Friday, October 31, 2008

An En Gedi Bedroom #2

Inspired by Heather's work on her bedroom, I decided to clean up our majorly messy bedroom and re-arrange this weekend. My husband was gone logging so it was very challenging to move the bed myself, but I love the results. Our bed used to be up against the window, leaving a little room on either side that quickly got piled up with junk and clutter. I cleaned out our closet and was able to stash a lot of things in our bedroom in the newly organized closet. The view from the entryway. I made the wild curtains (out of a huge wrap-around-skirt in tropical print) when we first moved in. Justus has his little bassinet in the corner, with a baby quilt I made a few years ago hanging behind for his "baby corner." He's starting to sleep mostly in his bassinet at night and sometimes naps there too.
My corner. I have to be very careful what I put on my nightstand since Jer naps on our bed and will reach over and get into stuff sometimes. Eventually I would like to re-paint this little dresser a different color. It was a yard sale find a few years ago and now holds baby things. It's hard to see from the pic but I have a couple of little posters on the wall ( a mom kneeling in prayer and a name plaque with a verse). The pillow was a gift from my mom. She made lots of little pillows out of an antique, family heirloom quilt and gave a pillow to all of the granddaughters and great-granddaughters.

The junkiest, most cluttered part of our room is a couple of feet beyond the foot of our bed. This is what it looks like straightened up! Because of our tight quarters, I couldn't get it any neater as I store my craft things, our bills and important papers, file our mail, store our books, our cards and art supplies, and all my medicine freebies from Walgreens here. This is our pantry and "office" and paper/art cabinet rolled into one. The large basket is filled with kid's books and we need to keep it out of little fingers' reach so the books are kept intact. We have some sturdy board books we let the kids keep in their room but this is how we maintain our nice books. The white smudge on the dark dresser is actually from when King Jo was a little boy and covered the dresser in stickers!
In order to break up the dull monotony of the really dark, oppressive walls, I hung this lacey, sage-green shower curtain behind the bed. I was using it in our living room but took it down to brighten up the living room a bit. It was a Wal-Mart clearance rack find. The imitation-down quilt is soft and poofy and was a like-new hand-me-down from a gal in my Bible study. I've always wanted one and I love this style of comforter. We do have a couple of other nice bed quilts that are hand-made that we can use to change the look of our room. White isn't the best for having little ones around and for a hubby with a dusty job, but at least white brightens up a very dark room.

On King Jo's nightstand: A picture of us on our wedding day and a small alarm clock.

King Jo's dresser was stacked high with junk, papers, and snowmobile helmets. I cleaned and straightened it and put the helmets in the closet (which is to the left of this dresser and has closing doors).

This pretty autumn swag was $1 or less at a yard sale this summer. It adds a homey touch to my side of the room.

I've always enjoyed photography, and like Heather, enjoy decorating with it to personalize the room. A pic of King Jo washing my feet on our wedding day reminds us to serve one another in our marriage.
What's next?
I'd like to copy Heather's idea of framing some verses from Song of Songs to add to the walls. Eventually I will refinish the two old junky dressers and paint them a pretty color. If we see some satiny sheets on clearance around Christmas time we will buy them as we only have cotton sheets and they are getting very threadbare.
When we have a home of our own, I can't wait to choose paint colors and coordinate curtains! My friend Shiloh recently got to do that, in remodeling the home they bought, and she has a pretty caramel-colored room with cream trim.
*The log furniture was a wedding gift as my dad is a log furniture builder.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Pouting again, Babyham?

I'm gonna tip over Mom!

Happy little feller

Brother Buddies

More Recent Pics


I'm a big boy now!!!

Justus Combustus in his special towel, made by my friend Lora.

Jerby somehow managed to squeeze himself into the doll highchair and get totally stuck!

3 little friends on swings

Kennedy and Ali
Preschool buddies

Kennedy and Carsen attend preschool with Ali, as well as church and Sunday School and the three of them have lots of energy when they are together!

Recent Pics

With all of the recent marriage posts, I haven't had a chance to post a pic of my little cuties this week. Here are some pics of the kids at the fundraiser for the local Christian school (where my mom is a teacher and Ali goes to preschool). It was $2 a horse ride and the kids loved it!

My lovely mom had to ride with Jeremiah to get him to go on a ride!

My good friend Shiloh shows her 12-weeks-pregnant tummy. Is it twins again? We don't know yet!

An En Gedi Bedroom--Guest Post

Here is the guest post I promised you, brought to you by the lovely Miss Heather H. of

Our Bedroom Re-decorating Project
Last summer I was inspired to give my husband, Jacob, a space of his own, with none of the pink-and-flowers of the rest of the house—a room that reflected Jacob’s own style. With two lovely daughters in our family, we females outnumber him 3 to 1, so I figured he needed a manly “hideaway!"
Excited to be able to decorate a room “from scratch,” I found a bamboo placemat on clearance for $1 and built a theme around it, choosing chocolate brown and dark green colors to coordinate. By the time our master bedroom was finished, we transformed it from a cluttery catch-all room with a too-short quilt and mismatched everything, to exactly what we wanted.

Here’s a peek:
(Now that we’ve moved away from this little home, I find that I took far fewer pictures than I’d thought. Still, I hope you enjoy the few shared here.)

Our bedroom transformation involved many changes:

Painting: We found the exact shade we wanted in a friend’s house and made a dramatic difference for under $25. (That doesn’t include the first gallon of paint I bought, which I realized was the WRONG color when we started painting the walls! My gracious husband agreed to let me purchase another gallon to fix my little mistake.) A friend helped us add wide pine trim around windows, closet, and doors, which we painted shiny black for contrast.

Carpeting: The original carpeting was in sorry shape, so we replaced it with a new roll of carpet that went very nicely with our theme. Our landlord had already purchased it brand-new, so this step didn’t cost us a thing. A friend taught us to lay carpet—another skill under our belt!
Window treatments: The pink-and-lilac gingham curtains I’d sewn early in our marriage weren’t exactly Jacob’s style, but they served their purpose for the first six years. However, replacing them with bamboo shades made an amazing difference.

