Married Monday: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

12742168_10205554749815191_6368581734772382105_n

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)


The way we view men these days completely breaks my heart. Turn on almost any TV comedy and you’ll find a dumb, idiotic husband or dad parading around and looking completely foolish. Our culture’s treatment of men has drastically affected not only female attitudes about men, but men’s attitudes about themselves. Women have told too many jokes about men loading the dishwasher wrong, to the extent that they’ve actually started believing that their men aren’t as capable as they are. And sadly, many men have quietly stuffed down their embarrassment and gone along with it.

When did it become acceptable to treat men like dogs – something to be laughed at, shooed away, or punished when they ‘misbehave’?? Men aren’t stupid. They aren’t dumb, and they aren’t useless. As wives, we are commanded multiple times to respect our husbands, not love them. Why? Because loving comes naturally to us, just as giving respect comes naturally to men. Yes, women need respect and men need love. But God worded it the way He did for a reason. Men have an innate need for respect the same way that women innately need love. Unfortunately, many people have begun to view respect as something that is only doled out when it is deserved, and that, my friends, is a problem. God didn’t say, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband when she feels like it or when he deserves it.” The irony is that if men held the same view about loving their wives – only when they feel like it or we deserve it – wives everywhere would be outraged. They would riot in the streets! So…why is it okay for us to make light of our command to respect our husbands, while holding them to a higher standard and expecting them to love us no matter how horrible we are? It doesn’t add up.

Let me pause and say that I am not naïve. I snagged a great guy, but I know that some of you have irresponsible, lazy, rude husbands. And some of you may have it even worse than that. Please hear me: if you are being abused by your husband in any way, get out of that house and find some help. I am NOT telling you to just sit there and let him wound you verbally, emotionally, or physically. In any other case, however, although you can’t control his actions, you can control yours. This may not be a popular thing to say, but your husband’s rudeness is not an excuse for your disrespect. 1 Peter 3:1-2 even says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (ESV, emphasis mine). Pray that God will give you endurance and genuine love for your husband. Choosing to repay meanness with kindness speaks volumes more than returning meanness with disrespect.

This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

Come Do the Dishes With Me

capture

I didn’t want to go to church last week.

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to fix my hair, I didn’t want to put on anything resembling pants, and I didn’t want to go through the whole stand-up-and-greet-everybody part where people awkwardly shake hands or clap each other on the shoulder, and ask “How are you?” in passing without always waiting to hear the answer. (And before you start wondering, yes, I am a socially adept person, but even I get weird during that part of a church service.) Mostly, I didn’t want to be convicted of anything else that Sunday, because I didn’t want to start my week with another thing to work on. I was already all too aware of my many shortcomings, especially because of all the New Year’s resolutions floating around, and I didn’t need anything else to add to the steadily-growing list. I didn’t want to go.

I didn’t want to go to church, and I think it’s because my enemy knew that if he could get me to stay home, he could prevent (or at least delay) me from hearing the powerful voice of God.


That morning, Daniel and I got to the church, put our stuff in our regular seats, and parted ways for a few minutes. I said some cheerful hellos to friends, made my way back to my seat, listened to announcements, and stood and read along as someone read the passage of scripture we would later hear preached. And embarrassing as it may be to admit, I wasn’t tuned in to any of it. All I kept thinking as I walked around, smiled, laughed, and even greeted new people I didn’t know was, “I don’t want to be here. I don’t deserve to be here. I’m so unbelievably fake – nobody would ever guess how insecure I really am.” I was relieved when the welcome was over because I didn’t have to pretend I was fine anymore; I could just sit in my seat and mentally check out for a minute. I was 100% on church autopilot all morning, until we bowed our heads before the first worship set and our worship leader spoke these words during his prayer for us:

“Lord, let us never grow tired of conviction.”

I twitched.

Um. Okay.

Cory finished praying and led into the first song. It was a hymn – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. As the lyrics flashed up on the screen, I couldn’t help but notice how appropriate they were:

‘O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be..”
“Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, Lord.”

My throat tightened. I knew He was talking to me. God always seems to pick the times when I’m in the middle of a church worship service to speak the loudest, and I think it’s because I can’t run away. I can’t get distracted by Netflix or food or laundry; I have no choice but to listen.

I sat down and hugged one leg to my chest, pressing my forehead into my knee.

God.” It was all I could choke out at first. Words weren’t enough. I hadn’t talked to Him in so long; it felt awkward.

And then it all came out at once.

