4 Ways to Admire Your Family & Others (Feat. Special Guest)

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For the month of February, the Monthly Word Focus is ADMIRATION. You can read more about that here.

How often do we hear the expression, “It was an accident!” or  how often have we actually been the ones to say that? I can honestly say that I’ve said it more times than I would like to admit. I understand that LIFE is not perfect nor are we perfect as humans. However, imagine how much different and better LIFE would be if we were intentional in our words and actions.

Being intentional will not always guarantee that all will be well, but if we had the mentality of DOING and SAYING things on PURPOSE, I believe we can save ourselves a lot of hurt and heartache. In this post, you will see four ways on how you can admire those closest to you. BEING INTENTIONAL and DOING THINGS INTENTIONALLY  is fundamental to doing the three others mentioned in this post.

I am excited to feature a special lady that I have admired since I started following her on Instagram. She stood out to me because of how real, honest, and loving she was to her spouse and children. And although social media does not prove EVERYTHING or how your life really is ALL THE TIME, her pictures have said a lot.

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Photo cred: https://www.instagram.com/denaejonessa

Meghan lives with her husband and their 5 kids in Minneapolis, MN. She is expecting their 6th child in April 2018 and builds her businesses at home while homeschooling the kids. The family loves low key evenings at home and dinner around the table every night of the week. Meghan’s whole life mantra is “living for today” and shares that on her social media platforms to offer hope to others.

You can follow her on Instagram, @meghanjoytoday and her website, http://www.meghanjoyyancy.com

I sent Meghan a few questions and I have been encouraged by her answers.

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1) How are you as a wife and mom INTENTIONAL in your relationships?

When I am with certain people, I try to avoid any distractions that could be a hinderance (i.e. cell phone). When God lays on my heart to send a text to a friend, I do it. Sometimes someone will just pop into my head and heart and I’ll create a gift package to send them in the mail. I leave my schedule pretty wide open so that I have the capacity to be intentional in relationships. With my children, we try to make time for one-on-one dates so that we get to build on each relationship as a whole family as well as individually. With my husband, I’ll get that inkling like, “Meghan, just put your phone down and be WITH him, right now, in this space in time.” And I try to follow that urge and set all else aside to be with him. We also carve out most evenings to spend together after the kids go to bed.

2) How can we show INTIMACY with our children?

Letting them know that there is always a gate open to be vulnerable. Without judgment or condemnation, we want honesty and accessibility to reign. I’m continually telling the kids not to let their emotions be hindered or to ever have to feel they need to hide them from us but to open the door for that emotional intimacy to be seen and heard.

3) How do you show that you are INTERESTED in others?

I am an encourager at heart, so it’s very easy for me in that aspect. But also, often I fail at investing too much in others because I have to keep a balanced life. And so with having (almost) 6 children, a wonderful husband, homeschooling, housework, plus running multiple businesses from home, my capacity for much more is only so little. That being said, I strive for balance in all areas of life in order to show my concern and interest in others. Oftentimes, in conversations, I tell myself over and over again to just be quiet and listen. And often times, people have A LOT they want to say. And I want them to feel that someone is interested and thus be able to let it out, speak it, and be heard. So really, just listening can be a very good skill to learn.

4) How can you become more INVOLVED with your spouse & children & their interests?

By carving out time to do the things THEY love to do; even if that means sacrificing my own wants and needs. When I was dating my husband, I sat down and watched every basketball game with him. He loves basketball and it makes him happy to have me enjoy that with him. And to be honest, once I wooed him, captured him, and got that ring, I don’t think I’ve watched a single game with him in our almost 10 years of marriage. So sad, I know. I’m just being real. And maybe this was just the prompt I needed to make more of an effort in that area. (At least by sitting down next to him reading my book while he watches his game.) All that being said, it’s about sacrifice and putting others first, which I’m sure most of us can improve in.

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It was a great privilege to have Meghan share her heart about how she ADMIRES or can continue to admire her spouse and children. She hit the sweet spot on answering these questions. These are great reminders to me and it would be selfish not to share them with you all! I sure hope you can get to know her even if it is just through this social media community. Please feel free to let her know how she has blessed or helped you.

Until Next Time,

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Featured Image by: freestocks.org on Unsplash.com

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10 Ways to be a Help Meet

I am so excited for this coming March, not because we’ll have a crazy work schedule but because my husband and I will be celebrating 4 years of marriage!!! Crazy, right?!? We were just these little high schoolers who dated each other and caused a lot of drama and then ended up going to college & graduating together! Time flies too fast, especially when you’re having fun!

