Cherish…what does that mean?!

I am currently on a journey through a book entitled Cherish (by Gary Thomas). I’ve had the privilege of reading others of his books, including Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence. I highly recommend any of these!

I have been so very challenged in the reading of this book, and I’ve really just started!

Cherish. What most of us promise when we made our wedding vows. But do we really know what it means? Do we stop and take time to cherish our spouse?

A definition given in this book for the word cherish is this: to go out of our way to notice someone, appreciate someone, honor someone, and hold someone dear.

And, a direct quote, from this book “God is more than capable of teaching us and empowering us to treat and cherish our spouses the way he treats and cherishes us.”

So. NO excuses—I may not know much about cherishing, I may not understand it, and I most certainly cannot do it on my own strength, but God will be with me every step of the way!

Another phrase from the book. “Through the biblical act of cherishing, we can empower our spouses to become who they are called by God to be, and in the process to become more of who we are called to be, creating a marriage that feels more precious, more connected, and more satisfying.

Cherishing my spouse means lifting him up, doing what I can to make him look better, be better, be more of who God designed him to be. Maybe even helping him realize a part of himself that he doesn’t really know yet.

The more you cherish someone, the more joy you get out of your marriage. When you get your highest joy by giving your spouse joy, marriage takes off.”

This is only scratching the surface. I’m only ready for Chapter 4. And WOW—do I have a lot to learn! My prayer is that I would let myself be teachable through the reading of this book, so that I can cherish my husband as God wants me to.

Marriage really is designed to be a picture of God and His Bride. Which means we need to be in it for the long haul, this thing called life. God will carry us through, not only the good times, but also those not-so-good times. If we let Him, He can make us stronger, make our marriage stronger, and make our relationship with Him stronger, because of those times…

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear from you! And if you’d rather email (or PM) than comment here, that’s fine too.

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Back to School and more…

And we are back to school. This is the second week, so we are beginning to fall back into a routine. The girls had a short week last week, and then a long weekend off, so today is only their fourth day of school. It’s time!

I loved, loved having them at home this summer. I kept thinking of the song “Mighty Army of the Young” when I’d see how the work disappeared! Yes, it does take effort! In some ways, I think it’s more exhausting, at least mentally, to have to organize and oversee this tiny army! They need so much encouragement. And motivation. And assistance! It would be great to be able to say, “hey, can you go clean up the basement for me today.” But somehow, that mostly doesn’t happen, not unless Mom is right there helping, too! 😉

What I really loved though, was that one of our girls really stepped up this summer. Prior to this year, she was the one that kind of tried to avoid the work. Not lazy, no, but she definitely preferred holding down the couch with a good book in her hand (and I totally get that–I did that way too much in my own growing up years). But what makes a mom’s heart thrill, is when they come to you and say, “What can I do to help you, Mom?!” I’m tearing up as I sit here writing this. Yes, she did this so many times this summer. I told her numerous times, “Do you know how much I appreciate it when you do that? I can’t even really express it! You are growing up SO much!” How I love her!

And then, (frequently) when the work was done, there was still plenty of time for her to go read or play a computer game, or do a craft project. But she had the satisfaction of knowing that she helped make the work load a bit lighter!

I have four girls, and lest you think I had one doing all the work, NO! They all helped. Each one has such a different personality, and they each help in their own way. 🙂 Not necessarily equally. But they are all growing up. And becoming much more efficient! I’m discovering the saying to be true, that if you really train them properly, you kind of work yourself out of a job. Of course, that’s only the one aspect of it! 🙂 (Somehow Mom’s work is never really done… 😉 )

I had my biggest canning day of the entire year this past week, and yes, it was a day when they were at school! 😦 The tomatoes in our garden are ripening very slowly this year, and so I finally decided to find some elsewhere. My mother-in-law has a lovely juicing machine that makes that whole process so much easier, and she also had tomatoes for me. So Wednesday found me at her house juicing away. She was well into the juicing of them by the time I arrived there.  I left her house two hours later with FOUR very large kettles (not entirely full, so I could transport them home without creating a mess…) of tomato juice! I ended up with 93! jars of various sizes containing tomato juice, marinara sauce, bbq sauce, and ketchup. (side note here, we have been eating mostly sugar-free, and I wanted to make sugar-free versions of these, new recipes for me, so as to have some healthier options on hand. We’ll see how we like them!) It was such a relief to have everything in jars and be done canning, no later than 10:00 that evening! The actual process of canning is not a hobby of mine, but I do like the satisfaction of seeing my shelves stocked for the winter. And I love being able to run downstairs and get a jar, and not have to worry about running out!

