10 Projects You Can Do This Weekend with the Ultimate DIY Bundle!

Ten years ago I used to have a little soapmaking business. I ran out of time to pursue it, and all of those materials sat in my storage room. But a few months ago I decided I was going to start making some things again! And lately I’ve made some lip balms, started learning about aromatherapy (it can do major things in the bedroom!), and creating new lotions to attack problem areas.

And it takes just minutes.

And it’s fun! I love crafts. I’ve been a knitter my whole life, and there is just something about creating that makes us feel more productive, more purposeful, even more in line with God. God, after all, is creative, and when we can tap into our own creativity, I think we touch an important part of ourselves that is often dormant.

And so I’m excited to share with you today about the The Ultimate DIY Bundle– a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses. And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.

Topics in the bundle include:

  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • …and a whole lot more (76 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!

There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, January 21 until 11.59pm EST on Monday, January 26.

But when you buy it, you get access to the books right away. And you can start crafting today! I’ve been having such fun looking through the books, and I wanted to share with you TEN ideas that you can do this weekend to get yourself feeling more creative and productive!

1. Lime Coconut Body Scrub

Lime Coconut Body ScrubIt’s just epsom salts, Vitamin E, some essential oils–and some actual lime and coconut! If you don’t have any essential oils on hand, you can often buy them in a health food store, or get them on Amazon. I use them all the time now (and I’ll be posting soon about 10 ways to use essential oils in the bedroom!)

It’s from Kimberly Layton’s Homemade Gifts for Every Occasion, part of the Crafts collection of the Ultimate Bundle:

2. Make Gift Bags Out of Old Clothes

I love using gift bags for hostess gifts, birthday gifts, thank you gifts–even gifts when I speak! And the book Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose (also in the Crafts section, above), has some great ideas on how to make purses, bags, and gift bags out of old clothes! Your kids will love doing this with you, too. It’s simple–you could make a dozen in a day.

Gift Bags

3. Spray Paint Old Knick Knacks White

I loved this idea from 21 Inspiring Thrift Store Transformations! Take ugly knick knacks, like old trophies, animal figurines, or pitchers, and spray paint them white. She explains how, and all of a sudden they’re useable again!

Paint White

She also lists the 10 most important things to watch for at a thrift store–the things you can use easily. It’s awesome, and it’s part of the Home Decor section.

4. Choose New Paint Colors

Need a pick-me-up for your house? How to Choose Paint Colors (in Home Decor, above) helps you choose your style, understand color theory, and see how all elements work together! Read it today, pick out the paint tonight, and go to it!

paint colors

5. Figure out How to Use Those Camera Settings

Have a great camera, but don’t know how to use it? Say No to Auto is a simple book that explains what terms like ISO, exposure, and shutter speed mean, and how you can manipulate them to take great photos–no matter the conditions! It doesn’t take long to learn, and then you can spend the weekend practising.

Say no to auto

It’s part of the photography section.

6. Get Ready for Mother’s Day!

I love this Mother’s Day Pillbox–it’s part of a book of printables for gifts for every season of the year. And you can put 7 Mom Quotes in the pillbox, too, to show her much you love her! I think making these with the kids for Grandma would be a riot, too.

Mom Pillbox

It’s part of the Crafts section, above.

7. Use Your Scrapbooking Stash

The bundle also comes with a bunch of e-courses, and one of them helps you take all your scrapbooking extras–and figure out how to use them up! Love it.

Use Your Stash

Here’s just one of the amazing ecourses offered!

 8. Scan Your Old Photos–and Use Them!

You can even scan your kids’ artwork (you can only put so much on the fridge), their first writing projects, and more! This ecourse also teaches you how to organize your digital files so you can find things easily when you need them (like, for instance, when you have to start preparing a slide show for your daughter’s wedding. :) Tee hee. My daughter just got engaged!)

Scan Photos

It’s part of the e-course section, above.

9. Make Your Own Household Cleaners

I made up a batch of laundry soap last night using the recipes from this bundle! And it’s so easy (and cheap). Most of the ingredients you likely have on hand right now.

cleaners

The book Clean & Simple is part of the Home and Garden Section.

 

10. Learn to Knit Socks

I couldn’t leave knitting off my list of 10, since I love it so much! With this bundle you also get a ton of free bonuses, including a Craftsy video course of your choice. And I’d recommend Lucy Neatby’s course on knitting socks. I’ve knit about 30 pairs of socks, at least, in my life, and I just love them! You can keep them in your purse because they’re a small enough project, so you’ve always got something on the go!

knit socks

So there you go! 10 Reasons to Get the Ultimate DIY Bundle.

There are crafts for everyone, and you’re sure to find something that you’ll love.

You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 5 awesome bonuses, worth over $150. That’s 4x the price of the bundle alone! These include…

A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $60 Value), free $15 store credit to Fawnsberg.com, a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.

So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 76 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by midnight on Monday, January 26!

This amazing deal ends in just…

motionmailapp.com

Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

Have a fun and crafty weekend!

 

 

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

 

Ultimate Marriage Reading Challenge of 2015

Join the Ultimate Marriage Reading Challenge! Each month choose 1 book on the subject to read to boost your relationship! Get a chance to ask authors questions, read author interviews, and discuss the books, too!

Do you want 2015 to be an awesome year for your marriage, or do you want to just get by? Do you want to grow and be stretched this year, or do you want to run from one thing to the next without being proactive?

Most of us want to grow, but life often gets in the way. And sometimes we just need new ideas and a fresh perspective to help us figure out how to do marriage better!

So I’d like to challenge you to read 12 books with me this year. Just 12 books. And two are even novels–so it honestly won’t be that hard!

I know some of you haven’t read a book in a long time, and some of you are wondering how you’ll ever find the time when you have little kids. But in a month you really can get through a book.

  • Put it in your purse to read when you’re in line.
  • Keep it in the bathroom to snatch precious moments!
  • Grab some time on your lunch hour.
  • Read for 10 minutes before you turn it at night.
  • Read on the treadmill!

It’s just one book a month!

Here’s how it works: in this Ultimate Marriage Reading Challenge, I’ve given each month its own topic. And then I’ll suggest 3-5 books each month for you to choose from (since not every book is applicable to everybody!). I’ll choose one particular book to talk about on the blog, but I’ll have interviews with authors of hopefully most of them up on Facebook, I’ll have discussion forums for each book on Facebook, and we’ll have giveaways and prizes!

