Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

More Lessons on Marriage from the Garden

Lessons om Marriage from the Garden

School has been out for 3 weeks and I’ve been working, working. working in my yard and garden! I’ve learned some lessons about gardening, and many of these translate to marriage really well. (If you missed the first “Lessons on Marriage from the Garden,” you can read it here.)

1. Don’t procrastinate!

Thugs like this will set seed and then the weeds in your garden will be like Medusa’s head. Remember, you cut off one and 7 more grow?

Don't procrastinate!

I like the old saying “One year’s seed is seven years’ weeds.” Pull up those flowering weeds early, and if you can’t dig them out, at least break off the flower heads before they go to seed. I’ve never used a pre-emergent herbicide but if it prevents seeds from germinating in the first place, even better.

out of control weeds

Don’t procrastinate in your marriage, either! Have you ever put off doing something for your spouse because you were doing something for someone else? (GUILTY!) How about avoiding talking about a problem in hope that it will go away on its own? Some problems are compounded and made much worse when you put off dealing with them.

2. Procrastinate! Be patient!

I planted bush green beans for the first time this year. A little 4×4 square gave us enough to eat green beans about 4 times a week for 3 weeks. (I don’t get tired of them!) According to the rules of square foot gardening, you’re supposed to rip plants up as soon as they are past their prime so you can replant immediately. Bush beans, unlike their climbing cousins, are supposed to give one big harvest and then be done. But when that time came, it was the last few weeks of school, and I just didn’t have the energy or time to do it. Lo and behold, I’m getting a 2nd harvest. Not as big as the first, but a decent one.

Be patient in your marriage, too. There have been times when I was about ready to throw in the marital towel, right over Mr X’s head, but I’m so glad I didn’t. At our 32-year mark, he has matured into the most caring, thoughtful husband. Our relationship is the foundation for every other relationship, and is such a source of strength and joy. There is nothing so rewarding as having shared stories, histories, children, and family.

3. Keep alert.

It’s easy to overlook things in the garden. Sometimes fruit hides under the leaves and unless you get down low and move them aside, you will miss them. I hadn’t even seen flowers on this okra, and found it only when I was down planting something in a neighboring bed.

okra surprise

It’s really easy to miss cucumbers! Mr X likes them very small, like the bottom one. I’ve let them get so big I had to cut them up and put them straight in the compost pile.

Pick cucumbers before they get too big.

And sometimes something besides a veggie is hiding among the leaves, like a wasp. OOPS. Allergy to wasp stings discovered!

wasp sting allergy

Be alert in your marriage too. Things can lurk undetected — resentment, neglect, selfishness to name a few– and if you aren’t watching carefully and “weeding them out” as they appear, they can grow and get out of control.

A marriage, like a garden, can be a source of delight. But neither just happen on their own. After the wedding/planting, you’ve got to constantly maintain it. And in marriage and the garden alike, dealing with little problems as they happen can save lots of time and heartache later!

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:15

11 Comments »

A Merry Heart– Oct 21

A merry heart is good medicine…

Proverbs 17:22

Mr X and I hosted and facilitated a marriage conference created by FamilyLife called The Art of Marriage at our church this weekend. It went very well, with 36 couples in attendance! I truly believe lives and marriages were touched and changed. Please pray for everyone who was involved, as well as for the followup that we will have to do.

I thought you would enjoy some of the video from the series– These are from the FamilyLife Facebook page:

The Series Trailer– information

The Game Plan (hilarious… “There is no whining in marriage!”)

And one last one. It’s not exactly “merry heart” material, but is a very powerful presentation of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Seeing it at the Weekend to Remember conference we attended last June convinced us that we needed to host this event.

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend of rest, fellowship, and worship!

7 Comments »

Dealing with Conflict in Marriage

What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. James 4:1-2a

No matter how much you love your spouse, or how compatible you are, you will have conflict in your marriage. Don’t expect it not to pop in for a visit. The goal is to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way, one that draws you closer together and closer to God. The Bible is full of instruction to help!

