DC#269 Ellish

iamthedivacztThere was a new tangle released from Zentangle creators this week, so naturally it is the Diva Challenge for the week. I had seen this thrown around a little bit on facebook but to be honest, it looked too complicated. Then when the Diva Challenge came out, I was like, okay, let’s see what I can do with this.

I decided I better practice it a bit in my sketchbook. It’s a good thing I did too because it took me four tries to get the first stroke right. This wasn’t looking good. But then I pretended to write a cursive L and it made that initial stroke much simpler to do.

Here’s a bad picture of my practice page in my sketchbook. I quickly snapped a picture with my phone because I was too lazy to get up and put it in the scanner. 😉

DC#269 Ellish ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I went ahead and drew it on my tile. I was no where near brave enough to try drawing multiples of ellish, so I stayed with just the one. Then I was a bit nervous about adding anything to it because I was rather pleased, in spite of the couple of messy bits, and didn’t want to mess it up. 😉 But I thought there was a good spot to put Henna Drum and some Zinger as well. So once again, I took a deep breath and drew them.

I had a couple of alignment issues on the henna drum, where I couldn’t see it real good and got some of the inner lines off but I tried to cover it with more deliberate lines and shading. Then the one zinger stem is a bit too fat, but I just decided that it was thicker because it was closer. 😉

DC#269 Ellish ~ Lifeofjoy.meShading really does make a world of difference.

DC#269 Ellish ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow that I see it larger, I see where I should’ve blended some of the shading a bit more. Oh well. I think I may need to get that light that Eni shared on her blog, so that I can see what I’m doing a little better before I finish and scan it for the blog. 😉 Of course that’s just my perfectionism showing again.

All-in-all, I’m quite pleased with it.

Once again, I’d like to thank those that took the time to leave me comments last week. It is so kind of you and very encouraging as well. Thanks in advance to those that take the time to do so this week. You are a gem!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Taco Mac Salad

I don’t know why we call this Taco Mac Salad when there is no macaroni in the salad. It should be called Taco Pasta Salad but then I’d mess myself up when I’m looking for the recipe. 😀 I think I got it from Menus4moms way back when it was free. It is one salad recipe that my family really enjoys and I’m getting some veggies into them.

This recipe is easily adaptable to whatever you have, there are just some items that are musts: pasta, raw greens, meat, and cheese.

Let’s get started. When we made this yesterday, I cheated and had purchased a bag salad. 🙂 So we just emptied that into a bowl.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I chopped up about a half cup of green pepper.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrown the ground meat and put a pot of water on to boil for the tri-color spiral pasta.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meShred the cheese. This night we used Pepper Jack Cheese.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen the meat is browned and broken up into small bits, add the taco seasoning. So far I’ve used pre-packaged seasoning because it is easiest but in the future we may use a mixture of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika, cumin, and chili powder OR we may just forego the taco seasoning altogether since it seems to bother some members of the family.

Combine the lettuce, green pepper, cheese, meat, and drained pasta.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI let each person put the nacho chips on their plate rather than mixing it in the whole bowl; that way, if we don’t eat it all in one sitting, the chips don’t get all soggy and thus nasty.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd salad and combine.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI also do not put dressing on this in the bowl, but let each person put on how much they want. Some of my kids don’t use any dressing at all. I also have diced tomato and either diced onion or green onion available for those that want them. As you may guess, some of my kids don’t like these items either. This night I had some avocado available as well.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI like a little Catalina (as the recipe calls for) and a little Ranch on mine. 🙂

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike chose to use plain tortilla chips in his because he said there was enough spiciness with the taco meat and pepper jack cheese.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo you can see this is a very versatile recipe and lends itself to whatever you happen to have on hand. 🙂

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hope you’ll give this a try. It really is quite good.

