{ Marriage Is Like Football? }

The Vikings won yesterday!

  • Will they make it all the way to Super Bowl LII –here in Minneapolis?
  • Will the Vikings break our hearts OR
  • Will they conquer as VIKINGS should do?

vikings

On an entirely different note, some family friends are getting married next weekend.

Some of us are involved in the wedding as usher, best man, food server, etc.

Wedding talk and football discussions are mixing it all up around the house.  So, I thought it was time to put them together…

4 Ways a Christian Marriage is Like Football:

You wear your gear.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

You play your position.

Every team needs players.  Is the offensive lineman better than the kicker?  They both have their important roles to play.

In our marriage, my husband acts as the general manager / head coach. He makes the final calls. But we both give our input.  I have a different perspective on things. He welcomes my input (and wants to make me happy.)  But, I allow him the right to make decisions and remind myself not to pout even if it all doesn’t go my way.

Ephesians 5:33

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Note: Does this sound strange to you?  Do I sound like a doormat?  I am a (fairly) normal, college educated, suburban raised, coffee consuming female.  I am not superwoman. I claim Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

You follow the rules.

It would be easier to study and practice a list of stringent rules than to obey rules of love, given in I Corinthians 13.

It takes nothing less than the Spirit of Christ living in me to be patient, kind and humble when it would be more natural to respond selfishly.

This passage is a perfect marriage playbook:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 

 It’s great to have lots of people on your team.

Neither my husband nor I grew up in a large family.  But when we got married, we decided we would take as many children as God would give us.

Eleven children later, we are grateful.

They are gifts.  They are tools God uses to refine our character.  We have our good days and bad days.  We are a one income family and work hasn’t always been steady. But we have never regretted this decision.

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.”

 © Lisa M. Luciano

 

 

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{ Jonny’s Questions }

A brief errand took me into the city with my three youngest children.

We had a wholesome audiobook to entertain us and the January roads were dry. Traffic wasn’t going to stop us from arriving at one of our favorite destinations:

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Billboards flashed by and Jonny asked, “What’s Planned Parenthood?”

I was not expecting this. My mind raced with what they know already and what I was willing to say at 8:40 a.m. while weaving through rush hour.

I launched into benign definitions about organizations and what they do.

Then I clumsily ventured into a mini-sermon.  Half of you would agree with my monologue and half wouldn’t, but Jonny seemed satisfied.

A selfish detour took us to Starbucks before anything else.  I felt I deserved it.

STARBUCKS.0

After that, Trader Joe’s bags filled the car with goodies and we were on our way home.

Back on the highway that was decorated with billboards, Jonny piped up again.

“What’s Super 8?”

That one was easier.

 

 

{ George Washington Carver: Creative & Resourceful Genius }

The orphan boy showed up one morning on Mariah’s doorstep. He had lost his way the night before and had nowhere to go.  Mariah offered him work in exchange for room, board and a chance to go to school.  That was all George Carver wanted.

George loved to learn – from books and from the natural world.  After completing his education, George was offered a position at Tuskegee Institute, teaching agricultural science.  When he arrived at the college, he discovered there were no supplies or money for a classroom laboratory. So, he led his students to the town dump.  They collected bottles, cooking pots, jar lids, wire, scrap metal, rusty lamps and broken handles.

“All this may seem like junk to you,” he told his skeptical students. “But it is only waiting for us to apply our intelligence to it. Let’s get to work!”
Carver showed them how to make beakers and Bunsen burners out of old bottles.  With innovative tools made from trash, George taught his students principles that would help southern farmers. His contribution to southern agriculture became famous worldwide.  When complimented, George would answer humbly, “I only discover what the good Lord has made.”

 “When you do the common things in an uncommon way, you’ll command the attention of the world.” –George Washington Carver

gw_carver_wide

 Adapted from Christianity.com & Ten Boys Who Used Their Talents by Irene Howat

Photo credit:  ICR.org 

The word prompt of the day is CARVE. I recalled reading and writing about the amazing George Washington Carver.  His birthday was January 5th

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ A Forlorn Power }

 

There is a forlorn power

in being the skier who stumbles

and causes the chairlift to halt

or 

being the forgetful shopper at the end of the checkout

who left her wallet in the car

or

being the driver of the car

that chooses to stop

in the middle of

the

intersection.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

 

 

 

{ Conversation, Cookies & Car Trouble }

Gianny and I stayed home from church yesterday.  We nursed a sore throat and headache, and we made cookies.

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Chocolate chip gingersnaps are a favorite here.  Recipe below.

Without competing talkers, Gianny and I had time for conversation, like this:

Me: It’s almost 2018.  I wonder what will happen in the new year? 

G: I don’t know.

Me: I don’t either.  But I’m pretty sure that you will grow and learn something new this year.

And we played a game that makes you drool and sound ridiculous:

speak out
You wear plastic mouthpieces that makes it impossible to read silly phrases like: Stuffed Plush Porpoises.

And then my husband finally returned home after a trip to Portland, OR that was only supposed to take a few days.

Car trouble, a repair shop, junkyard visit, and avoiding a winter storm made the 6-day trip 4,350 miles long.

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Back home in Minnesota! It’s a welcoming -14 degrees!

Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps

(No photo. They didn’t last very long.)

