Saturday, August 31

Ezekiel ~ He's a "One Percenter"

     I don't know about you, but I've read the biblical book of Ezekiel a few times so far in my short twenty-something life. (Ok fine, maybe not a few times... Maybe once... With an attempt at twice... Maybe.) Either way I've read it, but apparently I haven't read it because as I was talking with my mom the other day she was telling me things about Ezekiel that I had no idea about!
Mom and Josie :)
     My parents still have five of their seven children living at home and two of those five are teenagers who are continually romping and stomping about the place. (You know. Being teenagers. ;) And my mom was telling me about a very passionate pep-talk she had given my sister Josie the other day. She said, "So, I was telling Jocelyn that I want her to strive to be like a top 10% character filled person. You know a top '10 percenter' would be like David, Moses, Paul or Ezekiel. Actually no, not Ezekiel, because he is in the top 1%."
     "Ok, why is he top 1%...?"
     "Well because God had asked him to lay on his left side for 390 days, without getting up or anything! Think about how much trust he had to have in God to go through with a command like that and wow Ezekiel's obedience was just incredible!"
     I knew I was missing mom's point when all I could think to ask was, "What about peeing and pooping?!"
     "Oh I don't know I'm sure he well... Anyway! He couldn't move and he even had to use dung to bake his bread! Think about that amazing will power!
     I was stunned. This was horrible; disgusting to say the least. So, in a state of awed stupor I could think of nothing to do except resort to unabated sarcasm. "Whoohoo I am telling you what, Mom! Yes!! That is just incredible! If I were Josie I would be totally and completely inspired by that as well! I can't wait 'til I can be a top 'one percenter' because that is just...WHEW! Oh man, I am just overcome. Overcome I tell you! Ezekiel's story got to me. Right here!" I added as I thumped my chest and composed myself after a fake sniffle or two.
     "And, AND, God also told Ezekiel that He was going to take his wife away and so God killed his wife and Ezekiel still chose to obey God! Brianna! This is mind-blowing stuff!"
     "Wow! This 'one percenter' stuff just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it!? This is seriously inspiring, like I don't even know how I can go on living my average life any more. Father in heaven, REIGN DOWN on ME Ezekiel's 'one percentedness' right now! Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen?!"
     "And just think what the media would say and do if someone in our time was willing to trust and obey God to this extent!"
     "Mom, nobody does that type of stuff anymore."
     "Exactly! Nobody at all even thinks like this, let alone acts like this anymore. But if someone did they would be on like World Magazine and like National Geographic and whatever other magazines are out there!"
     "Mom, I don't ever want to see you on the cover of World Magazine.... LOL, ever."

     After I made fun of mom, I really started to think about Ezekiel's story. Maybe we aren't asked to lay on our sides for over 300 days, but we have each been tasked with an assignment from God. Your task could be to remain single for a while, to become a stay at home parent, give up an addiction, start an orphanage in India, give up your time to serve in church or a nursing home, etc. I don't know what you've been tasked with, but I know that it is something of the greatest importance. I wonder how far we'd be willing to go in our trust and obedience to God? What would it look like if we truly embraced our mission?
     Anywho, those are my thoughts for the day. :)

     Live. Laugh. Love.