Furniture: We added a black oriental-style nightstand, a black trunk, a floor lamp, and replaced our bedroom fixture with one that had an amber-colored shade. Another friend pitched in and wired the new fixture into the wall.

The piece de resistance of our new room is a vintage dresser that underwent an amazing transformation:

Before: In my parent's basement

After: In our new room
The dresser was my dad’s as a child. Having this redone was my parents’ Christmas gift to us!

Bedding: We scored a great deal on green satiny sheets at a JCPenney clearance, and got fabrics 40 to 50% off at Jo-Ann to make our quilt. A friend who makes pillows professionally volunteered to sew us four throw pillows. The striped ones have a coordinating fabric on the reverse, so I can change the look by flipping them to the other side. My friend Kate, who helped us a lot with our project, found a garage-sale bamboo mat that became our headboard.
Personalized art: I framed pictures of us together for the nightstand, and included Song of Songs 2:16, I am my beloved’s and he is mine.

We also planned to hang a wrought-iron triquetra on the wall, a Celtic symbol of the trinity. Since we weren’t able to have one made, I’m planning to make a triquetra on a fabric banner instead.
After the room was decorated, there were still a few remaining tasks to make the bedroom a retreat, which I’d love to share with you:
Make the bed daily: Take just a few minutes to do this in the morning. It changes the feel of the room from disorganized to comforting.

Keep it picked up: Even if you have to creatively stash things in other rooms, do it. Or get a classy-looking trunk to hide it away. It’s hard to relax in a cluttery room!

Relax in your new room together. Don’t save your room for those few minutes before you fall asleep. “Retire” to your room half an hour before bedtime. Read together. Get a book on marriage or intimacy and keep it in your nightstand. Talk about the day together. Make it your place to get refreshed and connect with each other at the end of a long day.

We love our new room. After six years of marriage, it was good to do something to focus on our relationship again (especially since we’re the busy parents of young children!) Jacob told me today that when life gets crazy, it’s nice to have a place that makes you calm and relaxed just by entering the room. "Yay!" I told myself. "It worked!"

Heather blogs at
She is the mother of Kardelen (almost 3) and Sofia (17 months). She enjoys baking, decorating her home, simplifying, natural living, crafts, educating preschoolers, teaching piano, being frugal, and bargain shopping.
Note from Mrs. Jo: Heather's work inspired me to make my bedroom more of a haven, even if we are still in a rental. I'll post pics tomorrow of our newly organized bedroom!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Being His En Gedi in Your Appearance

My recent series on being your husband's En Gedi (oasis of rest/haven) has covered attitude, food, friendship/affection, sex, and homemaking. Now we move on to our appearance. Before we were married we probably spent a lot of time fixing up and making sure we looked our best for our special guy. But something happens after we have kids and can barely stumble out of bed in the morning and can barely find time for a shower or to use the restroom.

How can we please our husbands in our appearance if we don't have a lot of time and energy for grooming?

Well, first of all, I think you should know that you don't have to look like "Miss Hollywood Celebrity" to be beautiful to your husband. He married you because he found you very attractive, so don't try to warp your mind into believing a lie; that you have to look like the world's standard of beauty. Women compare themselves constantly, and we have to discipline ourselves to stop doing that.

One of the best principles I have gained so far from the Mark Driscoll Song of Songs series is that your spouse should be your standard of beauty. I had never heard that concept before. This means before you are married, you should NOT have a standard of beauty because you don't know who God is going to bring across your path and lead you to marry. Once you are married, your spouse is your standard. That means if your husband is tall, you like tall. If your wife is blonde, blonde is beautiful to you. If your husband was once slender but is now heavy, your standard has changed and before you liked slender but now you like heavy. This doesn't mean we can't encourage our spouses to be healthier, change their hairstyle, try a new hair color, etc. It just means that instead of comparing our spouse to the "hottest people in the world" we compare the world to our spouse, whom is always #1 on our Hottest List, as King Solomon did with his bride.

Knowing you are your husband's standard of beauty is very encouraging to a wife. You don't have to wish you looked differently or like so-and-so and don't have to try to be someone you are not. God made you special and your husband loves what God made! If we all looked the same life would be so boring!

What are some ways you can delight your husband with your appearance?

*Work on your inner beauty first because as I mentioned in the attitude post, outward beauty fades but inner beauty doesn't. Some of the prettiest women I have ever seen are those who have a quiet and gentle spirit and a strong faith in the Lord and yet wear very simple clothing.

*Make good hygiene a priority. Most women have no trouble in this area but I mention it just in case. Shower often, brush your teeth, shave your legs (unless your hubby is into the Nolsy look...)

*Dress modestly. There are guys out there who want their wives to dress seductively, but this is not right. (Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.) Christian women are to be modest and most husbands will appreciate you not showing what you've got to everyone else; it is to be exclusively his. Regularly ask his opinion on what is okay and what is not okay. Don't assume that all pants are okay or all high-necked shirts are okay because based on the tightness or the cut they may be somewhat immodest.

*Ask for his input. What outfits does he particularly like on you? What outfits doesn't he like? Some men won't have a lot of input, and others, like mine, will be more blunt, "That dress doesn't complement your body type." Sheesh, thanks! My husband really surprised me by mentioning he loved when I wore Carhardt jeans back in our college days. I haven't owned a pair in several years! Most people assume that my husband forces me to wear long dresses or skirts but the truth is that he loves seeing me in blue jeans too!

*Find out what your best colors are. Ever read Color Me Beautiful? It is a great book for helping you find out which color season you are. Colors can make all the difference in the world. When I wear white I look positively sick. When I wear salmon or jade or turquoise my eyes look bigger and more sparkly and my skin has a healthy glow. Go here to learn more about your color season.

*Resolve to get dressed right away in the mornings. If you don't make this a priority and you have young kids, your day will get swallowed up and you'll be standing around in your pajamas at noon. I got tired of people coming to the door unexpectedly and having to run to find a bathrobe and being embarrassed that I was still not dressed. Since I've made it a habit to get dressed immediately and fix my hair immediately, I feel better about myself and seem to get more accomplished in a day (and am less caught-off-guard if friends drop by). If you work up a sweat exercising each morning, then exercise first, then shower and get dressed.

