LuSays

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7 KEYS TO A HONEYMOON-MARRIAGE

in bed

I had a secret fear for many years. One that I told no one. Not even my husband. This fear started after our children were born. As they grew older, my fear grew.

I feared the empty nest years. I loved and enjoyed my children with extreme delight and couldn’t imagine life being as good after they left the nest.

Then one day this fear vanished! My youngest, and only chick left at home, flew away for 10 days to visit his brother and “sister.” Those 10 days were fantastic, electrifying, and simply brilliant! My husband and I felt like we were on our honeymoon again. Not only was it amazing, but I felt like I went back to being 20!

One of my biggest fears is now gone. This experience has caused me to think about what the secret sauce is to a marriage that feels like a continual honeymoon.

7 keys to a honeymoon-marriage:

  • Be nice- Sadly, too often the person we treat the worst is our spouse. We say things we would never say to our friends and harbor unrealistic expectations. Treat your spouse better than you do anyone else.
  • Put them first- Consider their feelings in your decisions. Make time for them. Schedule regular date nights. Focus on their needs and how you can help support all they do. Be willing to put “you” aside to serve them.
  • Words- Say, “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “I was wrong,” and “I love you,” often.
  • Focus on the good- Focus on the things you love about your spouse. Don’t key in on the nuances that annoy you but instead keep your mind on the attributes you love about them.
  • Schedule “intimacy”- Great sex is a huge key to a happy marriage. A marriage without it is like going to the ice cream parlor when you were a kid and leaving with no ice cream. Or making it on the baseball team but never being able to throw the ball. Boring.  
  • Laugh- Have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously and be willing to joke. You are probably not that easy to live with and they put up with you. Find the humor in your relationship. Laugh together. Laugh at yourself.
  • Work- Marriage takes work. Work on making it the best it can be everyday. Work on making “you” the best you can be.

Marriage is a gift. Marriage molds us. It brings out our best and our worst. Marriage is a chisel that God uses to create a masterpiece.

Love your husband. Love your wife. Love until your last breath. Or their last breath.

How’s your marriage? It’s never too late to turn it into a honeymoon-marriage.

5 Marks That You Are A Great Parent

Kids-going-back-to-school

If you are anything like me you wonder if you’re a good mom or a good dad. You wonder if this long marathon called parenting is heading you in a direction you desire.

While I was raising my children I often felt like I was failing. Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. What if I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong?

How many mistakes am I making along the way? Now that I’m on the other side of raising kids I know I made many. Can you still be a great parent and make many mistakes? Yes!

Here are 5 marks that you’re a great parent:

  • What matters to your child matters to you. Children know you care when you take an interest in what is happening in their world. When you make the things that may seem trivial to you but are very important to them, important to you, your child will feel loved. They will feel like they matter. They will feel valued.
  • You model the character and integrity you want to see in them. The way you treat others teaches your child how to behave. Your words and your actions are a molding tool. The way you treat your spouse teaches more than any marriage seminar. How you talk about and treat your ex-spouse will teach volumes. How you navigate life will have huge implications in your child’s future.
  • You listen to your child. Sometimes as parents all we need to do is listen. And listen without judgment or dishing out consequences for what they say. Like adults, children need to be heard.
  • You’re tired. Parenting is hard work. Sometimes you’ll be just plain old tired. It comes with the job. Late nights because of illness. Lack of sleep due to hanging out with your teenager while they talk about school drama. Exhausted from being a taxi service.
  • You have time for them. It may very well be the most important mark of a great parent. While I was raising my children, I always had time for them. Now that they are adults, they have time for me. It is simple math. The time you put in will pay dividends like no other investment. Invest your time well.

It’s easy to get discouraged. But if you’re doing these 5 things you’re investing in your child’s future. Make your child a priority and you will never regret it.

How about you? Do you ever wonder if you’re on the right tract with your kids?

VEGETARIANS ARE SO WEIRD!

Simple Salad

Do you know any Vegetarians? Perhaps you live with one and they drive you crazy. I once said, “If you don’t eat meat there is something wrong with you.” And then I became a Vegetarian! Let the record show I do not believe that any more.