What do you have to do to join? Just choose a book and read it! You’ll get the most out of it if you also join my Facebook Page, since that’s where the authors will periodically be hanging out to answer questions and give away prizes. But you don’t have to pay to join. You don’t have to sign up. You don’t have to prove you’ve read it. You just have to get a book and jump in!

The Ultimate Marriage Reading Challenge:

  • Interviews with Authors
  • Discussion Forums
  • Book Giveaways
  • Blog Tours
  • Ask your own questions to the authors
  • And more!

So let’s get started!

The Ultimate Marriage Reading Challenge for January: Setting the Right Foundation. Click through to see the books and choose one!

Choose from these 3 books on Setting the Right Foundation for Marriage:

A Lifelong Love: What If Marriage Is about More Than Just Staying Together?Gary Thomas, A Lifelong Love: What if Marriage is about more than just staying together?
(this is the book I’ll be reviewing!)

Few authors do a better job of showing how marriage and God’s purposes for our lives go hand in hand. In his newest book, Gary Thomas offers practical insights on how to keep your marriage not just intact but thriving as you grow closer to each other–and spur each other on to a closer relationship with God. Great insights, lots of great stories, and I’m so looking forward to sharing this with you!

Choose this book if: you’re looking for something deep but relatively easy to follow that will make you think–and give you practical ideas for follow through!

Pick up Livelong Love here.

Join the Lifelong Love Facebook Discussion Forum!


The Story of MarriageJohn and Lisa Bevere, The Story of Marriage

This is an interactive book–not just a teaching book. As the Beveres show you God’s story of marriage, you’re invited to figure out your own story in the devotionals, discussion questions, and prayers.

Choose this book if: you’re working through this challenge as a couple, or you like guided exercises to think about what you’ve learned.

Pick up The Story of Marriage.

Join the Story of Marriage Discussion Forum.


Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your MarriageJohn and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage

John and Stasi are poetic. Their books are rich and are lovely and make you think deeply. In this book, they explain how the fact that we’re often incompatible is actually God’s design: how we’re forced to be more Christlike in marriage, and that helps us to grow. And then they help us to see the bigger picture: how marriage is one of God’s designs to help us enter the bigger battle He’s waging on earth–and how we can get excited about our ability to fight in it! It’s an exciting book that will help you feel proud of your marriage, and excited about the adventure God has for you together.

Choose this book if you like deep books, love to think, and love more poetic works.

Pick up Love and War.

Join the Love and War Discussion Forum.


Just pick a book, start reading, and keep an eye on the Facebook Page and on this blog for more updates, events, and giveaways! And be sure to click through to the correct discussion forum for the book you’ve picked and go on over and “like” the forum (even if that’s all you’re going to do for now!), because then you’ll get notifications whenever a discussion starts!

And if you blog, I’ll also have a linky at the end of my review post for the month where you can post your own reviews of the book (or books) that you’ve read to get more traffic!

One book a month. You can do this! And it will make a difference in your marriage!

On Mexico, the Young Adult Years, Marrying in College, And More Random Thoughts!

At 1:30 this morning we pulled into our driveway.

Our flight was 7 hours late, we had to wait an hour for our luggage, and we were tired and exhausted.

But it was all worth it because the four of us had a glorious week in Cozumel! And now we’re home and it’s freezing.

But it’s likely one of the last trips that just the four of us will take together (more on that later), so it was extra special to me. We went snorkelling, explored a little, but mostly we sat at the beach and read books and then played cards together at night. It was so much fun–and so relaxing!

FamilyBeach

Just two nights ago we looked like that. Now I’m all bundled up and sipping my tea again. But all is good, because the relaxation totally paid off. I didn’t tell you I was away–it’s like throwing a big neon sign up in front of our house saying, “No one’s home! Come on in and rob it!” So I don’t tend to announce these things until AFTER I’m home.

And so today I thought I’d share just some random thoughts I had with you while I was away, before regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Sometimes we all really need to relax

I’ve been having some health issues this year, especially with attacks of pancreatitis that they originally thought were gallbladder. I’ve been eating super healthy and avoiding a ton of foods, but when we were down south I did throw caution to the wind a bit. And for the first time in a long time I didn’t even have a twinge of pain in a whole week. Considering the pain has been keeping me up, this is a big deal.

So I’m starting to wonder if stress is also a factor, and if we all just need some downtime every now and then. I deliberately stayed off the internet, which was so needed, but I’m more and more convinced that I need to take some “down” weeks in my life.

I know that’s hard for those of you with little kids, but lately I’ve just been realizing that stress can play a number on your body, and sometimes the best favour you can give your family is to relax for a while. You don’t have to go on vacation–just unplug the phone, turn off the internet, arrange for a baby-sitter, and take even a day to yourself.

Often the weak contribute to horrible to outcomes as much–or more so–than the truly evil

I read a ton of novels this week. I only let myself do that on vacation because if I read a novel, I can’t do anything until I finish it. So if I start a novel on a normal day, I won’t get anything else done–no work, no cooking, no anything–until it’s finished. I try to read novels in spurts, then.

And in all the novels I read this week, a theme emerged. While there is often one or two truly evil people in every story, it is not always these evil people that actually cause the harm. They aim for it, but their plans have no wings until they come across weak people–people who aren’t evil, but who won’t stand up to evil. And so it is the weak that actually perpetuate the harm.

Sometimes the weak are morally weak–people that are at heart good, but are tempted and fall and get pulled into bad situations. But often it’s people who are just afraid to speak up, take a stand, and draw a line in the sand.

I was thinking about this theme this morning when I checked all the comments on my blog in the last week. And over and over again I read of women whose husbands won’t get a job, or watch porn, or meet up with women on the internet, or whatever it may be. And these women have cried and pleaded and asked their husbands to stop–sometimes for upwards of 30 years–and nothing has ever changed. Things have only gotten worse.

I always point these women to this article: Are you a spouse or an enabler? I think it’s an important one.

It is strange watching your children grow up and separate from you

It’s a good thing–but it’s hard. And it’s very easy for one’s feelings to be hurt. It’s a hard balance to let your children grow up and make their own lives, but also wanting them to honor you. I am working through that, and it’s easy because my girls are wonderful. But there are still times my heartstrings pull a bit. I’ll likely write more about this transition in the next few years!