Saturday, August 24

10 Ways to Flirt With Your Husband

     The other day I asked Jon if he thought we still flirted. He kind of laughed and he said, "Yea--No." I had expected this answer from him because honestly it was my answer too. I don't know how it's so incredibly easy to flirt when you're dating, but BAM as soon as you're married something changes in your head and, well, flirting isn't a priority anymore. It's not that you don't have fun or laugh or still love spending time together (because you do!) but you've now got a sweet, handsome, stud forever by your side and he's won the chase, with you as his prize, so there's no need to "play the game" or impress, if you will.
     So I've been sitting here wondering where all the eyelash batting, cutesie shrugging, hair tossing, shy smiling, catch me if you can flirting has all gone! As I've pondered this, I've discovered it's still here!, but the game has changed a little. We don't flirt to impress or win, we flirt to continually love and woo. Flirting is a necessary aspect in your marriage relationship because it gives you a chance to laugh, make memories, get down to business, and relate to your spouse in a way that is unique to you and him/her alone.Obviously, the continually love and woo flirting is different than date flirting, but it doesn't have to be any less fun or exciting or sexy.
     I compiled a list of ideas (some are mine and some I found on some blogger friend's websites) on some good ways to flirt with your spouse. I wrote these down mainly for myself so I could keep them fresh and in the front of my mind, but I thought, "What the heck, I can share!" So, here's 10 ways to help each of us continue flirting with our spouse. ;)
  1. Leave a note where he can find it. Whether it's on the bathroom mirror, in his car or briefcase, or on the cup of coffee you surprise him with write something encouraging or a sweet love note, just as a reminder of how much you care.
  2. Make him breakfast/breakfast in bed. Whip up his favorite pancakes or omelet and have it ready when he wakes up or serve it to him in bed. (Jon and I are not avid breakfast eaters but I do try to make him something every once in a while.)
  3. Have a secret code phrase. Want to tell him you think he’s hot? Try a secret code phrase, like “Are we due for an oil change?” No one else will know what you really mean but him, so you can say it in front of the kids, in front of your parents, in front of anybody!*
  4. Greet him at the front door.  After a long day at work sometimes all they need is a refreshing smile and a sweet kiss to come home to. Make sure he knows you're excited to see him home from work and if you're really feeling spunky have you ever considered flashing him? (It makes the blood rush ;)
  5. Start a "Love Journal". A book where you can write letters to each other, paste in notes you’ve both written, special memories, and such.**
  6. Post a YouTube video to Facebook. If you hear a song during the day that reminds you of him, post the song video to his wall to let him know you were thinking about him.
  7. Have tickle wars. Pretty self explanatory, but let me just add that I am an avid believer. Seriously, these will get rid of any gloomy clouds or just help you loosen up and laugh.
  8. Play the fortune cookie game. Whenever you get a fortune cookie, mentally add the words “in bed” to the end of it. You’ll giggle together at a Chinese restaurant as you pass them to your husband, but no one else will know why you’re laughing!*
  9. Cuddle during movies. And don't forget to lay your hand on his chest.
  10. Go for a night swim. Swimming during the day is fun, but at night *sigh*'s romantic. :)
     I just want to add that flirting doesn't always have to lead to something. It is simply a way for you both to express that you care. When you flirt you are saying, "I love you.", "I accept you.", "I am attracted to you.", etc. If it does lead to something great, but these are just some ways to keep each other close, interested, and feeling loved.
     I'm off to make some breakfast for Jon! (French toast is his favorite.)
     Live. Laugh. Love.

 Breakfast pics from last week. :)

*Borrowed from
**Borrowed from

Thursday, August 22

The Marriage Key

     What is a key? A key is something that affords a means of access. Whether you are trying to gain knowledge, discover power, uncover truth, open a door, or safe-house something precious a key is well...the key. And I don't know about you, but I am always looking for keys; keys to my house or the car and keys to life, love, cooking, marriage, friendship, cleaning, etc. Life sure gets hectic when we lose those bad boys! We start running late, get frustrated, become impatient, miss appointments, forget to be kind, and so on, and so forth.

