He Really Cares!

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He Really Cares!

The above photo is of my husband and my oldest son, Ethan. Ethan was scared to go into the pond with fish in it, so Sam was giving him a pep talk. God wants to do the same thing with us, sometimes. He is there for us, reassuring us and helping us in our times of stress, fear, worry, anything that we care about.

It’s so funny the lessons that we learn from our children, because we act just like them when we are with God.
Sometimes I find myself censoring my prayers,  because I feel like He has much bigger and more important things to do than listen to His beloved child. As if God does not already know what I’m thinking and feeling. Um…hello…. Why would I even try to hide anything or pretend that something doesn’t bother me when I’m talking to the creator of the Universe – the all-powerful – all knowing God? I have done this time and time again, but I am determined to break the habit!
Don’t get in that rut like I did! God is here for you and He cares about what may seem like the smallest little insignificant thing, if it’s something that you truly care about, worry about, hope for, dream of, etc.

Example#1: I was reminded of this, again, while our life group for church was going through an excellent Devotional for married couples. It’s called iMarriage by Andy Stanley. You can take a look at the DVD study:HERE

Andy says “You may be thinking…well why would God care about something like that? Because, He cares about you! God cares so much about you that He cares about the stuff that you care about!”
Example#2: I was running outside the other day and felt some sprinkles – the wind started picking up and the clouds were getting darker and darker. Of-course it was beautiful and sunny when I walked out the door, because it is Michigan ad the weather likes to change three times in one day :). I doubted for a bit, but after a minute of stalling, I prayed that God would hold off the rain because I did not want to get soaked, I had to go back to work when I was done, my mascara would run, I would be late, blah blah blah blah. Even as I was praying, I thought to myself – “This is so petty! Why am I really concerned about this when God has much bigger things to handle like Earthquake devastation and starving children?” But, guess what happened!? As soon as I got back into my office, I heard the rain pouring down on the roof!

Yes – our world has hazards, has devastation, and God is with those who suffer and works to help them recover. But then why would I think that He doesn’t have the time or the will to hold off a rainstorm for a few minutes while I get to shelter? He does! HE IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! You might think “Yes, but why does He care about this little thing?” It’s not that He cares about the little thing, it’s that He cares about you! You are his precious child!
Example #3: My 2 year old, Shawn, is in an “I do it myself” phase. He wants to turn on and off the lights (although he can’t reach them). He wants to hang up his own coat, take off his own shoes, and pick out his bedtime book. As his parent, it would be so much easier for me to just do all that stuff for him and not have to sit waiting for him to take 5 minutes to take his shoes off. But I care about Shawn and I love that he is showing an independent streak like his momma :). It’s not a big deal to me who takes his shoes off, I just want them off and put away, but I know that it is a big deal to him. So, most of the time I accommodate him and give him his space to try it so that he can feel satisfied that he is a big boy and the task still gets done.

There are also times when we have to run out the door or run to the potty or there is some other crazy chaos in the house and I have to stop Shawn from his independent ways before he hurts himself or someone else, etc. When Shawn and Ethan are fighting, inevitably that is when I have to go to the bathroom. Frequently, I have to take Shawn in the bathroom with me when I have to run to the potty in order to prevent many owies while mommy is pre-occupied with a potty break. Shawn wines that I am taking him from his toys and Ethan wines that he is left alone in the room. One time I had to stop Shawn from running out in the road after a ball. One time I had to stop him from “helping me” get dinner out of the oven. Shawn inevitably does not understand why and throws a royal fit on the floor while I thank God that I was able to stop him from yet another close call.

Let me be clear. God is not my short order cook coming to my beck and call and answering every quick prayer the second I pray it or think it. Life is messy and we don’t see the big picture. God does! No, God is not always going to stop the rain for me. No, He is not going to make my kids well-behaved every single day or make my hair perfect right in time for that important meeting or suddenly suck all of the extra fat out of my body just because I asked nicely.