The young adult years are just plain hard

Had a lot of great talks with my kids this week, and it reminded me how hard those years of 18-25 can be. When you don’t know what you’ll be doing, or who you’ll be doing it with, the future is both exciting but also so scary. For me, it was the fear that I wouldn’t get married, and I had to work that through with God. But there is a unique fear to those years, and a unique opportunity to learn to trust God and to put Him first.

Talked a lot with my girls about the theme of this post, should you have a relationship (or marry) while you’re still in college? Interesting discussions. Wish I could make life easier for them now, but I think those years of hardship are what really refine our faith.

Our family patterns are engrained–but need to be tamed

I was reading this morning in Genesis 10 about a guy named Nimrod. It says in verse 10:

Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”

Nimrod is a family name if you go back a few generations for me, and though I’ve never liked the name, I’ve always found that verse interesting. We’re naturally fighters. I don’t know if that’s how my family got the name, but somehow, if you look at me, and at those who came before me in that line, it fits. (It’s that ENTJ Myers Briggs thing).

It’s good to be a fighter, to stand up for things, to bring victory for truth. But this push for victory, for all things right, can also be a curse.

That’s what I found in myself this week. I get so annoyed with bad customer service, or with injustice, or with just plain negligence, especially when it’s easily fixed. At the resort we were at they blared music until 2:30 in the morning on New Year’s Eve, but when I went outside at 1:00 there were only about 15 people at the party. I called and complained and asked them to turn the speakers down, but they wouldn’t. I just wanted to sleep. Others were absolutely exhausted the next day, too (lots of families with young kids didn’t sleep a wink). And my blood pressure rose tremendously.

Then there was the fiasco with our delayed flight, which isn’t such a big deal, except that no one would give us information, and my family missed out on the food vouchers because we didn’t hear the announcement.

A little thing, but I get so annoyed. And then I wreck the day for those who are with me.

So yesterday, when I felt myself starting to get upset, I asked Keith to take over standing in line for the food and I just went somewhere else and was quiet and asked God to let me let things go.

Families have traits; my family fights for what’s right. But that makes living through inconveniences that are STUPID (and man-made) a source of great distress. And it’s silly. I think we all need to be aware of what our weaknesses are, and when we see them cropping up, excuse yourself from the situation and get some perspective.

We never take couple pictures

Last thing–Keith and I never take couple pictures. We take kid pictures, or family pictures, but never couple pictures. I think it’s because we’re so focused on the kids, but then where are the pictures showing our marriage? So we snapped a few on the beach last night. And I was happy.

KeithSheiladock

KeithSheilaBeach

Excited to begin the blog again with you in 2015! What have you learned about yourself on vacation? Or any words of wisdom for the young adult years? Leave them for me in the comments!

What’s Coming in 2015

2014 has come and gone! And so I’ve been busy planning what’s coming on the blog in 2015! And I want to let you in on a few of those things, as well as show you a few more insights into my life.

First–An Offer That’s Gone Tonight at Midnight!

The most common email I get is from women whose husbands use porn. They’re devastated. And for the vast majority, that porn use started long before they were married.

We have to get real about this and fight against it. I firmly believe that one of the best gifts you can give your future daughter-in-law (or son-in-law since 20% of porn users are female now) is to raise porn-free children.

Covenant Eyes is an amazing internet tool that you can install on computers, phones, tablets, and other devices to provide both filtering and accountability. Each member of the family gets assigned an account which can allow them access to different websits. Permissions for a 6-year-old, for instance, you may want to keep much more narrow than for a 16-year-old.

But you can also install accountability software, so that if anyone tries to access a site they’re not supposed do, an accountability partner will get an email about it. You can choose either filtering, accountability, or both for each member of the family.

Each family account can have unlimited devices for all your family members, an it’s so worth it to keep your family safe online and take away that temptation, especially from teens.

When you sign up before midnight tonight, you’ll get two months free. Use the code TLHV (it’s automatically applied when you use this link).

Covenant Eyes

This really isn’t something we should assume “won’t happen to a nice family like ours”. All those women writing me never thought they were marrying porn addicts–their husbands looked so normal. But it happens. Please fight for your kids (and your husband!)

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage Launches in August

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesn't Happen by Accident …Because a great relationship doesn’t happen by accident!

I’m so excited about this book. It really encapsulates so much of my philosophy of marriage that I have up on this blog, but mostly it talks about how the religious pat answers sometimes don’t work–and aren’t enough. I don’t mean that the Christian answers to marriage problems aren’t enough–I mean that the answers we sometimes hear in church and on blogs are just a little too “pat”–and I think there’s more to it than that in the Bible.

So this book may be a little jolting for some, but I think it’s necessary. And those of you who have been reading me for a while will likely find yourselves nodding in agreement!

It’s not out until August 15, but you can pre-order now on Amazon and get the lowest price locked in!

The Ultimate Christian Marriage Reading Challenge of 2015 is Starting!

As we make New Year’s resolutions, one of the things that we should be aiming for is a great marriage.

So this  year I’m hosting a new online event–the Ultimate Christian Reading Challenge! Every month will be a different theme, and I’ll propose five books you can read. I’ll tell you which one I’ll be reviewing, but you can choose to read any of the five. We’ll have a special newsletter and a Facebook Group where you can interact with the authors of the books and maybe even do some giveaways!

Then, once a month, I’ll write a post about that theme and about what I’ve learned from our Book of the Month.

I’m really excited about this. I’ll be announcing it officially on January 8, with the list of books, but know that it’s coming.

Wifey Wednesday Will Continue–with Link-ups

WifeyWednesday175Every Wednesday for several years now I’ve hosted “Wifey Wednesday” when I specifically discuss marriage. I’m going to keep doing that, and since the linky parties are so far doing well, I’ll keep those going too (I had to stop them for several months in 2014 because people were sharing inappropriate things and I didn’t have time to police it).

If you have a blog and you’re looking to build traffic, this is a great way to get more eyeballs on your posts! Just come on over on Wednesdays and link up.

Guest Posts Will Keep Coming–and You Can Submit One!

It’s hard to keep on top of this blog daily and speak and write new books, so I love the people who write guest posts for me. I’ll still likely run about two a week, and if you’d like to submit one, here are my guidelines.

Top 10 Tuesdays are Awesome–I’m Looking for Ideas

I really like the Top 10 Tuesdays feature I started this year, and I’ll be continuing that. But it’s always hard to come up with good ideas. So if you have an idea for a top 10 post, leave it in the comments!

