Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sex and Duty and Bitterness

Have you heard the "Never Say No" rule?
This is often taught in Christian circles in regards to having sex in marriage.
The idea is, it is the duty of the spouse to meet all the sexual desires of their spouse.

I believe sex is a gift to marriage.  For man and wife.
Sometimes it seems people think it is just for the man.
The honest look at relationships seems to make many men and women
both believe that sex is the gift/burden for men.
Often we look at this assessment and say,
"We know that the wife is not that interested.
So, she should just do it out of duty to her husband.
She should act to meet his need."

May I wonder out loud with you all for a moment here?
I wonder if this policy for sex in marriage
can sometimes create more of a rift, than a connection?
Yes, give yourself as a gift, to your spouse.  But not grudgingly!

What if a couple has been applying the policy of sucking it up and having sex,
but, not abiding by, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath"?
(Remember this "policy" is in the Bible.)
What if there are unresolved issues.  Things that are festering.
Bitterness and hurt that is making the wife very uninterested in sex.
If they don't get them out and deal with that and break down the wall of bitterness,
then they will not know the healing, restorative power in their sexual union.
He will just think she doesn't like sex because
that's the way things supposedly are for a woman.
She will become more resentful, feel used
and the wall of bitterness between them gets thicker.

That sexual union becomes just a physical act.
They cannot enjoy the connection, beauty & healing that should be there.
The wife is there in body, but not in spirit.
And, they can both see that she doesn't seem to like sex that much.

Live and love together in a way that your heart is ready to say "Yes!".
(Though, sometimes your body may still have to say "No.")

Do not accept a gift given grudgingly.
First seek to find out why there is no joy.
It will take work, humility, forgiveness and patience.
That's love!
The higher the wall is between you, the harder it will be to tear it down.

Don't leave a wall of bitterness in your marriage.
Don't let the sun go down on your wrath.
No matter how foolish you feel, be honest about the seed of bitterness.
Deal with it and root it out.
Come together in healing and forgiveness and praising God.
God loves a cheerful giver.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patching

I need to post more pictures from our pumpkin patch visit.
Pumpkin patch pictures are one of the best things about Fall, right?
Plus, we've been apart from the daddy for too long.
He needs a reminder of what we look like.

Good times at Rodoni Farms, Santa Cruz.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Power of an Understanding Embrace

As we were finishing our dinner,
the children started asking me about the post dinner treat.
Had they eaten enough food, would they be getting the treat, what was the treat, etc.
One of the children had lost this privilege the day before, 
based on some repeated bad choices.
When I repeated the consequence, the wailing immediately began.  
"WHAT?!!  It's not fair!!"  Over and over again, screaming.
This was no surprise.  I expected this reaction.
The thing I didn't expect was the way I responded.

I took my child in my arms and said, 
"I know it is hard.  But, I cannot give you this privilege back."
My voice was soft and sympathetic.  My embrace was sincere.
My little one?  Calmed down.  The fight did not continue.
I was amazed.

My typical response would be a stern eye & a harsh tone saying, "well, I warned you!"
And the wailing and fighting would've continued.

Not this time.  Calm.  Listening.  This child felt understood.
I really shouldn't have been surprised by the power of a gentle answer.
I've know what Proverbs 15:1 says for 25 years.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger"

Really sweet faces can turn away wrath, too.  I couldn't resist posting this one of Gillian from when she was 2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Earth is His Footstool

{Santa Cruz Tide Pools}

"Thus says the Lord: "Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made, 
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look;
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word."
Isaiah 66:1-2

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It was her golden (and pukey) birthday

Gillian turned 6 years old last weekend.
We also had sickness strike our household and spoil her party.
We attempted the pinata and games regardless.  
But, the kids were all dragging.
She ate her requested Caterpillar cake 4 days old.
She was very good natured about it all.

She's been six for a week.  
Her highlight of being six so far was getting to eat her cake.  
(although, she didn't really eat it.  4 days old, not very tasty, in truth.)

Her best memory of her 5th year of life - 
Fairytale Town in Sacramento. 

Rainbow snowcones in the heat of the Sacramento summer

But, since she wasn't actually 5 yet when we went to Fairy Land, 
she thought a second time about her best memory of being 5 - 
And decided it would be the Bay Area Discovery Museum 

The museum is at Fort Baker on the north side of the Golden Gate.  Awesome location.

Gillian's biggest dream for her 6th year of life is that she could learn to ride a horse.
Apparently she has wished for along time that she could ride a horse.
Perhaps this will be the year?  We'll see.

She did already get her dream of going to the Henry Cowell swimming hole for her birthday. 
(Prior to us realizing that we all had a stomach flu churning in our bellies.)

She (and we) got a sweet, surprise day with Daddy 
where we went to Gayle's bakery for breakfast 
& romped across Rodoni Pumpkin patch on the coast.

And, she has her first year of going to a school class.
Gillian is loving school.
(CFT is awesome and so is my sister, founder and director and teacher)
She sure is growing up!

Here's to being six years old, Gillian!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Let's Not Go Back

Dear Scott,

9 years ago I was falling in love.
We were sailing on a yacht in a tropical paradise.
We had less gray hairs, fitter frames, younger skin.
I was discovering how much I admired you.
We were learning that conversation was easy with each other.
It felt natural and it was satisfying.

In the months that followed we spent several evenings a week,
just kicking back with my sisters,
chumming around, playing cards & drinking tea.
We played tennis with my family on the weekends.
I wasn't any good.
(You don't really want to play tennis with me anymore.  I get it.)
Or what about the time you spent all day with me and my friend,
at a beekeeping workshop?
Those days were sweet.

We were talking on the phone & emailing each other
with increasing frequency.
I talked with my friends about you 
& how much I wanted something serious to happen
& was it safe to hope & would I just be brokenhearted?

Then you called me & told me that you that I was amazing.
You told me you'd never met a girl like me,
and you didn't want to let me get away.
And my head & heart were about to explode.
We drove around in your red Camaro that night
& were constantly amazed that this was real & we were in love.
There was so much to discover about each other.
So much to look forward to.
These days were good.

As much as I love remembering the days of our new love,
 let's not go back.
We've come so far.  We love each other more every day.
We tried to care for each other back then.
But, we didn't really know each other.
We were learning.
(And we are still learning.  Let's not ever stop learning.)

I don't want to go back, and I know you don't want to either.
What about this road we've journeyed?
All of the incredible joys, the deep sorrow, the sacrifices, 
the leaps of faith, the hopes, the fears?  
These have been part of binding us together.

Let's keep down this road, and not turn back.

Let's pile love upon love, as we face each twist & turn in this road.
God knows how to multiply His good gifts.
All the love is going to be pressed down, shaken together 
and running over, pouring into our laps.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rooted in Love

{gorgeous right?  My husband's idea of a centerpiece.  I love}

“That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19