     When Jon and I first met, some dear friends and counselors gave us a piece of pre-marital advice. I believe it is one of the greatest keys to marriage and well, it's been on my mind a lot lately so I thought I'd share it so you could all add a key to your belt. (I'm going to stop saying 'key' now because it is getting a little redundant, but you get the point ;)
     The piece of advice was this; communication is important, but understanding what was communicated is even more important. They went on to explain the importance of active listening. "Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood..."* This is so genius, guys! Everyone wants to not only be heard, but understood.
     This advice was easy to remember when it was fresh on my "girlfriend mind" but as time has passed I've become guilty of not listening. I will sit and think about a quick comeback or what I'm going to say in response instead of pausing and reflecting, then repeating back what I thought I heard. This week I have really been trying to work on this because 1) this process helps to eliminate assumptions and also minimize misunderstandings and miscommunications and 2) I feel that Jon and I have been having a few more than normal of the afore mentioned misunderstandings and things lately. Nothing bad at all, but I still don't like it.
     For example, we had some miscommunications about who was going to be using the car because we both happened to need it at the same time one day (which rarely happens). Then Sunday afternoon plans went awry because one of us forgot to inform the other about what was going on. And now I can't even remember what else happened but anyway we had a communication gap that kept being recognized, but not resolved. Things were not being understood and feelings were getting hurt.
     The way of the world says that little misunderstandings and things don't matter, but to me they do. I don't want little things to add up to big things. I don't want anything to come in between us. Being proactive in our relationship is really what helps us the most; catching things before they become a big deal. So, I want to encourage anyone out there that is getting frustrated with misunderstandings to go ahead and sit down to work out whatever is getting in the way of your relationship and don't hesitate to add, 'So what I heard you say was...'. ;)
     Live. Laugh. Love.  

Monday, August 5

A Place For Everything and EveryONE in Their Place

     Things have certain places to which they belong; clothes in a dresser, aprons in the kitchen drawer, blankets on a bed, and pillows on the couch. Things also are made to serve specific purposes; clothes for modesty, aprons to protect us from food stains, blankets to keep us warm, and pillows to cushion our backs. The same goes for people too. Everyone has a certain place where they belong, a purpose for which they are made; this place is called home, this purpose a design.
     Yesterday, I was having a bit of an identity crisis, if you will. Jon and I had been chatting away on the plaza deck of our apartment, enjoying the weather and trying to formulate a better long term savings plan. I ran upstairs to get our laptop and starting fantasizing about making a beautiful, cutesy budget plan in Word, then printing it off with some pictures and quotes to post on our bathroom mirror for motivation. I rushed back to start the project with Jon when he jumped in and began excitedly working something out in Excel.
     Let me pause for a minute and just say that I am an "eldest child". And everyone knows that the oldest children in a family have the best ideas for everything growing up. We suggest the best games, have the best opinions on ice cream flavors, know of all the best places to hide buried treasure maps, have the best movie suggestions, know how best to decorate a shared bedroom and so on. Also, if you should happen to have the disadvantage of disagreeing, just give us five minutes of your time and you will have changed your mind. (You all agree with me, don't you? Well, of course you do!) ;) So, when Jon took charge and starting building his own version of the budget I was left to my own shock and dismay, stuttering, "Bu-b-b-but, I have the best ideas...".
     I was floored, people! Floored! How the heck had somebody come in and used their own ideas when I already had mine in place!? Now, as the horrible child I once was, I might have even gone so far as too "lose" Jon's version of the budget only to announce that all hope was not lost because we still had my version of the budget! But alas!, I am an adult now and such things cannot be tolerated so I sat and sulked and tried to talk myself into participating. Jon really wanted to share his Excel workbook with me and have me do some of the calculating so I obliged and began copying and pasting and adding numbers together too. We got everything worked out in the end and just as I was about to suggest printing the whole thing out to put up in the bathroom Jon voiced that very same idea first... Once more, I had been beaten again! Oh, Father Time if only you would come and reverse the universe for five minutes so I could catch my breath and suggest it first! I always have the best ideas and I have them first!
     By this time I was beside myself, what was I going to do if I wasn't the only one with good ideas anymore? I couldn't possibly relinquish my position of Founder and CEO of Best Ideas Ever, Inc., could I? No. But maybe I could share...? Support...? Then it hit me all over again like today was my wedding day. I am a wife! I am part of a team! I don't have to be numero uno or have all the best ideas. My place is my home and my design is to support. :) Jon and I are not each other's competition but aid and assistance. Yesterday, but even more so today, as I realized these things, my heart was made happy because when I am fulfilling my design I am in my place. I am home. :)

Genesis 2:18-24 (KJV) ~ "18 And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.' 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And with the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

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