Monday, September 11, 2017

Thankful For the Anniversary We Didn't Expect to Celebrate!



A year ago we didn't expect to celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary. Doctors gave us a grim cancer diagnosis.  "Rapid progression, unresponsive to treatment, low survivability" concluded a mountain of test results.

To our surprise, the peace and presence of God, which other cancer patients attest to, filled us with praise, thankfulness, and humor. We determined to laugh, celebrate each day, and treasure the time we had left together.

If my days were short, I wanted them filled with joy, not sadness.

 Oncologists urged us to go away and have fun. I do what my doctor orders.  Last September we headed for Hilton Head to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary. For two glorious weeks we enjoyed our love, the blessings of being alive, the treasure of time together.

In December my doctors were as excited as we were to learn a new drug had been approved for my type of cancer.  Take 3 pills a day  (one in the Name of the Father, one in the Name of the Son, and one in the Name of the Holy Spirit) and your cancer progression may stop.

And stop it did! 

Today my blood counts are normal.
 I feel better and have more energy than I have in years. 
Other than my cute chemo curls, there are no side effects.

This week Dan and I celebrate an anniversary we didn't expect to see—our 47th! We're returning to the same Hilton Head condo with thanks to God for the sweet gifts of marriage and time.

Looking back,

 I realize this last year has been the best year of our married life. 

Why? 

Because when we face the death of a spouse, priorities and perspectives change.

We treasure every moment. 

Idiosyncrasies are funny, not irritating.

We dance and sing together. 

We hold hands.

We sit together on the couch. 

We touch—often. 

We do today all the things we talked about, but never made time to do. 

We kiss—over and over. 

We tell each other "I love you"—constantly. 

We stop arguing. 

We treat each other with kindness. 

We let each other have his/her way. 

We go to bed together. 

We look into each other's eyes when we  speak and when we are quiet. 

We smile. 

We laugh. 

We love deeply. 

Cancer was a gift to us. A wake-up call to the treasure of love, life, and time. Don't wait for a crisis in your marriage to begin living love deeply.

"Above all, love each other deeply . . . . " 1 Peter 4:8



Praying for marriages as we splash in the Atlantic Ocean! 


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Nurturing a Marriage While Nurturing a Child



 How do I satisfy the needs of an infant in need of feeding 
and a husband in need of loving?  

Good question!

 I can relate. After five years of marriage and two doctors telling me I would never have children, I gave birth to my first child. She became the center of my universe and my dear husband was somewhere in space orbiting around us.

 Trying to mother and to wife seemed impossible.
 I just could not do it all.  

One day my husband jolted me with the truth,
 "What good will it do our baby if we end up divorced?"

  The best thing we can do for our child is work at and preserve our marriage.
 
Still, children take care and time and cannot be put back in the toy box until another day. They have needs—not just wants.

So, how do I balance my time and make my husband a priority?
Both parents need to exercise patience realizing this is a busy season in your life.
At the same time, there are things you can do to show your husband he is important to you.
  • Walk in his shoes. He may be feeling left out. You carried the baby in your womb, you delivered the little one, and for some, your breasts are feeding the baby. Some men feel jealous of the attention you are giving your baby. Your husband needs assurance that he’s still “The Man!”
  • Date him. Don’t fear leaving your children with a baby sitter. Nurture your marriage through a regular date night with your husband.  
  • Kiss him. Really KISS him. Pack some passion behind that pucker! Show your children how much you love their daddy by greeting him regularly and as a surprise with a kiss.
  • Make your bedroom a love sanctuary. 1 Corinthians 7:3 says “Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s sexual needs.” I don’t read, “unless there are children in the house” in that scripture. I know moms are tired. I also know a husband can feel like someone stole his wife when the baby is born.  
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, sleep when you can, and exercise. I know that seems impossible, but you’ll benefit (and so will your marriage) if you care for yourself.
  • Read a book on marriage. My books were written for drained moms and drained wives to be read in five-minute snippets. I know they have helped marriages get back on track. 
  • Pray. Ask God to help you prioritize and be the wife and mother He created you to be.
As moms we want to give our best to our children. It begins by giving our best to our husbands. Nurturing your marriage really does go a long way toward nurturing your child.

I’d love to hear other suggestions. How do you let your husband know he is important?




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Friday, June 30, 2017

Meet Elaine Miller, Author of We All Married Idiots!

Meet Elaine Miller, Author of We All Married Idiots!






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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Lead a Successful "We All Married Idiots" Couples' Study



Happy Dance! That's what I do when people contact me asking for guidance because their small group wants to study We All Married Idiots. Why so happy? Because I know when couples come together under the teaching of God's Word on marriage, only good can come from that meeting. God is glorified and satan is crushed. Families are saved and children grow up in happy homes. Wow! Wouldn't that make you dance too!