Reader Question Mondays–I’ve Got a Huge Backlog

I think I’m booking into April already. Here’s what happens with Reader Questions: My assistant Holly gets all the emails that people send me (I used to screen them but I can’t anymore. Everyone’s problems were weighing really heavily on me and taking their toll. I didn’t have time to answer them and I was feeling guilty, and I was starting to get a really skewed view of what was really happening out there).

So Holly reads them and then points them to posts I’ve already written on the subject (I usually have covered most things). But if it’s something I haven’t covered that she thinks may have broad appeal, she sends it my way and it gets scheduled.

Unfortunately, you likely won’t hear from me for a while about it. I do try to write answers as quickly as I can, but I just have so many in the queue right now. If you have a question, though, you can always send it here.

New Ebooks in the Works

Discipline without Spanking: 10 Other IdeasA number of you have asked, “Where can I get your parenting advice all in one place?”, and until now I haven’t had an answer. But I’m putting together my favourite parenting posts in an ebook right now, and I hope to launch that around Mother’s Day.

So there you go! That’s what you can expect on the blog this year. I’m so grateful to all of you, my readers, and I appreciate you coming back day after day to see what I have to say and to leave encouraging or thoughtful comments (I always love those!)

What About Sheila Personally?

This is going to be a BIG year of transitions for me. As of September my husband and I will be empty nesters. I’m proud of Katie for moving on, but we will miss her! Every morning we go for a walk and we talk, and now I’ll be home alone with just my cup of tea. Here’s what I’ll be missing (my two girls who will now both be gone):

The upside is that I’m planning more speaking tours now that I’ll have more flexibility. So I’m looking at Chicago in September and Australia (Brisbane/Melbourne) in October, along with Texas (February, already booked), Louisiana (March, still need several engagements), and Arizona (April; looking for one more church to host me!). If your church wants to be included in any of these, just email me.

I likely will have another 2 big announcements about what’s going on with my family, too–but you’ll have to wait on those!

I’m going to take a few more days off with my family, but I’ll be back next Monday.

So I wish you all a very Happy New Year’s with your family! I hope to keep providing you with some godly insights into marriage in 2015. May it be a year when you grow closer to God and closer to each other.

 

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014 from To Love, Honor and Vacuum (a blog about marriage, sex, and God!)

The new year is almost here!

Last week I shared the Top 10 “Top 10 Tuesday” posts of 2014. Today I thought I’d share the Top 10 posts overall on this blog for 2014.

Some were written this year; and some are still popular years later.

And the most popular post of all time wasn’t even written by me!

Here they are:

Why Do Teenagers Rebel? A 19-year-old explains how it doesn't HAVE to happen!1. Why I Didn’t Rebel
From 2014

My 19-year-old daughter wrote this post in 15 minutes when she was bored in stats class, and it’s been read over a half million times this year. Wow!

She shares what she thinks my husband and I did to create a family atmosphere where rebellion was less likely to happen. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there are trends. And this is what she’s come up with.

50 Best Bible Verses to Memorize2. 50 Most Important Bible Verses to Memorize
From 2011

I wrote this list up three years ago, and it’s gone crazy since!

If you’ve ever wanted to memorize more Bible verses, but you don’t know where to start, this can help. And it’s a great time of year to jump in! One verse a week in 2015–with 2 weeks off. You can do it!

Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband3. Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband
From 2012

Back in 2012 I thought it would be a good idea to come up with some stocking stuffer ideas for men.

Since then, I keep updating it with ideas that readers send me or with neat things I see on Amazon.

If you didn’t use it this Christmas, pin it for next Christmas! Some neat stuff in there…

16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband4. 16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
From 2012

Flirting never gets old!

But a marriage without flirting gets stale really fast.

Check out these ideas, which were originally part of my 29 Days to Great Sex series!

Why Doesn't My Husband Want to Make Love?5. My Husband Doesn’t Want to Make Love
From 2012

When I wrote my 29 Days to Great Sex series, I had a number of readers say, “I’d love to try this, but my husband never wants sex!” So I wrote a follow-up series on what to do when your husband has no sex drive.

And now that series has become one of the most popular on the blog. In fact, many people who read this blog arrived here with exactly that problem.

You can start reading that 4-part series  here.

The Effects of Porn--a Must Read!6. The Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Marriage
From 2014

Here’s another post that was actually written in 2014! And it kind of goes along with the above post about men losing their libido.

It’s all interconnected.

Check out what porn does. It’s not harmless, and we need to spread the word!

And remember: If you sign up with Covenant Eyes before midnight on December 31, you’ll get 2 months of protection online free! It’s accountability and filtering (if you choose to use the filtering). Protect your kids, and keep temptation at bay for the adults in the house, too.

You’ll get the two months automatically if you follow this link, but you can also use the code TLHV if you’re logging on later! Or tell other people about the TLHV promo code–it’s only available until tomorrow at midnight!

Covenant Eyes

How to Initiate Sex with Your Husband--witout feeling awkward7. Top 10 Tips on Initiating Sex
From 2014

My third (and last) post to make the list from 2014!

How to initiate sex–what to do, what not to do, and why it doesn’t have to be intimidating.

But it does make a difference in your marriage!

7 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage8. 7 Thoughts That Will Change Your Marriage
From 2013

It’s nice to see this post on the list, since I just finished the manuscript for my book based on it–9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage.

That book will be out in August.

But if you want to see the themes, a lot of them are right here!

25 Funny But True Marriage Tips for a Long and Happy Life Together9. 25 Marriage Tips
From 2010

Some fun and short tips to keep your marriage happy!

This was originally a column I wrote for our local paper, but it’s gone a little viral since.

So fun!

50BestMarriageQuotes10. Best Marriage Quotes of 2011
From 2012

So funny that this is still on the list in 2014! But here are some great marriage thoughts from marriage bloggers around the web–including me!

Have a great new year, everyone!

Best of Top 10 Tuesdays from 2014

The Best of Top 10 Tuesdays posts at To Love, Honor and VacuumThe Christmas holidays are upon us, and soon 2015 will be here!

And so, as I wind down for the year, I’ve been thinking back on all of the things that I’ve written over the last 12 months. One of the features I started was Top 10 Tuesdays, where I brainstorm and share lists of things for you. Sometimes it’s not always 10s, but I still like the idea!

And these have been some of my most popular posts. So today, as I’ll be going offline for a few days to relax with my family, I thought I’d leave you with the top 10 Top 10 Tuesday posts, and give you some things to read in case you missed any.

