Tag Archives: family

31 Days to a better marriage – The rewards!

31 days to a better marriage, the rewards of a good marriage

Are you getting a little overwhelmed and bogged down with thinking about all the sacrifice and effort that a good marriage takes?

Me too.


So today, I wanted to remind us WHY we work on our marriages, why we sacrifice ourself, and put in the work. We do it because it is worth it, right? Maybe you are in a spot where it doesn’t feel like it IS worth it. If so, it could be that you need to put more work into your marriage before you start seeing the results.

A good, strong, loving marriage does not happen overnight. It is the result of intentionally loving one another, year after year. Intentionally sacrificing Self, intentionally building up a a deep reserve of good memories and intentionally forgetting the bad.

Here is a list of the benefits and rewards you can expect, if you both are seeking God first, and loving each other unselfishly:

Deep contentment. I don’t know why I never hear this, but it is one of my favorite parts. When I think of my husband, I get this feeling of contentment – like I have a hundred million dollars in the bank.

Security. We are secure in the love we hold for each other. We trust each other. I know I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me, or flirting with other women, and he has the same security in my love for him.

We enjoy being together. There isn’t much better than sitting next to him on the couch at the end of the day, sipping coffee. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we don’t. Either way is fine. Just being together is wonderful.

We have fun! Laughter, jokes, (he has a wonderful, dry sense of humor!) teasing…

He holds me when I cry. He doesn’t always understand my female feelings (shucks, even I don’t understand them!) But he always holds me and comforts me when I am feeling sad – even if I tell him “I don’t know why I am crying!!”

He encourages me in my dreams. No matter if it is raising chickens, (an exercise in futility, it seems) growing vegetables, (same!)  exercising, or writing a book. He is always encouraging and telling me to go for it!

We pray for each other. No one cares about me like my husband, and no one knows better how to pray for me than him. I value his prayers highly!

We balance each other out. His steadiness helps my impulsiveness. My touch of crazy brightens his quietness. ūüėÄ My constant talking gives him someone to listen to, and his strength balances out my weakness.

We sharpen each other. Sometimes, we see something in the other one that they can’t see – so we (gently) call it out. This is something we do more as we grow in our love for each other. In other words, we didn’t do this much as young marrieds, and I think that was wise.

Too often young people get all self-righteous about something they see in their partner, and want to set them straight. Please be very, VERY careful about this. It is better to pray and let the Holy Spirit show them their faults, than to be harsh. Husband OR wife – be careful. Relationships can be ruined by too much ‘setting straight’.

But as we get stronger and wiser in our relationship, we can give and take gentle corrections. And it has been very helpful for me, when my man has shown me something in my attitude or actions that is unChristlike. I have blind spots where “I” am concerned, so it is a favor to me, if he tells me how I come across to others. Then, I can take that to God and let Him show me how to change.

We can be ourselves. In this politically-correct world, it is a rare place where one can say an opinion without someone mis-interpreting it. (thanks Facebook!)

Intimacy. Surely one of the best parts of marriage, but I will leave it at that! ūüėČ

We are nearly at 17 years of marriage, and I feel more ‘in love’ every day! No, I am not stretching it. By the grace of God, our marriage has grown into a wonderful bond of love and care between us, and I pray it continues to grow. I am not saying this to brag, because I do have the benefit of a great husband. But I want you to be encouraged that you can get here too! Especially if you are in those first 10 years – don’t give up!! Keep working on it. Be careful that you hold God’s Word higher than any book, preacher, or counselor. (including this series)

The rewards can be better than you could imagine! Not that we don’t have troubles – finances, loss, disagreements, health, etc. Yes, we have had it all. But we keep coming back to God’s Word and each other, determined that Satan won’t separate us, by God’s grace!

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 days to a better marriage – Dealing with in-laws.

31 days to a better marriage, dealing with in-laws

Are you having trouble dealing with your in-laws? Are you frustrated that your husband seems to like them more than you? I want to help. I have been married for nearly 17 years, I have lived with my in-laws on two occasions, and very near them for several years. I know what it is like to be a young wife who live with or near her mother-in-law.

First, I want to say that I have great in-laws! My mother-in-law is a wonderful person and I enjoy spending time with her. I always have. But I did not always enjoy living with them. (my father-in-law passed away during the second year of our marriage.)