Speaking the truth in love; we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger… James 1:19

How do you and your spouse handle conflict? I’ll be honest here; Mr X and I did not handle it well for most of our marriage. He never saw it or saw it dealt with in his home. I saw it, and it was not handled well; my dad spoke harshly and my mom quit talking. They ended up divorcing after 35 years of marriage. I learned that problems not talked about do not go away; they just get bigger and nastier. I didn’t want any elephants living in my house, so I was determined to talk everything out! However, Mr X could not be convinced to reciprocate. Finally, God got hold of him and now he will ask, “Is there anything we need to talk about?”

Our Art of Marriage seminar has a chapter on conflict and communication that has some wonderful guidelines:

First, talk to God. Figure out why you are upset. Most of the time, we feel like our rights have been violated or our expectations haven’t been met. Maybe our spouse has said or done unkind things. Maybe he or she HASN”T done what you think needed doing. To resolve the conflict in a healthy, Godly way, the goal must not be I WIN, but the MARRIAGE wins. You must both be committed to oneness.

If either of you has an anger or temper problem, remember these tips:

  • Step back until you get yourself under control. Tell your spouse what you are doing and ask them to pray for you. If you think it might take an hour, let them know that. Remind them that you love them and your anger is YOUR problem, not their fault.
  • While in “time-out,” breathe deeply and slowly. This will lower your pulse and blood pressure, and stop some of the physical effects of anger, which will help you think clearly. Pray about the situation and calm down.
  • When you get back into conversation with your spouse, speak softly. A soft answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1 Remind yourself and your spouse that you can find a win-win resolution.
  • Make sure your body language speaks love and respect: Look each other in the eye. Don’t cross your arms or clench your fists.
  • Watch your language. Escalating words: never, always, can’t, won’t, don’t, shouldn’t, and YOU statements. De-escalating words: Maybe, sometimes, what if, it seems like, and I statements.
  • Ask questions. Don’t assume motives behind actions or statements. (You said “xyz” so “you hate me,” when it might be “you had a headache.”)

Some conflicts in marriage aren’t worth a fight. Let them go. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 But if something is hurting your relationship, it needs to be dealt with. When preparing to confront, remember these tips:

  • Examine your heart and your motives. Get any logs out of your eye before you address the speck in your spouse’s eye. Matthew 7:4
  • Pray for the situation, your spouse, and your marriage. Ask for wisdom in dealing with the problem.
  • Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and choose your words carefully. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
  • Choose your timing wisely.
  • Sometimes writing a letter is a good way to handle a difficult situation.
  • ALWAYS keep in the forefront of your mind that restoring oneness is the goal.

(Adapted from The Art of Marriage  couple’s manual, page 86; FamilyLife Publishing)

What have you learned about handling conflict in your marriage?

25 Comments »

Don’t Play

What did your mama tell you to do when a playmate was being mean? “Don’t play with them.”

Even though the ways of being mean change as we become adults, your response should be the same. Don’t play. I’m talking today about people with manipulative behavior and unrealistic expectations. Manipulators have their own set of unspoken rules, and they want them to remain unspoken! But nobody has the right to make your life miserable. You’ve been playing by their unspoken, changing-with-however-they-feel rules. I’ve seen so many of my friends beat themselves up with guilt and misery, when they are not the ones misbehaving. It’s time for YOU to quit playing!

Steven Covey, in his WONDERFUL book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said a situation should be “win-win or no-play.” In other words, emotionally healthy, effective people strive to create situations that are good for everyone, not just themselves. Manipulators are self-centered, usually insecure folks who need to control others in order to feel good about themselves. But they can win this game only if you agree to play.