And now can you give me a Christmas present? If you like any of these posts, just share them on Facebook or Pinterest for me! Thank you!

And if you’ve been wanting to introduce my blog to a friend, THIS is a great post to share, because she can read 10 of the best things I’ve written this year.

I checked Google Analytics and looked at what posts had been viewed the most. And here they are:

The Top 10 “Top 10 Tuesday” Posts of 2014

The Effects of Porn--a Must Read!1. Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Marriage and Your Sex Life

Honestly, this is likely one of the most important posts I’ve ever written. So many people think porn is harmless, and it’s not. I share what porn really does to you–and I encourage people to quit.

This is my #1 post for people landing on my site out of nowhere, so I have so many people searching for info on how to quit porn and why to quit porn, and I’m so glad they land here instead of somewhere sketchy.

And remember: If you sign up with Covenant Eyes before midnight on December 31, you’ll get 2 months of protection online free! It’s accountability and filtering (if you choose to use the filtering). Protect your kids, and keep temptation at bay for the adults in the house, too.

You’ll get the two months automatically if you follow this link, but you can also use the code TLHV if you’re logging on later! Or tell other people about the TLHV promo code–it’s only available until New Year’s Eve at midnight!

Covenant Eyes

How to Initiate Sex with Your Husband--witout feeling awkward2. Top 10 Tips to Initiate Sex

Let’s have some fun!

Initiating sex doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It’s just about attitude. And it’s important in a marriage.

I talk about what to do and what not to do–and how it doesn’t have to be intimidating.

So check it out–and put it into practice!

 

Discipline without Spanking: 10 Other Ideas3. Top 10 Ways to Discipline without Spanking

Here’s a parenting post that made the list. I actually really like this post, too.

So often when we think about disciplining our kids spanking is the first thing that comes to mind, and time outs is the second. Neither is usually the most effective way of dealing with our kids, so here are some other ideas that teach kids well.

 

It's My Birthday! 10 Ways to Make Your Birthday Meaningful4. Top 10 Ways to Make Your Birthday Meaningful

If it’s your birthday, don’t wait for someone else to do something for you! Do something for yourself.

Here’s how I made my birthday meaningful, by spending the day thinking and praying through goals and making sure this year would count.

Some of the ideas are fun and some are more purposeful, but the message is the same: it’s an important day for you. Make sure YOU’RE the one to make it meaningful, rather than being disappointed in others.

Top 10 Kisses Every Marriage Needs--because kissing in marriage is FUN!5. Top 10 Kisses Every Marriage Needs

It’s a fun one! Let’s never stop kissing in marriage.

See how many of these kisses you enjoy…

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married6. Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married

I love this post!

I asked up on Facebook what my fans wish they had known before thy walked down the aisle, and then turned it into a post! The answers weren’t all what I expected (financial issues was #1, not sex!)

See what you think–and then pass it along to engaged couples you know.

10 Cheap and Easy Date Night Ideas7. Top 10 Cheap Date Night Ideas for Parents of Young Kids

Such a fun post!

If you want romance in your marriage, little kids can pose a problem. But they don’t have to!

Here are 10 fun date night ideas–5 going out dates, and 5 staying in dates–that parents of young kids can do on a dime.

4 Kinds of Talk Every Marriage Needs8. 4 Kinds of Talk Every Marriage Needs

Here’s my first post to make the list that ISN’T a 10! It’s only a 4.

But the four are important.

Every marriage needs these 4 kinds of conversations–some more intimate, some more fun, and some more laid back. Take a look and make sure you’re covering the bases.

Most Important Thing to Do to Improve Your Marriage9. ONE Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Marriage

I had a reader write and say, “I can’t do 10 things. What’s ONE?” And here’s my answer.

It applies to almost all marriage problems. It’s easy. It takes no time. It costs no money.

And yet we rarely do it. Check it out…

 

Top 10 Reasons Marrying Young Can Actually be Good--for You and for Society10. Top 10 Reasons for Marrying Young

One of my favourite posts! And so true.

You may be hearing more about this subject from me in the next month or two…

So there you go! Some reading material over the Christmas break. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Top 10 feature. It has been one of my most popular, and I have a whole lot of others planned out for the new year.

As always, if you have ideas of posts you’d like to see, leave them in the comments.

And thank you in advance for sharing these!

Merry Christmas!

My Man of Steel

Yesterday was my twenty-third anniversary. We were married at Christmas when I was 21 and he was 22.

When I started writing my newspaper column twelve years ago, one of my first columns was about my anniversary. And so I thought I’d publish it here–about what Keith meant to me after eleven years of marriage. This was first published on December 21, 2002.

Reflections on Our Anniversary: My man of steel

This Saturday I’m supposed to give my husband something made of steel.

We’re celebrating our eleventh anniversary, and for this blessed occasion whoever is in charge of anniversary gift etiquette obviously ran out of ideas. “Paper? Taken. A nice wooden chest? Taken. What about diamonds? Better save that as an incentive to stick around.” Growing increasingly desperate, she probably looked out the window, saw her husband’s ‘57 Chevy up on blocks, and yelled, “Steel!”, forever relegating us to eleventh anniversary hopelessness.

I figure I’m left with a new car (fat chance), the foundation for a new house, or power tools. But the only thing more ridiculous than me trying to choose a power tool would be my husband trying to use one. The one and only time he did any home improvements was his attempt, along with another doctor friend, to hang a pot rack. Instead of drilling into a stud, they drilled into my toilet drain, sending water—and I don’t know what else—into our kitchen.

Whatever I choose, though, it occurs to me that Ye Olde Marriage Etiquette Lady may have had a point.

Steel is an appropriate metaphor for marriage.

Steel holds houses together, keeps bridges from buckling, and forms the foundations of our cities. Steel doesn’t bend.

Over the years of our marriage we’ve had some tough times. Keith’s residency at the Hospital for Sick Children was horrendous. He always came home exhausted. Two babies demanded our attention, leaving us with no energy for anything else. In the middle of this, we had a beautiful baby boy, who lived only 29 days. Though I will treasure those precious four weeks forever, his death left a hole that can never be filled on this side of heaven.

When I walked down the aisle eleven years ago, I knew I loved Keith and that he loved me.

I figured that love would be enough for forever. I was wrong.

