Tag Archives: communication

Our House Selling Saga

Hello there, friends!  As previously mentioned, my husband got the job we prayed for and we’re now two months into the process of selling our home!  Praise the Lord for the job and answered prayer!!  Hubby began his new job six weeks ago and being separated by 1,000 miles has been strenuous to say the least!  He visited three weeks ago and I flew to visit him (and retrieve our other car) two weeks ago.  Our beloved 12 year old SUV decided now was a good time to die!  *Sigh*  Fortunately, hubby didn’t need the car he drove to our new town as he has another vehicle.

We’ve had a lot of showings over the last two months, although some slow spots in between.  The real estate market tends to be slow this time of year, but we are resting in God’s hands.  We’re very happy that we have TWO showings scheduled for this evening!!  If you would, please pray that someone will fall madly in love with our home and make a solid offer!  What would be truly awesome is, if there was a bidding war!!  🙂

We’ve lowered our price twice now and are offering a $2,000 buyer’s agent incentive.  I think that incentive is largely the reason for the sudden interest.  Whatever the case may be, we are grateful!  The kids and I are ready to begin our new life 1,000 miles away and be reunited with my husband!  We’ve been married for 19 years and this is certainly the longest period we’ve ever been apart.  It is a strain on all of us.  I know the kids really miss their dad too.  The first month, I cried just about every night as it was completely foreign to be alone in our king size bed.  Although we are very thankful for Skype and cell phones, there is no replacement for the huge void that spans such a distance.  Now, I don’t cry, but I am ready to move onto our next chapter and settle in.

Preparing the house for showings is much like a dog chasing its tail!  We do the same actions — again and again!  And, then wake up the next day… and do them yet again!  It would be simple if we did not live here.  The house would simply always be ready for the next showing!  But, somewhere amongst the madness of selling our home, my children are plugging along in 9th and 12 grades!!  They’ve been absolutely wonderful throughout this process!  My daughter, who’s a senior this year, makes sure we are all duly fed.  She’s the chef, most days!  And my son has had a fast course in operating our John Deere riding lawnmower and has done an outstanding job maintaining the yard!  He mows, trims and blows the unending leaves off the driveway and sidewalk!  The John Deere is my husband’s baby, so it’s been interesting to see him hand over the reins to our son.  (only because he had to! haha)  I have to say, our son blows it off each time he mows and even wipes it with a cloth.  He says it’s like his first car!  🙂  Precious.  My husband has told him a number of times, “Now, son, you’re the man of the house while I’m gone.  Take care of mom and your sister.  Make sure the doors are locked and the alarm set.”  🙂  My 15 year old (now suddenly very mature) son has taken his marching orders very seriously and has been wonderful!  He’s been taller than me for a while, which isn’t hard to do, considering my 5’4″ stature.  But, he’s pushing 6′ very soon, I can tell!  He has really grown over the last six months and is about 5’11” probably now.  Considering he started out at 9lbs. 10oz. and 22 1/2 inches long, it’s not surprising at all!  🙂  Our 26 year old son stands at 6’2″ and I’m afraid it may injure his ego to know his little brother may surpass him in height before it’s all over.  🙂

… Pardon me, I just received a text from my husband, wishing me a great day, complete with heart symbols.  (only because when he types “I love you”, his phone prompts the emoticons! haha)  I have to laugh because my husband is a very hard worker, very diligent.  He really doesn’t have time for trivial things.  He’s not on social media and up until six weeks ago, he didn’t have a Smartphone for personal use.  So, he’s had a crash course and I helped him set up his address book, etc. on his new toy.  But, it’s been nice to text back and forth as we’ve never done that much in the past.  🙂  Feels like we’ve reverted back to our courting days with all the phone calls and wishing we could be together!

I can honestly say, our faith has grown as the Lord has truly been stretching us!  My perspective has changed on our relationship.  When you can step back for a minute … or six weeks … you see what’s really important in life, in your relationship, and what things you need to let go of, as well as things you want to change moving forward!  Perspective is a beautiful thing!  And, so the Lord has been teaching me that He is not confined to statistics nor seasons, but can perform miracles any time He so chooses!  Statistically, this is a dreadful time of year to be selling a house and the weather is turning colder now.  But, He’s been reminding me to take Him out of the box that I’ve put Him in, remove the limitations my little faith has placed on Him, and just believe that He is able to provide for us and show Himself strong and mighty on our behalf!  For He truly is working all things together for our good and ultimately for His glory!  That’s where I rest my faith!