Two separate times, we lived in the same house as my husband’s parents. I was 20 and 21 when we lived with them. I was learning to be a wife and mother, and I was very young and inexperienced! I thought I knew ‘way more than I actually did, and to make it worse, I was very loud and opinionated. (sigh)

Anyway, my in-laws were very kind to me, because they were filled with Jesus. But still, I was very sensitive about my mothering, and I’m sorry to say that I did not always take advice well, and I didn’t pull my weight around the house. We lived in their house a couple months at a time.

Later, we built a small, 4-room house on my mother-in-law’s property. Our houses were only 100 yards apart – if that. By now, I had 2 kids and was expecting a ¬†third. It was a recipe for disaster, relationally, but with Jesus in our midst we managed to live there 1.5 years and never have a fight or a real problem.

Here are my tips to have a healthy, vibrant relationship with your in-laws:

Remember that they are your husband’s family.

I don’t care how mean, manipulative, or nosy they are; they are the people who raised your husband. They are his parents and siblings – treat them with respect. Maybe even your husband doesn’t like them. Still, treat them with respect. They deserve respect for their position, if not for their character. We are only given ONE family. One true, blood-relation family. Don’t toss them aside or strain those family bonds just because you are ticked off. Work on relationships.

Humble yourself.

As a newcomer to the family, it is easy to feel like you have to carve out a spot for yourself. When your in-laws do things differently than you or your family did them, it’s easy to want to set them straight.¬†You need to lay aside your family traditions when you are around your in-laws. “We never allowed football during Thanksgiving lunch!!

Sorry hun. That is your family tradition, not a moral issue. If your new family (and your husband) watches football during Thanksgiving lunch, then you must watch it too Рhappily, I might add! Try to learn the way they do things, and the stories behind them. Integrate. Figure out how this family works, and celebrate them! Remember; the Golden Rule still applies Рtreat them the way you want him to treat your family!

Take advice.

Your mother-in-law will see you differently than your mom does. If she has advice for you – take it! I have learned so much from my mother-in-law. She is a wise lady and –once I got over myself — I realized she had a lot of wisdom for me – because she knew my husband well!

Keep that in mind. Your mother-in-law loves your husband and knows him well. If you have a question about him, she is a better person to go to than your mom. In fact, I personally think that God gave us mother-in-laws to teach us how to be a good wife. After all, they have been married to this specific strain of men much longer than us! ūüėÄ

I know not all in-laws are as wise as mine, not as kind and gracious. But I believe most of them are well-intentioned, and a little humility on your part will do wonders to diffuse tension, and create peace. Maybe yours doesn’t always give you good advice. You can still listen respectfully, and thank her for the advice, even if you decide not to follow it.

Love them well.

Maybe they do intrude on your business – love them anyway. Maybe they are nosy and bossy- ¬†love them anyway. Jesus never said to love your friends; He knew we’d have no problem with that. He told us to love our enemies. I think our ‘enemies’ are anyone we don’t get along with. If you find impossible in your own self to love them, then get on your knees and pray. Ask God to forgive you for being unloving, and to fill you with His love. If you are serious and genuine – He will!

You can’t say a quick prayer, get up and say: “See? I knew it wouldn’t work!” Pray daily. Pray with intention. Pray humbly… what if YOU are actually part of the problem?

Maybe you are the problem.

Hear me out. Can you say that you have never started a fight? Have you ever gotten ticked off at your in-laws, and then told your husband the whole sorry tale of woe? Did you make yourself sound pretty good, but them sound terrible? Because you knew you could influence the way he sees the situation? Ok, who is being manipulative now, hmm? I know there are truly difficult people out there, but I also know there are a lot of whiny, complaining, selfish young wives, too. I am going to call it like I see it: you need to stop stirring the pot!

“So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18

That is a clear command in Scripture, and I want to obey it. Sometimes you do all you can, and they still hate you. But especially in family situations; try really hard to keep peace!

If the in-laws are truly difficult, here is what I want you to do:

Stop complaining.
Stop talking bad about them to other people, including your husband.
Try to find something you DO like about them, and tell your husband, or better yet – tell your in-laws!
Examine your own life, see if you have been a bit of a jerk.
Pray for yourself first, and then for them.
Pray for wisdom for your man, as he has to deal with his wife AND his family. ūüėČ

I am a huge advocate for restoring and repairing family relationships as much as possible. For one thing, God commands it. For another, we have lost so many family members, that I can’t take them for granted anymore. You never know how long they will be here. What if your mother-in-law died tomorrow? How would you feel?