Taco Mac Salad


  • 1 box (8 oz) tri-color spiral pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 head of lettuce, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 8 oz. cheese, shredded (We've used cheddar, colby-jack, and pepper jack cheeses.)
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 bag (16 oz) Nacho chips (like Doritos)
  • other items as desired: tomato, onion or green pepper, avocado, et cetera
  • 1/2 cup Catalina dressing (or dressing of your choosing)


  1. Boil the pasta and drain.
  2. Brown the ground meat, drain if greasy, and add taco seasoning.
  3. Combine all ingredients except chips and taco seasoning.
  4. Serve with chips crushed in bowl with salad and add dressing as desired.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. The original recipe said to combine the cooked pasta, lettuce, green pepper, and 1/2 cup diced onion with some salt and pepper and chill. Then when you are ready to serve it, add the warm meat, chips, and 1/2 cup French dressing; toss gently and sprinkle with the cheese just before serving.

Personality Differences

Personality Traits ~ Lifeofjoy.meYears ago, before I had children, I worked at VCU (VA Commonwealth Univ.) in the office of the Dept. of Microbiology. They were big on employee workshops and such. I took one course that did the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. I don’t remember exactly what my results were way back then, some 25+ years ago but last year I heard people talking about this test again and how much their results helped them understand who they are. It made me curious what my type was, so I went to the website they said they had used and took it again.

After all these years, it was a little more difficult to take because I push myself outside of my comfort zone in several areas, so I am not as introverted as I once was. 😉 That probably comes as a shock to many of the people that know me in real life, especially at my church.

Anyway, Sean asked my opinion of these tests the other night and we got to talking about it a bit. Sean took the test, closely followed by Tiffany, and then Mike even took it. It was interesting to see that Sean and I are identical types and that Tiffany is completely different.

My type is labelled “The Defender” and is in a group called the Sentinel. Interestingly, Mike is very similar while being an extrovert; his is labelled “The Consul”. There was one statement on his personality type summary that was an ‘aha moment’ for me. I will share it but first I must give a little background.

Mike does not have an active facebook account. He has had it a few times in the past and it ends up being a source of frustration for him, so it is best for him not to have it active. But he will, daily, ask me, “What’s up? Anything new?” This is frequently a frustration for me because much of what I have on facebook is Zentangle (see Wonder Wednesday posts for more information) related or homeschool related and the like.

So the statement was:

At their hearts, ESFJ personalities are social creatures, and thrive on staying up to date with what their friends are doing.

All of a sudden I realized that the reason he always asks me this question is because it is how he is wired. He “thrives on staying up to date with what” people are doing. Knowing this, makes me understand why he asks this and hopefully, will help me not to get frustrated when he asks in the future.

So, as I told Sean, knowing the personality type can give you insight into a person but the important thing is not to use it as an excuse for not needing to change. We should all be working to be more Christ-like and becoming who He says we should be. But the information can help us to give a little more grace to people who do things differently than you’d do them. But they shouldn’t be used as a crutch.

If your curious about this test and your personality type, you can take it and receive immediate results at 16personalities.com free of charge. I have one friend that said when she took it and found out her type, it validated her and how she reacts to things, i.e. she’s not weird. 😉 It can be helpful.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

This and That

This and That 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt has been a rainy and cool week here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind these weeks but it hasn’t exactly helped me get motivated. Then add the fact that Tiffany hasn’t been feeling the best and has thus wanted to rest a lot and my motivation is severely reduced.

I have gotten the bare minimum stuff done this week and that is about it. But I have managed to order Tiffany and my mom’s birthday presents. I have also picked what I want to get for the young couple that is getting married in a couple of weeks. I’ll check on it when we run errands.

If it stops raining, Mike and the boys are going to spiff up my flower gardens for my mother’s day and birthday present. It was supposed to have rained last Saturday so they postponed it to tomorrow. It didn’t end up raining though. I hope they can do it tomorrow; the weather predicts no rain chances, so I’m hopeful. 🙂

If it weren’t so dreary out, I would have gone out and gotten a picture of the fruit on our trees. Tiffany says they are coming along nicely! We haven’t checked the blueberry bushes though. They should have some ripe berries on them. I’ll check them later.

