Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are you Vashti or Esther?

As I walked the track at the YMCA with a friend the subject of Jon and Kate came up. "Jon and Kate plus 8" isn't a show that either of us have watched more than once or twice, however the details of their rocky marriage have been revisited night after night on prime time news and entertainment television.

I remember the things that stood out for me when watching the two episodes of the show. The first was how Kate spoke to Jon in a condescending tone regarding what she viewed as his faults. The other was when Jon was slapped across the cheek by Kate after making a comment that she didn't like.

I decided then and there that this show would not get my ratings.

Is this what we now consider entertainment? I find no humor in a wife degrading her husband on national television or in privacy of ones own home. I am not here to judge Kate, however what I am here to do is shine a light on God's perfect plan for our lives.

I am not here to debate whether or not a husband deserved a wife's respect. I only intend to reiterate Gods perfect will for the marriage covenant. One commandment concerning my marriage covenant states "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ephesians 5:33

God did not make any loopholes for me such as reverencing my husband only when he loves me as he loves himself. He gave my husband a commandment and he gave me a commandment. I am accountable for upholding it to the best of my ability and where I fall short, God's grace will be sufficient.

God has designed two distinct roles for my husband and I. He did not make us the same nor did he call us to operate in the same office. God has endowed me everything I need to fulfill my purpose in the marriage relationship.

One of my callings as a wife is to willingly submit to my husbands leadership, which includes him having ruler ship over me.

Genesis3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

At one point in time I viewed this in such a negative light that I was a rebellious wife. I was irreverent and conducted myself in a way that did not glorify God. I was a wife like Vashti. You remember Vashti, the wife who refused to come to her husband when he called, resulting in his public embarrassment.

I am not Vashti. I do not have thousands of women who look up to me in my kingdom, but I do have two daughters who are watching me. They are observing how I interact with their father. They are looking to me to see how I deal with someone in authority over me. I have a responsibility toTitus 2:3 demonstrate behavior that is holy....being a teacher of good things. I am to teach my daughters to Titus 2:4 love their husbands....Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste...good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. I am to show them Titus 2:7 a pattern of good works which includes Titus 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned.

As fellow believers in the body of Christ we are living examples of who Christ is and if we neglect to consider the impact that our behavior has on those around us than we will never truly be able to understand God's master plan for our lives. My marriage is not about just meeting my needs, it is my opportunity to demonstrate Gods perfect relationship between Him, Christ and the church.

God has a perfect order of authority for His Kingdom and for my family.

Ephesians 5: 22
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

So, what shall I do when I disagree with my husband. I must choose to submit. God has reminded me so many times when I have wanted to rebel. He always whispers ever so softly to me "You chose this man as your husband. You prayed for me to bless this marriage covenant".

When wives do not revere our husbands we run the risk of hurting the entire family unit.

In the book of Esther, queen Vashti refused to come when her husband called...Ester 1:16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.Ester 1:17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.Ester 1:18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

Ester 1:19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.

Ester 1:20And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.

It is not entertaining for me to watch an irreverent wife. I don't find it humorous for a wife to chastise, belittle or over talk her husband. Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Let us be mindful of what we consider entertaining. Guard your hearts and minds against the little foxes that try to creep in and spoil your vineyards. A virtuous women is not one who wears the proverbial pants in the marriage.

Proverb 12:4 "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband" the one who wears the pants is the one that "maketh ashamed and is as rottenness in his bones."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One-Income Living

One of the key factors in successfully living on one income is to learn to live below your means. Doing this may be easier said than done, however I will share some tips that have helped my husband and I along the way.

1. Reduce all of your discretionary spending until you no longer need to spend the families second income. This statement speaks for it's self in saying that anything not essential to living may be the culprit in shifting from a two income family to a one income family.

2. Begin reallocating one income to an investment or savings account. It is wise to begin building an emergency fund reserve as a safe guard for the unexpected expenses that will arise.

3. Keep track of everything you spend. You will be on a tighter budget than what you may be used to. In order to maintain the new budget you must remain transparent and accountable to one another concerning where the money is going.

4. Communicate your financial goals regularly. Be sure to focus on the positive reasons for transitioning to a one income family. There may be some financial tension initially. You are both implementing a new habit, therefore, this is the time when you should cut one another the most slack. Stay positive and encourage each other.

5. Reward yourselves for achieving each financial goal. Discuss some possible rewards for achieving your financial milestones. My family gave up vacations for three years. Once we met our goal of staying below budget for 1 year, we rewarded ourselves by taking the family to Orlando.

