Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: See-You-Later {Guest Post}

There has not been much free time for writing since returning from San Diego. The pre-planning I did by scheduling to have my lovely milspouse friend Sharita of 7 Days Time guest post today turned out to be wise planning on my part. And seeing that I just had another “see-you-later” moment her topic is rather timely.

Please help me give her a warm welcome by leaving some comment love after you read her post and link up. This girl always makes me smile. You will love her!!

By the way, the Love Dare series will continue. I'm taking a short term break with Dare 13 scheduled for Wednesday, August 13th. I have something else in the works for next week. You can catch up on previous posts in this series here.

Now back to welcoming Sharita . . .

As an army wife, I have had my fair share of “see-you-later” moments.

I call those challenging farewell experiences “see-you-later” moments because I despise the word goodbye. “Goodbye” seems so… final.

And if you are a Jesus lover like me, there is no finality to the separation with our fellow Jesus-lovers.

This truth alone gives me strength/courage/hope to get out of bed each day and face whatever challenges God has divinely placed in my path.

Although I sound all macho-rock-star-confident about the see-you-later moments in my life, I wasn’t always like that.

I remember my first “see-you-later” moment with my then-boyfriend-yet-soon-to-be-husband Brandon.

We met 4 months prior and were just a few short days from facing a 12-month see-you-later as he headed to Iraq for the third time.

We were head over heels crazy for each other, already talking about our post-deployment marriage plans once he returned from “The Sandbox.”

Brandon was my first (and only) real boyfriend.  I had only been legitimately walking with Jesus for a couple of months at that point. Needless to day, I was less than excited about the upcoming deployment.

As the days of togetherness drew to a close, the two of us joined his family for a wedding. I was going through the typical process of meeting oodles of his relatives. His great Aunt Nancy was quite a hoot—a woman who was loud, adorable, funny, and a lover of Christ.

I wanted to be her friend.  Until we got to the see-you-later moment.

As we were saying our “see-you-laters” to the extended family, everyone repeatedly told Brandon that they would be praying for him, to keep his head down, all the typical pre-deployment blessings.

Then came Aunt Nancy’s turn. She gave my Beloved a hug and kiss, told him she loved him and said the words I have yet to forget: “Take care of yourself, Brandon. I will see you later. If not on this side, then definitely the next.”

My stomach dropped to my toes. I wanted to find the nearest trashcan, grocery bag or potted plant because I thought I was going to throw up.

Dear. Lord. In. Heaven. He really is deploying. I might never see him again. What am I supposed to do? 

Then I heard God whisper: “Daughter, trust me. I have you both in my care. And since you both love me, you WILL see him again one way or another.” 

Honestly, that sentiment brought me little comfort in the moment. It did keep me from redecorating the nearest potted plant, but I was still a ball of nerves facing the rapidly approaching see-you-later deployment moment.

Thankfully, Brandon returned a year later and we were married two months after he was back on American soil. In the years since that very first see-you-later moment and heart-jarring statement from Aunt Nancy, we have had many, many more see-you-later moments ranging from a few days to a few weeks to several months.

And wouldn’t you know it? As my relationship with Christ has grown, so has my peace and confidence in the thought about not saying goodbye but embracing the promise of “see-you-later” within Christ.

You don’t have to be the spouse or parent of a military service member to embrace this see-you-later concept. We all have experiences where we are temporarily separated from those we love, be it due to miles, technology, life circumstances or even those Christ followers who have already been called home.

Dear readers, when we are facing a tough “see-you-later” experience in life, we should adopt an attitude like Aunt Nancy. We can say our see-you-laters with confidence, allowing His peace and promise to flow through our veins. We can face those hard moments with the knowledge that no matter what happens, we have hope that we will someday take part in the most glorious reunion…

Be it on this side or the next.

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Sharita Knobloch describes herself as a Jesus-loving, enthusiastically creative minister, writer, and Blackaby Spiritual Leadership Coach.  She loves encouraging others to find Jesus in the everyday and live in His light through blogging and coaching at 7 Days Time Ministry. She adores her family, specifically her Beloved U.S. Army Infantry husband Brandon, their sweet daughter Charis, and goofy little dog Justus. Sharita enjoys exploring her current “home” state of Washington, working on her love-hate relationship with running,  breaking in new journals with inky pens, and the occasional square of dark chocolate in the bathtub.