Sean is going to have a very busy weekend this week. He’s the best man in the wedding we’ll be attending in a couple of weeks and as such is hosting the bachelor party (just good clean fun) and has other things to do before coming home and helping with my flowers. Come Sunday afternoon, he is going to sleep really good. 😀

This and That 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks like we finally have the car fixed. Mike kept hearing a knocking sound, so he took it back to Larry, our mechanic, to look at it. Turns out the sway bar was a bit loose. It is now tightened and shall be fine. While it was up on the rack, Mike was able to check the tire that we’ve had a slow leak in for quite some time. Turns out, there was a screw in the tire in a place we could not see it normally. So, early next week he will remove said tire and take it to get it plugged.

My friend that sold us the car felt bad that we’ve had to have so much work done to it but I told her not to feel bad. She gave us an awesome deal and so we it is okay that we are having to do some work to it. Now, had we paid more for it, we might have felt a bit more frustrated. 😉 As it is, we have the main things taken care of and it is good to go for a good long time.

This and That 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.mePeri-menopause is ridiculous!!! I will be glad when I no longer have to deal with this frustration. I had a wonderful three or four months and then boom, it’s back with a vengeance! I won’t go into more detail than that. 🙂

I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Long ago, I was a bit of a perfectionist. Somewhere along the way I got ‘cured’. 😀 I came to a point that I realized I just couldn’t do everything that needed to be done, the way I wanted it done and thus had to loosen my standards. I had to allow my children to help me do things around the house, even if they didn’t do it exactly the way I would have done it. This benefits them and me.

I had once read that housework done imperfectly still blesses the home. I let this statement sink in and bless me. I learned to let the towels be folded a different way than how I learned to fold them. This actually began when I got married because Mike folds towels drastically differently than I do. For a long time, I would go behind him and refold them, which was just stupid. There is no right or wrong way to fold towels. When I finally grasped this, things went a little smoother.

Some might say I’ve been over cured of perfectionism because I’ve managed to overlook some clutter longer than I should. 😉

I found this article online about perfectionism and what it may be doing to family members. I asked Nina if I could share it here and she graciously agreed. I really liked the point she made about God and perfectionism about halfway through her post. I hope it will give you food for thought. Her website is ninaroesner.com .

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Is perfectionism destroying you or your family?

I have several people in my life who are battling anxiety. In a discussion with one of them recently, my friend let me know that she feels “robbed” by the anxiety, as though it actually steals something from her. Another friend’s therapist recently labeled her negative thinking as perfectionism and related it to anxiety.


I thought about that a lot.

I think they’re right.

I remember being perfectionistic in how I home schooled my first born. I was anxious about messing up his education. I sent him to kindergarten because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to teach him to read. When I learned that I hadn’t been doing anything wrong, that his brain just wasn’t ready until half-way through his kindergarten year – and all the light bulbs turned on then for him – that info gave me the confidence to home school my other kids for kindergarten. I was ready to teach my other two how to read, and to be patient while they learned in the timing that was right for them.

But you see how perfectionism robbed me of a cool experience with teaching my first born to read? My lack of info fed that fear, too.  Don’t miss the connection.

You know how parenting brings our best faults to light in really obvious ways? When I had a first grader and I was teaching math, I did a few major things wrong. I focused on the results with his papers and tests instead of the effort he put into them. I realized the negative effect I was having one day when I watched him take one of his tests. He didn’t know I was standing behind him.  As I watched, I realized he wasn’t even looking at the problems, he was just writing down random answers.

I asked him why he was doing that. He looked at me and said, “It doesn’t matter how I do, it’s not going to be right anyway.” My throat caught. “Why do you say that?” I asked him.

“I don’t always get a star or a chocolate,” he replied.

If he got 95% or better, I gave him a reward. Rewards were supposed to motivate kids, right?

This wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

“So you don’t feel like trying? I don’t understand,” I said, truly confused.

