Friday, December 28, 2012

A Married Woman's Advice To The Single Young Ladies

This is not your typical advice.  It has nothing to do with "how to land a man".  It's simply a suggestion in what to look for.  Of course, it is not the most important thing, and you may have your own very well thought out list of qualities that you want to see in your Prince Charming.  So, here's the advice:

Make sure he has a good set of tools and knows how to use them, including power tools.  Yes, this is important, in my opinion.  He can work wonders with those tools and save you lots of money.  Plus, when he builds you a big, beautiful walk-in closet with shelves, racks, and plenty of drawers you can throw your arms around him and say, "oh Honey, it's wonderful!"  Sure you can hire out, and for some jobs it's necessary, but he will feel so much more appreciated if you marvel at his work rather than some other guys.

I have a friend who's husband barely lifts a hammer.  If she needs something done around the house she has to call her dad.  How frustrating! 

And don't give him a hard time if he seems to spend a lot of time at the hardware store.  He's thoroughly thinking out his projects; carefully choosing the right supplies and tools. Not only that, but the amount of tools and the boxes that contain them is insignificant.  He knows what he has and it's just the right amount for him to do what he needs to do...unless he needs to do something new (and needs a new tools for it, which is justified).  You don't want him to say you have TOO many shoes, do you?

Why do I feel the need to share this advice?  Because I have grown to appreciate the value of my very handy husband.  It is a gift.  It's part of what makes him special.  Every time he paints a room, puts up a shelf, fixes something broken I love him that much more.  Yes, he loves the hardware stores and can spend many hours in them.  I've been known to give him a hard time for it, but again, it's part of who he is and I love him so dearly.  This love did not develop on its own.  It has grown through the years and through prayer; a prayer that I would see him as Christ sees him; a very special creation to be loved, respected, and cherished. 

Ladies, anytime you go to the Lord and ask Him to help you see your spouse the way He sees him, your love will grow stronger.  I guarantee it!

Oh, and I also recommend that he be able to back up a trailer.  Very handy, indeed!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So, Christmas is over... Now what?

I recently heard someone say, "December 26th is the most depressing day of the year."  What a sad statement.  However, I can see why someone might think that.  Think of all the excitement and activity that happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas: the decorations, the Black Friday shopping, the food, the parties, the fun and festive music, the GIFTS!  All that build up, all that excitement, with the climax coming sometime between the dark night hours of Christmas Eve and the morning hours of Christmas day.  The dust settles…or shall I say, the wrapping paper…  You look around your living room, no more packages bulging out from under the tree, mess and clutter littered about, perhaps your thoughts scan your own personal wish list, "did I get what I wanted", or you might think, "well, time to clean up, it's over…"  That warm and fuzzy feeling of doing "good deeds" and giving fades.  When that infamous day, December 26th hits we know what comes next, and days, weeks, months later the gifts are a distant memory… 

Yes, I suppose that can be a depressing way to look at it.  BUT…it doesn't have to be that way.  Christmas should be more that just a day of the year, or even a "season of giving".  It should be a feeling;  a compelling love that is powered by the very Spirit of God within us.  That is, if we choose to make Christ our Lord.  If we realize we are nothing without Him, if we repent of our sinful thoughts and actions, if we truly have a desire to turn from those sinful thoughts and actions and to turn our hearts to the desire of the Lord.  Then, and only then, can we feel the true Christmas "feeling" ALL YEAR THROUGH!

I have to share this with you…this Christmas season could be classified as one of the worst Christmases we Brauns have had in a long time.  By the world's standard of living (which is very shallow and superficial), I would be quite justified in that claim.  Our family has been house bound for many, many days with illness.  We've missed some pretty special Christmas events; parties, church services, Christmas at Heritage Hill, the Old World Christmas at Elkhart Lake…and the list goes on…  We've also had some pretty challenging times with our business.  "Cutbacks" get made here and there.  But with all that said, I can honestly say this about the Christmas of 2012…it has been one of the BEST!  Why?  Because if it was about trusting God more and relying less on my own ability, then so be it.  Just being together as a family had so much more meaning.   Our focus was on growing…through prayer, patience, and simple trust in God's plan.  In the process, He blessed us with special memories as a family that will forever be cherished.

So with that, would I do this Christmas over if I had the chance?  Yes!  Not because of the decorations, gifts, food, or any of that temporary stuff, but because of the lasting and growing love I have experienced from God.  It's a celebration that lives forever, not just a day!  His love NEVER fades, we just have to turn to Him.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Family That Works Together...

...Stays together.  It goes something like that.  But there really is something to be said for those times when our whole family is working together on a project.  Today was one of those days.  It was "Family Work Day".  In other words, time to get outside and finish up any last minute yard work before the first snow hits.  Today we worked on the burn pile.  All those piles of leaves are finally gone and that land can welcome in its blanket of snow.

These opportunities to work together really aren't about the job that needs to get done.  That's more of a bonus.  It's about teaching a work ethic and an attitude of "work is fun, especially when we work together."  So with that said, everyone has a job; a purpose.  We are all needed and appreciated.  Well...if you're under the age of two you get to stand around and sip hot chocolate and look cute...and maybe fall into a pile of leaves once in awhile.

But for the rest of us...we get the job done and we work as a team.  It's also an opportunity for Dad and Mom to reflect a positive attitude about work.  These days,  it seems that "work" is a dirty word.  "TGIF" and "oh no, it's Monday again" are the norm.  Hey, I like my day of rest just as much as anyone.  I'm so glad God gave us that day!  But the feeling of accomplishing a good job is so rewarding and it is so important to teach that to our children.

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."  Colossians 3:23