. I had hit the wall.
It was that day I realized I couldn’t do this thing called marriage in my own strength and I
surrendered my life and my marriage to Jesus Christ. Wow! God did a miracle and filled my
heart to overflowing with love for Jesus and for my husband. Dan came home to a new wife.
I had never felt such love! I realized that day my happiness does not come from a husband or
children or material goods. Happiness comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ

Elaine W. Miller interview questions

5. Is this a book just for newlyweds?

The three things you will never change about your marriage and the ten things you can teaches
couples to esteem their beloved as a gift to treasure, not as an idiot to tolerate. What marriage
couldn’t benefit from that! We All Married Idiots was written for every marriage . Newlyweds
will start out on the right path as they discover wisdom that I wish I had known in the early days.
Those in struggling marriages will learn why they struggle. Those in ho-hum marriages will
learn to view marriage as an adventure given as a gift from God.

6. What are the three things you will never change?

The first is the idiosyncrasies. We all have peculiar habits and do little things that annoy. We’d
like to change our spouse’s idiosyncrasies, but honestly that is not what we promised on our
wedding days. I’ve been to a lot of weddings and never heard this vow, “I promise to make a
mental note of everything you do that annoys me and remind you of it as long as we both shall
live.”

The second is sin. We all married sinners. Why would we do that? I love Elisabeth Elliot’s
answer, “There was no one else to marry!” We all sin and sin inflicts pain. There will be times
you and your spouse will hurt each other.

The third is the differences. Men and women don’t think the same. We have different ways of
solving problems.

I promise you there is conflict in the marriage of two idiotic sinners who don’t think alike. We
can’t change the struggles, but we can change how we respond when the idiosyncrasies, the sin,
and the differences arise.

7. Why will this book strengthen marriages?

We All Married Idiots teaches husbands and wives to stop concentrating on the three things
they will never change and focus on the ten things they can change. Too often couples spend the
majority of their conflicts trying to change the three things they will never change. Talk about
hitting a wall!

8. What makes you a marriage expert?

I’m not! I’m an idiot! I am not an authority on marriage, but I know Someone Who is and He has
written a great Book. God created marriage as a gift to us. He is The Marriage Expert and every
day I talk to Him and study the best book on marriage ever written—the Bible. We All Married
Idiots looks at marriage through the eyes of God instead of the eyes of man. My husband and I
have lead numerous marriage retreats and counseled many hurting couples. We know the hurt

and frustration of a marriage gone wrong and the joy and blessing of a marriage gone right.

Elaine W. Miller interview questions

9. What is your best piece of marriage advice?

Oh there’s so much good marriage advice. In marriage we need to examine ourselves. Funny.
I’ve read through the Bible seven times searching for a verse that says, “Examine your spouse.”
It’s not there. But the Bible does say “examine yourself.” Couples are too quick to point the
blaming finger at each other rather than ask God to point Your finger at me and show me what I
am doing wrong.

Another word of advice is to give up your life and your marriage to God and hold on. Don’t let
go. The problems you have today could be gone in five or ten years. I just don’t love him or her
anymore is not a reason for a divorce. You don’t feel love today, but you could fall back in love
next week or in three years. Marriage is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Husbands and wives grow
up, mature, change for the better. Keep running towards the goal God has for your marriage.
Of course, if you are in an abusive situation, I advise you to flee to a safe place and receive
professional Christian counseling.

10. Why do you think there are so many divorces?

With the divorce rate at around 50 percent for Christians as well as non-Christians, it’s pretty
clear there are a lot of people thinking they are married to idiots and that someone else will
fulfill their needs and make them happy. It isn’t long before they realize in a second marriage
that, “Ugh! That person is an idiot too!” We live in a self-centered, self-seeking world. We want
a good marriage and we want it today. We are too quick to throw a marriage away in search of
one that will satisfy.

11. What factors do you see influencing marriages towards divorce?

Marriage is like running a marathon. It takes hard work, diligence, discipline, positive influences.
To motivate themselves, marathon runners watch videos of runners completing the race. How
committed would they be if racers filled their minds with runners falling and never completing
the marathon? Is that what we do when night after night we watch television shows depicting
marriage after marriage failing? The world portrays marriage negatively. Couples fighting,
belittling each other, divorcing. Married couples on television rarely have a sexual relationship.
Love making ends as soon as the wedding rings go on. How sad. I believe these negative
portrayals are influencing us to believe that marriage doesn’t work. It is a lie we must not listen
to. God intended marriage as a blessing, but the world has distorted God’s plan

12. Why did you write We All Married Idiots?

I tried to give up on my marriage, but I was married to a man determined to hold on and to
glorify God. He was committed to me for a lifetime. What a great guy and an amazing man
of God! I can’t imagine my life without him. Realizing what my life would have been had I
divorced him makes me shudder. I wrote We All Married Idiots to save marriages from the pain
I inflicted on myself and on Dan. I wrote to glorify God and to change that awful 50% divorce
rate.