“I don’t know if #2 or #6 is right, so it doesn’t matter how I do on the rest. If I don’t get #2 and #6, the rest don’t matter,” he replied.


I was raising a perfectionist.

Where did he get that?

I knew where he got it. I wasn’t raising one, however – I was creating one.

What we don’t deal with as parents in ourselves, we recreate in our children.


The characterflaws we ignore in ourselvesinevitably show up in our kids.Be brave.Confess. Apologize. Repent.God is in the transformationbusiness. ninaroesner.com

So I did a ton of reading about home schooling. And perfectionism.

And what I discovered shook me up pretty good.

The articles I read at the time were different, but the points were essentially the same.

Here’s a few current reads if you need to understand why it’s so detrimental to yourself, your kids, and your career.

Perfectionism is essentially the loss of the ability to see what is true. Even God didn’t shoot for perfect, He declared things done when they were “good.”

Perfectionism is over-doing what we refer to as “gap-focused thinking,” or when you live in the past, the future, or the “shoulda-woulda-coulda” instead of “the Now that currently IS.”

Instead of paying attention to the nice bunch of tomatoes you grew in your garden, enjoying each sweet, tart and tangy bite, it’s paying attention to a GAP – “If I had planted them earlier, I’d have more,” “If I only planted cucumbers, I’d also have pickles now,” “I wish they were bigger/better/more flavorful,” etc. It is sin because it denies the gift that God has given, what we DO have, and instead focuses on what we do NOT have – which basically says that what God has given or what the other person has done is not enough.



And focusing on the gap denies us of the possible pleasures, joy, and blessings – I would even go so far as to say it denies us of the very existence of God Himself, because we squelch the Holy Spirit when we complain instead of appreciate.

We are actually doing the enemy’s work for him because he doesn’t have to work that hard to rob, steal, and destroy us or our relationships – we just hand them all over with perfectionism.

It should be no surprise that we destroy our relationships when we focus on the gap, also. No one can live up to the kind of pressure perfectionism creates and most people eventually give up trying.

It shouldn’t be surprising if you are doing the Respect Dare that we’d deal with this. Here’s the verse (my life verse, btw!) that has the power to turn things around for us all:


God has set me from from perfectionism.

I repented, confessing to God that I didn’t want to destroy my child, and begged Him to change me.

I apologized to my child, was completely honest about what I was doing and how it was wrong, and a sin against God. I let my kid know I’d asked God to forgive me and I was also asking him to forgive me.

And guess what? He did.

They both did.

There’s a fine line between being driven and being a perfectionist. It’s okay to have drive, aim high, and do your best. It’s even Biblical (Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your might, Ecclesiastes 9:10).

So yes, aim high, work hard, do GOOD.

Just don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. You’ll know you’re dealing with perfectionism because you have that whole “not enough” thing going on – either you putting it on yourself, or others putting it on you, or worse, you putting it on other people.

Love to you,




A Bit-O-Black, Fugu, and Batumber

iamthedivaczt This week’s Diva Challenge is to add a bit of black to our tile. So of course, my mind went immediately to Hollibaugh but in the end I decided against it.

I considered the tangles to use for quite some time and finally decided to just go ahead and draw a string and maybe something would become obvious. I drew two diagonal slightly curved lines, giving me one larger diagonal section and two smaller triangular sections.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meI went combing through my facebook zentangle groups to see what focuses were currently. The current Square One: Purely Zentangle focus is Fugu, which is new to me. It seems a lot like tipple except that it has some large almond shaped pods which are auraed.

Then I saw that I had missed Batumber from last week’s focus. I liked the look of this one and could fit it in the center section of my string fairly easily. Batumber is a combination of Twing and Kuke, created by Kelley Kelly. I like Kuke so it is no wonder this one appealed to me as well.

This first picture is before I did any blackening.

A Bit-O-Black Fugu Batumber ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is after adding the black.