*Take 5 to beautify. Even if you have a newborn, you can spare 5 minutes for your appearance. Put the baby in the swing or in the Ergo and comb your hair neatly, brush your teeth, put in earrings if desired, dab on a little face powder and some lipstick and fix your bangs (if you have them). 5 minutes is better than nothing and your husband will appreciate it.

*Take care of your body. This one is really hard for us busy moms. It's not easy to find time to exercise, and hard not to resort to eating out of fatigue. We all know we should exercise more, eat less, and drink more water, but it can be hard to actually incorporate those disciplines into our lives. One thing that helps me is having accountability. In college I used to have a deal going with my friend Anna where we had to exercise 15 minutes a day or else we had to pay the "Mission Fund" $1 for every day we missed. Even though we were a thousand miles away, we were able to keep each other on track and I found that often those 15 minutes stretched into an hour of exercise and I felt so good and was in good shape. I've also done deals where I give up chocolate for a period of time in order to quit indulging myself. When we got a Brita filter for $2 thanks to great coupons, I was able to drink a LOT more water since it tasted so much better. If you have young kids, try incorporating exercise into time with them. We often go for stroller walks or go to the park. I've recently fallen in love with pilates and the kids love to try to do it with me every morning. It's worth taking a good vitamin each day as it helps boost energy and overall health.

*Honor your husband's preferences regarding your appearance. Does your favorite sweater bug him? Get rid of it. Does he wish you would grow your hair long? Do it! Does he prefer you not wear eye make-up? Toss it! Does he love lipstick, buy some!

*Make a list, either on paper, or in your mind of what clothes your husband likes on you, what kinds of clothing flatters your figure and what colors look great on you. Then, when you are bargain shopping and hit a great sale or hit the thrift store you can pick up clothes that will look attractive on you for hardly anything. You don't have to look frumpy just because you don't have any money. Just ask Justus. We've hardly spent anything on his clothing and he's wearing almost all-new outfits and mostly Baby Gap!

As daughters of the Lord we represent Him and we also represent our husbands and also our profession as homemakers. I don't want to bring shame to the Lord, to my husband, or to homemakers in general by running errands in grubby clothes and sweats with uncombed hair, looking like I've been through a war. Clothes don't make the woman and God does indeed look at the heart, but if our outward actions reflect what's in the heart, shouldn't Christian women be the most joyful, radiant, and lovely of women?
For more on this subject check out Passionate Homemakings' posts on "The Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Being His En Gedi--The Comforts of Home

A sign the kids and I made to thank Daddy for his hard work in providing for us.
King Jo loves breadsticks, so we made him a special heart-shaped one.

We've discussed being our husband's En Gedi in attitude, with food, with friendship and affection, and in bed. Now we turn to the little comforts of home. These little things may fit into some of the previous categories, but they are all a part of homemaking. Whether you work full-time, part-time or are at home full-time, the home is the sphere of the woman and building "home" is part of our role. This doesn't mean our husbands shouldn't ever help out or share household chores. But it does mean that part of our God-given role as the Helper/Completer of our husbands is to be the keeper of a home. Personally, I think this is great fun! Ever since I was a little girl I loved re-decorating or re-arranging my bedroom, organizing and simplifying my stuff, and making things "homey." If you've ever seen the contrast of a Girls Dorm and a Guys Dorm or a Bachelor Pad and an apartment full of gals you can see and smell that men and women are different in this area!

What are some ways we can bless our husbands in our homemaking and create a restful oasis (En Gedi) for him?

*Ask him for help and input in setting up the house. Some husbands, like mine, will really get into this and have an opinion on where the furniture should go, which decorations they like, etc. Some guys could care less and will turn all of the decisions over to you.

*Quiz your husband on favorite colors/styles/themes. If your husband is a sports fan and not a cowboy, it would make sense to not decorate the living room in cowboy/western paraphernalia. My dad is majorly obsessed with hunting. So, this means that their living room is covered with bear hides, moose and elk heads, beaver pelts, deer antlers, etc. My mom has a very Northwoodsy/Lodge decorating style which works well with their log home and log furniture. Personally, I hope to never have an animal head hanging on my wall!

*Don't be afraid of feminine touches but don't overdo. You don't have to make your house look like a grubby sports bar or a mountain lodge in order to be a good wife. I think most guys appreciate our little feminine touches, whether that be lovely smelling candles, eye-catching color combinations, flowing curtains, wreaths or baskets, etc. However, be careful not to go overboard with doilies, lace, flowers, etc. I know someone who painted her entire room a very girly color and has the same color for her comforter and pillows. Every time I see it I pity her poor husband, who is actually a pretty macho guy, because I just can't picture him liking such a girlish bedroom.

*Find out his pet peeves in matters of the home and work to prevent them from happening. If your husband is really bothered by little things like squeezing the toothpaste from the top or putting the toliet paper in the dispenser a certain way, you can show him love by catering to his wishes. If he can't stand to see toys on the floor have the kids pick up before he comes home for supper. I tend to get interrupted doing dishes each day before I'm completely done and since I always save silverware for last (since I hate it) sometimes we run out of clean silverware. My husband hates not having a clean spoon for breakfast so I'm making an effort to always do spoons first and that way they get done every day. Your husband may like his pants ironed, a fresh towel every day, or the table clear of all paper piles. By honoring his preferences, you are honoring him and I'm sure he will be blessed!

*Use your gifts and talents to make a beautiful home. Into photography? Frame some of your best photos. Into sewing? Sew pretty napkins and table runners/cloths. Do you collect things? Set up a pretty display of your collection. Use your skills with painting, home decorating, art, bargain-shopping, gardening, etc. to make your home a haven. There are lots of great blogs out there that highlight creative ways to decorate or beautify our homes. and are two of my favorites.

