Truth

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 28, 2010

dandelion,dandelionIf you know me in real life, follow me on Twitter, or are a friend of mine on Facebook, you already know that this pregnancy has been very hard on me.

What you may not know is that it took me a long time to get used to the idea of being pregnant. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another baby – I just didn’t want to be pregnant. I was just beginning to feel good again, after having the Mirena removed (which had been the cause of so many emotional and physical issues), when bam! I’m emotional, cranky, and just plain miserable again. Once again, I’m not feeling myself.

I’m praying that the real me will return once Baby arrives. Until then I have to remind myself daily of the truth, when it’s so easy to believe the lies…

Lie :: I am so lazy
Truth :: While it feels like I am always laying around, in my pj’s most days, I have been given the order to “stay off my feet” and “take it easy.” My ankles begin to ache and swell, my uterus begins to spaz and I overdo it when I do begin to exert any shred of energy I may have. No excuses, just truth.

Lie :: My children are suffering by my laziness lack of energy
Truth :: My children and I have had some great snuggle and story time, lessons in patience have have been learned (by all of us), and my older kids have had to step up a bit when it comes to helping out around the house. These things would not have been accomplished, to this degree, without this mandatory “down time.” Dare I say this season will prove to have been good for us all, in the long run?

Lie :: I hate being pregnant
Truth :: I hate the way I feel while being pregnant. This time. I LOVE the fact that I am carrying a baby. A baby who is healthy and will be loved and cuddled. I am extremely blessed to have been given so many beautiful and healthy children to teach, train and love.

Lie :: I’m no fun to be around
Truth :: I am emotional. I am cranky. I am tired. I am in physical pain. The tiniest things can bring me to tears, as quickly as the big things. I snap at my kids and bark at my husband. I am not proud of this, nor do I care to make excuses. Instead, I pray daily that God would not only help me forget about myself, but that He would give my family and friends grace to love me in spite of myself.

TRUTH ::

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

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The Greatest of These Is Love

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on June 14, 2010

heart in lightsOur pastor is preaching a series on brotherly love, directly from 1 Corinthians 13. Yesterday morning, as I sat in my seat, soaking up Pastor Kevin’s words – words spoken as if they were just for me – I couldn’t help but reflect on God’s love and how I fall short of demonstrating His love through my actions.

As adults we have established a certain code of etiquette, if you will, of which kindness and respect is most often included. We refer to our elders as Sir and Ma’am. We apologetically say excuse me when we’ve caused an interruption. If you are anything like me, you are quick to say I’m sorry if you have done wrong, and you’re happy to make those around you feel comfortable.

As a mother I strive to teach my children how to behave properly. I expect them to be kind and considerate to each other, their peers, and their elders. Rude and inappropriate behavior, unkind words, and prideful attitudes never go unchecked.

But if I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

I think of myself as a fairly considerate person, but all too often I am unkind, impatient, and downright rude – lacking in love. I yell at my children and snap at my husband. I complain about how inconsiderate my neighbors are and neglect to treat them with compassion. I harbor bitterness towards those who have hurt or offended me (or my children) and show no true forgiveness.

Yesterday, as I sat in church, the Spirit gently reminded me that God is love and through His grace alone can I truly love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How good-natured and amiable is Christian charity (love)! How excellent would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more under this Divine principle, and paid due regard to the command on which its blessed Author laid the chief stress! Let us ask whether this Divine love dwells in our hearts. Has this principle guided us into becoming behaviour to all men? Are we willing to lay aside selfish objects and aims? Here is a call to watchfulness, diligence, and prayer. -Matthew Henry

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Making Your Husband A Priority

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on March 17, 2010

Okay Dads, now I know there are many of you who visit often, but this post is for my fellow Mom friends, so will you excuse us for a minute, please?

wedding rings

There are plenty of articles written about how to be a good mom, but as busy moms I think we tend to forget, at times, that we are wives first. I know I certainly do. My husband demands the least from me, so I often forget that it’s our marriage that needs to be nurtured the most. Our children need to see a healthy and loving relationship exemplified in the home. It is from us that they learn how to love and treat those of the opposite sex.

Trust me, I know that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the caring for and training of our children, meal planning, housework, budgeting, and the million other jobs we attend to daily. At the end of the day I’m emotionally spent, worn out, and just plain exhausted.