A Bit-O-Black Fugu Batumber ~ Lifeofjoy.me

And here it is after shading. I think maybe I went a little overboard on the shading. Maybe I should have just done where the ‘petals’ of kuke meet instead of each ‘petal’.

A Bit-O-Black Fugu Batumber ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, that’s it for today. Thank you to all who took the time to comment last week and to all who will do so this week. Your comments are so encouraging! I’m trying to be less hard on myself – thanks! 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is a totally different kind of squash but it can be very good. Tiffany and I enjoy it very much.

It is simple to cook. Take your spaghetti squash and remove any stickers that may be on it.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace it in a 350º oven.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake for a while. 😀 But seriously, because their sizes vary so much, the bake times vary too. I think I bake mine about an hour. If you like your veggies with a little crispness, you could bake for 30 minutes or so.

I tend to forget mine and they get a little overcooked on the bottom.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce it cools, cut it in half from top to bottom.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere you can see the difference between the fleshy strands and the goopy seeds and stuff. Remove the goopy seeds and stuff and toss.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen use the fork and scrape the strands.

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow you can cook them a lot of different ways. You can simply serve them with some butter, salt and pepper, and maybe a little cinnamon, if you’re adventurous. Or you can saute it with some other veggies of choice, onion, mushroom, and pepper for example. Or you could even put a tomato sauce and some cheese on it and put it in the oven to melt the cheese.

Yesterday morning I made some bacon for breakfast, so I had a pan of bacon grease sitting on the stove. So of course, I did the most healthy thing ever and I cooked my spaghetti squash in that bacon grease with some leftover spaghetti sauce I had in the refrigerator that needed to be used up and some cheese.

It was amazing! (Please disregard the grease in the following picture.)

Spaghetti Squash ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou can freeze whatever portion you can’t eat in the next couple of days for future use.

I hope you give spaghetti squash, the other squash, a try.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. Please excuse the poor quality pictures. It was a very dreary day and the lighting in the house was very bad for pictures. I hope to update them the next time I make spaghetti squash.

Your Marriage: Will You Trash It or Treasure It?

This week I’m sharing an article meant to make you think a little. 😉

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sue Bohlin helps us take a biblical perspective on eight activities and attitudes that will tear down our marriage.   Fortunately, she also provides us eight Christain alternatives that will help build up our marriages.

The divorce rate is at an all-time high, and marriages are falling apart everywhere you look. Marriages of church-going people are crashing and burning especially fast. There are forces in our culture that contribute to marriage stresses such as pornography, the prevalence of drivenness, two-career families, and the dynamics of the blended family. But people also make foolish choices to destroy their marriages from within.

Talking about the family, Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Ephesians 5:28 exhorts husbands to love their wives as their own bodies, nourishing and cherishing them. God’s plan is that we treasure and cultivate our marriages, but it’s very easy to trash them instead. Let’s take a tongue-in-cheek look at eight ways that people trash their marriages.

Be Selfish

The first step is to be selfish. My pastor once said that the AIDS of marriage is justified self-centeredness. Everything needs to revolve around you because, let’s face it, you are at the center of the universe, right? If you find something you like to do that ignores your spouses’ feelings and interests, go ahead and do it! Too bad if they don’t like it! You only go around once in life, so grab for all the gusto you can get!

Always insist on having things your own way. If you don’t get your own way, throw a tantrum. Or freeze your spouse out. Get your kids involved in this game by saying things like, “Would you please ask your father to pass the salt?” Don’t be afraid to withhold sex if your spouse isn’t letting you have things your own way. There’s a lot of power in that, so don’t waste it!

If there’s only enough money in your budget for what one of you wants, make sure you get what you want. Especially if you’re the wage earner, or if you make more than the other. Money is power, and don’t be afraid to use it against your spouse!

Make demands instead of requests. Wives, let your husband know that he will do things your way, or you’ll make his life miserable. Husbands, when you want your wife to do something, just tell her to do it. “Please” and “thank you” are for the kids. This is your spouse you’re talking about–they don’t need it. Save all your courtesy for strangers; don’t waste it on the person you said you’d spend the rest of your life with.