Last night hubby and I went out for a date night. After arriving home I was raving about my delicious dinner to my son.

“I got this baked brie. It tasted so good. It was like the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had!”

“Mom, if a grilled cheese sandwich is a delicacy to you there is something wrong.”

It made me laugh.

Many people view Vegetarians as strange and difficult. You may think all we eat is salad. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love food! I love what I eat!

I get asked often why I became a Vegetarian.

Here are 5 great reasons:

  1. I had high cholesterol. The doctor wanted to put me on medication but instead I changed my diet and became a Vegetarian.
  2. I feel better. Totally better.
  3. I like to eat a lot. Eating many vegetables will not put weight on you.
  4. Food tastes better since I made the switch.
  5. Just the smell of meat makes me want to hurl now. Do I need another reason?

At this point you may think this blog is about my trying to convince you to become a Vegetarian. It’s not. The point I want to make is tolerance. Vegetarians get made fun of a lot.

I overheard a lady complaining about what to feed a family member who was coming over. She was upset because they were a “Vegetarian.”

If this is your dilemma  let me help you. We eat fruit, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, hummus, eggs, cheese, etc., in addition to vegetables. We are not as picky as you might think.

And now landing on the purpose of this post.

Let’s be tolerant and kind to one another. Yes, we Vegetarians can seem a bit strange and foreign. Please be understanding about our weirdness. And if you are a Vegetarian, please don’t condemn those who eat meat.

Be considerate. Be respectful of others. Be nice to those who are different. Be tolerant.

How about you? Have you been judged for being different? 

I Was Nearly 200 Pounds

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I used to be extremely heavy. One time a friend said to me, “I see you walking all around the neighborhood but your butt doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.” True statement.

I have a bit of a confession to make: I can’t get enough of the TV show My 600-lb Life. This show is about people who are roughly 600 pounds who decide to have gastrointestinal bypass surgery. The camera follows them for 7 years. I find it riveting.  I can watch the show for hours. One night my husband came out into our living room at 2:00 AM asking, “When are you coming to bed?” I may be addicted.

Why am I so compelled to watch this show? Probably because I relate to the stories. I understand the struggle. I understand turning to food when sad, happy, lonely, rejected or celebrating. I also understand feeling stuck…feeling as though you are in prison. That’s basically what these people on the show have done to themselves, is put themselves in their own prison.

One common theme has stuck out for me through all the the stories I have watched. There is always a person being an enabler to the one who is morbidly obese. There is someone who is continually fueling the prison cell with large amounts of unhealthy food and habits. What I cannot understand is why family members don’t help those who suffer with overeating by following a healthy food plan themselves. Wouldn’t it make sense that to truly help and love the person trying to lose weight to join them in their quest for a healthier lifestyle?

Support from family is indeed how I was able to go from almost 200 pounds to under 120. When I decided to change, get fit, and eat healthy, the encouragement and support from my family made all the difference. If you have a family member who struggles with weight issues, help them by eating healthy yourself. It will make all the difference in the world.

How about you? Are you trying to get more healthy and fit in 2015? Do you feel support from family?

My Bucket List For 2015

red bucketAs the year draws to a close, we can’t help but look back at 2014. Was it all you hoped it would be? Maybe you had a particularly difficult year, or maybe you had dream-come-true moments that exceeded your expectations. Either way, many at this time will begin the process of compiling their New Year’s Resolution list.

I prefer to make a bucket list and focus on the great things I want to see happen in 2015. But before I do, allow me to share a few of my bucket-list accomplishments from 2014.

INSANITY. That’s right, insanity! Even at 51, I completed the INSANITY workout program. I didn’t think I could – and yes, it totally kicked my booty – but I did it!

Shaunti Feldhahn. I met the best selling author Shaunti Faldhahn. If you’re not familiar with Shanti’s work, one of her best books is For Women Only. She is an amazing speaker and writer. It was a highlight of my year to be able to talk with her.

Hell’s Kitchen. I was on an episode of the TV show Hell’s Kitchen. I tasted the mouth-watering risotto and was just feet away from the famous chef Gordon Ramsey.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How in the world are you going to top INSANITY, Shaunti Feldhahn, and Hell’s Kitchen?”