So, how does one lead a successful We All Married Idiots study? Easy. Application and study questions are provided under "CHANGE" at the end of each chapter. Start there and watch God "change" marriages.

How do those CHANGE questions play out in a small group? I contacted Annette Hurlbut from the Fulton Alliance Church, knowing she and her husband had lead a successful study of We All Married Idiots. How do I know it was successful? Throughout the study, couples contacted me sharing the changes  happening in individuals and in marriages. The grand prize being one of the couples renewing their wedding vows. Woo Hoo!!! A thrill to this author's heart.

Annette sent me lots of info. I'll share some below, but she is willing to share all the handouts she prepared, including the invitation she sent to couples challenging them to "Ask your spouse, 'Are you willing to study the Bible as it pertains to marriage—and our growth as a couple?'"

Why was the Hurlbut's small group effective?

1.  Ownership: From the beginning each participant took ownership. The couples were asked to look over We All Married Idiots and choose a chapter they would like to lead over the next thirteen weeks. During the meeting the lead couple discussed points in the chapter that touched their hearts and their marriage and asked the other couples to share their thoughts. As a group they answered the questions at the end of each chapter, sharing prayer requests, and praying for each other's marriage.

2. Fun: Midway through the study they took a break and had a date night. What a way to laugh and have fun and enjoy each other. I suspect there were a lot of laughs throughout the study, as well.

3. Fruit: Each week they discussed the changes happening in their marriages. What an encouragement to keep working at it.

4. Commitment: Could a marriage study get better than ending with a marriage vow renewal?

To guide you on your way to a successful small group couples study, here's the time format Mary and her husband used:

6:15 - 6:35: Fellowship, snacks, prayer/share and CHANGE application from previous week.

6:35 - 7:45: Read chapter. Meditate. Reflect. Change. (YOUR CHANGE homework).

7:45 - 8:00: Prayer requests.

If you would like more information or the handouts from Annette Hurlbut, please email her at   aahurlbut@aol.com.


Go ahead. You can lead a small group study of We All Married Idiots. What a thrill watching couples grow in love with their Savior and with each other. I'd love to pray for you and for your group as you meet. Let me know, and I'll be on my knees for your marriage.

A splash of serenity isn't enough for a marriage, Lord. I want a water fall of serenity, Jesus. A water fall.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Growing a Marriage to Full Bloom





Each Spring my heart jumps at the sight of the rhododendron surrounding our house. These gorgeous balls of purple lushness were planted (by a previous owner) the same year Dan and I were planted  as husband and wife. I don't know, I just think that's neat. Forty-seven years ago our love was new and so were these rhododendrons.

 Wow! Look at us now! Our marriage and the flowers are in full bloom!

There were years the rhoda's and the Miller's weren't so pretty. The rains hit too hard or not hard enough and our marriage and the flower buds struggled. But we held on to whatever we could to get through the storms beating us down. Grasping for fertile soil or a rock or anything that would help us stay alive during the difficult seasons, we embraced the promises we made on our wedding day, knowing with God nothing was impossible. After all, the Creator had a plan when He created us—a plan for the flowers and the marriage to flourish.

Forty-seven years later I stand in awe at the rhododendron and at Dan and me. Our love is in full bloom and beautiful. Thankful to God that when the years were lean and the branches empty, we didn't give up and decide to cut us down. We held on to You. We held on to each other. We endured the pruning You did and even the ugly we did to each other.

How do you  grow a marriage to full bloom? Hold on and never let go. I'm so glad we did.

May God splash serenity on your marriage. Remember, nothing is impossible with God.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Why Our Marriage Works—Mutual Respect


Last night was a comedy of errors in our bedroom. The previous owners added a master bedroom suite. Sweet! And huge! Bigger isn't always better because there are 31 steps between my bed and the master bath. We old folks sometimes make several trips to that room in one night. Before morning, I've already had my exercise for the day.



Last night I woke to total darkness, half asleep I tried to make my way to the potty. First I walked into the bed post, losing my footing. Fifteen steps later, Dan's music stand toppled.



 One baby step later I crashed into Dan's dresser.


A night isn't complete without walking into the wall!


I comforted myself that I was in the vicinity of my destination as my toe stubbed the scale.


The name "Thinner" on the scale is a misnomer, btw.

Finally, at my destination, a little bruised and a lot awake, I flipped on the night light.


Dan murmured a sleepy"Are you all right?" as I returned to our bed now illuminated by the angel on our bathroom wall.

This morning, he asked "What happened last night?"

"The night light wasn't on and I walked in total darkness to the bathroom."

Dan, in remorse, said, "I am so sorry. I can't believe I forgot to turn on the night light. I always turn on the night light."

"No, it's my fault. I was the last one in the bathroom before bed. I should have turned on the night light."

"It's not your fault. It's my fault." Dan insisted.

"No it's not your fault. I'm at fault."