Parents can be the worst about not playing fair, I think because they miss the “…man shall leave his father and mother, and become one flesh [with his wife]…” passage in Genesis 2. Scripture clearly indicates that, even though we still honor our parents, they are no longer our priority relationship. The rules are supposed to change as the children grow up, and, as parents, it’s sometimes difficult to let go and adjust.

  • Exhibit A: Marie Barone, from Everybody Loves Raymond, whom we all recognize as over-the-top control-freak mother-in-law.
  • Exhibit B: the mother who eases into a tradition (maybe it’s lunch every Saturday, or visiting every weekend, or something else NICE) that you feel like has you in a stranglehold.

Now, honestly, many times we just imagine that we might rock the boat and cause a shipwreck if we change the plans, and they would be fine with it– they are just doing whatever it is because they are able to and you all enjoy it. But when they EXPECT you to do it because they think you OWE it to them, and you begin to resent it, and want to do something else once in a while, it’s time to do just that. If you think she might freak out, give plenty of advance warning: “Hey Mom, on the 20th we’ve been invited to xyz, and I wanted to let you know ahead of time so you can make other plans.”

Look for these types of red flags in parent/child relationships– I’ve actually seen both parents and children be the manipulators in different situations:

1. Your parent (or child) asks for money but refuses to discuss his spending habits. Healthy relationship: Don’t lend money. Give it if you can and want to, and if they need it more than once, step in and work out a budget with them. For heaven’s sake, don’t cosign a loan.

2. Your parent demands that you provide transportation for all doctor visits, arrange medication, perhaps provide household help or coordinate services, but refuses to do what the doctors order. Or refuses to allow you access to medical records, or to talk to the doctors, so that you can have an accurate picture of the situation. Healthy relationship: If you are a partner in part of their health care, you are a full partner.

3. Your parent demands phone calls, visits, or other attention in such an amount that your husband and children complain about not seeing you. Healthy relationship: God, your husband, your children are your top priorities. (Again, as I’ve said before, I’m not talking about special seasons of illness; I’m talking about normal everyday living.) You shouldn’t neglect your family for your parents.

4. Your mom says you are don’t love her and are a selfish daughter because you neglect her, or don’t do what she wants you to do. Healthy relationship: If you are honoring your parents; you communicate regularly; they are well cared for; your OBLIGATION is done. You might ask, “What would you like me to do? How can I show my love for you?” You might just be not speaking her love language, but then again she might want you to quit your job, leave your family, and move in with her so you can wait on her hand and foot. But I bet she won’t say that. If she says she wants you to come by every day, that might be unreasonable. You can tell her that you can’t, but that you can on Mondays and Thursdays, and you will call to check on her the other days. If she gripes and complains, say, “I’m sorry; I’ll talk to you when you are in a better mood,” and cut the visit short.

Coworkers and other adults can play the same kind of controlling games; only the details are different. This can be tricky to spot– it’s all about the attitude on both sides. Sometimes, somebody else making all the decisions is a good thing! They might just be people that like to take care of things, and be perfectly open to suggestions, only nobody has said anything to them. It becomes a problem when the one in charge is doing it to get a feeling of power, and the other is unhappy with the choices. Do you recognize these people?

1. When you travel, she chooses the hotel, restaurants, activities, and gets first choice of the bed EVERY TIME.

2. If you have a manipulator in your book club, she will choose the book. In your music group, he’ll pick the songs. In any group, he’ll monopolize the conversation and always have better–or worse!– stories than you, smarter kids than you, and a more spectular illness than you! In your supper club, she’ll choose the menu and tell you what to bring. In the office, she’ll set the thermostat and choose the coffee creamer, and never ask anyone else’s opinion about anything.

3. Somebody in your church knows which guilt buttons to push to get you to do whatever job is empty. (HINT: Jesus never used guilt as a motivator and neither should His people.)

So how do you not play?