*Simplify and Organize. Cut down on the amount of stuff you own and you will cut down on what you have to sort, clean, organize and manage. Most husbands won't complain about a de-cluttered and tidy home. However, make sure not to de-clutter his stuff without his permission =) After purging stuff, containerize the stuff that you do want to keep in order to stay organized. For us this meant buying several plastic tubs for various sizes of kids' clothes and for my crafting/sewing/scrapbooking supplies and gift stash. Always be on the lookout for containers that can help organize your junk. Boxes, trunks, baskets, tubs, buckets, drawers, dressers, shelves, etc.

*Clean your home on a regular basis. Easier said than done, right? Any husband who has spent a day (or even an hour) home with the kids knows that perfection isn't possible and he won't expect your home to look like a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. However, having an inch of mold caking the rim of the tub, or having so much dust in the house that your husband's allergies go beserk won't exactly spell En Gedi to him. There are seasons of life where cleaning takes a backseat (pregnancy, having a newborn, sick kids, surgery, etc.) but overall, keeping the home reasonably clean and neat should be a priority. I have tried the index card system and the binder system for home management and both of them work very well! Find a system that works for you to help you keep up with the housework.

What are some ways you bless your husband through your homemaking?

Stay tuned for a guest post later this week by one of my talented friends who made her bedroom a beautiful haven.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Being His En Gedi in Bed

Our first kiss on the lips at the altar on our wedding day. We practiced the dip, without the kiss, beforehand. It was well worth the long wait!

If you were hoping for something juicy you will be disappointed! I'm not going into detail on this one (after all, my Grandma, my mother-in-law, my brother, and our youth pastor read this blog and there are some things that shouldn't be shared!) but I will provide you with some very good links to sermons/talks on this subject. Meeting your husbands' sexual needs is biblical (1 Cor. 7:3-5) and a great way to refresh and encourage him and provide him with En Gedi (Song of Solomon 7:3-5).

Listen to Carolyn Mahaney's gracious talk, "Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Wife Needs to Know." She covers Grade A Passion using the 5 A's: Being attractive, available, anticipatory, agressive, and adventurous.

Yet again I will put a plug in for Mark Driscoll's series on the Song of Solomon, "The Peasant Princess."

Some questions from Driscoll to discuss as a couple:

On a scale of 1-10 how am I doing at loving you outside of the bedroom?

How can I do better?

On a scale of 1-10 how am I doing at loving you inside the bedroom?

How can I do better?

Other notes from Driscoll's sermons:

Sex IN MARRIAGE is for:





*spiritual warfare

Great Teaching on Sex:

The 2004 Desiring God National Conference "Sex and the Supremacy of Christ."

This area of marriage is an arena to learn to practice unselfishness. It would seem that in most couples I've heard of there is one person who tends to be more passionate than their spouse. Don't make the mistake of assuming this is always the man because many a wife suffers from deprivation. The spouse with greater desires has to learn to compromise by not demanding to be together as much as they'd like and the less passionate person has to find the oomph to be passionate a bit more than they'd prefer. As Driscoll says, "Marriage is not for our happiness, but our holiness."

If you are in the habit of depriving your husband, perhaps there are deeper issues that need to be solved. If your husband has a porn addiction or you have been abused in the past or you are hurting one another with your own selfishness outside of the bedroom then these things need to be dealt with in order for you to be En Gedi sexually for your husband.

If you struggle with fatigue in caring for young children Carolyn has some good advice in the talk I linked to above. One quote from her talk, "If the baby has kept you busy all day feed him peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and give him great sex afterwards, and he won't complain."

Sex is a very important part of creating En Gedi for your husband. Temptations abound in our world today and in taking care of his needs in this area you will find yourself blessed too and you will strengthen your marriage against the schemes of the devil.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Being His En Gedi through Friendship and Affection

Part of cultivating a restful place for our husbands to recharge and relax is to comfort them with friendship and affection also known as love. This can be difficult to remember if all day long there are little ones tugging at you and demanding help with everything. Remembering to treat your husband as you would like to be treated goes a long way. Here are some things that come to my mind that could show him you care. Some of this may fall under respect and some under love, but my husband wants both, and I'm sure yours does too!

*Happy countenance. Greet him with a smile and a warm welcome. Encourage the kids to get excited when Daddy comes home.

*Focus on him. Do your best to not be on the phone when your husband comes home or to not gab on the phone with friends all the time during the time he is home. Don't ignore him by being glued to the TV, the internet, your book (oops!), your cell phone, your Ipod, or even your kids.

*Peace and quiet. Give him a breather before you unload the frustrations of your day or mention weighty topics. Encourage the kids to be quiet and not tackle him unless that's waht he wants. Serious discussions are best done when the kids are in bed since they don't seem to handle being ignored very well!

*Touch. Give him hugs and kisses throughout the day to communicate your love for him.
Minister to him through massage. Especially for those of us whose husbands work their muscles unceasingly all day long, massage can be such a comfort and a help to them when they are weary and sore. We exchange at least 3 or 4 massages a week as I have a bad neck and he often has a sore back.

*Do things with him. Some guys love just being in the same room with their wives even if they are doing two separate things (like playing on the computer and reading). Some guys enjoy playing board games, watching a movie together, or reading books aloud together. Spend time together, even if it's just getting different projects accomplished while in the same area of the house.
*Sharing in his hobbies. Take an interest in what he likes. This is probably the hardest thing for me as my husband really likes listening to music and I would much rather listen to theological debates or sermons all day long. I enjoy music and we both listen to Christian music, but we don't share the same passion for it and I don't like most of the same bands he does. So, if I sat down with him and asked him to show me some audio clips of some new bands he likes, he'd be in "Hog Heaven" (whatever that means!) We do enjoy singing worship songs together as a family when he pulls out his guitar and plays. My sister-in-law is a good example of this principle in that she actually sits down and watches videos of how to put an engine together with her mechanic husband. Some women curl up on the couch with their hubbies for a football or basketball game.