If you would, would you agree with me in prayer that our house will sell very soon?  During this separation, I am made keenly aware of just how precious my husband is to me.  Perfect?  No.  Precious and priceless?  Yes!  He gets on my nerves.  Yes.  I’m sure I do too.  But, far above any trivial irritations in our relationship, he remains my best friend, my lover and one of the greatest gifts God ever saw fit to bless me with!  He is diligent, tenacious, loving, caring, generous, thoughtful, loves Jesus and serving others … and invaluable to me!  On our wedding day, we were so in love and one would tend to believe that it doesn’t get any better than that!  However, the longer we’re married and the more we’ve grown and experienced life together, I can honestly say our love becomes deeper and richer for it!  God knew what He was doing when He ordained marriage to be a lifelong committment.  Somehow I think our richest and most meaningful days are yet ahead…

Sorry to make this post so long.  If you’ve held on to the end and your eyes haven’t glazed over, thank you.  And thank you for your prayers, most of all.  There’s a testimony after the test, folks!  God is good and He is ever faithful that promised!

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Teaching Kids the Art of Good Conversation

children at play pic

     It would seem that manners and proper etiquette are elements of ancient history, however, nothing could be further from the truth.  We convey our thoughts and feelings through communication, and it is vital to learn how to effectively do so.

Here are 5 ways anyone can improve their conversational skills:

1.)  Eye contact

Have you ever spoke with someone whose eyes landed everywhere else but on you?  As if there was something far more interesting just past you?  Or out the window?  When we give others the gift of eye contact, it shows that we value them as an individual and that we are interested in what they may say.  If we want the conversation to progress to any other level, this is the entry gate to proceed through.

2.)  Smile

When we smile, we immediately put the other person at ease.  It’s an investment in friendship.  It lets them know you’re happy to be with them.  True joy is born from the heart.  Some smile and laugh more freely than others, but, remember it requires fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.  Having a good sense of humor certainly aids effective communication.  Even those not gifted with a natural sense of humor, can learn one or two funny stories.

3.)  Read books

    Engaging in interesting and meaningful conversation requires some level of information aside from the latest movie.  Read books on a variety of topics to expand your interests, knowledge and curiosity.  Curious people are interesting people, and interesting people make pleasant conversationalists.  They ask questions.  They want to know why something occurred.  

4.)  See Saw

This is my favorite point.  Perhaps because I view it as one of the most important.  I always tell my children that good conversation is like a see saw (otherwise known as a teeter totter).  You have a turn (& go up on the see saw).  Then, the other person has a turn (& goes up on the seesaw).  It’s a good visual for kids (and adults for that matter).  Effective communication takes turns and does not talk over top of another.  I talk, you talk.  And, we all are happier for it!

5.)  Be others focused

No one cares for a self absorbed “know it all”, right?  Let others “toot your horn”, but, please don’t toot it yourself!  When we display that we are genuinely interested in the other person, it naturally leads to good conversation.  People love talking about themselves.  And if you can get the other person engaged in discussing their favorite baseball team or hobby, you’ve created a memorable chat.

As with anything of value, practice makes perfect.  Productive and compelling conversation is worth every effort.  It’s the prime ingredient lasting friendships are made of!

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Marriage…Speak in tones of love

Anyone who has been married any length of time soon discovers that their spouse can say or do certain habitual things to make us upset.  They love us and we love them, but we all have our differences and quirks that can be upsetting at times.  Life can be demanding and we all lead busy lives, which can greatly deplete our cache of patience.  If we’re not careful, we can easily allow all of that stress to be unleashed on those we love the most.  We can sloppily permit complacency to creep in.

It’s been said that “Familiarity breeds contempt” and there is a lot of truth to that. (My Google research attributes the quote to Udall in 1548.)

So, how do we guard against such things?

By consistently reading the Word of God and spending time in prayer, we place ourselves in a position to surrender our hearts and hear from God.

“Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.”  ~ Psalm 51:10

I’ve learned that I need God’s help in keeping quiet when I’d much rather spout off.  Sometimes I might be tempted to be critical, but, instead, I ask God to help me speak with love.  Often we need to re-train ourselves to communicate in ways that convey facts and what must be said, minus the attitude and opinions that can be hurtful.  This requires a lot of self-control and prayer.  It’s only with God’s grace that I speak with love and compassion.

As a mother of three, I have been guilty of treating my husband the same way I treat my children without even realizing it.  I’ve been a stay at home mom for nearly twenty years and I’m accustomed to being in charge of the kids throughout the day.  But, if I’m not careful, I can subconsciously treat my spouse as a child also.  I can be bossy.  I am a female, after all.  😉  However, that’s not my intended role.  That is not the proper function of a wife.  So, I must rely on God and His power to operate through me to maintain peace in our home.  My husband and I are a team and we discuss everything.  He is ever patient with me and my shortcomings, as I am with him.  We both have very strong personalities, so we must temper these with wisdom and mutual submission.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.”  ~ Psalm 19:14

This is the prayer of my heart.

“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”  ~  Psalm 141:3

The longer we’re married, the more I realize how few words are truly necessary.

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”  ~                                                                                                                                                       Proverbs 10:19

I also realize how powerful words truly are.

“Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”  ~ Proverbs 18:21  MSG

May we choose life and strive to communicate love always to those we hold most dear.

~ Below is one of my all-time favorite Bible passages:

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”  ~  I Corinthians 13:1-7   The Message Bible

 

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Marriage…Are We Communicating?

My wonderful husband hails from the Philippines and we will celebrate 19 years of marriage this coming June.  Woo Hoo!!  When he came to America over 25 years ago, he knew a little English, but not much.  Probably about as much Spanish as I recall from school, muy poco!  He quickly learned the language through being immersed in the culture, though.  Trial and error were his greatest teachers, I’m sure.  When we met in 1994, he was very fluent in English, so I was reasonably confident we would speak the same language once we married.

That was the first error in my thinking.  The fact is that men and women think very differently!  Men think in patterns of fact, reason and logic.  Women think in patterns of feelings, emotions and illogic based on such feelings and emotions.  (These are general statements, of course.)  And, after a couple is married for some time, it seems one is supposed to have the super power of reading minds!  These factors make for an interesting basis from which we are to convey our thoughts and make wise decisions.

Communication is key to any relationship.  I think we’d all agree on that fact.  And, marriage is no exception.

So, why is it that this important facet of our marriage is so difficult to attain?

We are a distracted society!  Between television, internet, cell phones, radio, work demands, financial pressures, the kids, and on and on it goes … There’s no wonder we find the task of communicating to be so daunting!  There is a remedy, however.

We must set aside a regular time to sit down, look our spouse in the eye and relate the things on our heart.

One recommendation I read years ago was to establish a “couch time” when your husband comes home from work in the evening.  This time is off limits to the kids for, say 15 minutes.  (Depending on the ages of your children, this may or may not be feasible)  I thought this was a good idea and we did try it for a while.

Another important idea is to never stop dating your spouse!

Complacency can easily set in and we need to freshen things up a bit.  For us, we try to schedule a “Date Night” once a month, at least.  Some months we are more successful than others, but that’s our goal. There’s something special about dressing up (even if it’s just a pair of jeans and a nice sweater) and being able to speak in complete sentences without interruption!

Our pastor said this recently and I thought it is worth repeating:

“Fight to understand, not to win.”

That means no name calling, no “You always do this” or “You never do that”, or “I wish you could be like so-and-so’s husband”.  Stick to the facts.  All healthy relationships have conflict.  And it is worth the effort to effectively convey your thoughts and feelings to broach difficult subjects.

One illusion many people have is that they can change their spouse.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  God made each of us with a free will that is not easily swayed.

The best remedy for lingering struggles is prayer.  That may seem like a pat answer, but the truth remains.  When we don’t have the answers, it is through prayer that we can ask God for breakthrough, wisdom and guidance.

We invest our resources in many things over our lifetime.  Our marriages are certainly worthy of investing our time, energy, understanding and affection.  A godly marriage is one of the greatest relationships we can model before our children.  It’s important for them to realize that despite conflict, love overcomes.  Love wins!  So, here’s to effective communicating!  It requires hard work and much effort, but it will yield dividends out of this world!

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” ~ I Corinthians 13:4-7

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