Friday, May 31, 2013

From My Front Porch ~ May 31, 2013

from my front porch

Welcome back to my new blog series, From my Front Porch, where I share weekly updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea, or perhaps even a glass of lemonade, and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  

Around the House

Alan and the boys tackled the garage last weekend. What a big job!  They really worked hard sorting through stuff and did a fabulous job fitting everything in and getting it all organized!  Want to see a sneak peek?  Here's the garage:

Yes, we have a whole family of bicycles!  ;)

And here's the storage room. Alan and Josh designed and built a platform and have stored boxes and furniture from Tiffany's old apartment on top and have organized all the lawn equipment underneath!  Brilliant idea, if you ask me!  :)

Unfortunately, while cleaning/organizing the garage, they found several boxes of stuff for me to sort through, which all got stacked in my bedroom, of course!  :(  It felt like a major step backwards, but of course, progress is sometimes like that!  I've been working my way through those boxes, and have found homes for some items, filled the dumpster with others, and taken some loads to the thrift store/consignment shop.  I hope to finish sorting through those extra boxes this week!

Now it is time to resume our house tour with the "heart of the home" -- the kitchen!  The kitchen is definitely the "star of the show" in this house with its high-tech induction cooktop, two dishwashers, double ovens, breakfast area with bay window, and beautiful plus functional design!  I am so blessed to have this amazing kitchen!!  I absolutely Love it!  :)  

Well, that's it for the kitchen!  What did you think?  Next week we will hang out in my family room for awhile, as we continue on the tour of my new house!

Family News

If I thought I was busy when all of my children were young, I had no idea what the future held!!  Last weekend was one of those weekends that only large families can really relate to! Our house was bursting at the seams with people coming and going and bubbling over with activity! 

First of all, Tay's friend, Jimmy was here visiting for the weekend. Then Tyler returned to get ready for summer school, after being at his house in another part of the state for the last couple weeks. We attended special meetings at our church on Friday and Saturday nights, plus we squeezed in a big birthday bash for Taylor after the church service on Saturday night! We also worked on projects around the house, squeezed in a couple beach excursions, invited some friends from church to join us for our celebrations, and said good-bye to Joe!!  Whew!  We sure know how to pack a lot into one weekend!  :)

Here are some pictoral highlights of our jam-packed weekend:  

This handsome guy is my oldest son, Taylor, who was celebrating his 23 years with a delicious birthday meal of grilled steak, baked sweet potatoes, sauteed cabbage with bacon and a huge salad, served on the red You are Special plate, of course!  :)

This is Jimmy and Me, celebrating our victory over the cheesecake pan, after it put up quite a fight!  ;)  (It didn't want to let go of that cheesecake!)

Tay giving some perspective to the situation!  ;)

Finally  -- the moment Tay had been waiting for since last May!

Ahh! Nothing more delicious than this amazing cheesecake!  :) 

This is Josh and Joe "singing" George Washington's Bridge as off-key as possible!  (A long-standing family tradition started by my father and heroically carried on by Tay, Josh and Joe!!)  

This was the moment I dreaded all weekend -- having to say good-bye to Joe, who went ahead and moved to Florida to find a job and start establishing residency in FL before his wedding in June.  He is living with Abby's brother until the "big day."  Very. Sad. Day. for. Me. (Don't let that smile fool you!  I wasn't smiling on the inside!)  ;)


Not only is Joe a "handsome hunk," he is also easy-going, FUN, smart, gentle, patient and the resident higher Math, Chemistry and Physics experts! He has literally spent hours patiently explaining difficult Algebra concepts to Hannah and Chris! So, you can see why he has left a gaping hole in our house! We are all missing our "Jones!"  :(

In other news this week, Tyler took the kids fishing at a nearby pond and Bethany caught her first bass!  She was so excited!

Matt hooked several bass of his own, before getting hooked himself!  Yes, he ended up with a fish hook embedded in the top of his head!!  :(  

I took Matt to get a tetanus shot, after spending 3 frustrating hours with Hannah at the Department of Driver Services, wading through red tape so she could get her Learner's Permit!  