  • Be prepared. They won’t like your changing the rules. But you are going to be playing by THE rules, not THEIR rules.
  • Pray about it. Ask God for wisdom. (James 1:5)
  • Get counsel from healthy people who have good relationships.
  • Read some good Christian books dealing with healthy relationships. One of the life-changers for me was Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.

One of my old pastors said, “No control equals no responsibility.” I think he was talking about grown kids, but it works with parents as well.

1. If your grown child calls asking for a bailout, say no. If you’ve established a pattern of bailouts, you might say, “I will do it this time, but if you ask again [either NO] or [we will work out a budget and I'll need access to all your accounts.]” Don’t say it’s not your business. If they are asking for your money, it’s your business.

2. If your friend does any of those manipulative actions, decide what matters to you. (If the brand of coffee doesn’t matter to you, let them “win” on that one. It won’t hurt you.) Then take a stand. I like the plan-ahead strategy; it takes emotion out of the equation. “Hey, when we go out to eat next time, I’d like to try xyz,” or “We’re burning up in here! I’m turning down the air!” If the manipulator has a cow, offer her your jacket.

3. When the committee chair calls to ask if you’ll do xyz, say you’ll get back after you pray about it. Then do. And talk to your husband. God does not call you to neglect your husband so you can serve other people.

4. You might have to put some distance between the manipulator and you, at least until he has become “retrained” to play by healthy rules. Don’t feel guilty. He might talk about you behind your back, or tell lies about you. Oh well. People did that about Jesus too. You’ll be in good company.

Please share how you have dealt with these difficult people in your life!

31 Comments »

Revive Your Marriage- Revive Your Praise

Is any among you merry? Let him sing songs of praise. James 5:13

And I would add, is any among you sad and downhearted? Then really, sing songs of praise! Praise is so mingled together with gratitude, and I believe that a heart steeped in gratitude is able to withstand the challenges of life in general and marriage in particular, so much better than the ungrateful person!

What? Your husband isn’t perfect? Oh wait…neither is anyone else’s. And sorry, neither are you, nor I! Love changes over time; a marriage undergoes “growing pains” but when you can keep gratitude for your spouse in the forefront of your mind, your marriage will be so much better.

And then get the gratitude out of your mind and onto your lips in the form of praise. This is an effective relationship tool with anyone, and especially with a spouse, who, because of the “no-escape clause” nature of the relationship, is more likely to be taken for granted than anyone else. Be sincere; don’t be patronizing, but find things to appreciate, then say them! Is your husband a dependable provider? Lots of women would love one of those. Does he keep the yard nice? Is he a great dad? Can he open jars, reach high things for you, write an Excel formula, better than you? Does he fix you sandwiches and take you on dates? (I’m being a bit personal here.) Just as the master told the servant in the parable, “you’ve been faithful over a little; ill make you master over lot,” I suspect if you show appreciation and praise for the good things your spouse does, you’ll see more of them.

21 Comments »

Actually… It’s NOT All About You.

Who, me? MY attitude?

I’m joining Sheila, Darlene, Courtney, and Jennifer on Mondays in September to help us Revive our Marriages. Last week was “Pray for your husband.” Next week will be “Revive your friendship.”
But this week’s theme hits a little too close to home for comfort… it’s “Revive your attitude.”

When you live with someone year in and year out, they can really get on your nerves sometimes. Mr X has a tradition, following generations of men in his family apparently, of thinking that any horizontal surface is meant for storage. The top of the refrigerator? Perfect! His dresser? Even better. Bathroom cabinet? Good for every magazine in the subscription. You need one from 2005? Just dig down a bit. (I’m exaggerating, but not much.)

My philosophy, on the other hand, like the designer William Morris’s, is that nothing should be seen that is not beautiful or useful. (Now that’s my PHILOSOPHY, and it’s not necessarily my reality!) And his clutter used to DRIVE. ME. NUTS. But if I could get bent out of shape about his philosophy, then he might get out of sorts with me when I leave the clean laundry in the basket until I have no kitchen towels… or when I won’t go out to spray Roundup in August, so he has to weed-eat around all the trees and beds before he mows… or when I leave the cabinet doors and dishwasher open when I’m cooking.