We All Married Idiots is a great tool for individual study or couples to study together. I’d love
to see it used in small-group home meetings where you invite your neighbors to study it with
you. Think about it. Fifty percent of our neighbors are headed for divorce. We could change that
statistic by reaching out to them with a We All Married Idiots small group. The questions at the
end of each chapter are not threatening and do not require a theological degree to understand. As
one reviewer said, “This is the most accessible Christian book I have ever read.”

13. This book is humorous, but it is also serious. Share something humorous. Share something
serious.

In my chapter “Strip Down” I talk about God’s command in Hebrews 12 to “strip off every
weight that weighs us down.” When God tells us to strip, He means to take it all off. Get rid of it.
Marathon racers wear very little clothes because the weight slows them down. The weight of sin
in our hearts weighs us down and keeps us from effectively running a marriage marathon.

Dan and I were on an airplane sitting on the runway when the pilot told the passengers that the
airplane was too heavy to take off. He asked for two volunteers to get off the plane. I was not
comforted when two of the tiniest ladies on the plane raised their hands. Off they went. If that
airplane had been my heart I think removing my two tiniest sins might get me off the ground but
would not enable me to soar. God wants us to unload all of our baggage. And then our marriages
will take off and soar in the right direction!

14. After a couple reads We All Married Idiots, what changes can they expect in their marriage?

My hope is that couples will change their thinking about marriage. They will see marriage as
a gift from God that He gave to open and enjoy. Then they will esteem their spouse as a gift to
treasure, not as an idiot to tolerate.

15. It’s easy to read a book and not apply what is read. Does We All Marry Idiots help a couple
take positive action towards a better marriage.

Oh yes. We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and
Ten Things You Can consists of 13 chapters which are the three things you won’t change and the
ten things you can. 3 + 10 = 13 chapters. At the end of each chapter are questions to contemplate
and application and action steps to take re-enforcing the teaching of each chapter.

16. How does your husband feel about being called an idiot?

He’s such a great guy. Honestly, I’m the idiot in chief at our house. I don’t like the word idiot,
but the truth is compared to God, that is what we all are. We have a great God who reconciled
Himself to idiot man through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I pray all idiots out there
will realize that truth and place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus saved our marriage. My
husband approves of and supports my writing. If our story can help marriages, then he is happy
to be called an idiot.

17. Is this your first book? Tell us a little about yourself.

I am the author of two other books, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms
and Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives.

Married for 41 years, Dan and I are blessed with three married children and eight grandchildren.
We live a beautiful life in upstate New York right on the edge of the Adirondack Mountains. Dan
is an ordained minister and a District Superintendent for our denomination, The Christian and
Missionary Alliance. He oversees 77 churches. We’re blessed to travel to Europe each year as
Pastoral Care Couple to Missionaries in Bosnia. We enjoy a blessed and sometimes idiotic life
together. We like hiking, golfing, skiing, travelling, kayaking and most anything outdoors. God
gave us a beautiful playground. And those precious grandchildren. Oh my! Love them!!!

18. Who is your publisher? How can We All Married Idiots be purchased?

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is the publisher. We All Married Idiots is available
on line as a print or ebook and at your local bookstore. Autographed copies can be
purchased through my website, http://www.SplashesofSerenity.com or by contacting me at
SplashesofSerenity@yahoo.com.

Life is Short

On Friday we attended the funeral of a new friend. He came to our church a little over a year ago, and we had the pleasure of being in a Small Group Study of The Prodigal GOD (an excellent book by the way) with he and his wife for several lessons a few weeks before his passing. He was by all accounts in excellent health, and only 63 years young.

On Easter Sunday we had a house full of friends and family. Soon after we finished dinner our pastor received the call that this dear man had passed. We all joined together at that moment and prayed for his family. It was the oddest thing; he seemed so healthy and alive. He was in the service that morning thrilled that his whole family was with them for Easter. His wife told me he was beaming all day, so happy to be all together. And then…gone.

The whole week before the service I couldn’t get out of my head how minuscule our life here on the planet really is. We go along acting as if we have endless days and time to do all the things we want and feel called to do. But it is not so. Even if we live to a ripe old age, it’s not enough time. I want to resolve to live as if I had only a week left all the time. Because you never know.