*Words of affirmation. My husband really enjoys verbal expressions of love throughout the day. I can tend to forget this and be like those guys who say, "Why should I tell ya I luv ya? I told ya at the altar and nothing has changed!" I've made an effort to be more expressive in this area and tell him I love him several times a day.

*Gifts. If your husband really appreciates little gifts, leave little cards or surprises for him in his office, lunch box, or dresser drawers. Buy him little things, and, if you can swing it, a big thing now and then to show him how much you care and how much he was on your mind.

*Listen. This is HUGE! Listen, listen, listen!!! It's not always easy and sometimes our brains want to be thinking about other things instead of listening to our husbands talk in vivid detail about the inner workings of our vehicles or the big hunt they went on but it shows respect and love to him if we can give our husbands our full attention. We listen to our girlfriends and we want to be listened to so we should be listeners too.

*Kind words. Who wants to come home to a biting, sarcastic wife who puts her husband down or makes jokes at his expense? It's okay to laugh with him over stuff, but if you are nagging, nasty, crass, or rude, you aren't providing your husband with a retreat from the harsh world.

*Don't treat him like a servant. It's shocking how many wives do this. They forget that their God-given design was to be a helper and a completer to the man and instead enjoy being the boss. We don't nag our friends or expect them to cater to our every whim so we ought not to treat our husbands that way either. It's fine to ask for help but do so with a gentle attitude and not as a Drill Sergeant.

*Speak well of him. Praise him in front of others (without being sickeningly sweet and annoying) and spread good gossip about him whenever you have the chance. Refuse to fall into the peer pressure of dissing on your husband or all guys in general even if all of your girlfriends are doing so.
*Talk! Share your own heart with him and be vulnerable. When a couple isn't spending time talking, it can be easy to drift apart. While you may not ever again have 6-hour marathon chats like you did during the courting/engagement stages, it's still important to have time to talk without interruptions and share your concerns, your fears, your joys, your plans, etc. To have a successful and deep friendship you must be willing to give of yourself through honest communication.

Did I miss anything here? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I definitely don't claim to be an expert or be perfect in all of these things that I am highlighting in my En Gedi posts. I have studied a ton of books on biblical marriage and I do have an amazing marriage that is beyond what I could have ever dreamed possible. These tips in my "Being His En Gedi" posts are by no means exhaustive but I share them because they truly do aid in having a wonderful marriage. I welcome your input here too! Many of the ideas in this post were taken from "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.
Check out the previous two posts on this series:

(Tomorrow's post will cover Being His En Gedi in Bed...)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Being His En Gedi with Food

In my first post on Being His En Gedi, I talked about how it all starts with a good attitude! Now, we will move on to food. What man doesn't thoroughly enjoy good things to eat? My husband has always said that if I threw a bag of Doritos on the table and called it dinner, he would be happy. He's not picky and doesn't complain. However, he does enjoy vegetables and whole-grain breads and having a good diet. He also really enjoys when I make a special effort to make something he is especially fond of! Here are some ways that I have tried to be En Gedi to my husband in the area of food:
*I don't make things he doesn't like. This has always been very simple for me since he's not picky and usually eats anything and is okay with trying new things. I honestly can't think of anything offhand that he truly doesn't like (except maybe saurkraut and I don't like it either) and so I don't have to worry too much about this. My mother-in-law has been a great example in this area in that she doesn't bring onions, garlic, popcorn, or spicey things into the house as my father-in-law can't bear the smell. Even though she would really like to cook with those things, she doesn't for his sake.
*In general, try to make things he especially likes. I don't enjoy hotdogs but always make sure to get some of his favorite kind throughout the summer to throw on the grill. For the most part we like the same foods and so we eat a lot of our favorites often.
*Special Spoiling. Every now and then I do "Spoil Hubby" week where I plan 7 days worth of his favorite meals and desserts. He loves it! Why don't I make every night a Spoil Hubby night? Well, because we're on a budget, I can't always buy the ingredients for his all-time favorites, and because of the pace of life, I can't whip up a pumpkin pie every day (and that wouldn't be great for our waistlines either!) Spoil Hubby week is a lot like eating out at a restaurant for a week straight, so it's more fun if it's rare and something he can anticipate!
*Snacks on hand. Snacks seem to evaporate into thin air around here because my kids are big snackers and my husband has a metabolism that burns about twice as much as the average male (or so it seems!) When King Jo is home, he's snacking every hour or two, and yet he hasn't gained a pound in 10 years! If I want his home to be a place of refreshment and delight for him, I know to keep these things on hand: honey roasted peanuts, saltine crackers, pears, apples, granola bars, Doritos, homemade peanut butter cookies, muffins or homemade bread, olives, jalapenos or pickles, tortilla chips and Pace salsa, and especially ICE-CREAM!!!
*Meals: My hubby gets up first and usually helps the kids get breakfast so that is a blessing. He's totally not a cooked-breakfast type of guy so a bowl of cereal is what he prefers (and hey, I don't mind sleeping in a bit!) Four out of five days a week he comes home for lunch and so I try to always have leftovers ready or something cooked up for lunch when he gets home. I love having him come home for lunch and the kids do too so I want to feed him well so he continues to do so and doesn't have to become a grab-lunch-at-McD's kind of guy (which is both expensive and unhealthy!) My goal is to always have dinner ready or almost ready when he gets home. There are rare occasions where we have been running errands or had something special going on where this doesn't happen, but normally I do because I always think about how hungry I would be if I was lifting house logs all day in the scorching sun. I usually ask him what time he will be home for supper before he leaves home on his lunch break, since it varies a little bit from day to day.
*Packed lunches: I used to have to pack lunches for King Jo every day when we were first married. For the first year of our newlywedded bliss I would put little love notes in his lunch each day. The guys at the lube place where he worked got such a kick out of his daily notes. Currently, my hubby only needs one packed lunch a week as he spends one lunch hour each week playing guitar with his buddy/accountability partner at our church. If he goes logging for work, which they do about once a week during the fall, I try to pack a very hearty lunch with lots of energy-boosting nutrients and some Gatorade or Propel as they are often working 12 or more hours on those days. I find that due to my hubby's early mornings and my zombie-like state in the morning I prefer to pack lunches the night before. I still try to do notes now and then to let him know how much we all appreciate his back-breaking labors.
I love to cook and have a lot of fun baking up desserts or bread or experimenting with new recipes. Of course, the reality is that it is a lot harder to cook with three little ones in our current stage of life. It takes planning ahead by mapping out meals and making a shopping list and trying to get all of the grocery shopping done once a week. During my morning sickness stages, my hubby has had to endure a lot of fast-food, sandwiches, and frozen dinners. If all of the kids are having a rough day or we've had lots of errands to run, meals around here are very simple. But, I am thankful for the way God has provided us with food/meals through the sweat of my husband's brow and want to bless him with good food!
Share your ideas on how you use food to make an En Gedi for your husband......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Being His En Gedi

