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Never Enough Time?

"If you don't have the time to do the things that you ought to do, it means that you've tried to do something God hasn't called you to." - Jennifer Flanders

My husband and I are both list makers by nature, but we approach our lists differently.

I’m all about the details, which is why I’ve been known to start the New Year with as many as seven type-written pages of goals and resolutions.

My husband, on the other hand, tries to boil down his goals into as few words as possible. During his first year of residency, the goal was SURVIVE. Another year, his mantra was READ, WRITE, & RUN.

He informed me a few days ago that his goals for our family this year are going to be DISCIPLINE and JOY — as in, the more disciplined we are about doing what ought to be done, the more joy we’ll experience as a result.

I think he’s onto something.

Left to myself, I tend to set wildly unrealistic goals. I guess I’ve bought into the it’s-better-to-shoot-for-the-stars-and-get-off-the-ground-than-aim-for-a-lamppost-and-stay-where-you-are way of thinking.

The problem is, I sometimes let what should be secondary or tertiary goals take precedence over far more important priorities. Typically, the lesser goals are more easily quantifiable and don’t depend on anybody but myself, so I’m often tempted to work on those even when I know I should be working on something else.

This is especially true when my accomplishing something else depends on someone else who is being uncooperative or resistant or is in some other way thwarting my progress.

But that’s where the discipline and joy come in, which is why Scripture tells us:

  • “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
  • “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

And that sums up my New Year’s resolution this year: I want to tend to the things that matter most, doing my work joyfully and whole-heartedly, and not growing weary, even if I don’t get the results I’m hoping for right away.

I still have a huge list of stuff I’d like to accomplish this year — certainly more than I could ever get done in my own strength. But God has promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19), and that includes giving me the time I need to do the things that matter most to Him.

Of course, when I’m disciplined about doing the things I ought to do, I have less time for doing the things I’d like to do. That much should be obvious.

What isn’t so obvious is the fact that, when I’ve tended to first things first, I’m usually far more productive with the time that’s left over.

Like loaves and fishes, when I give each day to God, when I’m intentional about stewarding it wisely, when I faithfully do what He’s called me to do, there are enough fragments of time left over that I can make a serious dint in my dream-big list of goals, as well.

So that’s my plan for 2015. What’s yours?

25 Ways to Communicate Respect

Living with a Thankful Heart

"... never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - JFKWe need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks is something that we are commanded repeatedly in Scripture to do. Obviously, it is important to God for His children to be grateful.

Space won’t permit me to list all the references here, but consider this small sampling of verses:

• “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
• “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
(Colossians 3:17)
• “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ …”
(Ephesians 5:20)
• “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name….”
(1 Chronicles 16:8)
• “Enter His gates with thanksgiving…. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
(Psalm 100:4)

We owe a debt of gratitude to God, but this attitude should also spill over into our relationships with others, as well. Our lives and our conversations should be marked by expressions of thankfulness toward our fellow man.

And that goes double for the members of our own household.

Don’t take your husband for granted. Express genuine appreciation for everything he does for you, whether great or small.

Always say thank you. But don’t stop there. Real gratitude runs much deeper than words. It extends far beyond anything we can verbalize.

Our thankfulness should affect not only how we think, but also how we live and how we treat the people around us.


This post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, winner of the CSPA 2014 “Book of the Year” Award. (affiliate link)

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Life with You is Awesome

The children and I have been working on this little surprise for Father’s Day, based on the theme song from The Lego Movie. Of course, it’s almost impossible to keep a secret in a household our size. Since Daddy already found out about it, I decided to publish a week early.

You’ll have to excuse the audio. Rap music is clearly not the forte of this classically trained soprano, but we had a great time putting it together, anyway… because “everything is awesome when you’re part of a team.”

And for those who are inclined to sing along, here are the lyrics for our version:

Life with You Is Awesome!

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

Married life is better when we work together.
Side by side, you and I gonna stick together, in all kinds of weather.
Man and wife, I love you, you love me, we’re both working in harmony.

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

(Woooo!) 3, 2, 1. Go!

Have you heard the news? Everyone’s talking.
Life is good and people are gawking.
Baby’s due, our family is growing.*
We’ve got love and joy overflowing.

Life with you is full of adventures
I’ll love you even when you have dentures.
Food in my teeth? Oh, that’s just awesome.
Next time, tell me when I need to floss ‘em.**
Love is blind — now I know that’s true.
It’s so awesome to be loved by you (be loved by you).

Married life is better when we work together.
Side by side, you and I gonna stick together, both now and forever.
Man and wife, I love you, you love me, we’re both working in harmony.

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

Marriage vows, wedding rings,
I just named two awesome things.
Pledged my love, said, “I do.”
You know what’s awesome? Life with you!