I have come to realize that I do not always know what is best for me and that God sometimes does not grant my prayer requests, not to frustrate me, but to protect me, or to prepare me for something.  Sometimes I have no idea what is coming around the corner or if God has something better in store for me than what I am asking for and I just can’t see it yet. He may remind me that there is a big picture I am not thinking about at the time and my concern will have to be put on hold. But, God never wants us to hold back from asking for the little things that we care about and worry about and struggle with on a daily basis. He cares about us, therefore, He cares about what we care about! I am so thankful!

Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Remember to involve God in your life with both the big and the little things. Blessings!

Aubree

Clubbin with my Soda THM style

Clubbin with my Soda 1 Clubbin with me Soda 2 Clubbin with my Soda 3ACV

Clubbin with my Soda THM Style – FP

12oz. – 16 oz. Club Soda or Sparkling Water

1 handful of frozen raspberries

1-2 doonks of Stevia or 1-2 tsp. of Truvia or Sweet Blend

1/2 Tbs. – 1 Tbs. of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (to taste)

Ice as needed

Add all to a large glass. Be careful when adding the Stevia to Club Soda as it tends to foam up fast! Stir in the Stevia really good to make sure that you mix the flavor throughout and don’t get chunks.

This is my altered version of the Good Girl Moonshine recipe from Trim Healthy Mama.  You can find the original recipe here: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/main-home/free-recipes/good-girl-moonshine-recipe/

My version is similar to the Raspberry tea Good Girl Moonshine Recipe that is appropriate for the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  It uses Raspberry Zinger tea. You can find that recipe at this blog: Oh Sweet Mercy The main difference is using frozen raspberries instead of the tea and using the Club Soda for those of us “Drive-Thru-Sue” types who need that carbonation to make it feel more like pop or soda 🙂 . If you have not yet read the Trim Healthy Mama book, I’m sure that many of you will relate with “Drive-Thru-Sue” if you ever had a pop or soda addiction like I did!

You can substitute the powder Stevia with Truvia or the THM Sweet Blend, but I like the THM brand of Stevia much better. There is no sugar like a lot of other Stevia brands, it is not grainy feeling like Truvia, and a little goes a long way! You can purchase pure Stevia: HERE

Start with 1/2 Tbs.per 16 oz. of Club Soda if you are not used to using ACV, then work your way up according to your taste buds. The original recipe says 1-2Tbs. for a Quart sized jar and 1 Quart equals 4 cups or 32 oz.

You can purchase Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar at Meijer, Kroger, or online here). If you can not get the Bragg’s brand,  at least get one that says “with the Mother included” on the label. This version of ACV has the best health benefits. See further details here: Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

This is my go-to drink for digestive issues, for help with weight loss, for prevention of Urinary Tract Infections or Yeast Infections, and for sore throats! I frequently drink this once a day just to maintain good health. I drink it two or three times a day if I need some help in one of the areas mentioned above. I used to have major Diet Coke and Coffee with sugary creamer addictions, so finding something that gives me that flavor, the carbonation, and still has some health benefits, is important to me!

This drink still gives me that sipping action that I crave for comfort, is caffeine free so I can have it at anytime of day, has the sweet flavor, the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and I don’t end up consuming a ton of sugar and calories like I used to with pop!

Added bonus – my 5 year old son loves this drink and frequently tries to steal mine before I remind him that I can make him his own 🙂 I am so excited to give him this instead of pop!

Blessings!

Aubree

Top 10 phrases Husbands should avoid:

Hey everybody!

I am going to preface this with a disclaimer.  Not all men are like typical men. Not all women are like typical women. I understand that,  and sometimes these things depend on personalities, which could vary among married couples. The phrases I am going to refer to are some major phrases that I know have caused fights in either my house or in the houses of women I know. In general, they are going to apply for a lot of married couples. I am by no means a marriage expert! My husband and I are almost to the ten year point and we are far from perfect, but we improve each year!

Listen up all of you husbands out there who can not figure out what you said wrong! I plan on having my hubby chime in on a future post about words of advice to  wives (what they should not say to their hubbies)…….

The top 10 phrases husbands should avoid to maintain a peaceful household: Followed by alternate phrases that you can use – trust me – you’ll thank me later!

  1. Calm down

Honey, what can I do to help you? I can tell that something is wrong.