“God, I don’t like myself. I don’t like being the way I am. I’m tired of feeling so unsure of every decision I make. I wish I could just trust you instead of constantly doubting that You really are good, that Your plans really are better. Why can’t I just believe it?? I wish I was a better wife. I wish I was a better sister. I wish I knew what it was like to be a mom. I wish I was better at so many things – I don’t even know where to start. I just want to run away. I wish I could run away from my life for awhile and think about nothing. I don’t know how many more frustrating or bad things I can juggle without dropping them all. I wish I didn’t care what people think about me. I wish I wasn’t so wishy-washy, that I could just make a choice and be confident in it instead of overthinking everything. I wish I didn’t struggle with food. I wish I was more consistent. I wish I wasn’t so emotional all the time. I wish…”

I don’t remember how long I talked. It just kept pouring out of me, every drop of fear, anger, and insecurity that had been shoved down, and shoved down, and shoved down some more. It felt like a giant knot in my stomach was slowly unraveling, but not in a good way. This one-sided ‘conversation’ with the Lord was a culmination of years of negativity, self-doubt, and indecisiveness. I was tired of being me. Being me sucked. “Me” was a terrible wife, a terrible friend…basically just a terrible person.

I had no problem understanding that I was fallen and flawed, but I just couldn’t grasp the fact that God loved me anyway. IN SPITE of my mess. How could He?? Didn’t He know what kind of person I was? There’s no way I could ever deserve that kind of love, and I couldn’t get past the guilt and unworthiness.

Suddenly, before I was ready, Cory was praying again over the sermon, and worship was over. Our friend Ryan preached an incredible message about why God has called all of us to go to the nations with the truth of the Gospel and His plan of redemption, and why his family specifically has been called to go to Germany to serve long-term. It would be nice to say that listening to this moving sermon was what finally opened my heart to the Lord, and that I walked out of church that morning feeling much better about myself, but actually, the exact opposite thing happened. Yes, I was so excited for the work I knew God would accomplish through my friends, but guilt was gnawing away at me.

Something’s wrong with me.
Why don’t I have more of a desire to “go to the nations” with such great news??
I should want this more.
I feel like I don’t love Jesus as much as people who go overseas.
Are Daniel and I supposed to go live in another country someday?
I don’t really want to…I’ve never wanted to.
So does that make me selfish, or is that just not God’s plan for us?
But God calls us to different things in different seasons of life.
How are we supposed to know the difference between “No” and “Not yet”?
UGH.

We left the church to go eat lunch, and I couldn’t stop thinking about everything that had happened. I’d spent the entire morning waiting for someone, anyone, to say a special, *anointed* sentence that would open my eyes and quickly make sense of everything, but no one did. I kept to myself that afternoon, quietly avoiding the nagging feeling that God wasn’t done talking to me. It wasn’t until that evening that I stopped withdrawing.

It started innocently enough. I was home alone, wandering through the house and straightening up rooms. I walked into the kitchen and noticed dishes that needed to be done. The dishwasher was already running, and for a split second, I thought, “Nah…I’ll just wait and load them in the dishwasher later. But the exact moment I turned to walk out of the room, I heard Him.

Come do the dishes with Me.

 I hesitated.

Come do the dishes with Me.

*Sigh*…okay.

As I waited for the sink to fill with hot water, I searched for “In Over My Head” by Bethel Music on YouTube. This song was a special one for me for several reasons, and I sang mindlessly as I scrubbed dried food off of our dinner plates. YouTube’s Autoplay kicked in, and the next song, “You Don’t Miss a Thing,” started. [Guys. If you haven’t heard this song before, listen to it RIGHT NOW. I’m serious, I literally mean right now.] I had heard it before but never really paid any attention. I decided to let it play anyway because I wasn’t done with the dishes yet, and since I didn’t know the words, I just listened.

It was like every word was written for me.

“When You laugh, the storm around me ceases.”

I stopped scrubbing and leaned onto my forearms on the edge of the sink, daring to ask Him, “Do you see me? Do you remember me?”

“What a mystery, that you notice me / And in a crowd of ten thousand, you don’t miss a thing / ’cause you see everything.”

The soapy dishes in my hands became blurry.

His voice was like music.

Laura, I see you. I SEE you, and I KNOW you. In a crowd of ten thousand, I still see you. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to run away, or tell me that you’re not good enough for Me. You’ll never convince me to stop loving you. I’ll always love you.


I don’t know if I’ll ever view doing the dishes the same way again. That time with the Lord was so pure, and I’ll be honest with you – I still don’t have words to adequately describe what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everything is completely fine now. But I took a giant step forward on that quiet Sunday night in my kitchen. The last thing I remember saying to the Lord was, “But WHY, God? Why do you love me??”

His answer was one word. “Because.

