25 Years – The List

25 Keys to a Joyful and Lasting Marriage
(in no particular order)

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One of the keys to our marriage has always been to realize that we’re not experts and that our way may not be best for others. In fact, over the years, we’ve been asked to do “Marriage Retreats” and other types of events and we’ve replied (with a smirk), “One of the secrets to our marriage is not doing marriage retreats!” So, this list is not comprehensive or authoritative. But, rather just a quick, random, spontaneous list from Chilly and me as we sit together in Florida celebrating our FIRST 25 years of marriage… Enjoy!

1. Smile every day — often!
2. Talk (and listen) to God before you talk to each other.
3. Buy good toilet paper and roll it over-the-top.
4. Fight for your ‘sabbath day’ — and make it count.
5. Last one out of bed makes the bed.
6. Say I love you as often as you can! Also, compliment each other. Lots of eye-contact.
7. Don’t discuss important things when you’re overly emotional (angry, sad, depressed, etc).
8. Laugh… A LOT!
9. Don’t compare or compete with each other — revel in uniqueness!
10. Honor one another. Never tease or embarrass the other beyond what’s kind.
11. Live translucent not transparent. Yes, allow others to see inside but not every detail.
12. Live Amenable (even better than accountable).
13. Follow God’s dreams rather than expect Him to follow ours.
14. Make love not war (and everyone just went, “Oooooo!”)
15. Discipline in unity — be on the same team.
16. Be present (alert & responsive) not just around.
17. Take time away from ‘everything’ together and at times, alone.
18. Make sure God remains head of the home & marriage.
19. Don’t make your spouse your only friend — do different things with different people.
20. Live above reproach (opposite sex, computers, free time, interests, etc).
21. In disagreements or decisions, avoid words like: Always and Never.
22. Communicate LOVE the way your spouse needs it not the way you want it.
23. Raise your children as individuals — no two are the same. Enjoy their uniqueness!
24. Seek wisdom from those who have lived it — not just from peers, blogs & books.
25. Don’t think you’re an expert… EVER. Avoid writing lists for the first 25 years!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little random list. I’m confident that we left out some essential things that may have made you think, “what about this?” — we’re just happy that it’s got you thinking, laughing and reading. We’re SO THANKFUL for our marriage! We’re also thankful for all of you who know us and still love us! Thanks for praying for our marriage and family, for reading our blogs, for sharing in our crazy little world and for living such extraordinary lives. You inspire us and encourage us to FEARLESSLY go for God’s best!

Life, marriage and family are all wonderful ADVENTURES not tedious chores or mindless routines! Your path is planned by God and is filled with unexpected blessings and opportunities. IF you avoid the ordinary, you’ll live the extraordinary! This is our prayer for our lives and YOURS!

Well, it’s back to the beach for us!

CHECK BACK in 25 years for our next list!

More IN Love than EVER,
Chilly and Netta

That Word – Humility

When you think of words that make your tummy turn a
little flip and your heart utter a little prayer of
forgiveness, one of those words would most certainly
be HUMILITY. Am I right?

This difficult quality will not grow in us as long
as we are thinking about ourselves.
“How do I look?”
“Did I do that right? Are they noticing?”
“How will this affect me?”
“Why are they doing that? That’s not even right!”
“They’re so insensitive!”

Insecurity kills humility.
Cuz thinking about ourselves all the time
is pride… the enemy of humility.

A purposeful effort must be made to
NOT be full of self-thoughts.

Make an effort to…
– be gentle (deciding to be kind)
– be patient (cuz impatience is selfishness!)
– work without a title
– not depend on others’ affirmation
– choose the “invisible” jobs
– recognize others when you’re craving recognition
– be alone without being lonely (quote from our mentor Jeannie)
– stop rating other people
– remember Who you serve & why

Humility is the inside-out virtue that’s produced
by comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than to others.

“Always be humble and gentle.
Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults
because of your love.”

Ephesians 4:2

Dreams fulfilled

I wrote the following things in my journal last week when I was thinking about
“dreams come true.”

 

Dreams are fulfilled in relationship, not accomplishments.

Relationship with Jesus, Chilly, my children, family and church, etc…

It doesn’t mean that these people fulfill my dreams-
that would be setting us all up for failure.

But rather, it means that the joy of
loving them,
serving them
and having them in my life is enough for me!

I’m livin’ my dreams!

 

 

 

Books I read this Summer, Part 2 of 2

Earlier this week I posted quick reviews about 2 of the books I read this summer.
You can read that here.

How to Knock over a 7-Eleven by Michael Cheshire

The title sucked me in immediately,  and the same humor
that’s in the title remains throughout the book. The author,
who moved to Colorado to plant a new church, openly
shares the fantastic victories and the hilarious
not-s0-victorious moments of learning how to connect
with their community and share the love of Jesus.
On the day I started reading this, the fifteen people who
were sitting near me in a waiting room probably went home
to their families that night and told the story of some crazy
lady who kept smiling at her book and would them just
burst out laughing.I was most certainly “that lady”!
This book’s honesty encouraged my heart; it’s humor kept
my heart relating to every word.

Every person in ministry could TOTALLY read this in a
short time – it’s not long- and discover something that would
stir their efforts! Loved it!