That happened to me, you know. Not my mother-in-law, but my father-in-law. One day I received a phone call that he’d had a heart attack, and I had to tell ¬†my husband that his dad was gone. Let me tell you, I was glad that we had a good relationship! I have no regrets, and I can’t wait to meet him again in the presence of Jesus.¬†

Today’s Challenge: Thank your mother-in-law for raising a good son. Text, call, in person or a real thank you card!¬†

Leave a comment and tell me: What is your biggest struggle with your in-laws? 

Read the rest of the series HERE.

Don’t help with fall processing if you are pregnant.

A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calvesThe sun shone weakly through the clouds, but the sharp west wind blew all the warmth away before it reached the ground where I was standing. I pulled my gloves on, and then turned to the car where my kids were waiting.

“OK, kids,” I said, “just play in the car, or, if you need something, I will be over there in the barn, OK? Just be careful of the calves when you walk through the corral – they might kick if you get to close to their legs.”
“OK, Mom,” Jenni agreed, picking up the crayons she had brought along.
I cracked open the windows, and then put the keys in my pocket. I wasn’t about to have them start the car, or anything crazy like that! I checked everything again – they had water, snacks, toys, blankets… they will be ok, I told myself, I can watch them easily.

But it was still hard. Hard to walk across the yard, and leave them there in the car. I was still paranoid from our recent loss. There is no water in the canal, I thought, there is no way for them to hurt themselves. Relax, Kay! Loosen up!

I flipped the latch up on the gate, and slid the bar back. The gate squealed as I pushed it open. I shut it and walked gingerly around blobs of cow manure. The wind blew cold on my neck, so I wrapped my wild rag tighter, and zipped up my coat as far as possible. I instinctively put my hand on my pregnant belly, as I looked over to the other side of the pen, where Cliff and Bill were working on the first batch of calves. I was a little late. Oh well. This shouldn’t take too long, I thought.¬†I was here to help Cliff with the fall processing of yearlings.


A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves

I stepped into the lean-to part of the barn, and watched as Cliff quickly injected the bawling calf with a needle full of medicine. There was a slight sizzle as Bill pressed the red-hot branding iron against the side of the struggling animal. Smoke curled up, and when Bill removed the iron, there was a perfect brand on the hide. Cliff pulled some handles, and the chute clanked open. I moved aside as the calf bolted from the chute Рbawling his frustration.

“What should I do?” I asked Cliff.
“You can keep the chute full. Come, I’ll show you .”
He led the way back to the holding pen, and showed me how to run 6-8 calves into the small round pen. The small round pen had a gate that could swing completely in, forcing the calves into the chute. Cliff handed me a paddle, and went back to front of the chute to work on the next one.

I waited while the guys worked on two more calves, then I prodded the rest of the calves in the chute up towards the front. There were several swinging doors in the chute, that only opened one way, so when the little animals were through, they couldn’t go backwards, they could only go forwards. They heard their buddies bawling, so they dug in their heels, and bacedk up. But the swinging doors kept them from backing through, and an occasional shock from Bill’s electric prod would send them into the front of the chute.

I walked back to the rest of the calves, all bunched in the corner of the alley. They just bunched together more, till they were almost climbing over top of each other. I gingerly prodded one calf, and sure enough, he kicked. High and fast. I yelled in alarm, and then shook my paddle at them. Little beads inside the paddle made a racket – designed to scare cattle, so the cowboys wouldn’t have to use their voices so much. It’s known as a rattle-paddle. The calves ignored the paddle, so I had to resort to poking and yelling at them.

A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves

I finally got one to run away from the huddle, then they all tried to follow him. I ran to the gate and nearly got run over when I tried to shut it in front of a barreling calf. I shook my rattle-paddle at it, and it galloped off, back to the corner. I went through the gate, then latched it.

Then I opened the gate to the little round pen, and tried to get them to run in there. Yeah. Right. They weren’t going anywhere near That Place. I ran around after them, shaking my rattle, and yelling. ¬†Poking them when I thought I could do it without getting kicked. Finally, three calves ran into the pen, and I quickly slammed the gate behind them. I looked at the chute, and they were working on the last calf. Six calves while I rounded up three? This was not good. I will have to get faster than this if I want to keep up with them.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearling calves
I jammed them as far forward in the chute as possible, and then ran back to the alley. I gritted my teeth, and took a deep breath. I shouted at the calves, and shook my rattle-paddle, and whacked them as hard as I could. They bunched up closer. I managed to get a small bunch to break away from the rest, and into the small pen, but despite my best efforts, Cliff had to come back and help me run them into the chute.