What we really mean to say:

Selfishness is guaranteed to hurt marriages, so ask for God’s help in putting your husband or wife ahead of yourself so you don’t trash your marriage.

Pick at Each Other

The second step is to pick at each other. If you know that something you do annoys your spouse, be sure to do it often. And intentionally. When she complains about it, tell her to buzz off, it’s not as annoying as the stupid things she does to bug you. The more childish the annoying habit, the better.

Be critical of the smallest thing the other one says and does. Don’t let your spouse get away with anything! Stay vigilant for every little offense. Be sure to address these small details with an air of superiority . . . unless it works better for you to act like a martyr, as if you deserve the Nobel Prize for putting up with someone who doesn’t squeeze the toothpaste from the end.

Always get the last word when you’re arguing. Dr. Phil McGraw has said that the most accurate predictor of divorce is when people don’t allow their partners to retreat with dignity. So make your spouse feel whipped and defeated at the end of a fight. As long as you win, that’s what matters.

Let The Kids Be More Important

A third step to trashing your marriage is to let the kids become more important than your spouse. Moms, make your husband feel left out of the intimate, secret relationship between you and your baby. As the baby grows, continue to draw the line where it’s you and your child on one side, your husband on the other. Keep your Mommy hat on all day and all night. Your kids don’t care if your hair is brushed and if you put on perfume and a little makeup before Daddy comes home, so why should he?

Dads, invest all your energies into making your child succeed at what he’s good at, or what you want him to be good at. Squeeze out Mom so that you will be your kid’s favorite parent. Work so hard on homework and school projects that there’s no time for family time.

Let the kids and your other priorities crowd out your “alone together” time. Date nights are for unmarried people! In order to be fulfilled as a person, it is essential to invest all your energies in parenting, career, housework, church commitments and hobbies, so don’t worry if there isn’t enough time left over for the two of you. It’s no big deal. There’s always tomorrow. Or next year.

What we really mean to say:

Hey! If you find yourself doing these things, stop! You don’t have to trash your marriage!

Show Disrespect

Show disrespect for your spouse, especially in public. One of the best ways to disrespect your partner is ugly name-calling, especially about things he or she can’t change. However, the old standbys of “stupid,” “fat,” “ugly,” “weak,” and “loser” are always effective, too.

Complain about your spouse to your friends. It’s even more powerful if you do it in front of your spouse. Then, if he objects, punch him in the arm and say, “I’m just kidding! You take everything so seriously!

There are a number of ways to show disrespect with nonverbal communication. Roll your eyes, cluck your tongue, narrow your eyes in contempt. The heavy sigh is a real winner, too.

Wives: Straighten out your husband when he makes a mistake, especially in front of others. Lecture him. Ridicule him: his feelings, his behavior, his dreams, his thoughts. Do everything you can to emasculate your husband. Husbands: Let your wife know you think your opinion is better than hers. Interrupt her when she’s speaking.

Refuse to Meet Emotional Needs

His Needs, Her NeedsAnother easy way to trash your marriage is to refuse to meet your spouse’s emotional needs. Men and women need different things from their life partners. Dr. Willard Harley discovered and examined a pattern in his excellent book His Needs, Her Needs. Husbands’ top needs, it turns out, are: first of all sexual fulfillment; second, recreational companionship; third, an attractive spouse; fourth, domestic support; and fifth, admiration. Wives, if you want to trash your marriage, ignore his need for sex and that you be there for him in leisure time. Blow off his desire that you look your best and he can be proud that you’re his wife. Make your home as stressful and chaotic as you can, and never, ever tell him what you admire about him.

Wives’ top needs are: first of all affection; second conversations; third, honesty and openness; fourth, financial commitment; and fifth, family commitment. So guys, if you want to trash your marriage, don’t show your wife you love and appreciate her. Don’t talk to her. Close off your heart to her. Make her constantly worry about finances. Don’t be a faithful husband and father.