Well here goes. My 2015 Bucket List:

  • I am going to get even more physically fit in 2015 than I did in 2014. INSANITY here I come again!
  • I want to visit my brother. He’s one of my favorite people on the planet and I’m sad he lives in another state. I am going to get on a plane headed to my favorite brother!
  • I want to meet Tyler Perry. (I know this is a long shot, but this is my list and I can write whatever I want!) I love Tyler Perry’s Madea movies and I respect his open discussions about loving Jesus.
  • I want to use my time to invest in healthy and happy marriages by first investing in my own marriage and becoming the best wife I can be, then by helping others in any way God can use me.
  • I want to learn how to be the best mother-in-law possible. We’ve all heard negative jokes and comments about mother-in-laws and I am determined to not add to those. I know one of the best gifts I can give my married children is to be a kind, loving, and gracious “mom” to their spouses.

Now it’s your turn. Even if 2014 was tearful, stressful, disappointing, or disastrous, you can turn it around. What’s on your bucket list for 2015?

I want to wish you a Happy New Year dear reader, and may your 2015 blow you away with an overabundance of love and exceeded expectations!

How To Have a Stress FREE Christmas

This is the time of year where we are all running around like crazy people. Is it possible to make the Christmas season about what is most important to us? I think it is. However, there was a time I didn’t think it was possible. I dreaded Christmas because it seemed to be the highest stress time of the year for me. One year I even wrote myself a little note on my calendar beginning the month of December which read, “You will survive. You will get through this month!”

Sadly, Christmas should not be about surviving. Christmas is a time for love, laughter, friends, and family. It is a time to reflect on the baby born to save the world. Jesus Christ, that little baby that changed my life forever.

So, how do we turn stress into joy?

First, we need to remove the expectations we put on ourselves and lower our standards a bit. What do I mean by that? Quit thinking you can do it all and be perfect. Getting everyone the perfect gifts, preparing the perfect meal, thinking you should look like a Victoria Secret model while baking goodies for the neighborhood. I used to think I had to bake something for everyone I knew. No wonder I was stressed!

At the beginning of the holiday season sit down and make a list consisting of all you want to do and what needs to get done for Christmas. Go over it with your family and together determine what stays on the list and what can be tossed. Whittle down your list to what takes top priority and what is utmost important. Do you really need to participate in the ugliest Christmas sweater contest? If you do, keep it on your list. If not, who cares?

Next, learn the word no. You can’t say yes to everything at Christmas time and skate through stress free. It is okay to say no. And don’t feel guilty about it!

Lastly, carve out some time for YOU. Meet up with a friend to catch up. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea. Read a good book. Take a walk. Stay in bed longer than usual. Write a note to a loved one and let them know how much you value them. Take some time to enjoy life. Enjoy your family. Let others know how much you love them. If you are stressed and frazzled you most likely won’t do that and could miss out on what’s most important.

As I write this post my Christmas tree is still in the garage. But that’s okay, I’m spending some time with people I love today and the tree will go up…eventually.

I would like to wish you a blessed and beautiful Christmas!

Thank you for reading…

I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving, and I also want to say thanks. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. And a big thanks to those who “follow.” I am truly humbled by every read and everyone who follows LuSays.

Enjoy this season and love like it is the last time you’ll be with your family and loved ones. We are not promised tomorrow, so enjoy today. And let your family know how much you love them.

Thank you for reading LuSays and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Make Her Fall in Love With You All Over Again

sprinkler“Where’d you go?”

“I headed out to get our neighbor a new sprinkler system,” was my husband’s answer.

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I told him he could have my old one. But I went through the garage and couldn’t find it, so I went and bought him one. I told him I would give him our old one, and I wanted to come through on my word. I hope you don’t mind?”

I hope you don’t mind?! I thought it was awesome!

What type of person goes to such a degree to come through on what he promised?

My husband.

He has always been that way. If he says he is going to do something, you can count on it. When he says he’ll fix it…he does. When he says he’ll order it for me…he does. When he says he’ll pick it up…he does.

He comes through on his promises and is a man of his word.

When my husband said, “I went and bought him one,” I fell in love with him all over again.