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

3 cups flour

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

white sugar for rolling cookies

  • Mix dry ingredients; set aside.
  • Combine sugar and butter.  Mix in molasses.
  • Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix all.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Happy New Year Thoughts: 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

 

 

{ Hello 2018 }

Right now, It’s 5 below zero F. / -20.6 C.

One feels layered, puffy and fat.

One is fat, because I ate too many goodies between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Thankful Things:

  • Lots of winter sunshine lately.
  • A good heating system and a cozy new down comforter.
  • No mosquitoes.

Frozen Mosquito 2

Hopeful Things:

  • In 2018, I want to….
  • Look into my children’s eyes more when I talk to them.
  • Spend less time checking my phone.
  • Renew and redecorate [in non-extravagant, budget style.]

bottle-2747759__340

How Cold Is It? 

-10 degrees - You need jumper cables to get the car going.

-25 degrees - You need jumper cables to get the driver going.

-30 degrees - You plan a two week hot bath. 

-40 degrees - Californians disappear. Minnesotans button top button. Canadians put on sweater. 

-50 degrees - Congressional hot air freezes. Alaskans close the bathroom window.

-90 degrees - Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets.

taken from homeutah.edu

Photo credits:

snow — Les Anderson

frozen mosquito — Lens & Life

coins — Pixabay / Padrinan

 

{ If I Planned the World }

If I planned the world, I wouldn’t have left Adam and Eve to themselves in the garden.

(I might have started the world over — from scratch.)

I wouldn’t have sent the Rescuer to earth as a mild & helpless baby — born in an animal barn.

I would have sent Him as a prince, born in a palace.

I would have sent bodyguards to make sure the Son of God would never get lost, overtired, tempted or hurt.

I would have planned His itinerary; insisting that He sleep in approved hotels, fed with the finest food.

I would have screened His followers with thorough background checks.

I would have demanded justice: a fair trial with plenty of evidence to display His innocence.

He never would have died at all.

But Jesus Christ came into the world to die — to save sinners.

It was God’s perfect plan.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

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If I ever think I can figure God out, or get what he’s doing, or ask “why did God allow….”

I can remember this:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…” Isaiah 55:8

So, this is the season to celebrate His humble birth, perfectly planned by God.

And this is the time to get ready for His glorious return.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)

 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
     call upon him while he is near;
 let the wicked forsake his way,
     and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
 let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
     and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.




Isaiah 55:6-9

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credit:

Cross: unsplash-logoJoshua Earle

{ Facing Fears}

I walked into the kitchen this morning at 5:50 a.m. Adrenaline spiked my groggy self when a mouse scurried out from under a bench.

mouse2

Have you ever heard a muted scream?  It takes energy to suppress yelps of disgust while shivers are making their way up your spine.

He ran into the back hall bathroom — smart guy. There is a convenient hole inside the bathroom cupboard. It’s like a rodent’s Grand Central Station; a place for making swift exits, smooth transfers and safe journeys.

Ugh.

I was getting ready to leave for early morning shopping, so I left a message for the family:

Gird up your loins. Refresh the mousetraps. Search & destroy all invaders.

xoxo — Mama

I did have a brief, brave moment.  I grabbed a broom, thinking he might come out the same way he entered.  I thought to myself: FACE YOUR FEARS.

It seems to be the theme this week.

  • The Sunday sermon was centered on Barak, who had to be coaxed by Deborah to “Get up and face your enemies!  God will surely give you the victory!” (from Judges 4)

 

  • My son showed me a TED talk given by Jia Jiang.  He had a recurring fear of rejection, so he decided to get out there and look for rejection on purpose every day for 100 days.  He learned a lot about himself and became less fearful about rejection in the process.

 

  • Even the book we have been reading this week,  Treasures of the Snow, reminded me that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18)

 

I’m still working on facing fears, whether they come from situations, people, or unwelcome rodents.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt 

“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.” –Shannon L. Adler

 

 

 

{ Out of My Circles }

A compass sits in my desk drawer and I don’t know why.

It has a sharp point for anchoring itself to paper. On the opposite side sits a metal clip gripping a blunt pencil.

It’s a tool for drawing circles. Once every five years I need that.

The other 1,824 days the compass is just there to poke me in the finger as I rummage for pens, stamps or white-out.

compass

Perfect circles are pretty on paper. But when it comes to life, getting into a circular pattern seems stagnant and dull.

  • I develop a bad eating habit (snitching whilst cooking!) that needs to be broken.
  • I realize after 30 days that I have forgotten to get outside and take a walk, even if it’s cold outside.
  • My children alert me when we are in an oatmeal-for-breakfast rut.

Overall, we are supposed to look back over this un-repeatable journey and see progress, maturity and growth. Life is more like a path than a circle.

When things rouse me out of my circles, sometimes I fight it!

But scripture reminds me to move along, with phrases like:

  • Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? (Joshua 7:10)
  • Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along! (Song of Solomon 2:10)
  • Arise and go, for this is no place of rest… (Micah 2:10)
  • I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home. (Mark 2:11)
  • Up! (Judges 4:14)
  • Let us throw off everything that hinders…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us! (Hebrews 12:1)

Here’s to getting up, pressing on, and making progress!

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“It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over.” — John Bunyan

“To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward.” — John Bunyan

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend; the difficulty will not me offend.  For I perceive the way to life lies here. Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.” — John Bunyan

 

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credits:unsplash-logochuttersnap

unsplash-logoJohannes Plenio