You may be considering becoming a one income family or may already be a one income family. Whatever your situation is remember to be patient with yourself and your spouse. This could be one of the best decisions that you make but also a very challenging one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Outdoors

Today was a convenient day the write a mosquito magnet review. There was enough heat in the earlier part of the day and then enough rain later in the day.

The southeast has been plagued with rain for the past week. The wet land in the south lends itself to the perfect mosquito breeding conditions. My biggest concern with the large concentration of mosquito's in this area are the chances of contracting the West Nile virus. I have tried using bug repellents and bug lights, but I have not had much success at spending an afternoon outdoor mosquito free.

I don't know if I am ultra sensitive, but one bite from a mosquito is enough to keep me up at night. The littlest contact with the stung area causes me to go into a fit of scratching that leaves the area burning.

I have heard about products like the "Mosquito Magnet" which is designed to trap thousands of mosquito's throughout the summer months. But are products like these worth their weight in gold?

Mosquitos are definitely on my list of things that spoil a summer day. I would love for you to share ideas on how you deal with mosquito's?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bathroom Cleaning

I was asked a question regarding my bathroom cleaning routine a while ago that I did not get a chance to answer. The question was, "Do you deep clean your bathroom everyday?"

I'd like to make it clear that my home is not always in tip top shape. Nor do I spend my days wiping and tidying. If you stop by at the wrong day of the week you may find clothes sitting in a basket waiting to be folded from 2 days ago.

I do however have a set cleaning routine that helps me stay on track with keeping my home neat and clean. I also have a general routine that I follow after returning from a vacation, after a couple of days of attending to a sick child or any situation that takes me away fro my normal homemaking routine.

I don't deep clean my bathroom everyday. I do however disinfect something in my bathroom almost everyday. I am able to do this very easily and it's almost as quick as pouring a glass of water.

I keep small homemade cleaning clothes, cut from a large beach towel that was stained, under the bathroom sinks in my home. I also keep a spray bottle filled with 80%/20% mix of Lysol and water under there as well.

Whenever I get the urge, I just spray one item in my bathroom and wipe it off. I try to remember what I wiped last but, sometimes I just look around for visible dirt. I look for signs like food stained hand prints or the layer of lint that settles on the toilet bowl tank from our bath towels.

On the days when I don't see any visible dirt, I spray the toilet bowl and swish.

I choose to clean frequently because I don't like to wait until I see evidence of human life in my bathroom. I don't like to see yellow stains on my toilet or floors, nor do I like brown circles under the toilet seat. I don't like toothpaste splatter on the bathroom mirror and I definitely don't like a bathroom that reeks.

If you like a clean bathroom and don't want to hire a maid you'll need to come up with a bathroom cleaning routine that works for you. I would love for you to share some of your tips for keeping your bathroom clean.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Overcoming Debt Together

My husband and I began getting serious about being debt free in 2007. We've paid off our vehicle and only have the mortgage left to pay.

It has been a lot of work digging ourselves out of debt but it was all worth it. We are so thankful to our friends and family who supported us through the years of us declining the dinner engagements, date night invitations and request to vacation together. We refrained from those things and others today, so that we could secure financial freedom for tomorrow.

Here are few tips that have helped us stay the course to becoming debt free.

1. Have a plan for paying down debt. Whether you choose to follow the principles of Dave Ramsey or any other financial guru, be sure to have a clear cut destination in which you will have arrived after all of the hard work and sacrifice.

2. Don't pay anyone to become debt free. I cringe when I hear that people tell me that they've paid X amount of $$ for some company to help them reduce their debts. You can do what you are paying these companies to do. Get on the phone and begin negotiating a payoff.

3. Fight through the pain of self deprivation. I order to pay down debt you'll either need the make more money or spend less. If you cannot make more or the more that you make still is not enough, then you will have to get used to doing without.

Doing without what?...You must do without anything that is not a necessary element to living. We reduced our spending to the bare minimum. For us the cable, landlines, luxury items and vacations were the first to go. The hardest to let go was the little things like picking up a bucket of $5 ice-cream every week.

4. Make a vow not to argue about money. You must support each other through any bad money decisions. It was bad money decisions that got you into this predicament and they don't stop just because you decide to become debt free. It takes time to change bad habits and learn new ones. So when he/she accidentally overdraws the account and it throws everything off track...fight the urge to blame. Be the support that your spouse needs to build up the courage to break free of the grips of debt.

Becoming debt free is hard work but not impossible to achieve. Be prayerful and seek the Lord for guidance in your situation.

She looketh well the the ways of her home and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27