Love alone would not have seen us through these eleven years, through miscarriages and sleepless nights, through baby stresses and our son’s death. As much as I adore my husband, I don’t think it’s love that has made our marriage strong. Indeed, that idea—that love keeps us together—can actually harm a relationship.

If love is what keeps us together, then when we stop feeling all gushy towards each other we wonder if the relationship is viable. Commitment is just as important as love, and perhaps even more so. If you’re not truly committed to each other, you can’t really discuss problems. Whenever you do, the whole relationship may be at stake. But when you are committed to each other, you can hash something out until you get it right, because you know that person isn’t going anywhere.

During our first year of marriage, I was ready to kill my husband many times over, or at least bean him on the head with a frying pan. He understood nothing about my feelings, while I, of course, understood everything about his. What allowed us to get through that time was not that we loved each other—there were times we both doubted it—but that we knew we were in this for the long haul. We had promised God, and we had promised each other, and we did not make those promises lightly. And if you’re in it for the long haul, then you may as well work it out, because the longer you wait, the more miserable you’re going to be.

In every relationship there are times when splitting up seems like the only option.

Certainly in cases of abuse or chronic infidelity this may be the case. But overall, God promises that people will be happier if they choose to honour Him by staying and working it out. It occurs to me that this is the way steel is forged: through hard work. The sign of a strong marriage is not that storms don’t come; but that when they do, you decide to weather them together. And as you do so, that steel supporting you grows stronger.

My husband is the most romantic guy in the world. He’s easy to love. And as we’ve chosen to commit to each other, the steel holding up our house has grown stronger. My kids can tear all over it and it won’t collapse. They can jump and tug and pull, and we’ll stand firm. I cherish every day we have together, and I look forward to many more.

It is not love that keeps a #marriage together; ultimately it is commitment.

10 Weird Things About Sheila

Top TenIt’s Top 10 Tuesday! And I thought that for today’s installment I’d share with you 10 weird things about me that you don’t know (and maybe you’ll wish you never did after you read this. :) )

1. I Am a Tea Fanatic

It’s almost a sickness. I can’t go into one of those looseleaf tea stores without coming out with a ton of tea.

It’s because last December 20 I quit Diet Pepsi, and I hate coffee, but I still need something with caffeine to drink. And I figure if I have lots of different flavours of tea then I’m not really depriving myself.

So I buy little bits of teas to try them out and blend them and see what I like. Here’s my tea drawer:

My tea drawer

Then, once I’m sure I like a tea, I get a whole can of it:

My Tea Cans

Tea features in my daughter Katie’s latest video (it’s about halfway through; and bonus, you get to see my house!)

2. One of my Favourite Snacks is Chocolate Chips and Milk. With a spoon.

When I get a craving for sweets, this is what I get.

Hey, it’s got calcium in it!

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3. I’m Actually Quite Introverted in Public. I’m Scared of Small Talk

Seriously. I speak all the time in front of really large audiences and it doesn’t phase me one bit. I don’t even really get nervous anymore. I can go on the set of a TV show or a taping and I’m perfectly fine.

Sheila at Focus

But if you get me in a small group with people I don’t really know and try to make small talk, I’m a little at a loss. I’m afraid it makes me seem a little stand offish at times, because sometimes after church I bolt rather than talk to the people around me if I don’t know them well. And I know that’s exactly the wrong thing to do (and kind of cowardly). But I feel flustered.

Which makes going to my husband’s work parties really stressful for me. I want to get to know his work buddies, but I honestly dread walking into a room where everybody knows each other except for me.

Of course, that’s my issue and I’ll have to get over it. It isn’t good to shy away from people. But it is difficult…

4. I’ve Got Gallbladder Issues. Or Maybe Not. But I Sure Hope That’s What It Is!

Haven’t mentioned this too much on the blog, but back in July I started getting these intermittent HORRIBLE stomach pains. It took me a few weeks to figure out that they were related to eating fatty foods, and the more I researched it the more it sounds exactly like gallbladder attacks. It’s absolutely horrible.

So I’ve stopped going to restaurants entirely, and I eat pretty much totally clean. The good news is I’ve lost 15 pounds. In fact, I’ve lost so much weight that my dress pants don’t stay up anymore–like the pants I wear to speak. And most of those pants don’t have belt loops. At my last speaking engagement I had to use safety pins to keep them up.

But in the meantime I’d really like this fixed, but absolutely all of the tests that I’ve had point to pancreatitis, not gallbladder. And there are no real treatments for pancreatitis. I go to see the surgeon on Thursday, so I’m praying that she’ll be able to say, “yes, it’s gallbladder, just a weird presentation, and we’ll take it out for you!” Because honestly, I don’t know how much more of this I can take. It’s nothing that will kill me, but it’s awfully uncomfortable.

5. One of the things I would grab if there were ever a fire in my house is a blouse my great-grandmother knit.

I have things my grandmother and my mother knit, too! I come from a long line of knitters.

Here’s Katie wearing the top her great-great-grandmother knit:

Katie in a top my great-grandmother knit

6. I never liked Michael Jackson. Ever. Even when he was cool.

In fact, I never liked most popular music. I always pretended to, but I never really did. And Michael Jackson always struck me as whiny–even when I was 13.

7. I’m Actually an American. Sort of!

Here’s something kinda weird. So I was born in Boston while my dad was at Harvard, but I only ever lived there for 6 months. So I’ve always considered myself a Canadian.

But now I’m an adult and I go back and forth across the border to speak a lot, and I have a lot of American income. And I’ve been trying to collect that income using an IRS form saying I’m Canadian.

So I had a note from the IRS recently telling me I had to either provide proof that I’d renounced my U.S. citizenship (because they knew I was born in the U.S.) or provide my social security number.

And I’m like, “Whoa, I’m actually American. I better do something about that!” So since then I’ve got all my paperwork in order and I can now travel under an American passport. No more hassles when I try to cross the border! When I was applying for my social security number a while back they tried to tell me that I wasn’t really American, and for the first time in my life I had this surge of patriotism–“But it’s my birthright!” And so now I’m American. And Canadian. And it’s kinda cool.

8. My mother has a grand-daughter who is not actually related to me.

So a little while ago my best friend started caring for a little baby who needed a home. My mom wanted to give my friend a break, so every week she’d take the baby for a day.

When that baby got to be a year old, she came up for adoption, and my friend and her husband decided to adopt her. Except that now my mom had been caring for her for a day a week since she was born, and she figured that she may as well keep going since the baby was so attached to her (and vice versa).