It was a LONG and STRESSFUL morning, and we came home to this:    

One of Tiffany's piano students plowed into the boys' special and highly-prized basketball goal, while backing out of our driveway, and pretty much destroyed it.  :(  Can it be fixed?  The jury is still out on that question.  

Well, that was my week -- the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad.  How was your week??

If you have time, please drop by my dear friend, Lori's blog.  She blogs from the front porch of her cozy little log cabin nestled in the woods of the South Carolina mountains.  You will enjoy her warm and witty writing style!  Tell her that Elizabeth sent you!  :)

Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!!

This post is linked up with:

Missional Women

I Choose Joy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Marriage Monday: Resolving Conflict {Link Up}

Marriage Mondays

Welcome back to Marriage Monday! Did you catch my post last week - What to do about those Warts?  It contained some helpful strategies for dealing with our husband's little frustrating or irritating habits, especially those things that just aren't going to change.  (Did anyone try the duct tape method yet??)  ;)  While these strategies are helpful, they should not take the place of loving communication as a means of addressing problems and resolving sources of conflict in our relationships.

Communication is sometimes harder than we expect in marriage.  Different personalities and communication styles added to tight schedules, stress, and lots of interruptions and distractions make effective communication challenging!  Some couples tend to engage in heated battles where they blast each other with razor sharp words, exploding anger bombs and maybe even engage a few well-aimed missles, while others prefer to employ the weapons of pouting, sulking, avoiding, and other Cold War tactics. Neither of these extremes are healthy or effective in solving problems or achieiving peace.

Here is a battle plan that may prove more effective for resolving differences and achieving unity:

1. Prepare Yourself.

Before you speak to your husband about a problem you see in his life, pray about it, prepare you heart, and remove any planks in your own eyes.  (Matthew 7:5)  Approach him in humility, not pride, and he will be far more likely to listen to your concerns.

2. Prepare your Husband.

Ask your husband when would be a good time to talk about something that is on your heart. Don't bring up an emotionally charged topic when he is about to leave for work or when he has just walked in the door after a long day.  Select a time when he is well-rested and relaxed and able to really focus on what you have to say.

3. Prepare the Environment.

If you are familiar with the book of Esther, I think we can learn much wisdom from the way Esther approached her husband, the King, with her request.  Like Esther, we can invite our husbands to a special "banquet" or quiet dinner for two (served after the children are put to bed for the evening) where we can talk uninterrupted about the issue that is weighing on our hearts. If the timing doesn't seem right, we should follow Esther's example and prepare another "banquet!"

4. Present the Facts.

Men generally want to hear facts and not just feelings. They tend to look at problems objectively.  Emotional outbursts are not likely to be very productive. Avoid vague complaints, over-generalizations, and wild accusations.  Instead, give examples of specific words or actions that upset you, how they make you feel, and clearly communicate what your husband could do differently to solve the problem or make you feel loved. Husbands are not mind readers!  They prefer to have specific, concrete actions that they can work to accomplish and feel successful, rather than vague notions of what may or may not make you happy.

5.  Be Prepared to Listen.

Real communication requires a two-way connection, so be prepared to listen as well as talk. Also, be willing to make some changes yourself, when your husband shares about his own unmet needs and hurts. Don't react when your husband shares ways you can improve!  There are many things that your husband may reveal to you that can draw you closer together when you open the doors for two-way communication.

Most importantly, remember that your husband is not the enemy!  In reality, you are both on the same side of the battle fighting against the one who seeks to steal, kill and destory marriages.  So, if you have your weapons aimed at each other, it's time to redirect them!  Clear the smoke by employing calm, clear communication techniques and pursuing peace! 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  ~ Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

Your Turn to Share:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How do you and your husband solve problems? What tips do you have for communicating effectively? What do you find to be the greatest hindrance to effective communication between a man and woman? Has your home ever resembled a battlefield more than a refuge of peace and love?  Please share your insights by leaving a comment here or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged and built up as wives!