One of the sermons I have listened to recently talks about how a wife can be En Gedi for her husband. I've heard this principle mentioned before in marriage books and have tried throughout our married life to make our home a place of peace and refreshment for my husband.

While I know my husband loves me no matter what and understands that life with 3 little ones can be chaotic, I still want to make an effort during this season of life to be and to maintain a place of refreshment for him. It's all too easy to just let life happen and let the kids' needs take precedence and if you don't proactively seek to build your marriage, you will find that it will naturally deteriorate. I don't want our lives to revolve around our kids and don't want our relationship to wither.
Making our home an En Gedi is easier said than done since our clean laundry seems to often flood the couch, toys often litter the floor, and our bedroom is cluttered due to lack of space and having to share it with Justus at night and Jeremiah during nap time. Of course I would love to have an enormous master bedroom with a patio overlooking the mountains, a hot tub or jacuzzi, and a cozy fireplace in front of a plush leather couch where we could retreat from the diapers and racecars and busy-ness of life. But since that isn't a reality right now, I have to figure out how to carve an En Gedi out of the things I do have.

Where it all starts:

I think making our homes and our bodies an En Gedi for our husbands starts with the attitude. What good is a spotless home if the wife in it is nagging/quarrelsome/easily angered? Maintaining an attitude of joy and greeting your hubby with a smile will bring him refreshment, even if the house looks like a tornado of junk hit!

Having an attitude of contentment and joy is only possible if one is cultivating a growing relationship with the Lord. "But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. " 1 Peter 3:4 Our outer beauty may pass away but inner beauty is unfading.

Daily giving ourselves to the Lord, seeking Him, reading His Word, and asking for His help, we can grow in the qualities that can make our homes an En Gedi.

Stay Tuned for Coming Posts on Being His En Gedi.......

Smiley Guy

Well, I guess it was only in my imagination that Justus was feeling really heavy lately. With his diaper and his pajamas on he is still only 11#! My kids tend to grow a lot right away and then fall to the bottom of the charts pretty quickly and hover at around the 10-20th percentile. I'm not sure how long he is but probably around 22 inches.

Local Deals

Just a note to my 4 readers from this county:

D's has a really good deal this week. Buy a huge, frozen Stouffer's lasagna on sale for $10 and using the coupons from the sale ad, get a bag of salad, a loaf of french bread, and a half gallon of ice-cream completely free! $10 for a whole meal! Now would be a good time to take a meal to someone who is sick or going through a hard time. For $10, you could swing by the store and grab this deal on your way to their house!

Also, Pamida has all their toys on 40% off and many things throughout the store are on good clearances. I'm not sure if all Pamidas are participating or just the local one here. This is a great time to grab Christmas gifts.

Frugal Friday: Frugal Nursing Helps

*Any male blog readers will probably want to skip this post!
Nursing in and of itself is very frugal and doesn't require a lot of extras. So, the less you can get by with the better! Some women don't ever pump or don't need nursing pads or special shirts, and that's great! But if you do, here are some ways to obtain those frugally.
*Nursing pump: Borrow from a friend, look at yard sales while you are pregnant, or check-out the rental options at your hospital or baby store. I got a hand-pump one for my first baby and it didn't work so well and broke quickly. I borrowed an electric one with my second baby and found a brand-new, still-in-the-box electric pump for less than $2 at the thrift store for my third! I didn't/don't need to pump much but it is handy if you plan to leave the baby with Daddy for a period of time or if you get engorged. My ultimate tip is do not spend hundreds of dollars on a pump until you know if you can really nurse or not or will even need to use it. Borrow one for a while or buy one cheaply at a yard sale until you can figure out if it is really worth the investment!
*Nursing Bras: Nursing bras are a joke! At least that's my humble opinion. I once asked a friend who was nursing so smoothly and quickly, what her trick was. She replied that she didn't use nursing bras but used a regular non-underwire comfort-fit bra and just quickly pulled it up and let the baby nurse and then pulled it down. I have followed in her footsteps with all of my kids now! If you are quite large, you can pull the breast out of the center of the bra and nurse and then tuck it back in. Much, much easier and more flattering than trying to snap those nursing bras back into place without looking! Plus, nursing bras cost way more than regular bras.
*Nursing Pads: (Pictured above) Instead of actually paying for those uncomfortable, scratchy paper disposable pads, make your own in an hour! I got some clearance remnant fabric at Wal-Mart when I was pregnant with Ali and made 16 pads (8 sets) in an hour. I traced a CD or a wide-mouth cup on a piece of paper to get a circle the size I wanted. I put a circle of thick, white fleece between two circles of soft flannel. I just zig-zagged around the edge of the 3 circles a couple of times and they were done! These pads have held up through 3 kids so far and super comfy and cost me $1 total to make all of them!
*Nursing tank-tops: I just found this awesome tip at a site by Mrs. Fussypants (can't remember the exact link). Buy some inexpensive tank-tops (Wal-Mart currently has nice ones on clearance for $1). Cut a slit in each side of the tank top for your breasts. Wear the tank-top under another shirt and that way when you go to nurse the baby, you lift up the top shirt, but the bottom tank stays tucked in, hiding all that post-baby belly flab that otherwise sometimes makes an appearance! Much cheaper than buying a nursing tank for $30-$50 in a retail shop!
*Nursing Covers: Lots of great online stores and sew-at-home moms make cute nursing covers. Check out or for some ideas. Basically, you can make your own by taking a lightweight cotton blanket or a good-sized receiving blanket and just sewing a strap on one side with a velcro piece on the opposite side so you can hook the strap around your neck when you are nursing, insuring that the baby doesn't yank your cover off.
Hope these tips make your nursing experience even cheaper and/or easier!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Doing Good To Your Husband

Girl Talk has been doing a series on Doing Him Good in recent days, referring to blessing your husband. Check it out!