After doing what felt like a small batch of homemade salsa yesterday, I think we are stocked for the winter! 🙂

And now, today…I get to have a more relaxing day. I hope to spend the day chatting and sipping coffee, maybe doing a pillow cover project that has been put-off for way too long… 🙂

I also need to post some book reviews, but don’t quite have them finished…hope to do that in another post in a day or two.

What have you been doing the past week? Are you ready for the whole Back-To-School schedule? Are you ready for fall? 🙂

 

CFRR 2017

Last Saturday, one week ago, already, I had the privilege of going to CFRR, and took my oldest daughter along. CFRR – Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. I’ve been mulling over it all week. And still don’t know quite what all I want to say! I’d just like to say right off that this event, when I’d heard about it, just felt like a dream come true—a day for readers and some of their favorite authors to meet and chat—what fun!!

We’d been gone most of last week, family vacation, camping, so to think of leaving again, all day Saturday, I wasn’t sure that I was really in the mood. Our original plan had been that we’d go Friday evening, stay at the hotel overnight, but then we nixed that idea because of vacation week. I probably would’ve given it up altogether except for the fact that I’d already paid the admission fees for the two of us, and they were non-refundable.

So we decided we’d go. We had to leave home early, for a Saturday, that is. 7:00. We only had to go to Cincy, so it wasn’t too long of a drive…I think my daughter ended up sleeping a good part of the way.

When we arrived, we discovered there was a LINE out the front door of the hotel. What?! I’d had no idea it would be like this….! To give a quick mental picture—ladies, ladies, everywhere! I knew there were to be about 40 authors, plus a limited amount of readers, so maybe about 200 people at this event, and they were all standing in the hotel lobby, hallways, etc., just FULL of excitement!

Our first stop was the restroom, and to get there, we had to kind of push our way through the line of ladies, in a few different places, just to get to the restroom. (That was all the registration line) Yikes—I don’t care for crowds, just WHAT did we get ourselves in to. I (almost) felt like turning around and going home again!

So, after that stop, we went to the back of the line, which hadn’t moved very much from when we first saw it. We stood there and waited for awhile. Registration was supposed to be over at 9:00, but they didn’t quite meet that goal, I think too many of us waited ‘till the last minute! We visited with a few others waiting there. And felt sorry for hotel guests that were staying there that weekend, not involved with CFRR or having any idea of what was going on.

When we finally got through registration, we were each given a huge bag full of “swag”. Mostly stuffed with books! And then many other neat little paraphernalia items from publishers, authors, sponsors, etc.

Then we went into the designated conference room and took a seat. At this point I would’ve just liked to take the time to spread out my bag and examine it’s contents, a brief peek showed many interesting things, including one book that I’ve been wanting to read for awhile (I’ve had the kindle version, but I always prefer the actual paperback, so I was so excited to see this one—Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig)

We were told where to find our programs, and also to look for a candle, each of which had a certain label, to divide the group into teams for the day. We found which group we needed to join, and headed up towards the front to find seats with our new teammates.

One major highlight of the day was that we were hardly seated when my new seatmate said hi, and I took a look at her nametag- Jen Turano. ??!! (I knew I’d read some of her books already…but she wasn’t listed as a participating author of the day) During a quick intermission, I was able to ask her about her books, she handed us a flyer, and Natalyn said, “Oh, I LOVE your books!” (huge highlight for her!!) Jen gave us some autographed bookmarks, which we added to our swag bags.

There were many events planned throughout the day. (Beforehand, I thought maybe, if we’d get bored, we’d end up leaving before the end. Honestly, the day flew by so quickly, we didn’t even have time to get bored!) There was praise and worship sessions, panel discussions, topics by a few different authors, lunch break, games, giveaways, and so, so much going on!

To be in the midst of a group of people with similar love of reading is incredible. As Shelley Gray stated it, “My husband thinks there’s probably nobody else in the world that loves to read as much as I do.” And yes, my husband would probably say the same about me.

At lunch we were told to get our food and find people to eat with that we didn’t know. Natalyn stuck to me, and we ended up spending our lunch time visiting with four other ladies, and had a great time visiting!

There were speed chat sessions in which about 10 of the participating authors would make circles visiting with small groups of readers, and this gave a chance to get to know them just a little bit. This was very interesting to me! (I wish we’d have had time to do a quick meet like this with each one!)

