Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Rock Date Night on a Skinny Budget

(Found at DatingDivas.com)

I'm just gonna be honest with you here.  My skinny jeans would fall right off our discretionary budget.

But date nights are so vital to our marriage y'all.  The small minutes at home are filled with bath times, bed times, and time outs.  There are three very needy miniatures.  Barbie shoes need to be found.  The villain needs to be defeated.  Hair needs to be washed, chicken needs to be cut up, and the right pajamas need to be zipped and snapped.

Not to mention in their wake, ketchup needs to be wiped, poop needs to be flushed, legos need to be gathered, and my little ponies need to be pulled from the dogs mouth.

Hi, how was your day? just won't cut it for connection.  I need more.  He needs more.  But how do we get that more when we have just about as much money as we do spare minutes?  Fortunately, we've been practicing.  Here's what we've come up with:

1. The Couch Date

Give me a big, fuzzy throw, a no-bake cheesecake, and netflix, and I'm on a date! The hubs and I are still making our way through The Office, enthralled in the lives of Jim, Pam, and the others. We spend so much time with them that we talk about them as if we actually know them. At least once every week, we get the kids in bed and then crash in a pile of comfy clothes, cushions, and something delicious. What series on Netflix, weekly TV show, or trilogy can the two of you share?

2.  The Longest Drive

We live in the middle of nowhere. It literally takes us about 40 minutes just to get to WalMart. So going to grab a little drive-thru treat is often a date in and of itself. We jump in the car and head toward town to get a coffee, a milkshake, a box of doughnut holes, anything. And on the way, we talk about whatever needs to spill out of us. The three car seats in the back are empty, so we can literally solve the world's problems just on the way to Dunkin' Donuts and back. Sometimes uninterrupted conversation is all the soul needs. Plus, coffee is my love language. If you're a city-dweller, drive across town to get your Starbucks or Cook Out milkshake. It'll be worth it.

3.  Long-forgotten Fun

What's something you used to get a good giggle out of, but haven't done in years? Is there a cheesy movie, childhood game, or mindless activity that would get you grinning? Did anyone else play hot hands or have thumb wars? How about M.A.S.H.? I think that was mostly a girl thing in the 90s, but I found a printable version of it on Pinterest and the hubs and I got quite a chuckle out of it. We found out how many kids we're going to have, where we will live, what kind of car we will drive...you know...the important stuff. Even just 20 minutes of pointless play time can bring out some of the biggest belly laughs.

It's not always about dinner and a movie. I can be proud to say that I'm a cheap date. Just give me some connection, maybe some coffee, and I'm set. The take-away is that answering to Babe, Honey, and Wifey are all just as important as answering to Mama, Mom, and Mommy. Don't get distracted from that.

There was a time that I let wiping hineys and blending baby food stiff-arm me into a ceaseless mommy mode. And my husband was left to his own.

Never again.

No matter the budget of dollars and no matter the budget of time, we have renewed the vow to not let anything come between us.

Will you?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Oh My Precious God, I Am Overwhelmed.

I come to you today, friends, without a humorous opening, but with a pounding heart and the presence of the Spirit that is so electric it is almost tangible.

A couple of Sundays ago, I shared a message with our church family, confessing my heart for us all to be utterly overwhelmed by Christ. Overwhelmed by our heavenly Father. But that wasn't all I confessed.

I painted a picture for them of my frustration in preparing that message in the weeks leading up to that very morning.  I told them about how I sat many nights in front of a blank computer screen totally discouraged and ungratified because encouraging words about being overwhelmed for Christ would not spill out of me. It was a most devilish form of writer's block.

I finally fell to my knees under my burden of frustration and just said, "What God? Why won't you move?"

And just like that, I felt a whisper in my heart that said...

You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot convey or explain what it looks like to be totally awe-struck by me, because you, yourself, are not in awe of me. You cannot give what you do not have.

And I sank.

Because there was a not-so-distant time when I was so head over heels in love with God for the power he shook my life with. I have lived through many events that just left me stunned for Him. Overwhelmed by Him. And here I sat, with a blank computer screen and a blank space where my passion should be churning.

I finished my message by reminding my small church family of parts of my story, and suggesting that those days, those battles, those victories should leave me totally ruined for Him. Nothing else should ever be able to satisfy me.

I encouraged us all to recount our own incredible stories, to soak in them, and to become overwhelmed by them.

And then today happened.

My study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians (Children of the Day by Beth Moore) required me to consider the last 18 months of my life.

I wrote the exact date down in purple ink. 18 months behind today. October 1, 2013.  Oh my precious God.

What horrific and painful and absolutely jaw-dropping, beautiful things have happened in the last 18 months. I have not succumbed to depression, but I have surely battled it. I have lived in spiritual warfare so thick, that I thought at any minute I would feel a cold, clamy hand on my throat. I have actually experienced first-hand the blinding glory of the heavenly Father swoop in and fight for me. I have realized and accepted that He takes any attack on me personally. Oh sweet Jesus. Can someone be excited with me?

Consider me overwhelmed.

What the heck is your story, friend? I just have to know! Someone come to coffee with me. Email me. Call me for heaven's sake and share in this fire.

How has God totally overwhelmed you?