My Marriage *Still* Rocks {Giveaway}

*Updated* Congratulations to random commenters: reader Celeste (I’ve emailed you) and Candy M from Altered State of Mind! You guys and your spouses will be rockin’ new shirts!! Don’t forget to take advantage of the awesome coupons below!

I know him. I could pick his rough, calloused hands out of 100 pair. I know what every look means. I don’t know where he ends and I begin. One.

We’ve been through a lot:

the depths of Hell and the edge of Heaven in the last 16 years.

But I can say from my core, my marriage still rocks.

That doesn’t mean it’s always good. We argue over who ate the last of the hummus and fight our way through balancing the budget. We’re are OH, SO HUMAN. But we believe in our marriage.

We press in to the hard questions. We push each other to being better. We fight for our marriage (and over chick peas, apparently).

Y’all know I love Union 28.  And so it’s no surprise I love their new shirts: My Marriage STILL Rocks!


Today, Union 28 is giving away two sets (two winners) of HIS & HER “My Marriage Still Rocks” tees!

Plus, you’ve gotta check out the new darling Valentine’s shirts:


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Visit Union28 and check out all the fun tees that celebrate your marriage. (I seriously love love wearing my shirts from Union28. It makes me think of my hubby all day. And he doesn’t mind either!)

U28WATF20 – The first 20 people to use this code during the giveaway will get 20% off any Union28.net order!

U28WATF15 – Everyone can use this code for 15% off any Union28.net order!

(And as always, there’s free shipping on orders of $60 or more.)

Just leave a comment, telling me WHY your marriage STILL rocks!

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

Taking Care of Business

My third grade son has spent a fair amount of time learning about economics in school this year. During the first semester, they created a product as a class and had “Market Day” to sell their item to the other classes who did the same. They learned the art of an advertising campaign, pricing and about product demand.

His class is rewarded with “bucks” for doing their class “jobs”, turning in homework, outstanding behavior, etc. They have to pay weekly class “taxes”, but can spend their remaining “money” on items out of the Treasure Box (orange pencil grippers are HOT) or save them for “No Homework” and “Extra Computer Time” coupons.

[Remember, the “air quote” is your friend].

My son is a spender.


(Christmas money from Grandma that didn’t get to meet his wallet).

He has three orange pencil grippers. I know this because I vacuumed up one and saw our black cat batting another one around the house. Several times this year, he has borrowed Bucks from friends just to pay his taxes. I encouraged him to save and plan ahead, but mostly, I’ve let him learn the hard way. (Plus, I’ve been busy trying not to suck up orange grippers with the vacuum).

The unit ended with the semester in early January.

But my son was just getting started.

He came home last week and said, “Mom, I’m starting a biz. You know, a business.”

Well.

Then he explained: “Some kids are cleaning desks for extra Bucks, others are selling erasers. I’m thinking bigger. Since those orange pencil grips are 20 Bucks in the treasure box. I’m selling mine for 10 to get startup money for my big idea.”

Um, okay. Donald Trump.

“I used the money to hire a couple of friends to advertise for me, you know to get the word out. I talked to my teacher and she said I could sell my leftover Lego necklaces on Fridays.  I’m gonna put everyone out of business.”

KAPOW. (I wasn’t sure if he should be grounded or commended since this was new territory for me).

Who was this 68 pound, 8 year old entrepreneur?

When I picked up my son from school on Friday, the first thing I noticed were more than a dozen or so kids wearing familiar Lego necklaces. I could see my son’s smile before I saw him.

“Mom, I sold OUT in 5 minutes. I have loads of money, wads and wads of Bucks. Plus, I’m not in debt anymore,” he said excitedly. “I’m going to come up with a new product.”

He had me at debt. What??

“I told you Mom, I’m taking care of business.”

Air quotes.

How to Really Love Yourself

[Note: We are learning how to really live together. This isn’t an instruction guide. The posts in this series are my open journal. Please include your thoughts in the comments. Let’s find out together how to really live!]

It’s probably not a surprise that when you talk about How to Really Live, God gives you ample opportunity.

Only I have been: surprised. I didn’t know I would receive a call right after writing this post from a (very) distant relative who needs to be really loved.