Remember what Jesus said in the parable? Shouldn’t you forgive your fellow servant even as I have had mercy on you? (Matthew 18:33) Oh yeah. That.

Then there’s the reminder that “love covers a multitude of sins” in 1 Peter 4:8.

If you want to revive your marriage, start with the one thing you have complete control of: yourself. (Read here about examining yourself and figuring out your rules, his rules, and THE rules. You can compromise on yours and his.)

When I realize that I am not the perfect paragon of womanhood, it makes my husband’s clutter habit a lot easier to live with. When I remind myself why I love him- he is dependable, a hard worker, a loving father, affectionate with me, very handy with jobs in and around our home; he’s smart, a good money manager, a Christian, a church-goer and Bible-reader… then I realize that he’s got lots more in the positive column than the negative.

Then follow up with your actions: 1 Corinthians 13 is not called the “love chapter” for nothing!
Love is patient. When he procrastinates getting something done that you can’t do, remember the unfinished projects you have… and extend grace to him.

Love is kind. When you are irritated with him on the inside, DO something on the outside that is beyond what’s expected. Go a step further and be kind to him- fix his favorite dessert; wear his favorite nightgown; rub his feet. See what happens to his attitude and then to yours.

Love does not envy.  When he meets interesting people at work and you are home wiping bottoms and watching Barney, don’t resent him. (I’m speaking from experience here; you do need to talk to him about it and seek his help. But the problem there was MY situation, not his, and my resentful attitude hurt our relationship.)

Love does not boast and is not conceited. I have an “out front” gift of playing the piano, singing, and directing a choir; and it took a long time to get it in the right perspective. My musical gift can be enjoyed by lots of people, but it’s not really MY gift. I got it like I got blue eyes and dark hair. His lugging around sound equipment, videoing programs, and doing things behind the scenes are just as important. Don’t let your ego get in the way of appreciating what he does for you and your family!

Love does not act improperly. Ladies, please do not EVER speak disrespectfully of or to your husband. This could be a whole series by itself, but suffice it to say for now, that God knew what He was doing when he said, “Women, respect your husbands.”

Love does not insist on its own way. Mr X loves college football, and our local university recently formed a football program, so we have season tickets. This year I’m really making an effort to watch, ask questions, and be engaged in what’s going on. And it’s more fun that way!

Love is not touchy or resentful. Again, examine yourself. Try to avoid those situations which will make you “out of sorts” when you can. (I can’t do activities on Sunday afternoon. I have to have a nap. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is!) Recognize when you feel grouchy, and tell him up front, letting him know that it’s not his fault.

Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Here’s a big one. I love the passage where Paul talks about forgetting about the past, pressing onward. Forgetting about past hurts can be very difficult for women. But, just like choosing to focus on his good qualities rather than his faults, refusing to dwell on old heartaches is what you must do. When those memories try to pop up, engage your pop-up blocker (find a Scripture that addresses it) and say “NO. That’s over, forgiven, and in the past.”

Love rejoices in truth. Some discussions can be painful. Confronting issues and hurt feelings is never easy, but once it’s done, it’s like you have lanced an abscess and the healing can begin. Deal with your problems in a loving way.

Love bears all things. Even messy desktops.

Love believes all things and hopes all things. If he is late getting home, assume the best. If you’re having a disagreement, don’t twist his words to mean things he didn’t mean to say. Assume he’s speaking from a loving heart.

Love endures all things. Aren’t you glad that God didn’t throw up his hands over us and say, “Forget her! She’s not worth it!” I’m in my marriage for the long haul. How about you?

And just a little marital humor from Ben Franklin: Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards!