That baby is now 5, and she calls my mom “Nana”, just like my daughters do. But once that little girl became her granddaughter, then it only seemed fair that the other two older kids in the family become her grandchildren, too. See, my friend and her husband don’t have any extended family, so the kids didn’t really have grandparents.

For years my mom was Nana to just two girls (mine), but now she has three more grandchildren! And she takes them to movies and watches their soccer games and goes to their birthday parties. And that little girl still cuddles in and hugs her quite often (she’s older than she looks; she’s tiny for 5 and so everyone still picks her up!)

Mom Holding Sam

Every Sunday my mom makes the snack for the kids in our youth Bible quizzing class, and the little girl “helps”. So last week we’re in the middle of quizzing and the little girl is passing out muffins and she announces, really loudly, “I love you, Nana.”

It’s funny because she HAS to sit with my Mom at church. It’s so important to her. So my mom always sits with their family. And often their family has extra kids with them, so there’s not always room in the pew for my husband and me. Which honestly is fine. But recently our church hired a new outreach pastor, and my mom was talking to him about her daughter. It took her a few minutes to realize that the pastor and she were talking about two completely different women–because the pastor assumed that Mom’s daughter was my friend, not me! It makes sense–everywhere you go in church Mom is being crawled all over by that little girl and talked to by my friend’s kids. It’s absolutely the cutest thing.

We always laugh because one day that little girl will understand that being adopted (they don’t hide that fact at all) means that she’s not actually blood related to her mom. But not only is she not blood related to her mom, her mom isn’t actually blood related to her grandma!

But you know what? I don’t think it really matters.

Staples Back to School 6

9. I have never watched the movie Titanic.

I just can’t handle watching movies about real things where people died or suffered horribly. I don’t think I could watch it when the ship went down–because the ship really DID go down and just thinking about families being separated from each other makes me absolutely sick.

It’s like Holocaust movies–I can’t watch them either. I already know a ton about the Holocaust; it’s not that the movies teach me stuff I didn’t know and make me sad; it’s that I can’t handle having pictures put to my thoughts. I saw Schindler’s List in theatres and I still regret it. It still haunts me.

It’s important to remember the horrors that we have inflicted on each other so we don’t repeat them, but I can’t emotionally handle watching it. I hope that doesn’t make me shallow.

10. I’m touring all over the U.S. in 2015-2016. And in Australia, too!

I’m in Texas in February, Louisiana in March, Arizona in April, Indiana in September, and Brisbane/Melbourne in October. Plus I’ll be around Canada frequently, too! I’m still adding dates to all of those tours, so if you have a church that would be interested in hosting my Girl Talk, just email me and my assistant Tammy will get some info out to you!

So there you go: 10 weird things about me. Have any weird things yourself you’d like to share?

Remember TWO big promotions going on at the blog right now!

First, Covenant Eyes is offering two months free when you use my promo code (TLHV); it’s automatically applied if you follow my link. It’s so important to protect our kids online, and to remove the temptation of porn from our homes. Check it out!

And the MELT Massage instructional videos are on sale again, just in time for Christmas! You get lifetime access to the online videos which teach you in really small increments how to properly massage each other–and then you can put those “moves” together into one massage routine which is AMAZING for your spouse (and your intimacy!) Check it out, too.

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Why It Can Be Hard to Respect Your Husband

Speaking in Whistler

My husband and I just spent a weekend speaking at the FamilyLife Canada Weekend Getaway marriage conference in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia! So much fun. I love speaking with him. And today I just want to share something I told the women in the women’s only session about how to respect your husband.

DSC_0574

I love speaking with my husband. I spend most of the year doing my “Girl Talk” event, where I come into churches and talk about marriage and sex, or doing women’s retreats, when I talk about how to trust God–no strings attached. And I do love speaking to women’s groups. But speaking with my husband is great because we get a bit of a break, away, and we get to do something together! Plus the more we talk about marriage together to prepare, the better our marriage gets.

DSC_0579

I have no idea what we were saying here, but these are awesome expressions:

Speaking at FamilyLife

Funny story: we had a bit of a conflict before the giving the conflict talk–and the conflict talk went great! I told Keith we should do that more often. Then he said, “Well, the sex talk is next…”

Anyway, during the women’s talk I was sharing what I think is one of the problems women have with respect and husbands.

Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your DifferencesIt all starts with that waffles/spaghetti thing, explained by Bill and Pam Farrel in their book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Basically, men are like waffles: they live their lives in boxes. When they’re in their work box, they’re thinking about work. If work is good, they’re happy. When they’re in their home box, they’re thinking about home. They tend to focus on one thing at a time.

Women aren’t like that. We’re multitaskers, and little bits of spaghetti weave their way into everything. It’s really so that children don’t die. We can wash dishes and talk on the phone and make sure that a child is safe all at the same time. Our brains are in multiple places at once.

It’s a good thing usually.

But this spaghetti, multitasking thing can be bad when it comes to respecting your husband.

Here’s why: Let’s say that your husband has one major area of weakness. Maybe he’s bad with money. Maybe he struggles with porn. Maybe he yells too much at the kids. These are all bad things, and they do need to be worked on. Absolutely. But because we’re spaghetti, we see these bad things, and these bad things worm their way into everything else, so that we’re really incapable of seeing our husbands as good anymore. That one bad thing has clouded everything.

I’ve seen this with friends of mine. He struggles with one area, but let’s say he’s a great dad. She never, ever praises him for being a great dad, because really, how can he be a great dad if he’s also bad with money–or struggling with porn? Sure he may have fun with the kids, but that doesn’t make up for it, does it?

Or let’s say that he texts you something nice, or he buys you flowers. You assume that he’s trying to make up for something bad he did, rather than just trying to show you love. All the bad stuff worms its way in, and you can’t see anything he does in a positive light.

What does that do to a marriage? A man may have an area he really needs to work on (we all do, after all), but it will be much easier to work on that area together if you are also thanking him for the things that he does do well. If you acknowledge those things and look for them and thank him, he’ll feel appreciated. And when you feel appreciated, you will want to work on your bad spots. You will know that you aren’t a failure; this is just one area, and you can tackle it together.

On the other hand, if you never thank him for anything, because how could you respect a guy who does X, then he will feel “nothing I ever do is good enough”.

And if he feels that, he’ll be too demoralized to try to work on the big thing.

So that’s my challenge to you today: fight against the spaghetti principle, and start really thanking him for what he does do well. Don’t let one thing impact the whole way you see your marriage.