And I didn’t know that in the days leading up to writing about how to really love yourself, I wouldn’t: love myself.

Truly, I am more the student than the teacher. I am in the classroom of life, sitting in the back, squinting to find the answer.

How do I really love myself? How do I love the me that just yesterday crawled into her oldest child’s bed, thankful to find her awake, reading, and burrowed my face into her sleeve and cried, asking forgiveness for harsh words?

I know myself well. I present a picture to you, the world, even my family. I try to be the same person, but I know me. I know the thoughts I have, the jealousy, the anger, the selfishness that I stuff down.

(I don’t love that this is the only picture of me at my in-laws farm over the holidays)

In learning how to really love myself, I’m learning that God wants me to love myself. It’s not vanity or self-centeredness. I was created in His image. We were divinely created to glorify Him. He doesn’t stop loving us when our jeans stop fitting. He doesn’t withdraw his affection when we’re stingy with ours.

He loves you.

He wants you to love yourself.

How do you (we) really love ourselves?

Forgive Yourself

Accept Yourself

Nourish Yourself

__________________________

Forgive yourself-do it. Forgive. You. Give yourself permission to let it go. Hand it over to Him. You can’t expect others to forgive you if you can’t forgive yourself. And I’ve learned that this is on-going.

Accept yourself-stop trying to change what isn’t supposed to change. I’m all for self-transformation…becoming more like Him. But often we try to transform ourselves into someone else. This isn’t God’s plan. Accept who He made you to be. He gave you that nose, the tall frame, the funky thumb (okay, that’s mine). Change what needs to be changed (mostly inward) and accept the rest. Once we accept Him, we are transformed into a new creation.

Nurture yourself- you need community. You need friends and family. You need God’s Word, time with Him. You need worship and sustenance. Don’t starve yourself. You need to feed  yourself well-physically and spiritually.

How do you really love yourself?

When Things Don’t Add Up

[I’m still finding words for my next How to Really Live post. It’s been one of those days. This is what I need to say today.]

I punched the numbers into the calculator again.

Tension from hours of accounting were taking their toll.

I pushed back my computer, put my head on the desk

And I cried.

No matter how hard I manipulate or speculate, I can’t make it work on paper. I can’t figure out how we will sustain nearly $4000 a month of donations to run the Mercy House in Kenya, Africa. We’ve had great success with fundraisers in the last four months, but sustaining $50,000 a year and more, year after year, seems impossible, not to mention exhausting.

Things just don’t add up.

I’m not going to lie: I didn’t want any of this. And the burden, the responsibility, literally drives me to my knees on a regular basis. When I feel the room close in and my breath comes in short panicky gasps, I realize I’m trying to figure this great big God-idea out on my own.

I left the piles of papers on my desk, turned out the lamp and closed the bathroom door behind me. As hot water filled the tub, silent tears fell. I crumbled.

And then He spoke: “If things added up, you wouldn’t need Me. Leave room for me, Kristen. Let me do the work.”

So. Here’s the picture: You have me-weak mortal, carpooling Mom, blogger-turned-crazy-dreamer, trying to add up numbers that don’t exist and feeling responsible for creating something out of nothing.

And then you have God, creator of all and in all, building a house of mercy in Africa, known for turning nothing into something. He has a plan, a purpose, a path.

He asks us to be the hands of His work so our faith will grow. And when things do not seem possible, He is glorified when they become possible.

In jumping into the unknown, I am being stretched beyond my comfort. When people try to commend us for obeying God, I want to say, He knew we needed this journey. He knew we needed to dive into something that lacks our complete control. He knew it would grow us. He knew we couldn’t do it on our own. He knew we would have to leave room for Him.

When things don’t add up.

——————————————————-

And so I ask, what isn’t adding up in your life?

  • What are you desperately trying to control?
  • Do you wonder how your marriage will survive it’s current crisis?
  • How will you pay the bills?
  • When will your wayward child come home?
  • How will you survive this cancer?

I urge you and remind myself as I type the words–

Leave. Room. For. God.

Because He will be glorified in our inability to figure it all out.

**I’d love for you to read an update on Maureen’s amazing training at the Ethiopian maternity home!