17 Comments »

The Thief

20120803-185620.jpg

This was written by my good friend TeeKay, who will soon be blogging at “A Thimble’s Worth of Wisdom.” I will let you know when she is up and running! TeeKay has been my friend and mentor for about 30 years- I am so grateful for her love, guidance and wisdom.

      

 The Thief

The most competent thief I have encountered in my life is fear. It is sly, convincing, and paralyzing. It is a master of disguise and camouflage. It mimics strength and protectiveness, but steals joy. Like a double-edged sword, it is useful in times of danger, but intrusive and crippling to the soul as an uninvited enemy. It knocks at the door of our hearts like a friend and enters to stifle hope, creativity, and love. It whispers lies to us of our limitations and weaknesses, and plants the seeds of doubt in an otherwise fertile soil.

My head knows that this is not of God. Yet it creeps in so unexpectedly, that it has nested before I realize it’s even there. It is a shape-shifter, so it is able to take on the persona of legitimate concerns.

I consider myself a strong person, but when fear creeps in, I then doubt even what I know is the truth. As in any recovery, the enemy has to be identified and acknowledged. Fear is real. I am human. Life is not perfect, nor am I. Fear tells me that I will lose respect if I make mistakes. God tells me that He is my strength, and no fear is bigger than Him. He tells me that He is Love and has already seen my tomorrow. He has prepared the way for me. Fear is just an obstacle. See it, acknowledge it, then move past it toward the Light.

As I write this, I breathe a sigh of relief that God pointed out the unrealistic fears of this day and replaced fear with a tender heart. You see, our hearts cannot be open when fear resides there. That’s the reason fear is a thief. It will steal our peace, and try to shake our foundation.

A special friend told me today to choose love above fear of rejection. So I do that for today. I choose love and all its many facets of hope and joy. I choose to acknowledge fear and reject it. It is my enemy and a thief. I choose God’s gift to me. I will rejoice in His faithfulness. I choose this today.

Tomorrow I will have to once again make a choice. I must keep my eyes open and focused on God’s grace. Tomorrow is another day, but God is already there.

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

See what I mean?

5 Comments »

Auntie Em’s guide to life

Hello Dearies; I’m so glad you are here! Auntie Em has learned a thing or two along the way and is happy to share them with you, so you don’t have to learn the hard way! (And now I’ll switch to first person!)

BE HONEST

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?” Surely everyone knows your life will be easier if you are honest with other people. (Who can remember what they told to whom? Not me!) The trick is to be honest with yourself. People were fooling themselves back in Jeremiah’s day and we are still doing it. Have you seen women of a certain age wearing Spandex when they shouldn’t? Singers on American Idol who thought they were good? What about teachers who make a big to-do list at the beginning of summer, and when school starts, it’s still undone? (OUCH!) Deceiving ourselves can go from the frivolous (like Spandex or size 6) to much more important issues, like our weight’s effect on our health, or addictions, or bad relationships. Once you uncover your warts– a painful process– you can deal with them honestly. You might decide to still eat the brownies. But you’ll do it with open eyes.

EXAMINE YOURSELF

As long as we’re talking about honesty, this is a good time to say- examine yourself. Have you thought about why your dad’s not telling you about his out-patient surgery hurt your feelings? (My “rules” say you must share health concerns.) Have you been cranky and not known why? (I’m cranky when I’m cold. I get colder than a lot of people, so I know to bring a jacket, or if I’m on a car trip with Mr X, a blanket too.)

KNOW YOUR RULES; KNOW THE RULES; KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

My rule: My girls had to have dresses that I made at Easter when they were little. (This caused some stress for me!) THE rule: They need to be in church on Easter (and regularly) and it really didn’t matter even if it’s a new dress or not! Don’t get too hung up on YOUR rules.