 

A TIME TO DANCE by Karen Kingsbury

Yippee!  Another fictional book that spoke to my heart!
My sister-in-law gave this book (and it’s sequel) for my
birthday back in the spring… I saved it for vacation. Let’s
just say that the kleenx box got a work out. Timely truths
are shared in such an understandable way, and even
though I haven’t personally walked the road the main
characters traveled, the  story illuminated principles that
certainly have timeless value to everyone.

I’m thankful to have read this book and will happily read
the second book in the series… when I have some time
to cry and enjoy it!  (I know that sounds weird if you’re a guy! Ha!)

 

Still Counting…

Twenty three years and 1 day ago I married Chilly!

Here’s what I wrote in my journal yesterday….

“Chilly is…
Strong, full of faith & desire to serve jesus with all his heart,
soul, mind & strength;
Faithful, true to his word, kind, funny, dependable;
Hard-working, cares for his family,
filled with determination and The Holy Spirit.
I’m so thankful to be married to a man I can trust and
depend upon every time.
Thank You, Jesus, for joining us together for these 8395 days….
and still counting!
I love him!!!”

 

I’ve been married to this wonderful man for  8396 days … and still counting!

 

An Eliezer Attitude

Have you thought of Eliezer lately?  He’s not really the guy that pops in your head when you’re talking about people in the Bible. But I’ve been most impressed with his story as I read Genesis this month.  Here’s his story in a bullet list:

Head Servant to Abraham

– In line to inherit all of Abraham’s wealth because there is no heir by birth

– God says otherwise & promises a son

– Years later the promised son is born to Abraham & Sarah; He’s named Isaac

– 40 yrs. later, Isaac needs a wife from Abraham’s home town, so Eliezer is called in

– Abraham asks him to promise to find an heir from the right place

– Eliezer agrees to the request and the very long journey that it requires

– He successfully finds the proper wife for the heir that literally took the inheritance away from him

– He falls on his face and worships God!

Are you seeing this?  Do you get this?!  Eliezer was all set; his future was hooked up! He was gunna go from servant to prince. Then, the baby heir is born. Ever wonder if Eliezer considered some evil plot to harm the little brat that stole what was already his? (Sounds like a plot in a movie, huh?)  Ever wonder if he battled jealousy on his long trip to Abraham’s homeland? Do you think he toyed with the idea of just takin’ the 10 loaded camels and hittin’ the road & never returning? Or at the very least just grumbling & complaining to himself because his life was so unfair – God, you were lining up a huge blessing and then took it away. And now I have to just watch it all play out in front of me… but it’s not MY blessing… it all belongs to Isaac! This cannot be You plan, is it?

Yet, we have NO record of anger, jealousy or evil plots. NONE! He remained a trusted and faithful servant to his master. So trustworthy that he was given the HUGE task of finding a wife.  Here is what we DO know about Eliezer:

– Still had seniority among the household servants

– Had a deep desire to do the right thing

– Intrusted with a job that his master couldn’t even trust to the heir

– Asked God for help

– Waited for God’s direction & answer

– Bowed to the ground in sincere worship & praise to God

WOW!  Here’s a guy that had every “right” to be ticked off, angry and bitter. He chose otherwise, and his mater could trust him.

We won’t know how or if Eliezer was “blessed” on earth for his faithfulness &  good attitude, but I’m sure he is in Heaven!

What’s our excuse for allowing unfair situations to breed anger and grow bitterness?

Remember… we are God’s servants. SERVANTS! and a bitter-FREE heart is a heart that my master can trust! 🙂

 

 

I Have Famous Family Members

Wow!

My family members are famous this week!  🙂

Chilly’s movenber mustache was featured in the Detroit Free Press (A major newspaper in the city… that’s actually not free) He’s the 6th picture featured and the caption mentions our church!

And Courtney’s Chunky Knit Button Cowl Scarf was featured in a Made In Michigan site complied by etsy (and it’s modeled by Mariah)

 

When he’s away… again!

 

One of my sweet friend’s husband has a job that keeps him traveling… often. She tweeted recently about how bored & lonely she gets. Before we had kids… and even all these years later, when my Man travels, I view my time & energy differently.   Here’s a list of the many things I often do while he’s away… and please, add your own list at the end. (He still travels & I’m always happy for new ideas!)

-Paint a room in the house (or a “border” back in the 90’s, or the kitchen floor

a few years ago)

– Craft projects that I’ve been wanting to finish (or start)

– Hang out with people from church that I’m mentoring

– Watch the TV shows that I love but he hates

– Color my hair (it used to be all sorts of colors during our early years of marriage

when he traveled a lot & I was my own hairdresser!)

– Bake… for neighbors, friends & to stock up our freezer

-Talk on the phone every night & catch up with all my friends

– Call my Mom and his parents, especially if he’s overseas (and even more so

before facebook was ever present)

– Stay up too late. (Not because I’m scared, but somehow my brain thinks

“he’s coming home and I wanna wait up”)

-Make meals that do NOT meet all the food-group-requirements

(tonight was hamburger helper… from a BOX! Abimanation!)

-Send him way more text messages than he will have opportunity to respond to

(This, of course, is a more recent development. it used to be emails & before that it

was an occasional phone call… if there was a  land line nearby. Weird, huh?)

-Miss him. Pray for him

– Scramble to straighten up the house the night before he comes home

(this has faded slightly over the years as the “kid count” has grown! )

– I don’t worry, though. He’s a man who follows Jesus and doing HIS will

put my Man exactly where he’s supposed to be.