One disappointment to me is that one of my favorite authors, Dani Pettrey, who was scheduled to be a speaker, was not able to be there due to health reasons. She made a brief appearance via facetime, for a demonstration she was to have done with Becky Wade. This was an interesting session. Becky shared a peek into her whole writing experience. She & Dani had made video clips throughout the previous year, to show different phases they encounter while writing a book. It was fun and informative. And then we were all given a paper, and through the use of M&Ms, given a quick basis for writing our own novel. My combination was to come up with a historical romance set in fictional Hollybrooke, involving an astrophysicist and a farmer. (I didn’t get very far! 😉 ) Several of the authors shared what they came up with, and Wow! I know why they are writers—they had very intriguing openings—I wanted to hear their actual stories!

Like I mentioned earlier, there were lots of giveaways throughout the day.  I forgot to mention the “CFRR Stewards” earlier, but there were three ladies—Annie, Carrie, & Bonnie, (along with a  few assistants) that planned this event. They were the ones that kept the day moving right along, moderated, did the giveaways, and just made it a really fun day overall! It was neat to have all those giveaways, and we kept hoping our names would be called, but they weren’t. Because we already had a huge bag of things, we were ok with that! : )

At the end, which was after 5:00, we were finally given time to do a bit of shopping (there was a small bookstore set up in the back of the room), and get autographs! Natalyn & I were able to get signatures from at least 5 or 6 authors! It was so much fun to visit with several of them! I was delighted to meet Ronie Kendig, I’ve read most of her books, and participated in launch teams for a few of them, and it was a real treat to speak with her in person!

I also discovered that one of our other seatmates, Cindy Thomson, is the author of a book that I’d had from the library in the past year, and really enjoyed—and she also lives in the central Ohio area!

It was so, so neat, to be able to see that authors, many of whom I’ve admired from afar and loved their books, are ordinary, down-to-earth people, and I greatly enjoyed the time we were able to spend chatting with a few of them!

The ride home went by quickly as we discussed our day. I loved being able to go and spend a day like this with my daughter, chatting about books is a great way to connect, even though we don’t like all the same books! 😉

Another highlight for her was that Jen Turano was the winner of one of the giveaways, and she then turned around and gave her bag to Natalyn, “I’m flying home, so I really don’t have room for this.” (Bless you, Jen—that was very special!)

When we got home, we spread out all our stuff, I went through and figured up the value of all the books we received, and if we’d have had to buy all of them, we would have spent more than our admission was for the day! That’s how generous all the participating authors and sponsors were!!

Well, this has gotten a bit lengthy…thanks so much if you stuck with me and read all of this.We’d love to go to this event next year, but it will probably be held at another location, last year they had it in Nashville, so we just don’t know if it will be possible or not…but anyway…if you are interested in going, please check with me, it would be fun to have friends going along with us to enjoy the day!

Also, I’d love to have my daughter share about the day from her point of view, so that might be posted here at a later date!

Be prepared for giveaways here on my blog in the future. I can’t wait to share some of my things with some of you all!

August already?!

Can it possibly be August already?! Where oh where has our summer gone!

We had so many plans, things to do, things to accomplish….and it feels like we hardly scratched the surface.

Some things we did:

Cleaning, organizing, sorting out things for the thrift store.

Moving from one bedroom (shared with sister) to her own room.

Visiting family & friends out of state.

Camping.

Swimming.

Canning.

Laundry.

Cooking.

Baking.

Eating.

Sleeping.

Campfires.

Reading.

Playing.

Stencils.

Biking.

Shopping.

Sewing.

 

These are only a few of the things that we worked on this summer….what felt like a nice long break back in May has hopped, skipped, & jumped right on by.

We still have two weeks left. Hopefully, those can mostly be enjoyed. 🙂

At least a greater portion of one of those must be spent sewing new dresses for school. This is highly unusual for me, I am one of those that feels much better having the sewing done early on. But first, we had to make sure we had the right fabrics on hand. Then they had to be decided on, as to who gets which one (let’s not have anyone matching anyone else, you know…). And then we had this and that and the other that we wanted to go to.

We had a stretch from the end of June through part of July where I made a trip to Indiana every.single.week. Various reasons….all important….and it’s just a short trip….but I was glad when the week came when I could say, I think we’ll not go on any road trips this week… 🙂

I will admit that I am kind of dreading the arrival of another school year. It feels like we’ve just finally gotten into a (mostly) good routine here at home, lots of work getting done in short order, no lunches to pack, no schedule, and now it’s almost over!

Tell me about your summer!

What you did.

How you managed to get the most enjoyment out of it.