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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

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I’m taking it easy this Friday as I jump into the holiday weekend, so I thought for any new readers I would share the most popular posts from TheHomelyHouse.

Enjoy!

Treasure Hunt

A Deeper Country

DC: Could It Be Love?

Meet My Pen-Friend

My Pen-Friend: On Men and Marriage

Learning how to rock climb and how to be married

Here I raise my Ebenezer

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Here I raise my Ebenezer

As I reflect on the past 2 years of marriage, I have thought often of the word “Ebenezer.”  I first heard it in one of my favorite hymns and wondered what the heck it meant:

“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I come”

(from “Come Thou Fount“, lyrics by Robert Robinson)

(Disclaimer: I struggle with how forward to be about faith in this blog with readers from many different backgrounds, but I cannot help but mention these things today.)  I found out “Ebenezer” was a reference to Samuel in the Old Testament, who had called out to God, and God heard his prayer and protected the Israelites from the Philistines.  He placed a large stone there, called an Ebenezer, and it meant “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”  Here God has been faithful.

I am so thankful I can look back across the past 2 years of marriage and read through my journals or think of situations where God has been faithful.  Over and over He protects us and reminds us who He is and who we are.  Some examples:

– Several people in the same week encouraged us out of the blue by telling us they’d been praying for us and thinking of us.

– In our worries of our chaotic schedules and life decisions, we were reminded that God is in control and will take care of us.

– We were able to look at ourselves and name ways we have grown because of the others’ influence.

– We each had similar prayers answered that we didn’t even know the other was praying about.

– God repeatedly opened our eyes to remember that only He can truly fulfill our every need, and because of that we can enjoy each other all the more without feeling inadequate when we don’t always perform perfectly.

Now, most of these things we have to be reminded of quite often, but God never fails to reveal Himself to us in new ways, even if it takes humbling us by seeing how selfish we are or how often we chase after everything else to fulfill us besides Him.

Since I cannot erect a large boulder in our tiny back yard, maybe I’ll start a little rock pile somewhere or a jar of note cards with the date and a note about God’s faithfulness that day.  It’ll be great to look back years from now and count those blessings!

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Jon and I went to Charlottesville last weekend for somewhat of a pre-anniversary getaway.  We had a nice weekend with a lot of tasty food, some secluded hiking (thank you, rain, for giving us a peaceful hike without a thousand tourists), some antique store browsing, some wine tasting, a visit with a dear friend, and of course nice time with Jon.  Overall a sweet weekend, even though it probably wasn’t Jon’s ideal getaway; he’d rather be a bit more active, see things we can’t typically see at home – understandable.  There are so many things in marriage we’re still figuring out after 2 years, like how to take a vacation that rejuvenates and is enjoyable to both of us.

Another thing we’re learning is how to learn from one another.

I have always been awkwardly afraid to walk down steep slopes and climb on rocks.  I love hiking and being out in nature, and I even like the adventure of little rock scrambles at the top of hikes, but then when I have to walk around up there, I’m usually awkwardly bending over to steady myself because I am sure that I will totally bite it if I don’t hold onto something.

(makes for a nice view for whoever is following me)

On our hike last weekend, Jon tried to help me out by explaining that I could practice walking on rocks on the side of the flat path and realize that I’d totally be fine. (but it’s not the same! why are you telling me what to do? why do you care? you think i’m so high maintenance! – and the insecurity mixed with pride rambled on.)  Maybe he had some mixed motives and a bit of frustration with my hyper paranoia at some little rocks (seriously, I have a video of another hike where it took 4 minutes of group therapy and many outstretched hands to convince me to leap step across a crevasse that was like 14 inches wide); either way, he was trying to help, but I was too prideful to hear it.

How often do we do this about every little thing?  A trusted friend offers a suggestion, and even though we’re clearly flailing around in our own attempts, we are too prideful to listen. We were created for many things, but especially in marriage we are meant to help, encourage, and refine one another, and as “iron sharpens iron”, it’s not a soft and comfortable process.  We are supposed to challenge one another to grow.

A mentor I greatly respect once said to me, “if you and Jon were exactly alike, I cannot think of any reason God would have had you marry one another.  Eck – what good would that be?  You’d never have any reason to challenge one another and grow!”

Walking on rocks is such a tiny example of learning to listen and learn from one another.  I remember many times where we have reminded each other of what’s important…recognizing when we’re being totally selfish…pointing out that one of us is making up excuses instead of just admitting we were wrong (or ate the rest of the brownies..)…exposing double standards…I could go on.

Usually after we let down our guard (and our pride), we are thankful for one another and the ways we can help each other grow.

(Jon’s always been good at climbing on things.  Nate, too!)

(and he’s just really cute, so I wanted to show you this pic)

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1.  The book The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller has brightened my commute this week and reminded me of some of the most important aspects of marriage and loving Jon well.  I highly recommend it to anyone – single, married, young, old – many things in it are applicable to all of our relationships in life and have been very encouraging/convicting to me.  I also met a nice stranger on the metro who saw me reading it and mentioned he also had.  We had a nice conversation about it all!

2.  I was thankful to enjoy the sunset under the cherry blossoms last night with some girlfriends, and we found a nice quiet spot without many tourists (until a whole bus of kids stopped by, but at least their stay was brief). 🙂

3.  I am going to a library book sale tonight!  In the past I’ve gotten a whole stack of books for the price of one new book – and they’re usually in great condition, too!  Do I really need to live in a big city forever, if this is what I’ve been looking forward to on my calendar for weeks?

4.  Jon and I have watched an episode of Downton Abbey almost every night for the past few weeks.  I cannot get enough of this show – incredible character development, social/political/historical commentary, beautiful love stories, dramatic themes…  Jon pretended he didn’t like it at first and was just watching it to be nice, but there’s no denying it now!  Violet Crawley (love this moment) is hands down my favorite character, but Anna and Bates are probably my favorite pair.

How have you been delighted this week?

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I introduced you to a friend of mine last time, my Pen-Friend for the past several years, who has spoken joy and wisdom into my life.  One of the things I admire most about her is her understanding of marriage and what it means to actively love one another, through thick and thin.

Marnie has told me stories of her husband’s military deployments, their exciting times on trains as they relocated for military duty (sharing one cot instead of separate bunkbeds), and their years of raising a handful of children.  After Don’s military service, they decided to find some sort of employment where they could work together, so they became head butler and head maid/cook for a mansion in Illinois (makes me think now of Bates and Anna from Downton Abbey – love it! Watch first 3 mins).  They have experienced many adventures – some notable, some more in the mundane daily life – but their strong partnership is apparent.

When Jon and I first started dating, I sent her a photo of him, and below is her response.  She’s a skilled illustrator and artist, so she tends to notice the details.

Ha!  Love her enthusiasm (and she knows a looker when she sees one)!  After all, he was a childhood model – that’s him on the right. 🙂

I digress…

Don’s health has declined over the past few years, and I cannot say how many times Marnie has counted it joy to take care of him.  She thanks God for every day they have together, and when I have told her how great it is she is so willing to care for him (as not everyone would be glad for that task), she quickly responds with something like “He’s my love!  This is just what we do.  This is just a different stage in life, and I’m so thankful we are still here together.  This too shall pass.”  When Jon and I first married, she commented on the hard work necessary to make a lasting marriage, and no doubt this has helped bring her and Don to where they are today.

Marriage does take work, and actively loving sure isn’t always easy.  We did vow to love in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.  I have seen in Marnie and Don the riches that result from years of active love and service to one another – what a witness of God’s love towards us, in good times and in bad.

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