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!

marriage mondays

Blogs I link up with from week to week:

Happy Wives Club


The Alabaster Jar

Marriage Moment

What Joy Is Mine

Growing Home

Courtship Connection


Messy Marriage

Missional Women

Please link up your blog post on marriage below. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

From My Front Porch - May 24, 2013

from my front porch

Welcome back to my new blog series, From my Front Porch, where I share weekly updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea, or perhaps even a glass of lemonade, and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  

Around the House

The house is coming together. We feel pretty settled now, but there are still a few boxes that need to be unpacked and some spaces that need to be better organized.  (Plus, I haven't yet tackled that bonus room!)  I'm trying to be patient, knowing it will all get done in time. 

Are you ready to get back to the tour?  Last week we entered the front door and went to the right and took a quick tour of the "music room."  Today, I want to take you to the left into the dining room.

Fortunately, our dining room is just long enough to accommodate my mahogany banquet table with one of its leaves in and 12 chairs around the table, which accommodates the base family!  ;) I have another leaf and four additional chairs that can be squeezed around the table for holidays or family gatherings. With all the leaves in, the table would have to come out into the foyer a bit to fit, but that's the nice thing about having those open, arched doorways!

On one wall, I centered my china cabinet and placed two of the extra chairs on either side.  As you've probably noticed, I like things to be symmetrical!  :)  Do you?

This is the opposite side of the dining room, where there are two windows that look out onto my front porch. Not sure what I'll do about window treatments -- but that is way down the road for sure.

This is actually the view you would see from the foyer looking through the dining room toward the kitchen.  I really want to buy some beautiful Word Art for that back wall!  I'm not sure what quote or verse I want to display there, but I'm thinking I will know the right thing when I see it!  Any suggestions?? 

I often sit at the dining room with Matt and Bethany while they do their school work and work on blog posts or respond to emails.  It is generally cool and quiet in that back corner, and close to any projects I have going in the kitchen!  :)

Next week we will venture into the kitchen for the next stop on the tour of my new house!

Family News

Last Friday my hubby had to give a presentation in Atlanta, so he invited me to join him for the weekend.  I'm not exactly a big city kind of girl, so the ATL would not have been my first choice of destinations, but it worked! We managed to squeeze in a little anniversary getaway and enjoy some time together and get some much needed rest too.  It was a fun weekend!

Alan likes to spoil me when he can, and he treated me to lots of delicious food, such as this yummy Bison Burger Salad at Ted's Montana Grill.

We also walked to Ruth Chris Steakhouse one night, where he treated me to the best steak I've ever had in my life!  After dinner, we walked through Centennial Park, where the 1996 Olympics were held.

On Saturday my sweet husband took me shopping for a dress for the upcoming wedding.  We both expected it to be a long day of going from store to store and trying on dress after dress.  So, Alan settled himself on a bench with a pile of paperwork.  Would you believe I found not one but three dresses that fit well and looked good on me at the very first store??  When I had three finalists selected, I texted Alan and he came up to the dressing room in Dillard's and I modeled all three for him, saving my favorite for last. As soon as I tried on the last dress, he said, "That's the one!  It's perfect!"  Yay!  That is one dreaded chore accomplished!  :)

Here I am modeling my second favorite dress.  This is not the dress I purchased -- you will have to wait until the wedding to see it!  :)

Weekends away are fun while they last, but we were soon home and thrown into another busy week!  Many days this past week this was the view from my front porch:

That's a rather unusual view for this time of year, as May is usually hot and sunny in Coastal Georgia, but we have had several cool, rainy days this May.  Fortunately, the rain cleared up and the sun came out in time for our homeschool co-op's end-of-the-year picnic at the beach, which was yesterday. It was a beautiful day!!  Enjoy these pictures of our fun in the sun!

It has been a fabulous week!!  How was your week?  Did you do anything special?

If you have time, please drop by my dear friend, Lori's blog.  She blogs from the front porch of her cozy little log cabin nestled in the woods of the South Carolina mountains.  You will enjoy her warm and witty writing style!  Tell her that Elizabeth sent you!  :)

Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!!

This post is linked up with:

Missional Women

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