God’s love for us DOESN’T make sense. It doesn’t! But we were never expected to earn it, which is awesome news, because even the best things we’ve ever done are like dirty rags when compared with the things our God does, all of which are truly good. The truth of the matter is, regardless of whether I understand it or not, He loves me. He really does. And that’s enough.

Save

World’s Okayest Party Planner: Part II

img_1753

I realize I haven’t thrown THAT many parties, but this will probably always be one of my favorites, no matter how many more I plan. I started planning this party the moment I found out Daniel had passed his first CPA exam. I didn’t know when I would get to bring it to life, but I knew it would happen eventually! I never doubted that he would pass every exam, and this party was the perfect way to celebrate his hard work.

img_1728

I also realize that camping and lumberjacks aren’t really a “new” party theme, but I thought it would be a fun theme for a manly celebration. The best part was that pretty much all of this party was DIY! The main way I kept costs down was by borrowing and re-purposing most of the decorations. My mom is one of those party-planning, quilt-making, dessert-baking, basically-everything-domestic creative geniuses, and she always adds such perfect touches in her own decorating. I knew I could count on her to have some cute camping/outdoors-themed stuff. The main pieces I borrowed from her were the red/white tablecloth, the red lantern, the silver campfire coffee pot, and the big wood slices (LOVE these). My favorite big decorations, though, were the burlap and plaid strip banner behind the food table, and the “YAY” backdrop with the gold CPA balloons!

The camping-themed menu included:

  • Pretzels and caramel corn
  • Apple cider
  • A chili and hot dog bar with lots of toppings
  • S’mores cupcakes
  • Candy corn and candy pumpkins

The cupcakes didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but my meltdown only lasted about 3 minutes, and then I got over myself and made it work. GIANT shout out to my mom and my mom-in-law for helping with everything from food to serving to helping clean up!

I think I mentioned this before, but I find beauty in little details. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact. For example, for this party, we ate off of metal pie tins instead of plain old plates! (Sidebar: I wanted to get wooden silverware, but I ran out of time. Boo.) Mom also made the cutest tiny tree confetti to sprinkle on the tables, and I used other little things like my wood candle holders, my mustache mug, and the blue speckled spoons (also from my mom) to reinforce the woodsy, manly vibe.

The best part, of course, was the people who came. Their love and support was overwhelming, and it was so much fun to celebrate with a group of people who love Daniel genuinely and prayed faithfully for us during that season of our marriage!

If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

World’s Okayest Party Planner – Part I

img_1533

Sometimes, I wish that I could just do nothing but plan parties for people I love! It brings me such a unique kind of joy, and it’s one of the only talents I have that I’m genuinely confident about. I’m okay at the piano and I’m an okay singer; I’m barely okay at decorating my house; and I guess I’m okay at writing? But give me a party to plan and I truly feel like I’m in my element.

Last fall gave me two opportunities to share my gifts – (1) a rain-themed baby shower for my dear friend Kelli, her husband Blake, and their son Elijah, and (2) a woodsy, lumberjack bash to celebrate Daniel passing the CPA exams. First was the shower for the Moore family!

Whenever I plan a party, one of my consistent goals is to stay away from anything that is done too often. I like unique themes and little details that make a big statement. My inspiration for Kelli’s shower came from this cute pin I found on Pinterest a few years ago – I mean, Babybel cheese umbrellas?? Come on. I had to.

The final menu included:

  • Chocolate chip and cinnamon streusel muffins
  • Rainbow fruit
  • Babybel cheese umbrellas
  • Cloud and raindrop sugar cookies
  • Turquoise punch (a fancier way of saying “I mixed lemonade and Sprite together, and then spent about 10 minutes trying to put in the perfect amount of blue food coloring”)

I was thrilled with how everything came together! I had a few mishaps, but nothing too tragic. Although I can definitely tell you that I never want to cut out a tiny cloud by hand…ever…again.

Hands down, these were my two favorite things – the ‘too cute to eat’ cookies made by the very talented Marissa Dodd, and the cloud straws (AKA my labor of love).

Cute little parents :)

I think the most fun part was the games. I created something called the Blind Olympics, which consisted of 3 different games that all had to be completed blindfolded. Some were done on teams, and some were completed alone, but all were hilarious. I wish I had taken more pictures of them!

The first game was called “Clean Up After the Baby.” We set up a line of chairs, and one member from each team sat down facing the rest of the group, blindfolded. They were given one bowl full of cotton balls to hold in their lap, an empty bowl to hold on top of their head, and a spoon. The first person to scoop all of the cotton balls out of the bowl in their lap and put them in the bowl on their head was the winner.