Dr. Harley’s got a Web site, MarriageBuilders.com, that has a lot of good, practical information for building strong marriages, so you’d better stay away from there if you’re not interested in being intentional and constructive!

Remember, we’re being tongue-in-cheek here. We want you to build your marriage, not trash it!

Treat Your Friends Better than Your Spouse

The sixth easy step to trashing your marriage is to treat your friends better than your spouse. Since a lot of men unfortunately don’t even have friends, this is something women tend to do more. Women know how to treat their girlfriends. They call them up just to encourage them. They drop off flowers for no reason. They send them cards, and they listen intently to whatever’s going on in their lives. They are emotionally invested in their friends. They are quick to mention when someone looks nice or does something well because women are usually good at affirming each other. If you want to trash your marriage, don’t do any of these thoughtful kindnesses for your husband. If your girlfriend is having a bad day, go out of your way to take her a wonderful casserole and fresh salad and dessert . . . but serve your husband Spaghetti-O’s.

But husbands, if your wife needs you for something at home, and your buddy scores some tickets to a game, tell your wife “too bad, so sad.” After all, she’ll be around forever but tonight’s hockey game won’t. If someone at church or in the neighborhood needs something fixed, drop everything to take care of it, even if it means that the broken things around your house will continue to go unfixed.

Be a Pansy

Step number seven for trashing your marriage has two parts. Husbands, be a pansy. Retreat into the safety of passivity. Refuse to take initiative or responsibility in making plans or suggestions. That way, when things go wrong, you can say, “Don’t blame me! It’s not my fault!” These are great ways to trash your marriage.

Be His Mother

Wives, be a mother to your husband. When people ask how many children you have, say things like, “Two–three, if you count my husband.” Tell him to wear a coat when it’s cold and take an umbrella when it’s raining, because he can’t figure it out on his own. Be sure to say “I told you so” as often as possible. If he is passive or irresponsible, jump in and rescue him so he won’t have to deal with the consequences of his own choices. Make sure he feels three years old. Tell him how to live his life, down to the smallest detail.

What we really mean to say:

Please, if you find yourself doing these things, ask for God’s help in being constructive instead of destructive. We want to help you build your marriage, not trash it.

When You’re Angry, Blow Up

Let’s talk about one final way to trash your marriage. Yell and scream, or quietly say hurtful words; it doesn’t matter. Inflicting pain is the important thing. Call each other names in the heat of your emotion. Dredge up the past and bring up old hurts. You can hit or slap with words as well as with hands, and they each leave a different kind of lasting damage to your spouse and to your marriage. Losing control when you’re angry is a powerful way to hurt your spouse.

Build Your Marriage in Eight Harder Steps

Well, enough of ways to trash your marriage–how about eight steps to build it? All we have to do is look at the opposite of this article’s negative, destructive steps.

To build your marriage, fight selfishness by developing a servant’s heart. Commit yourself to acting in your spouse’s best interests. Do at least one unselfish deed for your husband or wife every day.

Second, instead of picking at each other, choose to let things go. Be grace-givers. Remember that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

Third, be intentional in keeping your marriage at the center of your family. Have regular date nights, and schedule times away to invest in the intimacy of your relationship. Go to a FamilyLife Marriage Conference (www.familylife.com).

Fourth, commit to actively be respectful to your spouse by never saying anything negative to other people. Be kind in your words and actions. Treat each other as courteously and with the kind of honor you would bestow on a stranger or a dear friend.

Fifth, talk about your spouse’s particular emotional needs. Read Willard Harley’s excellent book His Needs, Her Needs. Find out which ones are most important to your partner, and do everything in your power to meet them.

Sixth, treat your husband or wife at least as well as you treat your friends. Be as thoughtful and encouraging and affirming as you can possibly be.

Seventh: Ladies, resign as your husband’s mother. You married an adult; treat him with the respect an adult deserves. Men: Your wife needs a servant-leader–someone who refuses either passivity or tyranny–to love her as Christ loves the church.