I don’t think the phrase “calm down” works on anyone, especially those who need to calm down. In my house it is a definite guarantee to have the opposite affect on me! Don’t try to show that you are superior in your “calm” state. Show her that you are concerned for her and want to help. It takes the pressure off of her and actually gives her the chance she needs to calm down.

2. It doesn’t matter what they think / It’s not personal, it’s just business

         *I know that offended you and I’m sorry that happened! They had no right to say/do that to you!

It may not matter to you what someone else’s opinion is, but if she is upset by it,   it matters to her. When your wife or significant other comes to you complaining about how someone offended her or did something wrong to her, she does not want you to excuse it away as “just business” so that you can avoid discussing anything remotely related to feelings (yes – this is obvious in many cases). She also does not necessarily want you to fix the problem because sometimes there is no way you can fix it. She wants you to either get offended with her and show that you support her or just comfort her even if you don’t understand it.

3. That’s not how you do it.

          *Can I try something to help you?

Proving to your wife that you know more than her or are stronger than her is not the way to win her heart – especially if she has been trying at something for a long time and you walk in and fix it with little effort. It is frustrating. Try to soften the blow by showing that you are trying to be helpful – not cocky!

4. Now I know what giving birth feels like!

* I am in so much pain!

Avoid the attempt at any comparison with child-birth, trust me! Yes, I get it, constipation (or whatever it is) is painful, but you did not hold that poop in your body for 9-10 months with a wide range of side-effects including loss of sleep, loss of bodily functions, unreasonable cravings, uncomfortable clothing most of the time, and the inability to have certain things you normally turn to for comfort (coffee/alcohol/lunch meat/fish – for me it was coffee and red meat). All women are different, but if your wife has ever been in labor, you have no grounds to compare your pain of any kind to the child labor that she went through. You are likely to get a swift kick in the pants or a frying pan to the head if you push the issue…

5. Do you really need chocolate that bad?  (if your wife does not crave chocolate – insert what she craves to replace chocolate)

*What kind of chocolate would you like and when? (If your wife is pregnant – it is extremely important that you be flexible and willing to meet her craving needs. After all – she is working overtime making a child for you!)

I’m going to address this absurd question with a question that may seem absurd to most guys: Do you really need sex that bad? Just like the way sex is for most guys, that’s the way the chocolate cravings are for most girls – (at least myself and the girls that I know). It’s sometimes a mental thing, sometimes an actual physical need. For me, this depends on the time of the month – not sure about other women. If I do not give in to my chocolate cravings early on when PMS hits – there is a rage that wells up inside of me that overtakes my normally kind demeanor and replaces my head with that of a roaring lion seeking it’s prey. Speak with my husband if you need details – but they are not pretty….

6. I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to lose weight.

   * I love you the way that you are, but if you want to get healthy, I support your decision.  

First let me state that my husband has never uttered this comment because he is a wise man! While to some men this will be an obvious “no-no”, others may not be aware, so I wanted it stated for the record. This is not some made up excuse for women to lounge around eating bon bons and rack up the pounds while their men go to work. It is a known fact that it takes more effort for women to lose weight because women’s bodies were designed for child-bearing and the fat storing that goes along with pregnancy and breast-feeding. Whether your wife has had babies or not, her body was built this way. If you don’t believe me, you can view many articles on this topic: here is one example:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302115755.htm

I am a big supporter of getting to a healthy weight, but your wife will not get there by you making her feel guilty for something that is not necessarily her fault. If she needs to lose weight, she would be the one to make the decision and the conscious effort to lose weight, but will also need support from you. This is especially true if her weight gain was due to having babies. It will be hard, but she is more likely to reach her weight loss goals if she has you cheering her on instead of cutting her down!

7. Can’t you just relax?

*Does that make you feel relaxed?