BE FRUGAL

The “Tightwad Gazette” (Amy Dacyczyn) has had a significant influence on my financial life. In our world, “frugal” means getting the value that YOU determine is valuable. You save where you can, intentionally, so that you can decide what you want to do with your money. (We did piano lessons for 2 children from grades   1-12 but didn’t have cable TV until the youngest was 9 or 10.) We are also Dave Ramsey followers- don’t borrow money except for a house.

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT (Don’t fall for advertising.)

Contrary to what TV ads say, every woman does not need professionally colored hair, salon nails, a tattoo, a fake tan, and the latest shade of the color-du-jour shoes. And it really IS possible to live on one income while caring for preschool children. Now I have a very fashionable friend who likes to buy inexpensive, trendy accessories, but she saves her bigger money for wardrobe staples. And I have some friends who don’t want to put a hold on their careers and feel like their career/child situation is in balance (usually with the help of a lucky grandma!). But your money (or time, or energy) can do only one thing. YOU get the facts and decide.

LET THINGS GO

You have control over one thing. You.

EXTEND GRACE

I love 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (v 7) So very often, my students get all upset because of something a friend did or didn’t do, or say, only to find out later that their friend was preoccupied, or didn’t see them because they didn’t have their contacts, or were upset because their parents just announced a divorce. If we can jump FIRST to the conclusion that some offense is not about us, we will be much happier.

BE KIND

I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I find out that somebody who appears to be fine is actually dying inside. I’ve seen it so many times. Be kind to people and give them a break. You never know what’s going on in their lives.

USE REAL BUTTER (and the best ingredients possible)

Self-explanatory. Except it holds in all other areas. I have Wusthof knives and will never need to buy any again.

PLANT THINGS IN PLACES THEY WILL BE HAPPY

Azaleas will get big, and they have a natural shape. Don’t try to make them small hedges. You’ll work yourself to death and they won’t reach their potential. (This theory works with children too.)

AMEND YOUR SOIL AND USE MULCH

Fertilizer won’t help too-sandy soil. And the Texas sun will dry up your beds in a day if you don’t mulch. Weeds will spring up too. (Good relationship rule too, with kindness and love being both the amendment and the mulch!)

ASK YOUR HUSBAND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE HIM FEEL LOVED, AND DO IT

Guys are weird different and sometimes hard to understand. Reading books like John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Gary Smalley’s The Five Love Languages will give you lots of insight, but you still need to be a student of your husband and ASK him.

MAKE YOUR HUSBAND YOUR FIRST EARTHLY PRIORITY (not your kids)

They will leave. He will not. (hopefully both) They will also be set up for good relationships when Mom and Dad have a good one.

GET A BOARD OF ADVISORS

Swallow your pride and pick some people you admire. Let them mentor you. HINT: They don’t even have to know they are doing it; in fact they might not even be alive! Look at different areas and see who you admire- fashion, decorating, spirituality, marriage, child-rearing, etc.

READ YOUR BIBLE

You will find many mentors in the Bible. Even if you are not a believer, you can’t go wrong! Love one another- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you– The borrower is slave to the lender– Don’t let the sun go down on your anger– etc. You’ll see lots of guidance on what to do, but also plenty of “what not to do” (David did what?), and how God will forgive ANY sin and still use you in marvelous ways.

So there you have it. Auntie Em’s guide to life.

I’m linking with The Alabaster Jar

26 Comments »

Christie In A Year - Extended

Reading All Agatha Christie's Work Until 12th January 2014, initially

Gourmet Quilter Blog

.....because quilting is delicious!

European Royal History

Exploring the History of European Royalty

Need Help Losing Weight?

This Blog Will Guide You Through What Foods to Eat and How to make a Diet Last.

healthnutmumblog

my searches for health

PicMonkey Blog

wisdom and madness from yer pals at PicMonkey.com

Bag of Cupcakes

celebrate. reward. encourage.

Grannys Pantry & Grandads Garden

Age Old Wisdom about how to grow and preserve and cook your own food and use natural medicines

Garden of Eve

Growing my own, from garden to table.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 747 other followers