I was starting to pant, and my stomach was churning from the smell of burning hair. The wind was blowing the smoke and stench from the branding right through the lean-to and back to where I was working. It was a bad smell anytime, but my sensitive pregnant nose was nearly overcome. I felt like throwing up. I swallowed a few times, and willed my stomach to settle. I walked back to the end of the alley, trying to get as far away from the smell as I could. The smell was not so strong back there. Or maybe it was just overpowered by the rank odor of fresh cow poop. At least its a better smell, I thought.

“Mom?” Frank was climbing up the fence, straddling it he said; “I need to go to the bathroom.”
“There is a bathroom in the vet room. Go to Daddy, and he will show you where it is, OK?” I looked over to the car. Jenni’s head was visible in the car, but what caught my attention was the car itself. The wipers were flopping, the right turn signal was blinking, and the door was hanging open. Help us all, I thought. We are gonna have a dead battery soon. I clambered over the fence, and went to shut off the lights. I gave Jenni instructions about what her and Franklin were, and were not allowed to play with in the car.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearllings

Back to the alley. Running. Shouting. Prodding. Waving my arms. Slamming the gate. Pushing the gate in the round pen as hard as possible, and then realizing that the calves were a lot stronger than I was, even if they were only a few months old. I got splattered with cow poop when one went right in front of me. I poked one, and the calf kicked so fast and close that I felt the air from its dirty hoof, as it came within millimeters of my hand. All the while, the stench of burning hair was floating out over me. The wind no longer felt cold. I was sweating. My stomach was churning. I was getting madder and madder at the calves. I would’ve kicked them if I hadn’t been so afraid of being kicked a lot harder in return. (kicking is¬†not recommended – it was my first experience working calves, and I never knew how frustrating they can be!¬†)

Finally, I managed to fill both the chute and the holding pen. So I went up and watched Cliff and Bill. They branded, ear tagged, and gave shots in a smooth rhythm. Never making one extra move, just doing everything in a efficient, calm way.
A Ranch Mom: Processing yearlings story. #fallworks
The afternoon had slipped away into evening before we finished.  I was bone-weary, my feet almost had blisters on them. The sun was sinking, and the wind was getting colder, as I walked slowly back to the car. All I could think about was a hot shower.

And bed.

I sat down in the car and smiled at my kids.

Written in 2010. 

31 Days to a better marriage – dealing with kids.

31 days to a better marriage - kids

When you get married, you aren’t thinking of dealing with kids. At least, most of the time we aren’t! (there are exceptions, I understand) Usually we are in love with this handsome man – planning a life of fun and happiness. Somewhere in there, we jot down a space for ‘having a baby’, and that’s about it. We don’t plan for the colicky afternoons or the puking at night or the temper tantrums at Grandma’s house.

But they happen.


And while that stuff is bad enough, then you have to decide how to discipline, when to discipline, and what offense is worthy of discipline! That is what I want to write about today, because I feel it causes more stress than the actual ‘work’ that kids bring.

Differences in discipline.

Even if you agree on discipline methods, you may not agree on timing. I thought we agreed on discipline, but with our first child was young, I realized that I had very little idea what he thought about it. I always thought I was the tough one, but come to find out, I am actually a big pushover with the kids. Now not all the time, but most of the time, I am the softie. And I don’t say that as a compliment to myself, either! I get irritated at myself for being that way. I see kids that are totally out of control, and I tell myself: “Kay, this is why you have to say no!” Seriously, young mama: say no. Kids need to hear the word before they go to school.

Anyways, so when our first couple of kids tried out their naughtiness, we reacted differently. And I can tell you; it threw me for a loop. I assumed we’d agree on this, like we agreed on everything else. We never had any big fights, but we did disagree at times. (not every time) And I am ashamed to tell you – I did not react well. I tried to bully and nag him into seeing things my way. Thankfully, ¬†my husband is not a puny pushover. We had discussions on the subject, and you know what? Nearly 100% of the time, I would see he was right and I was wrong. Not because he persuaded me, but because God gave Cliff ¬†wisdom that He didn’t give me, about how to lead the family.

If your husband loves God, and is truly trying to follow His ways, you can trust him to make the right decisions. Even if he makes mistakes, you can trust him to lead you. You continue to respect your husband, and follow his leading. If you honor God, God will honor you. And if your husband desires to be a Godly father – God will honor that, too. Even if his methods are different than yours.