Connect with Sharita on her Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 9)

I have missed you lovely people. As I write I am still in San Diego. My flight home does not arrive back in Chicago until my bed time so I am keeping today's post short again.

What is your favorite summertime activity?

Bike riding has become a new favorite of mine. While exploring a marina in San Diego this past week I came across this cute old bike and now buying an old school bike is on my bucket list. A basket in the front is a must have.

Before next summer comes along I will be on the hunt for a fun old school bike and also one more appropriate for the purpose of exercise. Participating in a few bike races may need to be a new goal of mine.

When my husband is around, we love going to street festivals in downtown Chicago during the summer. Our true favorite activity though . . . relaxing on our front porch together. Not much activity in that but right now the thought of having him by my side again sounds way better than a bike ride.

How about you? I do love hearing from you and getting to know you better.

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Up next week . . . because being around boats for several days has me adding owning a boat to my bucket list . . . If you could buy a boat what would you name your boat? I figured you may need a week to ponder this question.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Be fully present

I'm here . . .

And plan to be fully here.

“Wherever you are, be all there." - Ann Voskamp

In the spirit of my Love Dare journey, I leave you with this . . .
Would you help love on our community of writers this week for me since I will be unable to make any rounds? If you are able to visit a few more friends than usual to leave comment love it would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, did you notice there is now a featured Three Word Wednesday post on my blog page every week? Look down the right side bar. Super cool!!

Wishing you blessings upon blessings.

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Now it's your turn to share three words.

  1. Choose three words.
  2. Share a post, photo, scripture — anything that highlights the three words you have chosen. (link up your post URL, not your blog homepage).
  3. Family-friendly posts only. Anything else will be removed.
  4. Grab the Three Word Wednesday button on my home page to use in your post or include a link back to my blog.
  5. Find someone (or a few) to encourage with a comment.
  6. We can also connect on Twitter with the #ThreeWordWednesday hashtag.
  7. Don't have a blog? Share your three words in the comments or on my blog Facebook page.
  8. Help spread the word and get others involved.
  9. If you are linking up for the first time please include the word "NEW" in your link title.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 8)

This week I am headed to San Diego to spend a few days with my son and daughter-in-law before my son leaves on his first deployment.

Of course I wish they lived closer to home (home being a suburb of Chicago).

City of Chicago

However, there are no complaints over visiting them in San Diego. Let's just say . . . I'm a big fan.

City of San Diego

My son was stationed in Washington, D.C. his first two years in the Navy. I visited him five times during the two years he lived there. It's a quick two hour flight from Chicago with a reasonable airfare. Tears were shed when the time came for them to leave D.C.

As much as I love San Diego, I love D.C. even more.

Washington, D.C.

Maybe my love stems from memories made. Our first official family vacation included a stop in D.C. We were only there a day and a half but not a moment was wasted. The monuments, Smithsonian Museums, National Zoo, National Cathedral and Arlington National Cemetery all received our attention.

Many memories were made during the two years my son resided there . . . too many to summarize in a single post. Here's one more photo though.

I love the memories we have from our times together in D.C. My love for D.C. runs even deeper than memories though. For me the city of D.C. breathes a willingness to love others above yourself no matter the cost. And that gives this Jesus girl who has a heart to love with the same willingness goosebumps.

[I wrote a post in February 2013 which also speaks to my love for D.C. You can read here.]

Do you have a favorite city? A favorite city you have visited or perhaps you live in your favorite city? As always, feel free to share any pictures on my blog Facebook page.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Be perfectly united

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10

God works in amazing ways.

This week’s love dare (Dare 12) in The Love Dare book is titled, "Love lets the other win." On Sunday my church kicked off a study on 1 Corinthians. When I read Chapter 1 in my own study time, the verse from 1 Corinthians 1:10 jumped off the page at me. It sounded rather similar to the message given in Dare 12.

I can only describe the timing of the two readings as God’s perfect timing.

Neither suggested there are not things worth standing up for and protecting. The message is, and always is, to let love guide our behavior. And love will only guide our behavior when Christ comes first in our life, for He is love.

