Archive for Marriage

Beauty and Boundaries

Going to the zoo this spring? I’ll bet your children enjoy seeing the monkeys, zebras, and exotic birds. When you get to the tigers’ den there’s an excitement about being close to something that would be dangerous to you outside of the zoo. If that tiger were loose in your neighborhood, you would run inside and lock the doors, yet within the safety of secure boundaries they are beautiful animals to watch.  Tigers are as powerfully fierce as they are beautiful, and we respect the threat that they can pose as well as appreciate the beauty and mystery that is so compelling.

There are other examples in nature of things that are both fearful and wonderful…the ocean, fire, and sex. Powerful, compelling, mysterious, and when enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s purposes, beautiful. We are drawn to these things, but we must be aware of their potential danger.

If you find a teachable moment at the zoo, or  the beach, or in front of a fire pit this spring…take advantage of it! Some things that are powerful and beautiful need to be approached carefully. Just because something is beautiful, doesn’t mean you run to it with total abandon. Enjoying the beauty while respecting the boundaries for something that is both fearful and wonderful is a good life lesson.

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I Heart MOPS

 

I’d like to give a shout-out today to a group I have long admired.

MOPS

Mothers of Preschoolers.  What I love about them is that they recognize the true importance of this season of parenting.

They are all about planting the seeds of strong marriages and rearing children who love the Lord.

 If you have a preschooler you are my hero. At this age, your children may not be able to tie their shoes, or reach the light switch, or get themselves buckled into their car seats. These are high maintenance years for moms filled with exhaustion, but balanced by joy and the most tender moments imaginable. Your children will love you with abandon while wearing you out! MOPS gives support and encouragement for both sides of this equation.

MOPS began in 1973 when  a group of mothers got together for the purpose of supporting mothers of preschoolers. They organized a time together with mentors, speakers, and sharing. Through the years, they have grown into an international organization that is standing ready to welcome you as if you were the only mother with a preschooler!

For over 25 years I have had the great privilege of speaking to MOPS groups all over the country. You could say I cut my teeth by speaking to MOPS groups, because they fed me the questions that mothers get quite often at this age….”Mommy, how does that baby get out of you?”…etc.

I have found that mothers of preschoolers and I agree that these impressionable years are not to be missed. Raising up a child in the way they should go starts right from the start. Learning respect for bodies from their parents, as well as a pure wonder at God’s creation, is a great start on the road to shaping their character. 

If you are finding yourself either wanting to give or receive this kind of support…let me commend a local MOPS group to you. You can find them on-line at www.mops.org

I am a fan of MOPS because of the dignity and purpose that is bestowed on these young mothers – THE HEROES OF THE HOME, the ones who tenderly care for the young.

God bless them every one!

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Betty and Bob

Happy Anniversary to Betty and Bob!!

This week my parents would have celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. My mother passed away 14 years ago, and my father has happily remarried, but their love will last ALWAYS. In fact, my mother had a jewelry box that dad gave her, and when you opened it…it played the tune, “Always”, if you’re not familiar with that song, check out the iTunes version by Frank Sinatra.

The song is sweet and sincere. But underneath this sweetness they understood what it would take to make a marriage last;  to be true to one another and to us.

I am blessed to have the best childhood  memories, and one of my favorites was watching them dance…and looking into one another’s eyes, just like in this picture..taken at the State Fair of Texas in 1949.

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There YOU are!

Dave and I just got back from a wedding. You will hear me say that a lot.

We are in the go-to-weddings season of our life. I didn’t know there was such a season, but there is, and it’s both fun and meaningful.

This wedding was in Atlanta, and we were invited as friends of the groom, Will Craine, & his precious parents. I have always been very fond of Will, but the stories that I heard this weekend and the people I met have enlarged my picture of him, and have given me a new appreciation for his parents.

At the rehearsal dinner a groomsman started his toast to Will by saying, “You changed my life in the 7th grade. I know everyone thinks I have lots of friends, but in the 7th grade I sat by myself  every day in the cafeteria. It was awful. Then one day Will Craine came over and said, ‘come and sit with us’..and  I can’t even tell you what that meant to me.” (picture a handsome, smart, ‘cool’ 26-year-old choking up)

At the Wedding Day brunch Dave & I sat next to Michael and his mother Regina. Michael and Will became friends during their first week at the University of Richmond. Michael was born blind, and college was a special challenge to him…but a huge blessing of his college days (& a comfort to Michael’s mother) was his loyal and encouraging friend, Will.

Finally I’ll introduce you to Willy. Willy has been in Will’s life since our groom was 18 months old. She is a 65-year-old African-American, and was officially the family housekeeper, but not to Will. To him, Willy was (and is) his close friend and confidant. Willy has retired from working for the Craine family, but she will never retire from being an important part of their family. Willy and Will shared a precious dance at his wedding, and she shared some remarkable stories with us on the way to the wedding.

I’ve heard that there are two types of people. One will come into a room thinking, “Here I am!”, the other will come into a room thinking, “There YOU are!”.

Will is a , “There YOU are” type….and it has made all the difference in these three lives. 

Congratulations, Will!

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Also for ONEness

 

Third week of  Frequent Question Friday…and we have a FAQ that causes many parents to pause.

“Is sex ONLY for having children?”

Don’t you  remember being horrified that your parents actually “did this” 3 times? They must have…they have 3 children!!!

OH            MY              GOODNESS      %#!%#@#!!!!!!!

The big secret, mystery, and surprise  is this:  By God’s design,  sex is for ONENESS and for FRUITFULNESS. This is an essential part of marriage…for joy, wonder, and children. This is not for dating,  or for experiments,  or for cheep thrills..but it is giving your whole self for your whole life.

We didn’t invent it, and we can’t fully explain it..but that is what it is.

Let’s don’t leave that part out,  for goodnes sake!

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Happily Ever After

Just got back from an amazing wedding in Austin!

The bride was the wedding planner for both of our daughters’ weddings, and the groom was my son’s Bible study leader. Yes we did….we set them up. Alison Morris and Brent Baker have been man and wife for about 24 hours, and we are thrilled to have been even a little  part of it!

One of the best parts of the wedding was the fact that there were so many children…both in the wedding and in attendance. They were loving it, too!

On the way to breakfast this morning, I had a nice chat with the father of the groom. He told me that one of his treasures from the night before was knowing his granddaughters had been able to witness Brent & Alisons’ wedding (the groom’s nieces were junior bridesmaids, flower girls, etc.), and they will have this memory for a lifetime.

When we think of all the things we want to tell our children, maybe we also need to try to take them to more weddings. Let them catch the vision, listen to the trumpets, the pastor, and the bride & groom say “I Do” in front of God and family. Soak it in. Let them see grandparents dancing, and everyone eating cake and throwing rose petals. Weddings are the best…children included!

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