At the funeral several of his former pastors, who had traveled far to be there, got up and shared what an impact this dear one had on them, their lives and ministries. One shared that on the property behind his home there are wooded acres. In the middle is a clearing and in the middle of that clearing is an enormous old oak tree. An ancient tree over 6 feet in girth and huge, with limbs stretching for a long ways.  The canopy rises above the other trees and gives much shade. It is a strong, deep rooted tree that has stood the test of many storms.

He said that is how he saw Dave, the same deep rooted, strength that comes when one has trusted his Savior for all. Storms had come and gone and he only grew in his faith and wisdom. Wow! To be a canopy for others, to be strong and deep rooted and to point all we meet to the Savior who has everything under control. I was moved, and sad that I had only known Dave for such a short time.

Let us resolve to know JESUS more; to trust Him more and to point all we meet to the One who has all under His control. In the easy times and in those weak moments of dark, earthly distress and discomfort I want to point all I meet to my JESUS, the lover of our souls.

Perceptions

The Elm Street House...35 years later.

We went on a day trip to Cañon City, Colorado where I grew up this week hunting for fossils.  We went to the Royal Gorge  Bridge too. http://www.royalgorgebridge.com/

It was a blast! I love Cañon City.

On our trek we went by a couple of my old houses…ugh. Both the Elm house and the Cedar Street houses were trashed, especially the Elm one. Made me sad as I loved that house.

But 35 years later, they have gutted it and made it into a storage shed for hay. I went inside and was shocked to realize the house was probably only 800 square feet total, maybe less even. I remembered it much bigger! But then I was smaller. :0)

The last time I was by the Elm house, a few years back, all the windows were broken and there was trash everywhere. Matthew our middle child was with me and when we left he said, Mom were you guys really poor when you were growing up?

I was surprised by his question. I told him how wonderful my Mom had decorated that house. She planted flowers and a huge garden.  I shared how great it was to walk down to the river to fish any time we wanted. We had pigs and chickens and a pony named Silver to ride, and a hillside where we found shark teeth fossils right there on our property. We had acres to play on and we even discovered and old dump site from probably a hundred years ago on the property…oh the treasures we dug up from there. I remember an old brown whisky jug we found.

For a kid it was paradise…I didn’t feel poor for a minute. Hardly any of my friends were so blessed to have a pony to ride, the whole river to fish just steps away, and a Dad who liked to take his kids fishing. Autumn there was glorious too, all those yellow cottonwoods. We even had fruit trees and a walnut tree.  Heaven on earth.

Maybe we were poor by the world’s standards but my folks did a great job of making what we had seem wonderful. My mother made holidays magic. Looking back, I now know that she worked her buns off to make it special for us. I wonder if I even appreciated all her hard work. I don’t think I even realized it was her. I have thanked her many times as an adult but I don’t know if I did as a child.

I suppose that anyone who looked at the 5 homes we lived in from the time we moved Cañon City when I was in second grade to when I graduated high school 10 years later might think we were poor. But we didn’t know we were. We had food and parents that loved us and in my book that makes a person rich.

So take heart in these tough economic times. If you are feeling like you aren’t able to provide all the things you would like to for your kids…it is probably better for them anyway.

Just love them and spend time with them and do bunches of things together and they will grow up feeling rich. And while you are at it introduce them to JESUS and they truly will never be poor.

I once heard a story about a wealthy man who took his son to their “poor” cousin’s house to show him how blessed he was to be rich. After the visit the father asked his son what he thought. The son said I see what you mean Dad. We have a swimming pool but they have a river that runs forever. We have a fenced yard and they have the woods and acres and acres to run in. We have a big house and they have a big barn full of animals for pets while we have one dog. They really are rich Dad. Thanks for showing me.

One of my Mom’s signature lines while I was growing up was Bloom Where You are Planted and another was When Life Gives You Lemons~Make Lemonade. She had them posted in our home, but more than that she lived them.

 

I guess it is all about perceptions.

The Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? What, you ask, is a bucket list? A list of things you would like to do before youkick the bucket.  Mine is quite lengthy, but today I will share just one with you.

When in college, I was an avid runner. For several years I ran up to 40 miles a week. Hard to imagine myself running that much now, as I sit here at my computer writing.  I ran in 9 Bolder Boulder 10k races in Boulder, Colorado. I always wanted to make it an even 10. The last one I ran was in 1991 while pregnant with our first son Martin.

My OB doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to run that race, I had to speed walk. So upset by this piece of news that I really speed walked and had a better finish time walking  than I had running the previous year. Isn’t it funny the things we get upset over?

After the ninth race, I had a baby, then another and another and running that 10th Bolder Boulder didn’t seem as important somehow. But this year for some reason I am feeling like it is time.