I hope that helps, and I can’t wait to speak with Keith again!

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Random Thoughts, Respect, and Reading!

I’ve been sitting here staring at my computer screen for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what to write. I have a backlog of Reader Questions to answer, and usually I do those on Mondays, but I feel a little brain dead right now.

…Speaking at a Weekend Retreat

I’m just back from speaking at a women’s retreat up in Muskoka (northern Ontario), and it was a riot! I shared about living “No Strings Attached”, about the things that we often hold back from God and the things that keep us from living a full life.

SheilaMuskoka1

SheilaMuskokaNoStrings

And we ended up cutting some of those strings!

SheilaNoStringsattached3

We talked about how when we live wholly for God, we live a bigger life. It’s scarier. It’s more risky. But it’s so much more worthwhile.

Specifically I was sharing from my book How Big Is Your Umbrella, which talks about the things that we yell at God when life is really tough, and what God whispers back. You can get that book as part of the Christian Living Bundle Sale–85 + ebooks, courses, and mp3 downloads, worth over $1100, for just $34.95. But it’s up tonight at midnight EST! Check out all the books you get in this post.

motionmailapp.com

…and then the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle Sale will be over!

Two of my closest friends came up for the weekend with me, which was fun. But it SNOWED! It is way too early for winter, even for this Canadian girl.

SheilaMuskoka2

…I Don’t Like My Gall Bladder

…and I’d really like to see it gone. Unfortunately it’s not cooperating, and all the tests they’ve done so far haven’t shown anything conclusive. But I’m just sure that’s my problem. The good news? I’ve switched my diet to completely clean eating. The bad news? Yesterday I was tired and hungry and busy so we cheated and went to a restaurant where I thought I was ordering something relatively safe. I haven’t had an attack in 3 weeks, you see.

But I was up for several hours in pain again last night. Dear gall bladder: go away. Dear doctor: please take it out soon. Thank you.

…Thinking About Thanking Your Man

In other news, I received a neat email from Emily, one of my readers. After reading this post on why a simple thank you can transform your marriage, she told me this:

My husband is away this week. I gave him a pile of notes, one for each day he’s gone. Normally, those would be fairly sappy love notes. This time I tried something different. Each note starts with thanking him for a way he blesses me or our family. I’m hoping that will be more meaningful for him, and it was a fun exercise to come up with 6 different things I appreciate about him.

A great idea!

Lately I’ve been struck by how women tend not to thank their husbands for little things. Sometimes it’s because we’re overwhelmed by all the big things we have to do that saying thank you for something small seems ridiculous. Doesn’t he get how hard we work? But you know, it’s just being polite. And if we look for ways to thank him, I think we’ll notice how many little things our husbands DO do.

I’ve heard of several marriages breaking up this weekend. And it’s made me a little sad, which is perhaps why I’m having trouble thinking of a big overarching theme for a post today. But please, ladies, no matter where you are in your marriage, can you try to say thank you today for something? Just thank him. I have some stories I’d like to share on this but I can’t because they’re not mine to share, but I need to figure out a way to do so anonymously or something, because this is a huge deal. I have seen so many women lately just discount their husbands’ efforts or focus entirely on how hard THEIR lives are (and they are, no doubt), but in so doing they’re pushing their husbands away and they’re losing the intimacy and friendship that could help them get through the difficulties in their marriages.

Just say thank you. Seriously.

Let’s Stop It with the Disrespect

Exhibit A:

Erotica for women today is almost entirely focused on some sort of bondage. When did we decide that a man degrading a woman is sexy and is okay? Sexual play? Fine. Domination and whipping and humiliation? Not okay.

I wrote last week in my post about Pulling Back the Shades that we need to reassess what passes as sexy for women today, and I think this goes to the heart of something important: if we train our society to think that humiliating women is sexy, then why do we think it’s going to stop in the bedroom, or that it will always be between two consensual adults?

Exhibit B:

Up here in Canada there’s a scandal going on regarding one of our country’s most popular news commentary dudes: Jian Ghomeshi. Multiple women have now come forward to say that he forced them into 50 Shades of Grey-like scenarios, and it was definitely NOT consensual. I’m going to write more about this once I’ve been able to process it, but it’s gross.

Exhibit C:

Women are getting incredibly catty with one another. You see it in the celebrity gossip about what starlet hates what other starlet. We see it in TV shows like Desperate Housewives, where the women are at war with each other.

Why should we expect men to respect us if we women don’t even respect each other?

So what can you do? Don’t participate. When you see a link to some article about stars hating each other, don’t click it. Don’t watch shows that have women disrespecting each other. We are never going to create a culture of respect if we allow ourselves to be sucked in by the opposite. Let’s demand more of our media, and more of ourselves.

And for pity’s sake, let’s stop gossiping about other women and let’s try instead to help our friends when they’re going through a tough time. Instead of picking up the phone and talking to another woman about some friend and what she’s doing, just pray for that woman.

…Thinking About Wisdom from of Old

When I did my birthday retreat (I take a day and pray through my goals for the upcoming year, and ask God to give me words and verses and songs that I can cling to for the year ahead), one of the things I did was make a decision to read more GOOD books this year. I don’t tend to read enough since I’m on the computer all day, and at night I just want to collapse and knit and turn my brain off. But I need to go deeper, and so I’ve decided to spend a half hour reading a quality book every night from now on.

And one of the things I decided was that I was going to read more of the Christian classics–Tozer, Dwight L. Moody, etc. They have such interesting things to say, and God used them so mightily, and yet we tend to forget them today.

When I saw how many awesome classics were included in the Christian Living Bundle I got really excited. I’m especially interested in the ones on prayer, since I think God is calling me to learn more about prayer in the year ahead. These classics are amazing (they’re the reason my mom bought the bundle!), and if you want a challenge in your life to go deeper, I’d really encourage picking up the bundle.

I’ve talked mostly about the parenting and marriage books, but the classics are important ones, too. Check them out:

And the devotional ones (including one by Tozer!) will help you in your daily walk, too.

I think we all need more God in our lives, to help us with gratitude and respect and to cut those strings that hold us back. This is a great resource to help you on your walk. And don’t forget–the Bundle is gone tonight at midnight!

Tomorrow hopefully my head will be clear and we’ll be back for Top 10 Tuesday! Thanks for listening to my rant. I think I’ll go for a walk and try to clear my head a little bit more.