The second game was called “Draw the Baby” and was inspired by the game on this post! Instead of just drawing a baby blindfolded, the participants were given a ridiculously short time limit to finish their drawing. They were also given instructions while drawing, such as “Now give the baby an article of clothing” or “Now set the scene – is the baby outside throwing water balloons, or inside drawing on the walls…?” Kelli and Blake judged the drawings and picked two winners: Most Likely to Look Like Their Baby and Most Terrifying-Looking Baby of All Time.

The last game (the BEST game) was called “Feed the Baby.” I divided everyone in to teams of two, and each team was given a jar of applesauce and two spoons. Everyone blindfolded themselves and stood in two lines, each person facing their partner. When I said “go,” the team members fed the applesauce to each other at the same time. The first duo to finish their applesauce won! I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time they played.

Even the prizes followed the ‘blind’ theme: winners from each game got to draw a random prize out of a giant mystery prize box! I wrapped the top of the box with wrapping paper and cut a hole in the middle, large enough so they could reach in but couldn’t see what they were grabbing. The prizes included cute kitchen towels, Cheese Whiz, movie theater boxes of candy, a top hat, a whoopie cushion, alphabet fridge magnets, an extra-large mason jar travel mug with a lid and straw…all kinds of nonsense.

img_1531

If you liked this party, you’ll definitely want to read my next post: Daniel’s lumberjack CPA bash! Coming soon! :)

New Year’s Resolutions + My ‘Word’ for 2017

IMG_2237.JPG

There’s something so cleansing about the new beginning that accompanies each new year! I’ve never been big on making resolutions (mostly because I’m so bad at keeping them..!), but my prayer is that, at the end of 2017, I can come back to this list and be able to see obvious growth and progress from where I’m at now.


• 2017 •

Each night (or as often as I can), write down something that made me happy that day. CHECK!
If I could go back in time and thank past Laura for coming up with this idea, I would. Of all the yuck that 2017 brought, this journal is a tangible, continual reminder of all the good things that happened. Even tiny, seemingly unimportant things.

Take a week-long vacation with Daniel to celebrate and refresh our marriage. CHECK!
May 2017: Alaskan cruise during which we visited Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria

Permanently integrate healthier eating and exercise into my lifestyle. CHECK!
Doing Keto was honestly life-changing. I had no idea I could exercise that much self control for that long.

Cut down on screen time (TV, computer, phone) and spend more time reading and nurturing relationships.
I didn’t do as well with the screen time part as I could have, but I definitely read more books and spent time nurturing new friendships.

Intentionally learn something new (like hand lettering or a different language). CHECK!
1. How to have self control with food
2. How to lead a group of newly-married couples
3. How to trust the Lord in the lowest of valleys

Have at least one date night a month that’s NOT dinner and a movie. CHECK!
January: half-price wings at BWW, Starbucks, and flirting our way through Target
February: double date with Brandon & Ashley to Olive Garden and Moo-Yah
March: low-key couch date at home with popcorn and Megamind
April: Sherman date night, shopping for Daniel’s trip to NYC and DC
May: a week’s worth of amazing dates on our Alaskan vacation
June: sweet night binge-watching Big Bang Theory
July: murder mystery dinner party for Sheridan’s birthday
August: roadtripping to Lufkin and reading marriage books aloud
September: cuddle party / watching The Office
October: David Copperfield and Italian food in Vegas
November: group date with our foundation group in Sherman
December: Harry Potter marathon the week after Christmas

By the end of the year, consistently earn $1500 (or more) per month from MONAT.
I may not have earned this amount every month, but I did earn enough in bonuses in one month to pay for our Alaska anniversary photo shoot, including a plane ticket for our photographer, I more than doubled my number of team members, and I earned a free trip to Vegas with Daniel in October. I still consider that a win. ♥

View food as a gift to enjoy with wisdom, not as an indulgence I deserve. CHECK!
Again – Keto was life-changing. I’ll be forever thankful that God helped me do it successfully.


I decided to keep my list short and sweet, mostly because I already have another long-term list to work on (and you best believe I’m going to kill multiple birds with one stone!), but also because I know myself. Granted: I have been working on being kinder to myself and not holding onto my failure like an obnoxious self-deprecating security blanket. But just in case I get thrown a curve ball this year, having fewer things on my list means fewer things to feel guilty about if I don’t do them.

I’ve also picked out my word for the year, and it’s…

il_570xn-602450308_rbsg

Hope. The anchor of souls, assurance despite repeated disappointment, and the companion of trust. “Hope” became my theme late last year, and I can’t think of a more appropriate word for 2017!

What is one of your goals for this year? I’d love to know!

Save