I decided to jot down 10 ways that I am still trying to “master” and I put that in quotes because marriage is not something you master; marriage is something that you continually work at and eventually reap the benefits of.

Now, take note that not every marriage is the same… there will be similarities but don’t assume that because these things work for me, they will for you too. I am merely just sharing from MY MARRIAGE & hope that you can find at least ONE thing you can implement or continue to do in yours.

Without further ado,

1) Tell your spouse VERBALLY how much you love him. How many times do we get so caught up with “LIFE” that we sometimes forget to say those three words – “I.LOVE.YOU”? My husband is better at reminding me that he loves me than I am of reminding him.  I am so horrible at this. At times, my husband would say those three special words but crazy me, my mind or attention would be somewhere else and I easily forget how special those words are and just for the sake of getting it done, I say them… blatantly & with little sincerity. David usually likes for me to look into his eyes and say those words. I am so guilty and my prayer is to improve in this area.Well, it’s a New Year and you and I can do new things, starting with our marriages.

2) Pray for him DAILY. If you didn’t already know, marriages are under attack. The devil would love to see God’s meaning of Marriage become twisted, perverted, & unappreciated. As a wife, it is my duty and privilege to pray for my husband, especially since God has made him the Head of our home. If the head of the household is not in lined with God’s Word, it’s harder for the rest of the family to follow him. So pray for him, earnestly, faithfully, and sincerely. Here are a few ways I found on Pinterest:

a) From Head to Toe 

b) 1-Week Prayer Guide

c) 5 Prayers to Daily Pray

3) Praise him in front of your children as often as possible. Your children need to see that their “Daddy” isn’t just a man, he’s thee man! He should be the handsomest, most hardworking, most amazing man they will ever come into contact with. They should (when the right time comes) desire to marry someone like Daddy.

4) Praise him in front of others. With all the technology we have now, it’s so easy to let the “whole world” know anything and everything! If we have that capability, why not let the “whole world” know that you married the most incredible guy on planet earth (even though they may not think so). I mean, when was the last time you PRAISED your spouse on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?

“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” (Prov. 31:23)

Here is a 1-week Praise Guide from Rachel Wojo.

5) Admire him like you used to during your “dating” years. Of course, dating each other shouldn’t end after marriage. Rather, it should continue. But what I mean is, “look” at him, “treat” him, and “adore” him like you did BEFORE you got married. Admiration for your spouse shouldn’t stop at the beginning of your marriage but should continue AND continue to grow as the years go.

6)“Criticize” him. It’s often that those closest to us can become our biggest critics. Criticism isn’t always bad. There’s a right WAY and as I’ve learned the hard way, a RIGHT TIME to criticize. Before you say something to your husband, practice saying it to yourself in a discrete and sweet way. For the longest time, my husband did not take my criticisms so well and mainly due to HOW I said them rather than WHAT I said. For example:

Instead of, “Wow, I can’t believe you didn’t understand what I meant when I said….”

Rather say, “Honey/Baby/Sweetheart, was I clear when I said… or was I hard to understand?

Instead of directing it right to him, indirectly direct it to him by directing it to you? (Does that even make sense?) Well, pretty much, have tact and grace.

7) Compliment him. How often do we give compliments to those that aren’t our loved ones? I’ll be honest to admit that I’ve done that more times than I can count. And how sad is it for our spouse to hear more compliments from another co-worker than from his own wife? Be careful! Make sure this isn’t happening in your family.  I have known people, even preachers to fall into sin of this sort and end up leaving a family they “supposedly” loved. Compliment him about everything that you notice. Some may be:

  a) You smell really good right now! I love it when your wear that deodorant.

    b) Thank you for putting gas in the van. I appreciate how thoughtful you were in doing that.

    c) You did a super job taking care of that problem!

    d) You encourage me to reach out and love people more.