Men, when we women know we can trust you and your word, we will fall in love with you over and over. Safeguard your integrity. Make your word good as gold.

When you say you’re going to do something…DO IT! Come through on your promises. When she knows your handshake is as good as a contract, she will feel safe. She will follow you. She will admire you. She will fall in love with you again, and again, and again.

“Mom, There’s a Bug in My Wedding Dress!”

The day before my daughter’s wedding I told her to expect things to go wrong on her special day: “As long as you focus on what’s most important, it will not matter one bit. Enjoy your day and roll with the problems, but expect them because there will be unexpected challenges.”

As the day began, all seemed perfect. And not just a little perfect either, all seemed beyond perfect. Family and friends arrived at the wedding venue in order to set up and did so with no hiccups. There were no conflicts, angst over decisions, and there were no hurt feelings or petty squabbles. All were gleeful and celebrating.

Finishing early the wedding party and myself made it to our hair and makeup appointments with time to spare. I questioned why I had given my daughter such useless counsel the night before. It appeared as though the day were going to be the absolute ideal for all weddings.

Then, like the beginning of a horror flick where all seems calm and merry until that “something” happens, suddenly our perfect day took a turn. Like dominoes falling in succession the first one fell at the salon. I was having my hair styled while my daughter was having her makeup done. Then we switched.

As we passed each other she asked, “Mom, how do I look?”

“Beautiful.” What else do to say to your daughter on her wedding day? But in actuality she looked like someone had poured bronze on her. Monica having blond hair and light features it was not her best look. But I certainly was not going to tell her that! So, my response was, “Beautiful.” And she was—my daughter is always beautiful—with or without bronze painted on her.

While in the makeup chair the gal put multiple clips in my hair. I said, “Isn’t this going to mess with my hair?” Of course she said no. It was not true.

When the makeup artist was done, I looked like I had gotten into a catfight, getting my hair pulled and then punched in both eyes. It became a horror flick for me when I looked into the mirror. I asked if she could fix it but no matter what she did, it just didn’t get any better. I was now in a panicked daze not able to think clearly when my sweet and smart daughter-in-law, Jenny, seeing how bad I looked said, “Would you like me to call the guys and have them bring something for you from the house?” (By the way, she and the other bridesmaids had a different makeup artist and they all looked stunning.)

Why yes, of course, I could get my own makeup from home and redo my bruised eyes. Hope was restored. At this point you may be thinking, why did the day become about how you looked? I think I can speak for all mothers-of-the-bride when I say you want to try and look as best as possible when you make your descent on that long aisle with all eyes on you. I had been working out for months in preparation for the big day. And while my dress fit well, I was not about to walk down with my face looking like I had been in a car crash!

When my daughter saw me she agreed my makeup needed a redo and it was at that time she said, “Mom, I hate the way she did my makeup too.” Fortunately the hair stylist had done a wonderful job on Monica’s hair and happily fixed mine, but we both knew we needed an emergency repair.

We rushed to our venue to fix our botched faces when we discovered another wedding party occupied our rented space.

Awkward!

As we rushed into the ladies room to fix our clown faces another bride was in there with her wedding party and didn’t see any reason to step aside. My daughter’s maid-of-honor explained to them they had to move on. They slowly complied. After all, we were the party who had rented the venue for the day.

Awkward!

Monica got right to work fixing her face. I “patiently” waited for my makeup to arrive. When my 19-year-old son, Joseph, saw me he shrieked and announced, “You look like a ghost!” Conformation that I certainly needed to spruce up my face!

When Monica was ready to put on her wedding dress she unwrapped her gown and let out a big screech, “Mom, there’s a bug inside my wedding dress!”

I jumped into action by reaching my hand up in the lace of the dress, stabbing the bug with my fingernail and pulled the critter out. Mom to the rescue! It was my last rescue mission before my little girl became a married woman.

After getting Monica in her dress and zipping it up, I noticed the top latch was missing the loop to fasten it. I felt panicked and didn’t want to alarm my daughter. I motioned Jenny to come and look it over in case I missed something. She confirmed it: The latch thingy was missing.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Everything is fine. All zipped up. We’re done.”