As I wrote in my post for Dare 11 (Love cherishes), when we say “I do” to our spouse we became one. Disagreements will come in a marriage. But when we mistreat our spouse, we also mistreat ourselves. Therefore, we need to let His love lead us toward the “perfect unity in mind and thought” which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 1:10.

In the Life Application Bible study notes for 1 Corinthians 1:10 it says to “Focus on your coach, Jesus Christ, and the purpose he has for you. Strive for harmony.”

Before we allow feelings to lead our behavior, we breathe in and breathe out and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us. I know, easier said than done at times. I'm preaching to myself too.

My pastor titled the sermon series on 1 Corinthians, “Growing Pains.” It sounds more and more appropriate to me. Those two words describe a marriage well, don't you think? There are pains but God uses them to bring growth.

The writers of The Love Dare describe how we are to have an attitude of willingness toward our spouse. We talked about willingness in Dare 2 (Love is kind).

“It’s an attitude and spirit of cooperation that should permeate our conversations. It’s like a palm tree by the ocean that endures the greatest winds because it knows how to gracefully bend” (pg. 57).

The greatest example of willingness is in Jesus Christ. He willingly endured the cross for our sins.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Instead of being stubborn when disagreements come to get our way, let’s be like a palm tree by the ocean. The love dare . . . let’s be willing to bend by demonstrating love to our spouse. “Surrendering a battle may actually be the best way to greater victory” (pg. 58).

p.s. I normally spend significantly more time preparing my posts but time has been limited. I'm praying my message came across as intended and grammatical errors are limited. Thank you for your grace.

p.s.s. My son and his wife are now in town. If you are able to visit the person who links up before and after you to help make sure everyone is visited it would be greatly appreciated. I hope to still make some rounds but time online will be limited.

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind
Dare #5: Love is not rude
Dare #11: Love cherishes

Next week: Love fights fair

Monday, July 14, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 7)

I spent very little time at home this past weekend which meant there was no time for writing. Hence, I'm bringing you a short and simple post for Volume 7 of Get to Know You Monday.

We celebrated 50 years of marriage for my amazing and wonderful parents throughout the weekend. I captured the below photo right after they renewed their vows. They celebrated 50 years of marriage but their relationship actually began when in the eighth grade. Awesome, indeed!!

And 50 years of marriage gave them this . . . 10 children.

I am the 4th oldest. There are two sets of twins in the family. The two before me are twin girls and the youngest are twin boys. My parents thought they were done after eight children and were pleasantly surprised to find out my mom was pregnant again and with twins!

There are 20 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Another grandchild is on the way. (Not all included in photo; like mine are missing.)

Of course I brought my husband along for the celebration. #photobomb

I'm sharing one more picture with my man from the evening simply because I can.

That husband of mine comes from a family of seven boys. He is the youngest of the seven. Each brother is married and has a beautiful family of their own. So our family gets bigger and bigger.

As you all should know, we have two boys and a lovely daughter-in-law.

So what are we discussing today for Get to Know Your Monday? Who is your family? Tell me anything you would like to share. As always, if you have a picture to share come on over to my blog Facebook page.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Randomness (Vol. 29)

Scripture speaking to my heart

"I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God." - Psalm 9:1-2

What am I reading?

I'm pondering reading The Srewtape Letters by C.S. Lewis next since it has been on my list for quite some time. In the meantime, on Monday friends shared what they are reading for Get to Know You Monday. There may be a few books mentioned you will want to add to your list.

A few of my favorite blog reads

The Word of God Says in Jesus Christ . . . Only In Him, by Linda of Being Woven

That God shaped hole that exists deep within our souls; that yearning for unconditional acceptance and a love worth dying for; those deep soul desires can only be filled through a relationship with the One true God. The Great Game Changer, by Lori of Standing With The Military Family

Our stories and our words are a vessel of love, a life raft for souls that are sinking. Stars that shine through the darkness. Your Life: A Story Worth Sharing by Matt Ham

The truth is, we sacrifice our freedom on the altar to fear when we measure the size of the waves instead of the size of His hands. How We Measure the Size of the Waves by Diane Bailey

As I wash the sand away and place my small treasures in my pocket, I am reminded to appreciate the simple, imperfect steps toward wholeness and growth. Grace to appreciate what is rather than find fault with what is not. No Ordinary Moments: Discover Grace in the Small Things, By Ginger

More great links

Because summer is here, 13 online stops for you via Outside the City Gate

Blog coaching

My lovely friend Linda of Creekside Ministries is offering a professional 1-1 coaching relationship that is personally crafted to be uniquely yours alone. Find out more here. I spent 30-minutes with her a while back and found our time together to be incredibly helpful.