Wow! We almost had a fight not having a fight. How differently this scenario could have played years ago when we seemed to argue about everything.

"Why didn't you turn on the night light!!!"

"Well, why didn't you? You were the last one in the bathroom!!! It's not my fault you forgot."

"Well, I suppose it's my fault you left your music stand where I could trip over it!"

"Hey, if your feet weren't so big, maybe you wouldn't have tripped." (Dan would never say that even back then. But some spouses would.)

See how the anger escalates and the argument changes from the night light to a personal attack? Not good.

Philippians 2:3-4 is our favorite marriage verse, how we live, and how our marriage works:

 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, 
but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, 
but also to the interests of others."

Mutual respect. 
That's why our marriage works. 
We each look at the others interests before we look at our own. 
We each consider the other better than ourselves. 
Now, that's a win-win marriage!

Choose your arguments. What does it matter who forgot to turn on the night light? It may have mattered last night, but it won't matter next week.

Yet every angry word pounds a nail into your marriage coffin. 
Choose your words and your arguments well.

May God splash serenity on your marriage as you follow His Light to your final destination.




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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Book Tour in Saratoga, NY, Meet my friend Elaine Marie Cooper, Author of Saratoga Letters

Do you live in the Saratoga Springs, NY area? Do you enjoy Revolutionary War history? Do you love romance? Do you like to read? If so, don't miss my friend Elaine Marie Cooper. She is coming to the Saratoga Springs area the end of May and first week of June to speak on her book Saratoga Letters. 

If you have a book club or would like to have a few ladies over for tea, Elaine Marie Cooper would love to speak at your gathering. Contact Elaine  to schedule your event at 515-205-8605 or email ElaineMarieCooper@yahoo.com. Or take your friends to her at:

Northshire Books, 424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, June 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

Stillwater Free Library, 72 S. Hudson Ave, Stillwater, NY, June 5, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.



I read Saratoga Letters in three days (a record for me). I couldn't put it down. Then I handed it to my granddaughter Gracie who loves to read, loves history, and at age 13 needs some wholesome romance models in her life. We loved Saratoga Letters. Living in New York State and visiting Saratoga Springs often, I was enthralled by the historical content and could envision and feel the emotions of settlers living in the beautiful city of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War.

Here's my review of Saratoga Letters  posted on GoodReads: "Wow! Two love stories spanning 200 years. Elaine Marie Cooper brilliantly intertwines 1777 and 1977. Saratoga Letters places readers into the depths of real life and true love during the Revolutionary War. History, romance, intrigue, suspense, murder. It's all there. A page-turner, well written, and easy to read. You'll want to stay tuned for the second of this powerfully written historical romance."


Elaine Marie Cooper writes with beauty and power.

This week Elaine Marie Cooper received news every author yearns to hear.
 In her sweet humble style, I'll let Elaine Cooper tell you her blessings:

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;” Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4 (NKJV)

"This week, my historical fiction novel, Saratoga Letters, has been blessed in not one, but two  book contests: Finalist in historical romance for the Selah Awards, and finalist in Romance for Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I am humbled and honored by the recognition. But life has taught me that there are seasons; times of both sorrow and joy. In God’s kingdom, they each can be a blessing if we seek His face and purpose in the trials of life.

One year ago this month, I faced one of the greatest physical crises of my life: a seriously infected knee that threatened my limb and potentially my life. Although it was pushing a year since the original knee replacement, it had taken ten months for the infection to be discovered. Far too long. In that time it could have traveled throughout my system. I could have lost my leg.  But God was faithful and prevented that from happening.

But that didn’t mean it was an easy fix as I faced two major surgeries, weeks of IV antibiotics, more physical therapy, more pain. I faced isolation from my family and friends as I recovered at home. Unable to drive, I dug deep into God’s Word, claiming His healing verses. I was play dough in His hands, forced to entrust every part of my being to Him. And He was faithful.

Realizing that all this occurred one year ago this month keeps the accolades for my book in perspective. Today is my season to laugh. But there are other seasons of mourning. And until we enter God’s kingdom one day, the balance of joy and sorrow, mourning and dancing will continue.

But fresh on the backside of the time of weeping, it makes the time of laughter even sweeter. Thank you, Lord Jesus.


Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of six books: Five historical fiction and a memoir of her daughter who passed away from a brain tumor in 2003. She grew up in Massachusetts where she became enthralled with the history of our country’s beginnings. Her historical fiction is set in the era of the American Revolution.

She is descended from a British soldier who fought in the Battle of Saratoga. When she and her husband visited the battleground in 2014, her writer’s muse devised the plot that became “Saratoga Letters.” She will be visiting upstate New York the end of May and first week of June for book events in the Saratoga Springs area. You can follow her blog on her website: www.elainemariecooper.com"

Blessings to Elaine Marie Cooper. May God continue to splash His serenity on you, your work, and your readers!


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