Clean, fresh sheets upon our bed, a feather pillow for my head.
Let’s go soak in a hot jacuzzi.
Not too long, or we’ll get woozy.

Pools, tools, jewels.
They’re awesome.
Girls with curls and pearls.
They’re awesome.
Boys enjoy their toys.
That’s awesome!
Every day of life as man and wife
Is awesome!

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.


* As far as we know, there are no babies currently on the way, although it is probably just a matter of time, at least as far as grandchildren are concerned!
** This really did happen, although (thankfully) not at the wedding. It was actually on one of our first dates, when I got a whole black peppercorn lodged between my top central and lateral incisors and didn’t realize it was there until the date was over. Doug still claims he never noticed.

Let Them Know

This month, we’ll be celebrating the greatest love story ever told. I know Good Friday is still a week away, but I finished the following video a little early and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

For almost eighty years, Disney has been captivating our imaginations with beautifully rendered fairy stories. But as J.R.R. Tolkien explained to C.S. Lewis, the Gospel provides us with an authentic, eye-witness account of a fairy tale that’s true.

The world may not need yet another cover of Frozen’s award-winning “Let it Go,” but it desperately needs the message embedded in this version. Let it’s truth sink into the depths of your heart and resonate within: Christ Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

Let Them Know

I was lost and alone in the darkness of night, (Luke 19:10)
I was blind, but now I see, (John 9:25)
Imprisoned in isolation (Galatians 3:23)
Till my Savior set me free. (Luke 4:18)

Now His love fills me like a swirling sea inside, (John 7:38)
Couldn’t keep it in, even if I tried. (Acts 4:20)

I’ve been forgiven, been set free — (Acts 13:38-39)
I’m not the same girl that I used to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It’s real, I feel His blessings flow (Psalm 21:6)
And my faith grow. (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

Let them know, let them know — (Psalm 109:27)
Can’t hide the fact anymore. (Luke 11:33)
Let them know, let them know (Mark 16:15)
Jesus’ love has opened the door. (Luke 11:9)

His command (Mark 4:39)
Wind and waves obey. (Luke 8:25)
Let the storm rage on — (Psalm 50:3)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Romans 8:38-39)

It’s funny how God’s greatness (Psalm 145:3)
Makes everything seem small, (Psalm 8:3-4)
And the fears that once controlled me (2 Timothy 1:7)
Can’t get to me at all. (Luke 1:74)

It’s time to see what God can do, (1 Samuel 12:16)
In every test He’ll see me through. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
My debt’s been paid, no guilt for me — (Romans 8:1)
I’m free! (Romans 8:2)

Let them know, let them know (Psalm 83:18)
Christ alone has the power to save. (Acts 4:12)
Let them know, Let them know (1 John 4:14)
He has triumphed over the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Here I stand (Ephesians 6:13)
In Christ I’ll stay. (John 15:4)
Let the storm rage on. (Matthew 7:25)

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Left Heaven’s throne room up on high, (2 Corinthians 8:9)
He took on flesh (John 1:14, Philippians 2:6-8)
And came to earth poor sinners for to die. (Mark 10:45)
Though in a tomb they laid Him (Acts 13:29)
Once He’d breathed his last, (Mark 15:37)
By God’s amazing grace, (1 Timothy 1:14-15)
It couldn’t hold Him fast! (Acts 2:24)
Let them know, let them know (Acts 2:32)
Christ arose like the break of dawn. (Luke 24:6)
Let them know, let them know (Romans 10:14)
Satan’s claim on me is gone. (Romans 6:14)

Redeemed I’ll stand (Psalm 107:2)
On the Judgement Day. (Hebrews 9:27, 1 John 4:17)
Let the storm rage on — (Proverbs 10:25)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Jeremiah 31:3)

12 Pins that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Since we all know that laughter is the best medicine, and since every April Fool’s prank I’ve ever pulled has backfired, I thought I’d celebrate today by spreading a little sunshine instead of playing tricks. Here are a dozen pins I’ve spotted on Pinterest that have actually made me laugh out loud. I hope you’ll find them funny, too:

1. Indisputable Findings

I was initially excited to think that the little extra weight I’m carrying might benefit me somehow… then I realized this was written in jest. It’s undoubtedly an accurate observation, but a joke all the same.


2. An Honest Mistake

Those expressions are so priceless! I’d be a little afraid of making such a mistake myself if I had two babies at a time to care for. Don’t know how mothers of twins manage!


3. A Tough Decision

It would be in poor taste to play it, 50-point bonus or not. But he could play “veins” or “noise” instead and still get a double letter score out of it.


4. Old Habits Die Hard

I’ve often been tempted to do the same thing.