I can vividly remember a conversation that Sam (my hubby) and I had one night while relaxing in front of the TV. He was sitting there with a snack watching the show. I was sitting next to him with a drink, a magazine, and my phone. I was going back and forth between my phone (probably on Facebook or Pinterest), the magazine, and watching the TV show. He said “Honey, why can’t you just relax, like me?”.  I had to gently remind him that what I was doing was relaxing to me because I am a multi-tasker by nature. If I sit down to just watch TV and do nothing else, I will either fall asleep, or I will get up and look for something else to do because I am a “git ‘er done” person. At first he didn’t believe me. After almost 10 years of marriage, he has seen this played out many times and now believes me and understands that my brain is always going. I need to keep doing something.  Sitting still, but doing a few enjoyable things at the same time, is my idea of relaxing. We make it into a game when we have to fold clothes now. We have “folding parties”, which means that I want him to help me fold clothes and he wants me to sit and relax with him so we fold clothes while we watch a show and we are both happy :).

8. It’s okay for the kids to stay up late, right? (as the kids are standing there)

*Honey can we talk about something? (Move to another room away from the kids) What do you think about letting them stay up late since they don’t have school tomorrow and their homework is all done? 

If you assume that your wife is okay with something and act that way in front of the kids, then she has to be the bad guy if, by chance, there is some other factor that you did not think about and the kids really do need to get to bed on time. For instance, what if there is an early dr. or dentist apt. the next day or what if you did not remember  that you signed up to help out at the church early on a Sunday morning and the whole family has to be there at 8 am because you are riding together? Then when mom brings up these things that were forgotten by dear old daddy, mommy looks like the bad guy and daddy is the fun-loving daddy who is just following mommy’s orders reluctantly when he says “Okay guys, I wanted to let you stay up late, but you heard your mother”. That is exactly the way to start allowing your kids to disrespect their mom. It is also a good way for you to not have any fun in the bedroom that night! Oops – that one slipped out…..

9. There’s nothing wrong. You’re just being paranoid.

*I don’t think there is anything wrong, but let me check it out just to be sure….

This could apply to your wife thinking there is a burglar in the house, a funny noise downstairs that could be the washer, or could be the furnace leaking again, etc. You telling your wife that she is being paranoid does not stop her from being paranoid. It, in fact, has the opposite effect. She starts thinking of what potential weapon she could grab if the burglar comes in the bedroom and her husband is still sleeping peacefully beside her while she fends for herself. “Do we still have that old baseball bat somewhere in here? I wonder if this lamp would knock someone out. Well  – the windows might open pretty quickly, but then I’d have to come back in to get the kids, and my husband if he is still sleeping. “10:30pm turns into 2:00 am and then guess who wakes up with Junior at 3:00 am when he wets the bed, again? You do, because your wife finally got to sleep and is not budging until her alarm wakes her up in 2.5 hours. It is best for everyone involved if you just take two minutes to check on something to make her feel better.

10. (During or after a fight) Why don’t we just have sex to make us feel better?

* What can we do to make this right?

Just a hint about the sex issue: If your wife is still mad at you (if you have not apologized if you screwed up), if she is like most women, she can not possibly be turned on by you at the same time! Yes, most of the time both of you are at fault in some way. You need to completely resolve the issue before there is any chance of doing the horizontal polka! For most men, sex is almost all physical and they can still get aroused by their spouse even if they have been disagreeing or fighting. For most women, sex is physical AND emotional. She has to feel close to you, respect you, and feel loved by you before she is capable of making herself vulnerable to you again. If you don’t believe me, ask your wife to be straight forward with you about this issue. For my husband and I, we know that we have to have everything out in the open, no grudges and no current arguments before any activity in the bedroom. This usually motivates my husband to be the first to say “I’m sorry” and we have to hash out why he is sorry. Sometimes he does this even when he was not the one at fault – which makes me respect him even more! I know why he is generally the first to say this and I am fine with it. I am admittedly stubborn when it comes to making up after a fight. Thank God, he made us differently, and knew that one of us had to be slow to anger and quick to forgive! Sam knows what I need and I an always thankful that he calms me, encourages me, and builds me back up when I am down. Forgiveness does not come easily to everyone, but there is always a way to make amends if both spouses are willing to get there and work for it! I have come to learn that if I forgive sooner, like I know that I will eventually, I can get through the guilt and the stress much faster and easier! Find out what works for you and just keep trying!

Go check out Ephesians 5:21-33 for details about God’s intentions for marriage.

Blessings in your marriage and in life!

Aubree