Find great stories and creative ways to save and give in the new #ImpactEzine.

Blog Hop tour thingy

Have you seen it going around? I have been invited several times to participate and each invite makes it harder to pass on. With the desire to spend less time writing and online I've decided now is not the time for me. But I'm enjoying getting to know writing friends better from what they share and meeting a few of their friends. If you have participated I would love for you to share a link to your post in the comments?

Prayer request

My heart is hurting for my youngest son. He has a broken heart right now and as his mother I wish I could take his pain away. I won't share details but could you please pray for his heart to be encouraged? Thank you, friends.

Wishing you many blessings this weekend.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: I cherish you

When I said “I do” to my husband we became one. “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:28-29). We are a part of each other. What one experiences, we both experience. When one is hurting or going through a difficult time we should go to great lengths to show love.

The word cherish is defined as “to feel or show great love for” or “to make warm.”

My husband currently serves in harm’s way in a country that lacks any kind of warmth. I know the months away from home have been difficult on him. As his wife, I need to be the one to bring warmth to his life and heart.

Dare #11: How can you warm the heart of your spouse today? Look for opportunities to bring warmth to the coldness in his life? If possible, give them an unexpected, tender touch. Choose a gesture that says, “I cherish you.” And do it with sincerity.

I am unable to give my husband “an unexpected, tender touch” with him being on the other end of the world. My opportunities to bring him warmth are through exchanged messages and brief phone conversations. I am always sure to express delight when I hear from him. This isn't hard to do when you are counting the days, hours and minutes until you connect.

I told my husband when I finally see his face again (we've been unable to Skype the past month) I will do a cartwheel.

Before he deployed I had hopes of sending him a handwritten note weekly. He treasured the letters he received from me when he was away from home for his basic training. A handwritten note warms the heart, don’t you agree?

We have been able to talk frequently during our time apart so I have only sent him a few handwritten notes. It’s late in the game for me to make up for lost time. I do plan to slip in one or two letters before I can no longer send him mail.

There is still a desire to check off this love dare by choosing a gesture that communicates, “I cherish you.”

I also had hopes of reading the book The 5 Love Languages Military Edition. While I have not read yet there is still time. It now resides on my iPad. To get a head start, I explored for quick ideas on how to fill my husband’s “love tank.” To fill his love tank I need to know his love language.

The 5 Love Languages referred to in the book are:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

I’m certain my husband would say his love language is physical touch. With physical touch not an option for me, I decided to go with a secondary option of “acts of service.” Acts of service means doing things you know your spouse would like you to do.

My husband takes pride in maintaining our home. I know serving him on the home front by tending to our home is important to him. I am grateful he hired professionals to help keep our home clean and grass cut but there are many other neglected areas.

To express my love for him through acts of service I decided to take care of a few things around the home I knew he would appreciate. To be able to tell him I pulled weeds and cleaned the the garage brought a smile to my face. Okay, there are still many more weeds to pull. I did find the time spent on these two projects to be refreshing. Go figure.

There will be less writing and time online while I continue tending to our home. He did not demand or even ask this of me; I choose to do out of love.

My son and his wife will also soon be home for a visit. I will then join them in California for a few days before my son deploys. I know focusing on our children communicates to my husband, “I cherish you and our children.”

What is your spouse's love language? How about yours?

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind
Dare #5: Love is not rude
Dare #11: Love cherishes

Next week: Love lets the other win

Monday, July 7, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 6)

It was a difficult holiday weekend for me and I am glad it's over. For the most part, I disconnected from social media as I could not bear to see pictures of families celebrating the day together. The pictures made my heart ache for mine to be together again. That day won't come for us until mid-2015 with my son deploying before my husband returns home.