You should be a critic to your spouse but more so, his #1 cheerleader! (compliment/or isn’t really a word so cheerleader should suffice) 🙂

8) Elevate his talents. Find something that he’s good at – just one thing. Don’t tell me that he isn’t good at anything because if he wasn’t, why would you have married him in the first place? My husband is very artistic. If he really wanted to, he could’ve been a voice actor, cartoonist, comic book artist, a HOLLYWOOD star but eh… no thanks, I’m keeping this guy all to myself (haha). Your spouse may be a good cook, great gardener, a sports guy, a singer, whatever… JUST FIND SOMETHING & elevate it,  meaning, let him use it in ways that are within your means & calling. Don’t let him lose it… remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

9) Do what he “enjoys” once in a while. As humans, it’s quite easy and convenient to do what WE want. We are selfish people by nature. But if you really want to be a help-meet to your spouse, make time for what’s “important” to him. If your spouse enjoys something, then that means it has some level of importance. So go out & fish with him, play some ball, go for a drive, whatever… just do something YOU KNOW he enjoys and don’t wait for him to mention it. Be the one to initiate so he knows that you are actually making an effort.

10) Make him FEEL like he’s the most special person in the world. Apart from Christ, your spouse should be your very best friend. I grew up having best friends, mostly in Grade School to Junior High. During high school, I kind of drifted away from that mentality. However, I do have a few very close friends, whom I am very grateful for. So please don’t get me wrong, if you have girl or guy best friend who is not your spouse, awesome (so long as your friendship is not as intimate as with your spouse). For me, there’s only ONE human person that I would share anything and everything with and that is my husband, who is my best friend. A best friend should feel more special than any regular friend that you have and that is how you should make your spouse feel. Feelings aren’t everything, I know, but there is a reason why God made us with emotions. So with 2017, make him FEEL like he’s beyond special!

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Gen. 2:18)

You can either be a help-meet to your spouse or a help, meet for him. Either way, God created you so that your husband wouldn’t be alone. 🙂

Just as you joined hands on your Big Day, may you join hands in this journey we call marriage. 

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By God’s Grace,

judylynn

8 Okays in Marriage

This coming March 2017, my husband and I will be celebrating our 4th year anniversary!!! It’s been a crazy/fun/amazing rollercoaster! In the past 3 1/2 years, I’ve been tested in my love, commitment, forgiveness, faith, and joy.

Marriage is that “thing” that almost everyone looks forward to. (Or is that the wedding?) Well, I remember 4 1/2 years ago when David proposed to me…it seems as if it was just yesterday!

AND NOW…we have two little female humans living with us, who can sometimes be very demanding BUT… have given us more joy than we could ever imagine.

As I look back on this year, I can honestly say that I haven’t been the best wife to my husband… just speaking honestly. I know that I could’ve done more… FOR HIM.

I could’ve prayed for him more (a lot more), dated him more,  wrote more notes to him, encouraged him more, helped lessen his load more, and the list could go on and on but you get the point. 

It’s so easy when you’re in the “dating” stage to overlook or “not” look at the faults of the person you’re dating…OH but when you get married, EVERYTHING GETS MAGNIFIED!

BUT TODAY, in spite of my shortcomings or the shortcomings of my husband, I wanted to share 8 things that I absolutely love about OUR marriage:

  • It’s ok to be down-to-earth, especially with each other. It’s way better than being uptight and the couple who doesn’t have friends. We like to be with friends but we also like to have our us-time. We still hang out with our friends, even if they’re not married.
  • It’s ok to be comfortable with each other. – We can say things to each other that only we  would understand; we call each other in public by “clucking” (especially when our phones are dead or not in our possession). Tell him anything and everything. After all, you did commit to being with him til death do you part. Don’t be afraid to also tell him when you’re UNCOMFORTABLE with something. 
  • It’s ok if you don’t like the same things. We love a few of the same things but dislike a lot of things – Believe it or not, I was one of those kids that didn’t grow up watching the cartoon channel on Saturday mornings. Now, I still don’t watch the cartoon channel on Saturday mornings. BUT…. I have watched some cartoon movies (thanks to my husband) and he also got me into watching some of the DC shows (which he doesn’t even watch anymore). HOWEVER, I do not like his comic books nor his toy figurines/collection and believe me, if he were to die first, I’m selling those… I’m pretty sure I could survive with whatever amount I make… haha! No, but really, he’s the one that told me I could sell his collection if he died first. Moving on – He has a sweet tooth; I don’t. He likes flat pillows, I like the hard, fluffy ones. 
  •  It’s ok to work together and serve together. –  We are both Bible College Graduates and are now in full-time Christian ministry. The past few days have reminded me “why” I love serving with him. We get to meet people and minister to them, pray with and for them, and we both get to have fun while we try to “work” our crazy schedules, which are always not “FINAL.” Serve others together. There’s something about serving others and doing so with your spouse! It’s AWESOME!
  • It’s ok to understand & know how each other is feeling. –  He knows when I’m sad, mad, hungry, frustrated, disappointed, discouraged, excited, etc. He’s definitely my soul-mate! He knows me all too well, sometimes more than I know myself. I know when he’s discouraged, disappointed, or happy. But I’ll be honest, I believe He gets me more than I get him, which is why this point is specifically geared towards him. 
  • It’s ok to have fun & make fun (of each other). – “Fun” in our language can mean different things… sometimes, it’s just going out, like to the mall or the park; other times, it’s eating out! Ok, a lot of our fun does involve eating… but what can we say, WE LOVE FOOD! Sometimes, we like to mock each other… but definitely to the point when we know to stop… 
  • It’s ok to be honest with each other. – We compliment each other and we also give criticism. If I make food that he isn’t too fond of (but I am), he will graciously tell me. But he also still tells me I’m Beautiful (even when I really don’t feel or look like it). I usually compliment him when I smell his deodorant or body wash… and I “try” to kindly criticize him when he doesn’t smell too good. I say “try” because I can be a very blunt, straightforward person. 
  • It’s ok to need a break from the kids. As working parents, especially since both of us are in Christian Ministry, a lot of days can be tiring just like any other job… but being in Ministry can sometimes go beyond the 8-5 or 9-6 work hours. There are days when my schedule is more packed than my husbands’ and vice versa and David is very good about letting me get my rest. He also knows when to just let the kids get their energy out, outside, after being cooped up in the house for hours. Other times, we divide & conquer! He gets one girl & I get the other… (Not sure how that’ll work out once we have our next one(s)! (Wink, Wink)