But, it’s at the end of the day when my husband returns home from a long day of his own. He doesn’t complain when I ask him to stop at the store for a missing ingredient for that night’s dinner, or when he pitches in to help make it {or even when he has to make it on his own}. No complaints when he has to change another stinky diaper, or fill the dishwasher for the fourth day in a row.

However, you can be certain that I do hear about it when I neglect him. Of course, it’s not always expressed in words, but in looks and sighs. This is a good thing. I need a gentle reminder to make my husband a priority. In fact, I think wives everywhere need to be nudged a bit when they neglect their man.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, right? Well, maybe. But, how about doing something for your husband that he totally doesn’t expect? Show him you love him by doing the little things to prove it. Even when you may not want to at first.

Here are some ideas ::

  • Prepare his favorite foods for dinner or a Saturday mid-day meal.
  • Put your laptop and iPhone away for a few hours, one evening, and just snuggle.
  • Tell him how much you love him, the good old-fashioned way, and send him a love note.
  • Ask him how you may pray for him.
  • Flirt with your man across a crowded room. Even if that crowded room is movie night. In your family room. On a Sunday evening.
  • Remember to speak to him with respect. After all, he’s not one of your children.
  • Surprise him with a special date night out. Or in – after the kids are in bed.
  • Make time for sex. Yes, I said it. Mark it on the calendar, if you need to. Ladies, this one is important!
  • Or, how about something as sassy as having sexy boudoir pictures taken. You can ask my husband how much he loved this one!
  • Even just a quick kiss, out of nowhere, can do the trick.

Whatever you decide to do, the simple fact that you thought to do something out of the ordinary, will go a long way to let your husband know how much you love, appreciate and respect him.

Some of the ideas above came from a couple of good friends, but how about you? How do YOU let your man know he is a priority?

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The Five Languages of Love

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 8, 2010

When Ray and I were newlyweds, we studied a book called The Five Love Languages. In this book, Gary Chapman explains the different ways in which people react to others, based on actions and words, thus resulting in changes in our “love tanks.”

Chapman spent an entire chapter in his book explaining how the love languages can be applied to children. He also wrote a book called The Five Love Languages of Children. Now, I haven’t read his book geared towards children, and we didn’t have children when we went through the first one, but the same lessons Ray and I learned so long ago can be applied to our children, as well. Our children need to have love tanks that are full, as well.

heart_of_sand-1824[1]

According to Chapman, there are five ways in which each of us express and receive love:

  1. Quality Time
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Each are pretty self-explanatory and I’m sure you could recognize which most speaks to you or your spouse just by glancing at the list, but what about your children? Which one would best describe each of their love languages?

Knowing how to identify each of the languages of love in Ray has helped me grasp how to identify them in my children. Ethan and Josh both begin to glow when Dad or I spend quality time with either of them. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but even just a quick conversation or little bit of undivided attention goes a long way in filling their love tanks. Zach, on the other hand, thrives on words of affirmation and encouragement. Gifts is my love language, so it’s easily recognizable in Julia as she is always making and giving gifts. And, physical touch is big for both my Ben and Noah – Both are generally always in need of a hug and Noah falls asleep with one hand on my face!

We naturally pour on all five languages when our children are young. We must spend time with them, serve them, and hug and cuddle, so as to sustain their life. We shower them with praises as they smile for the first time, burp after a feeding, and later as they begin to crawl and then walk.

As our children mature and develop personalities, however, their language of love can be a bit harder to identify. Here are a few ways to best determine which one each of our children most appreciates:

  • Observe their reaction to the different ways in which you express your love for them
  • Observe how they show their love to others
  • Listen to their requests
  • Give them options

I would love to hear which language you speak. What about your spouse and children?

It’s important to remember that if you express love in a way that is not understood, your child or spouse may not realize you’ve expressed your love at all. Chapman stresses the importance of understanding your loved ones’ language in order to keep their love tanks full.

Is your love tank full?

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10 Years Ago

August 28, 2009

We became husband and wife on that squeltering August evening, ten years ago today. I vowed to love, honor, and cherish him for all the days of my life. We became a new family. Just the two of us. We began a journey. A wonderful journey. And now, ten years later, I love him more [...]

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