There were many tears shed the eve of the 4th of July. Morning came and I took off for peace and solitude at the Morton Arboretum. My heart hurt for what I did not have but God is good ALWAYS. He gave me just what I needed . . . Him.

Before placing myself on the bench in the photo above I clocked in 27 miles on a rented bike. I rode on paved roads that wind though the expansive grounds of the Morton Arboretum and it was glorious.

You could say I collapsed on the bench at the end of my ride because my legs were tired. I lied on that bench for two hours drinking in the sun and began reading A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga. I'm loving every word and may actually finish the book within a weeks time.

The 4th did end with beautiful fireworks. I was grateful my youngest son and his girlfriend were able to join me for the show.

The disconnection from all things social media and blogging was needed. My online presence will continue to be limited throughout July. Please know you are always in my thoughts and prayers . . . all of you are.

How did you celebrate America's birthday and what are you reading? Since some of you may not be from the USA, I made this a two part question. You could also share a favorite moment from your weekend.

If you have a picture to share come by my blog Facebook page and you can share there.

P.s. I'd love for you to check out a special project I had the privilege of being a part of. Click on the image below to be directed to the Summer Edition of IMPACT with Simplicity with Savings.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Love is unconditional

A month after my husband returns home from his deployment we will celebrate 24 years of marriage. Twenty-four years ago we said the traditional wedding vows to one another: “I promise to love you, comfort you, honor and keep you for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health and forsaking all others, be faithful only to you so long as we both shall live.”

In Dare 10 of The Love Dare book the writers say, “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional.” The Bible refers to an unconditional love by using the Greek word agape.

Agape love is ‘sickness and health’ love, ‘for richer or poorer’ love, ‘for better or worse’ love. It is the only kind of love that is lasting, unchanging, true love.” (pg. 47)

Agape love is God’s kind of love.

We did not know God on our wedding day or for the next 20 years of our marriage. I did not love my husband with an unconditional, agape love. Instead of an unchanging love no matter the circumstances, my love swayed based on how I felt. When hard times came our way my feelings toward my husband changed. Twice I told him I no longer loved him and left seeking better.

I've felt shame from the decision I made to leave my husband and the mistakes I made which led up to it. Leaving meant I had failed to honor the commitment to love him no matter the circumstances. Even though we were both guilty of providing reasons for the other to want out, I will only speak to the shame in my own heart for how deeply I hurt him.

But God (my favorite two words in the Bible) is a God who forgives all our sins.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” - 1 John 4:10

While I speak of God’s forgiveness, I found my way back into my husband’s arms before we accepted Christ as our Savior.  We were together again and attempting to get by on our own strength; a strength we did not have. Our love for one another still tossed back and forth from the storms that came our way.

How could we love one another with God’s kind of love if we hadn't placed our trust in Him? To love one another with an unconditional, agape love, God needs to be the foundation of our lives and not each other.

Thankfully, someone took the time to share the words said by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-5 with me and led me to the hope found in Him. “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5). Those words began the journey of a relationship with Christ. It was a different person and words for my husband but by God’s grace the journey began for both of us.

Until we accepted His forgiveness, I do not think either of us realized how deep our need had become. Even more than forgiveness, we longed for an unconditional love . . . a love we were unable to give until we had received for ourselves. Unlike the expectation we placed on one another, we did not need to prove ourselves worthy of God’s love. “He doesn't love us because we are lovable, but because He is so loving.” (pg. 47)

God chooses to freely give His love to us. Love is a choice. And the choice begins by allowing God into our hearts so His love can grow in us. An unconditional love does not come from within. An unconditional love, an agape love, comes from God.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” - 1 John 4:7-8

I left my husband seeking love elsewhere when all along the love I wanted could only be found through faith and trust in the One who is love. Because of Him, I am free from the shame of past mistakes and have been made new.  I will therefore speak of His goodness and what He has done for me and my marriage all the days of my life with the hope of leading others to Him. For it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.

I choose God.
I choose Love.

And I will pray for God to help me love my husband with an unconditional, agape love so my marriage is a reflection of His perfect love.

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind
Dare #5: Love is not rude

Next week: Love cherishes