5. Thanks for Telling Us

Too late to do anything about it now…


6. The Inimitable Bill Cosby

He’s got that right!


7. Beware of Eye Strain

I’m sure this is what I must look like when I try to thread a needle early in the morning. Fortunately, most of my kids sleep through that spectacle.


8. I Love Nerdy Humor

(H2O is water, of course, but H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. Nobody would want to drink that.)


9. She Just Couldn’t Help Herself

Gotta love that granny…


10. What Would We Do without Social Media?

Ha! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I never post pictures of coffee cups… or of anything else, for that matter. (That’s right, I can understand all sorts of esoteric math and chemistry jokes, but I can’t figure out how to upload a single picture to the Instagram account I opened two years ago.)


11. I’m Prone to Unrealistic Expectations, Too

Or maybe it’s just a RECEIPT for the pony, which is quietly grazing in her backyard even now… Surprise!


12. Don’t You Say These Things, Too?


And I had to include this one, because Anita Renfroe does such a brilliant job of putting all the things a mother says in a day into rhyming verse, then setting it to music. This song makes me smile every time I hear it.


If you share my same quirky sense of humor, you will find more funnies on my Life Cracks Me Up Pinterest board, so connect with me there! Hope you have a happy April Fools Day. Don’t take any wooden nickels.

A Plea for Perseverance

Your Most Telling Declarations of Love Aren't Made on Valentine's | A Plea for Perseverance from Loving Life at HomeWhen I was in high school I dated a boy who would go all-out for Valentine’s Day: balloon bouquets, long-stemmed red roses, boxes of chocolates, candlelight dinners.

Every day for the week, some grand new token of his affection would be delivered to my doorstep.

But then, Valentine’s would be over, and that would be that.

Two years older and away at college, he would go entire semesters without so much as a phone call or a post card. The stark contrast gave me a little bit of a jaded view toward all things cupid.

In my mind, Valentine’s Day is just window dressing. It’s a public display that may or may not accurately represent what is truly stored up in one’s heart.

Our most telling declarations of love aren’t made on February 14th — they are made in the days and weeks and months that follow.

When my husband brings home heart-shaped candy boxes and fancy flowers this time of year, I know that it’s (at least partially) because he knows the nurses at the hospital are going to quiz him about what he got me.

But when he brings me hot tea when I’m sick? Or starts a load of laundry for me when I’m busy? Or runs my bathwater when I’m tired? Or makes a list at work of things he wants to tell me when he gets home? He’s not doing any of that for show. Nobody will ever ask him about it. He does those things purely because he loves me and takes pleasure in demonstrating that fact in practical, everyday ways.

I love that about him.

Wives can be just as guilty as men of pouring so much thought and energy into a single day that little is left over for later.

If you enjoyed an extra-special evening of romance with your husband on the 14th, terrific. But don’t expect that single interlude to carry him over until next Valentine’s Day — or even until next week.

Sometimes when a wife breaks out the candles, perfume, background music, and lacey negligees, she’s tempted afterward to think, Wow! I really outdid myself tonight! That should tide my husband over for at least a week or two!

Meanwhile, her husband is thinking, Wow! That was great! We need to do that more often. How about tomorrow?

Wives want to serve sporadic samplings of gourmet delicacies, when most husbands would be far more satisfied with a steady diet of meat and potatoes.

So… this is a plea for perseverance. Did you kindle some sparks this weekend? Fan them into a flame, then keep it burning all year long.

Love and Respect – Subway Art Printables

25 Ways to Communicate Respect | free printable Subway Art from http://lovinglifeathome.comI’ve been pondering what to get my husband this year for Valentine’s Day, as it’s only a week away.

In years past, I’ve written him poems, like this or this. And once I stitched him a silk-embroidered bed pillow, which has been broadcasting the same secret message for more than a decade now.

But just as I was starting to feel stumped for ideas, Doug made it super-easy on me.

“Valentine’s is coming up,” he reminded me earlier this week. “I thought it might be good for you to turn our Love and Respect lists into some sort of graphic we could post for the occasion.”

I told him I thought that was a great idea and got right to work on it. The next day, I presented him with two pieces of subway art: the one pictured here on communicating respect and another (which you can find on his blog) on expressing love.

Incidentally, Doug’s been making good progress on the book version of 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife, which should be available sometime this spring. The parts I’ve read so far are terrific! You can expect more detailed posts from him on related topics as he continues to work on that, so you may want to subscribe to his blog if you don’t already follow it.

Meanwhile, if you’ve not yet registered for our Valentine’s Day Romance and Respect Book Bundle Giveaway, you only have a week left to do so. Sign up here for a chance to win a copy of Heidi St. John’s Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance and my 25 Ways to Communicate Respect.