“But Mom, it doesn’t feel right. What’s wrong?”

I was caught. I had to come clean. “Honey, the loop is missing. But it looks fine. It really won’t matter.”

Waiting for her cries of dismay, I stood motionless.

She said, “Okay.” And that was that. Whew!

Then, like a gap between dominoes, the tumbles of trouble came to a halt. We went back to our near perfect day.

We made our way to the back of the rose garden where the groom and guests were eagerly waiting. When it was my turn to walk that long awaited descent down the aisle with my handsome son, Tim, I suddenly experienced a rush of unexpected and unwelcomed emotions.

We were handing over our little girl. The one I had rescued over and over with way more serious issues than a bug. The time she flew out of our travel trailer, age 2, hitting her head and rushing her to the doctor. The school hurdles and girl drama. The heart breaks. The car accident. We were handing over the little girl we cherished. The little girl we watched receive awards, play sports, perform solos, and serve God.

She wasn’t our little girl anymore.

I forgot how to breathe. Time stopped for an instant as I chanted in my head, Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Taking a step I could feel a tear rolling down my cheek. It was supposed to be a happy walk. Why the tear? Breathe. Smile. Walk. Hold it together!

Getting to the safety of my mother-of-the-bride seat felt like a warm hug. Watching my daughter cascade in on her father’s arm was simply breathtaking. My handsome groom of 32 years wearing his shades walked our little girl down the aisle and placed her hand into the hand that would now be the one to rescue, love, cherish, and protect, a hand for which I am well pleased and thankful.

The ceremony, the celebration, and the send off were as glorious and better than we had anticipated.

In the quiet of the next morning my husband softly said, “I hope she has what we have.”

“She will.”

At the end of all the bug-killing-wedding-hoopla as I look into my daughter’s empty and now clean room, I expected to feel empty. But I don’t. I feel joy because she is happier than I have ever seen her, and that makes me happy.

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My Daughter Will Be Married in a Few Short Days

My daughter was my first child. I can remember holding her for the first time. So much was unknown at that time. Could I really be a mother to her?

She was so beautiful. She was a little miracle, handed to me straight from God. Entrusted to me to raise and to love.

All at once, I had a new title. A new identity, if you will. I became Mom.

I was so scared. I was leaping into uncharted territory. All of it was a deep sea, unfamiliar. Fear overwhelmed me.

Yet love consumed me, a kind of love I had never before experienced. All mothers understand this kind of love. It goes beyond words.

Boxes line my daughter's room as she packs to move in with her future husband after the wedding.

Boxes line my daughter’s room as she prepares to move in with her soon-to-be husband.

As suddenly as she was handed to me, she suddenly is now leaving. This was not unexpected. After many years of tears, joy, adventure, discovery, love and sleepless nights—of illness, angst, communicating and prayers—all of that time has seemed to whiz by leaving only memories.

But my sadness turns to joy as I relish in the delight of gaining another son. A son for which I prayed many years. In him, God delivered beyond all I asked for or expected.

At this time, the blessings overflow for me, and yet there still is an underlying sadness. It is bittersweet. On one hand, I feel happy beyond measure. At the same time, indescribable sorrow.

Letting go can be so painful, even when letting go means getting everything for which you ever prayed.

The one thing we can always count on is change. I am about to face one of the biggest changes I’ve ever had to conquer. Watching my daughter pack up her room, pack up her childhood, pack up her life, I cannot help but worry. Did I pack her “luggage” with all she will need? Was I faithful as the mom God trusted me to be?

She was handed to me as a gift from God and now we are handing her off. Could it be that on the other side of this hurdle is a better life? Certainly it will be for my daughter, I’m counting on that. And I suppose after the initial shock and awe is over, and the dust clears in her empty room, God will bring new light and carry me through this sudden fear of the future just like He carried me through the fear and insecurity about being a mom.

My daughter will be married soon and my life will change forever, but not as much as it changed the day I first held her in my arms. Emerging through the tears and sadness, thankfulness shines bright for the blessing of having raised a daughter. One of whom I am very proud.

“Her children rise up and bless her,” Proverbs 31:28 says. Yes, I am blessed.

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