And last, when you’re angry, express it wisely and constructively. Use words like “I’m angry about this” instead of yelling or hurtful silence. If you’re too mad to speak with self-control, wait till you cool down. And don’t go to bed without dealing with the situation (Eph. 4:26).

You don’t have to trash your marriage. You can treasure it instead.

© 2003 Probe Ministries

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Breaking the Cycle of Being Unproductive

Be Productive ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is just simply hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly! And yet my birthday and Mother’s Day are both behind us already.

Sometimes I go through a stretch where I am rather productive but then I an go through other stretches where I am . . . shall we say, not so productive. Even though I do things that I enjoy during those times, I end up feeling like a failure or lazy, and yet I find it hard to get out of the unproductive cycle.

These times usually begin when I’ve had a good reason for taking a day off and relaxing. It is bad when one of those days happens just prior to a ‘lazy’ weekend or one full of celebrations and such. It should be easy to break out of this cycle with the beginning of a new week, but unfortunately sometimes it just isn’t. Then if Monday goes by the wayside, inertia seems to be in full motion and it takes some external reason or force comes into play. 🙁

Be Productive ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou see, I’m also good at procrastination. The way out of this vicious cycle is to be determined. I know that sounds hard but at some point you get fed up with what you are, or aren’t doing, as the case may be, and you just decide to break out of the cycle. This is usually easier at the beginning of the day or after some other happening, like lunch or such.

Then to ensure that I don’t fall back into that cycle, I purposely don’t allow myself to do whatever the thing is that traps me. If it is watching television, then I don’t allow myself to watch ANY until all the Be Productive ~ Lifeofjoy.methings I NEED to accomplish are accomplished or I have reached the evening and family is going to watch something together. If it is reading, I save it for a ‘reward’ of sorts, for accomplishing all I need to accomplish for the day and then allow myself to read. Whatever the thing that sidetracks me, is what I keep myself from doing until I’ve completed the things that are important and need to be accomplished first.

When I’m in a cycle of procrastinating on getting my blog post prepared at a reasonable hour of the day, I keep myself from checking mail and facebook  until I have completed it. You can apply this principle to just about anything; it helps get back on track.

Well, I hope my ramblings have given you some ideas on how to handle your procrastination or cycles of being unproductive.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Steve Demme, Convention Speaker

Steve Demme Convention Speaker ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe keynote speaker for the OCHEC Conventions was such an encouragement! I had never heard Steve Demme speak before. I knew he was behind the Math-U-See curriculum and doubted he would have anything to really speak into our lives. Simply put, I didn’t think it would be relevant to general homeschooling rather specifically math. I am please to say, I was wrong!!! 🙂

Of course, I didn’t think I was as he began because he started talking about how he’d had a big decision to make to effect change and keep his family together, if I understood correctly. In the end, he had a real encounter with God and realized that not only does God love him but God actually likes him too. And you know what? God likes you and I, as well as loving us. There is a difference. 😉

Well, he had my attention. He proceeded to say that God’s plan is for you, the parent, to educate your children. He then used part of what I call the homeschooler’s scripture: Deut. 6:5-7:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The key though is verse five. I must love the Lord with ALL my heart, soul, and might. Then out of the place I am to teach my children diligently, in all aspects of living life together. Love is the basis for it all. We are to parent as God has loved us.

Another interesting thing Mr. Demme said was that our vertical relationship with God is the most important thing. The more love we take in, the more we exude that love, to the point of laying down our life down.

Oh! I’m telling you the whole thing was soooo good! It really was like being given a glass of cold water on a very hot day: refreshing.

If you would like to hear the exact thing I did, you can order the mp3 as a download at the ochec site here.  I found a podcast with a similar title on his website but it is clearly shorter than the ochec mp3, but you can try it.

It was really very good. I encourage you to get the audio and listen to it. It was very refreshing (and I’m not even actively homeschooling any longer, since my children are all grown and graduated now).

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº