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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.

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And we ended up cutting some of those strings!

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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.

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.

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…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:

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

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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!

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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.

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