For the last several weeks I have gone out to “train” for the race. What I discovered, is that even though I thought I was in pretty good shape, I am not. I felt more like a train wreck than a person in training. The first day I could only run a couple blocks and then walked the rest of my two mile route.

At our motel, The Black Bear Inn, www.theblackbearinn.com by Yellowstone we work 16 hour days in the summer. We go up and down the walk a zillion times a day cleaning and renovating rooms. We ride our bikes everywhere all summer; hardly ever drive. When I come home in the fall I am in great shape. But in just a few short winter months I’ve lost it.

I find it vastly annoying that getting in shape is so hard, but what’s even worse is that if we stop exercising for even a few weeks or months we lose all the ground we made. I discovered that to be true in my faith walk as well. When I am in The Word every day and spending time with Him on a regular basis, I feel I can handle anything. But let a week go by, where I don’t make time to spend some with my best friend JESUS and I am toast. That wonderful peace like a river runs dry.

His mercies are new every morning as the scripture says but we have to read it to experience it. ?search=Lamentations%203:22-24&version=ESV The good thing I’ve found is that when I turn back to Him, it doesn’t take weeks of back breaking exercise to get back into spiritual shape. GOD is so gracious to take me right back.

Every day now heading out the door to go running, that old familiar voice in my head starts up, it is too cold, it is too windy, it is too icy. But NO, I am determined to get back into running shape and conquer that last Bolder Boulder, so I can cross one off the bucket list!

Once out there on the road, I spend time talking to the LORD and listening for a change. That half hour has changed my whole perspective. I am more positive, more patient, more energetic, I think clearer and am happier than when I was not exercising or listening to my Father.

Lately, I have heard from several different sources that Americans are seriously deficient in Vitamin D and dehydrated. Both are critical to our mental health. Why do you think folks are more depressed in the winter months when we stay indoors and don’t see the sun behind the snow clouds? We need exercise, vitamin D and water to be healthy. And we need time with the Father.

If you live in Colorado and would like to join us in running that 10th Bolder Boulder, just let me know and register here www.bolderboulder.com . But even if you aren’t in Colorado, or don’t want to run a 10k, take my word for it, get off the couch. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, go to the gym or hop on that dusty treadmill and while you are at it strike up a conversation with the One who created you. I am willing to bet that you, like me, will feel better for it.

Check out this You Tube of the Bolder Boulder

Do You Know Your Neighbors?

Do you know your neighbors?

Last spring, our pastor asked us what we are doing in our own neighborhoods to grow relationships that could point our neighbors to JESUS. To point them to the One who loves them more than they could ever hope or imagine being loved.

I was struck dumb when I thought about it.

Most of our neighbors save the ones on either side or below us I don’t even know. I know some of their names and would recognize their faces maybe but that is as far as it goes. I decided to pray for ideas about what I might do and decided to resurrect our outdated neighborhood directory, penned before we arrived in 2003.

I put a letter in everyone’s mailbox inviting them to join. With the responses I made a spread sheet and email group, then printed and laminated a hardcopy. Next, I rolled the sheets, tied them with ribbon and put one in every mailbox, weather they signed up or not. At first, only half the residents joined, once they saw it many more did.

Having an updated directory has been so great to warn each other about thieving foxes, menacing bears and mountain lions prowling about. We have used it to secure house sitters and baby sitters, to borrow eggs and share holiday sentiments.

Then last fall, just before Thanksgiving, a band of burglars invaded our street. In one night at least 6 houses were affected. If we hadn’t had the directory, we wouldn’t have known each other had been hit. When the police came they listened to everyone’s account of the events and cautioned us that it sounded like the thieves were casing the place. Trying to see how easy it would be to gain entry. The officers warned the burglars might come back and really load up.

In the weeks following, we’ve been amazed to watch our community. On our way home one afternoon a truck with a trailer parked at the end of our cul-de-sac. I stopped and politely asked the men standing there what they were doing. One of the men looked at me with a puzzled expression and said they were renovating the house they were parked in front of. From their faces, I knew they had been asked that question before.

Ryan to the South of us, installed security cameras pointing up and down our street so anyone who enters will have their license plate recorded.

Everyone is more friendly and talkative. We have all been keeping an eye pealed for any unfamiliar vehicles or individuals.

Seems funny that GOD would prompt me to renew our neighborhood directory just a few months before it would be a GODSEND? This experience has been a great reminder to me that He is all knowing, all powerful and all in control. And He has our backs.

I am trying to be a better listener to His prompts on my heart.  We are hoping to have a get together in the spring and invite the whole neighborhood crew.

How about you? Do you know your neighbors? The mission field is ripe for the harvest but the workers are few. It’s not necessary to go to Africa to be a missionary.