This list is one that will be on the “to be continued…” category because I know that TRUE LOVE is love that is CONTINUALLY GROWING and so will the lists…. so until next time!

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***Featured Photo by Wu Jianxiong on Unsplash!

Why Communication is Important in a Marriage

COMMUNICATION

Websters 1828 Dictionary defines COMMUNICATION as 1. The act of imparting, conferring, or delivering, from one to another; as the communication of knowledge, opinions or facts. 2. Intercourse by words, letters or messages; interchange of thoughts or opinions, by conference or other means.

I am 26 years old and in the last 8 years, I have found COMMUNICATION to be VITAL. I understand and am continuing to understand how important it is in every aspect of life.  One of the most important areas is in MARRIAGE.

A couple doesn’t need to be married for long to realize that COMMUNICATION is a key aspect to an effective and continuing relationship.  J.Cabal

COMMUNICATION can come in different forms. I am currently re-reading the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Since I started, I have discovered that what I thought was my husband’s main love language wasn’t actually his main love language!

You see, different people communicate in different ways.

(Taken from “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman)

1) Some communicate through time spent together

2) Some through giving gifts

3) Some through touch

4) Some through words of affirmation/encouraging words

5) Some through acts of service.  

“Failing to know how your spouse communicates best is failing to understand what your spouse is communicating!”  J. Cabal

If I am the type of person that communicates best by wanting to spend time with my husband and my husband communicates best by words of affirmation, He should not be communicating to me with words of affirmation, simply because I won’t understand what he wants me to understand.  It’s like trying to speak Chinese to someone who is American. It’s just not the same…

“Speaking to your spouse in YOUR BEST WAY of communication will not necessarily guarantee joyful acceptance of it because it may not be his/her BEST FORM of communication. J.Cabal

There were several times in my marriage when I “expected” my husband to do or say something, but I had failed to communicate that to him…so when that time came when I wanted or expected something to be done (and it wasn’t), I was already frustrated and angry that it had not been done, or sometimes, not done the way I wanted.

So, you may be at the point in your life where you’ve been wondering why your spouse CANNOT get your hints, CANNOT understand you (no matter how S L OOOOOOOO W you say something or how many times you repeat it), and you are about fed-up with your relationship. Nothing seems to work.

FRIEND, TRY THIS:

  1. Set aside a time daily or weekly for you and your spouse to tell each other what you would like for them to do this week. (See what we use below!)
  2. If last minute things come up and “ruin” the plans you had already set, it’s a-ok! Don’t let it ruin the rest of the week.
  3. Once something you wanted to get accomplished gets accomplished, thank and praise your spouse. (Give him a kiss, even!)
  4. At the end of the week, look back on what could’ve been better communicated or worked on from both sides.

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“A marriage that is to continue growing in love, grace, and forgiveness must involve faithful and effective communication from both parties.” – JudyLynn Cabal

 Please let me know in the comments if you’ve read the book, “The Five Love Languages” and what your love language is.