I've mentioned that I've been listening to Driscoll on Song of Solomon. Go here to listen to the series. This week's sermon (#5) is largely on selfishness and applies to both singles and marrieds. At first my husband wasn't too interested in listening to the sermons with me, but I began offering him a long back massage while I listened to them and he ended up loving the sermons too and it has given us lots to talk about.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three 3 and Under--Getting Exercise

I'm at the stage where it can be challenging just to go to the bathroom, so exercise hasn't taken a major priority! However, here are the ways I try to get some exercise with 3 little ones 3 and under:
*Going swimming on Friday mornings. The kids run off energy and have a lot of fun and Mommy enjoys chatting with mom friends and soaking in the hot tub as well as swimming around in the baby pool with the kids.
*Going for walks. I often combine errands with walking since we are smack dab in the middle of town so almost everything is within 2 or 3 blocks including our bank, the thrift store, the grocery and movie stores, and friends houses and the parks are within walking distance too. It's a major workout to carry Justus in his Ergo and push the double stroller full of 63 pounds of kid!
*Doing my stretches and neck exercises a few times a day and having the kids try to do them with me. The main ones involve being on hands and knees so I will sometimes put Justus under me so he can look at Mommy while she does her stretches.
If I had the energy I could go to my parents' house and use my mom's brand-new fancy treadmill, but I haven't done that yet! How do you all work to stay in shape while being a busy mom?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In order to keep my blogreaders up to date on some of my favorite topics here, I thought I would combine them into one post!

Gentle Mother's Support Club: While some days it's easier to be gentle than others, yesterday I threw an all-out mommy tantrum when I discovered that Jeremiah had peed what seemed like gallons all over my bed, my down comforter, my sheets, my mattress pad, two huge spots on our mattress, his security blanket, his clothes, my pillow, and Justus' baby blankets. How he managed to soak everything, I have no idea but it was a LOT of work to take care of and I will never put him in a generic diaper again for naptime on my bed!!! Especially since my little guy is a drinker and can down a few large sippy cups in a meal. Sometimes when I blow it I wonder if I will ever change, ever be gentle, and ever be able to handle these frustrating things without going nuts. I wonder, how come after so many years of being a Christian I am still wrestling with my flesh so much, especially in this area? But then God reminded me that repentance is what a Christian is all about. I may sometimes be tempted to holler or blame when I'm upset but I am always convicted to repent to my kids and make things right with them and to seek God's forgiveness. And I do see God at work, changing me so that the episodes of failure are a lot less than they would be if I didn't have the Holy Spirit working in my life. It's scary to imagine what non-Christian parents might be doing to their kids.

Investing in Alathia: I haven't gone on a date with Ali in a while but we do try to read through her "A Little Girl After God's Own Heart" book often and we do little projects together when we can. She loves preschool and it's always fun to see what she's learning and to piggyback off of the learning she does there and re-inforce that. She remains a challenge but I do see her growing up and it's wonderful to hear good things about her from her teacher. I am trying to incorporate her in helping with more and more chores and in the area of becoming more independant.

Making my Home a Haven Monday:
Yesterday was amazing since I was able to get so much done in cleaning the kitchen and catching up on dishes. It had seemed like they would never get done due to Justus' fussyness for the last several days. He was such a good boy yesterday morning that I accomplished more in my kitchen in a couple of hours than I had been able to accomplish in at least a week or two! I was so excited to even have the opportunity to do dishes, how weird is that? When you are "chained to a baby" like a prisoner, dishes are nearly impossible to do. When he is old enough to ride on my back in the Ergo I will be able to do dishes easily!

PETS for Kids: (My blog version of a prayer group for our children: Petitions for Kids) My encouragement for the week is to share this simple idea of what our family does to pray for our kids:
King Jo and I have made it a habit to pray for the family members on the day of the week they were born. So, Jer on Wed, Myself on Thurs, Alathia on Friday, Justus on Sat. and King Jo on Sun. I guess this means we need two more kids, one born on Mon and one born on Tues! This focused prayer has been awesome because rather than just praying routine or quick prayers for our kids each evening, we are focusing on all the areas of one person's life and seeking to really cover them in prayer on their day. It doesn't take long and is a great way to bless your family members and grow closer to your spouse. Sometimes we pray after the kids are in bed, but sometimes we pray with the kids for the person of the day. Ali now asks, "Who's special day is it today?" I think she really loves getting prayed for and soaks it up! I know I do when it's my day to be prayed for!

Neighbor Update: What a shocker we have had this week as all of a sudden 2 neighbors just up and moved out of the blue! I guess we're not the only ones who don't like the rent increases! My hippie neighbor from next-door found something cheaper and the family on the other side of us, whom we didn't see much and whom never wanted to talk with us, decided to move too. It will be interesting to see who moves in! Jorge and Lupe have just a couple more weeks here and things with them have been going very good. I have accomplished most of the things on my list of 30 ways to bless their last 30 days, including getting their photo book with Bible verses done, taking them goodies, chatting with them, telling the girls the Wordless Book several times, etc. We will miss them but it will be so much quieter here when they are gone, unless someone else with wild kids moves in!

Personal updates: Justus had a really hard time in the last week ( I think it was some spaghetti sauce and spicier food I was eating) and I have had a lot less sleep than what he was letting me get before. He seems to be back to feeling good again in the last couple of days and I have decided that as much as I love spaghetti it's just not worth it to eat it right now! Pray for my neck as it doesn't seem to be doing good even though I've gone to the chiropractor a lot and do exercises for it several times a day. I am not sure what to do since I can't afford to just keep going to the chiro and yet not see lasting results. Pray for me if you think of it. In our financial news, we haven't had anyone taking out credit cards in our names and we are so thankful that they didn't get any of our money, even though they tried. Guard yourself against identity theft as it is so prevalent today!

