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!

I’m Just a Girl who Cain’t Say No

Or at least I USED to be. I’ve struggled with it for years, because I would like to do so much more than my schedule, energy, and priorities allow.

Come on over to A Biblical Marriage and read my post about Overcoming Overcommitment during the holiday season– quite a challenge! And you can listen to Ado Annie while you read!

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12 Days (of Encouraging your Spouse) of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas,animals,birds,characters,songs,fruits,nature,trees,pears,plants,special occasionsRecently I had a request for a post sharing concrete tips for how to encourage our husbands. This idea has been floating around since then, and I was trying to come up with a “12 days of Christmas” post, and finally they came together! Now you can be historically accurate and put this into practice on December 25- January 5, or go with the more Americanized (commercialized) calendar and use the days leading up to Christmas, and so begin on December 14. (If you want to read all about it, visit this Wikipedia article.)

The idea is simple: instead of random acts of kindness, do intentional ones. We should constantly be listening to our spouses, studying them, to figure out what they want and need. My husband, Mr X is hard to buy for, because he doesn’t really want much, and when he does, he buys it! But there are things I can to show him I love him and I’m thinking about him. And for him, thinking about him and taking time out of my day to do something just for him is what means the most to him.

These ideas are meant to be a springboard to get you thinking and get your creativity going. You can take any of the ideas and do that one for 12 days– for instance, if his love language is gifts, get him a gift for 12 days. Acts of service? Make his lunch for 12 days. Or you can do different ones every day, or any combination, but do SOMETHING extra for all 12 days.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Pray for him. And let him know. Send him a text or leave a note telling him how you prayed for him. (If there is a particular challenge happening in his life, if he’s traveling, if he’s been sick, etc.) Find a Scripture that you claim for him and pray for him. I like Psalm 1: 1-3.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

2. Give gifts. They can be as simple as bringing home his favorite candy when you go to the grocery store, but make a gift of it– put it in a gift bag; wrap it up; hide it in the glove box in his car and give clues. A classic movie on DVD… If he likes clothes, you have a few more choices. A mug or insulated glass from his favorite sports team. You don’t have to break the bank.

3. Leave him notes. If affirming words are his love language, he will absolutely love this idea, and even if they are not, he will still enjoy sweet words from his sweetheart. Say WHY you love him, WHAT you love and appreciate about him, HOW he makes you love him. Stash them around where he will find them gradually- in his bathroom drawer, in the pockets of clothes, in a book he’s reading, etc. If you have little ones, they can write encouraging notes for dad too. Mr X still has notes and bookmarks that our kids made him years ago. Those things are special!

4. Give him coupons. For anything from taking over one of his chores to making his favorite food to … *wink*wink*  Go all out and create some drama here– call it a Night of Dreams or something; build it up for several days, talking about it, sending text or email hints; arrange for the kiddos to go away; get something new to wear; eat a romantic meal; set the mood with music and candles. You will have one happy man who feels like a king.

5. Do something he likes. Stay off the computer– watch the fights with him– invite his friends over– Mr X likes me to play the piano.

6. Initiate intimacy. Don’t wait for him to start. Even for long-married couples, the risk of rejection is a scary thing for a man; he really does want you for more than just sex; and when his beloved wants to be intimate with him, he feels like the king of the castle. Besides the chemical rush that creates bonding between the two of you, he feels more confident to take on any challenge that come his way at work.

Okay– that’s enough to get you started. We’ll do the next 6 on Wednesday. Are you getting some ideas? Let’s share them and make our husbands feel really loved this Christmas!


Christmas is Coming.. $$$

Christmas is coming,

the goose is getting fat!

Please put a penny in the Old Man’s hat.*

… and a quarter in the Salvation Army red bucket… and $10 for your boss’s Christmas collection.. and $15 for your Secret Santa gift… and $25 for your Shoe Box… and $50 for your Christmas mission offering… oh, and then there’s Christmas dinner… and oh, yes, your own spouse and children to buy gifts for!

The holiday season can turn into a money pit of opportunities! They can also cause a lot of stress on your marriage. I’m contributing today over at A Biblical Marriage to the series Surviving the Holidays with Your Marriage Intact. Hop on over there and check out The Holiday Minefield– Financial Bombs! Leave a comment and tell them Auntie Em sent you!

Surviving the Holidays with your marriage intact

If you’ve never heard this sweet little *English Christmas carol, here is a nice simple version of it.


The Luxury of Extended Time


Lately I’ve been having to do everything in short segments: Put the laundry in the washer, bring the groceries in and put up only the cold things; start the meat browning, unload the dishwasher, turn the meat, put up the rest of the groceries, switch the clothes, MAYBE check Facebook or my messages and stats, or write a few lines of a post. Certainly no time to read my favorite blogs. I have so many “drafts” going… I’m getting ideas, but no time to sit and let them germinate.

And the same routine happens at work. I used to think my memory was really, really bad, but honestly, I think there are just too many “open boxes” floating around, and I have to keep them all on the forefront. Trouble is there’s only one forefront! The other things get pushed further and further back, and are easily forgotten.

Add to that the Art of Marriage seminar that Mr X and I are facilitating at church this weekend– I also feel like God initiated that! But there has been a good bit of last minute things this week.

(I have to throw this in: Our kitchen faucet came off a few weeks ago– we reattached it to the hose with super glue. It worked fine! But last weekend it began to leak while it’s turned on, and make a mess.. but there’s no time to go pick out a new one or fix it this week, so we’re just letting it drip into the sink until we can think about it next week!)

It’s enough to drive a person crazy!

You know Auntie Em preaches “Don’t take on more than God plans for you,” and I have always felt like I am called to the classroom. This is just a very intense time for us– we didn’t start school till the last week of August, but our contest season, football games (which involves scheduling National Anthem singers and concession workers), Christmas season (which involves fitting formal dresses and tuxes for over 100 teenagers, scheduling concerts and buses); and fall fundraisers still have their old deadlines… It seems like there’s hardly time to catch your breath.

I guess I’m saying all this to say– Guard your time, and your schedule. Eliminate what you can, what you feel is not God-led. Remember your priorities: God, your spouse, your children, your church, then everything else. Sometimes we can’t see clearly where we are overcommitted– talk to your spouse, or your Board of Directors, for input and guidance in this area. Practice saying NO, and don’t let anybody make you feel guilty for not taking on another responsibility. If they say, “Well God expects you to …,”  reply, “God expects me to take care of my family.” Or, one nobody can argue about– “Let me discuss it with my husband, and pray about it.” If somebody wants an immediate answer, what do we say? All together now: NO!

Plan ahead for the natural ebb and flow of the seasons in your life, and be flexible enough to make adjustments– if your child has a crisis and needs some extra face time with you, maybe do sandwiches instead of the full-blown meal for supper. If you know a really busy week is in sight, try to put some meals in the freezer. Don’t take on any extra time commitments during known “crunch times.” (As fun as singing “Messiah” before Christmas with a church 40 miles away sounds, I can’t do it during this season of my life. I’ll do it after I retire.)

Dearies, the holiday season will be here before you know it. Don’t let your schedule run you. You run your schedule!

Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I’m “hopping” on over to Friendly Friday– check it out!


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