Pouty pout pout

Justus often gets red eyes when he's upset!

I don't remember how much Ali pouted but I know she pouted a lot. However, I think that Justus has her beat on how often he sticks out his lip! Oddly enough, Jeremiah never pouted. I don't have a single picture of him doing the bottom lip thing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Review of the Ergo

Baby loves his Ergo!
My first day using the Ergo. I was nursing him using the carrier for support right before this pic was taken so that's why he's hanging sideways.
Until about 4 or 5 months Justus will ride with his legs together in a sort of side-saddle pose. When he is bigger, he can spread his legs, one coming out of each side of the carrier. When he has full head support he can ride on my back or on my hip in the carrier.
Grabbing onto his Daddy's shirt while being carried by Daddy.
At the cabin, carrying both of my boys! Jer loved riding in it and thought it was great fun! It was a good way to keep him out of trouble!
Daddy decides to try the carrier. Justus isn't centered correctly. These photos were taken before he realized that the baby's bum needs to be centered at your belly. That's why Justus looks likes he's hanging diagonally. I posted this so you could see the sleeping hood up (it clips to the shoulder straps). It can be used to keep sun or snow off of the baby too.

Well, I've had the Ergo for 2 and a half weeks now and I just can't imagine life without it! It's funny, because I heard all the raving reviews on it and yet I wasn't sure if it would really work for our baby or not or whether we'd end up using it much. That's why it is so awesome that it has a 90 day warranty and a full refund if you aren't satisfied! I have used my Ergo more than I ever dreamed possible and would never want to be without it again! I just wish I had known about it when we had our first two children! Why is it we're finding all the cool products or tricks 3 kids into this parenting thing?

Anyhow, these are just a few of the places/ways I've used the Ergo: on Ali's field trip to the pumpkin patch, at my relatives' cabin in the mountains, on walks, in grocery stores, in Wal-Mart and Walgreens, at church, at a Financial seminar at our church, at Bible Study, at a Ladies' Game Night, in the thrift store, in McDonald's, at the park, at friends' houses, doing chores around the house, sitting and reading, typing on the computer, running to the laundry room and back, etc. etc. King Jo was skeptical about it at first and didn't seem to have an interest in using it. But then one day he gave it a try and saw for himself how content and happy Justus is in it and he was sold. Just yesterday on the phone he was telling his dad all about this new baby carrier we have that is a "magical wonder." Before the Ergo, if I tried to run to Safeway for 15 minutes and left all the kids home, Justus would scream like crazy even if he had just been fed. The other day, i left for an hour to go to the chiropracter and King Jo just wore the baby in the Ergo and he was fine the whole time! Justus has been horribly fussy in the last week (not sure why but he's better today) and sometimes the only thing we could do was wear him. In recent days I'm sure I have worn him for at least 6 hours a day, sometimes more than that. Praise the Lord for the Ergo! Without it we'd have gone insane by now!

If you've ever tried a carrier that took multiple people and 20 minutes to put on, you'll love the Ergo. It goes on as quickly as putting on a school backpack, making it simple to wear your baby for quick tasks like taking out the garbage or running to the laundry room when you don't want to leave your baby with rowdy toddlers. If you've ever had slings that were knotted or homemade and you wondered if they would hold, you will love the Ergo because it always feel secure and safe for the child.

Things I love about my Ergo: You can use it with an infant and then on up to a 40# preschooler. It adjusts quickly to any size from petite woman to very tall man. It's well-padded, light-weight and comfy to wear. It was designed with the mother and baby's spinal support in mind and doesn't strain one's back or neck. I appreciate this since I have a bad neck. It's washable. It's sturdy. It's super easy to get the baby out if they want to be fed immediately or have fallen asleep and you want to lay them down in their bassinet. It comes with a front pocket where I stash a diaper and some wipes and pacifiers for handy access. It comes with a sleeping hood that you can use as a sun-shade or nursing cover or just to support a larger baby's head if they are sleeping in it. I can put this carrier on by myself and yet it's very secure, even when getting the child loaded into it. It has a nifty ring where I can clip my keys on the shoulder. It isn't confining when I wear it. I can sit comfortably, stand comfortably, dance, bend down and get stuff off the floor or even lift my other kids when I'm wearing it.

Nursing Access: Although it is tricky to figure out how to nurse in it, I have learned that if I just unbuckle the shoulder clip (behind my neck) and thus loosen the carrier up considerably, the baby can nurse laying sideways and I can wear one or both shoulder straps loosely to give the baby support so that one hand or both hands are free even while nursing. So, for example, I have been at the stovetop cooking with one hand and nursing the baby. Without the sling, it would be harder to hold the baby sideways to nurse and ensure that he was in the right position and was secure and not about to be dropped. Some women, as shown on the video that comes with the Ergo, can nurse the baby while wearing the carrier normally, with the baby being upright but it doesn't work out for me!

If I ever had a chance to sell or promote this product on my blog I totally would do it! It is the best baby carrier I have ever seen and worth every penny of the $105 it cost. I ordered through thanks to a blogreader's tip and I placed the order on a Monday morning and the carrier was in my hands by Thursday afternoon. They also sent a helpful how-to video and lots of pamphlets and brochures and even some of their favorite recipes. They even stocked the Ergo with little business cards so that if I'm out and about at the park and some other mommy wants to know where she can get one, I have cards! The shipping is free and you don't have to pay tax on the $105. It's a great investment in the amount of frustration it will save you as a parent. I especially recommend this carrier for moms of more than one child since it becomes more crucial, with every baby you have, that you have your hands free to deal with all of the needs of your older little ones.

*Note* This review was interrupted by Justus' screaming and so I put him in the Ergo and now I finish writing this recommendation wearing the proof!
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