I made a resolution that I would always support him in front of the children, and if I had an issue, I would discuss it with him later, privately. I felt the kids needed to see Dad and Mom as a united front. Unfortunately there were a couple of times where I failed at this. But most of the time, I stuck to that.

But what if your husband is too strict or too harsh, or maybe not strict enough?
There is a solution to this.

You train the children to be decent little humans.

If you train them to obey, then they will listen when Dad tells them something, and he won’t have to discipline them. If he is lax and you are stricter – that is harder. But again, you train them, because you are with them most of the time while they are small. Then even if Dad allows them to get away with more when he is around – they will still be decent small humans.

What if he doesn’t discipline the kids?

You can’t just throw up your hands and say: “well, my husband won’t do it so why bother?” No, you have a responsibility to your children. If he isn’t training them, you will need to do it. Some husbands have gentle personalities, and have a hard time dealing with the conflict that ¬†discipline brings – so you do it!

And please, whatever you do, don’t undermine your husband’s leadership. No matter what your disagreements are on child training, discuss it with him privately. Try to pick a good time, when you are both rested and not already upset with each other. If he doesn’t want to discuss it, just drop it. You are the one who spends the most time with them, so just step up and train your kids to be decent.

What if he is too lenient?

If your husband is more lenient than you, be thankful that he can balance you out! Go along with his ideas and enjoy the ride! You can be tougher on the kids when they are with you, but again; never undermine his authority.

Never talk ill of him to your children, or indeed, to anyone! Always speak respectfully of him to your kids, your mom, your girlfriends – everyone. Train your kids to respect their dad. Point out his amazing coolness and remind him of all the good things he does for you.

Today’s challenge: Ask yourself if you have been respecting your husband’s methods of child training. Have you been undermining him – especially in front of the kids? Be honest with yourself. Take a few minutes to just really think about how YOU relate to him in this area. Pray. Ask God how you can be a better support to him, and what you can do to help him raise decent small humans.

Note: Our kids are getting older, and we are past that hard stage of little kids who needs lots of training. And you know what? We agree nearly 100% of the time, nowadays. I am so thankful for a godly husband who leads our family with love and gentleness and wisdom.

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 days to a better marriage – dealing with finances.

31 days to a better marriage - dealing with finances

Finances.

That dreaded subject! If you are wealthy, maybe this isn’t a problem, I don’t know. But for most folks, we have to learn how to deal with money as a couple. In fact, I have heard that finances are one of the top causes of divorce. Not the lack, as one might think, but the handling of it.

Often, there is a saver and a spender in the marriage. We are wired differently, so it’s no use going on about which is best. I personally don’t think it matters – what matters is how you work together.

Use your strengths.


My man doesn’t enjoy budgeting, paying pills, figuring out how to deal with all that stuff. But I do, sort of! Now, it’s not my favorite thing in the world, mind you, but I can do it. Plus, I have more time to deal with it since I am at home. So I do the paperwork and watch the budget, and he brings home the bacon! :)

This works pretty good for us. I’m not perfect at it – I have forgotten to pay bills, yikes! But it is what works for us. You may be the opposite. It doesn’t matter who takes care of bills and budget, but someone should! Work together to figure out where your strengths are.

Don’t spend more than you should.

I hear wives doing this all the time; buying things they can’t afford. Please stop this! It is just wrong. You are supposed to be a team, pulling together. It shows a dreadful lack of care and humility, when you constantly overspend! He works hard to provide for you, the least you can do is stay in your budget. Maybe you work and earn your own money. That’s fine, as long as you aren’t running up bills for him to pay, or not paying your share of the bills!

  1. Don’t buy if you have to use credit. Do you really need that new outfit or gadget? Be content with the things you have, Jesus says.
  2. Don’t whine about what you can’t afford. He knows when times are hard, it just makes him feel bad for not being able to give you that new car or house. Be thankful.
  3. DO try to lower bills when possible. Shop sales. Buy off the clearance rack. Just don’t buy as much. Give simple gifts. Try to save some money each pay period.
  4. DO be thankful and grateful for what he provides. Tell him. Be cheerful.When the calves don’t bring much, trust God and keep a sparkle in your eyes. Remind him that God will provide, and you can figure this out – together!¬†
  5. DO pray to God to provide your needs. Don’t complain to your girlfriends, don’t complain to anyone. Just take your needs to God.

To summarize:  Trust God to provide, work together on your budget, be thankful for what he provides, live within your means. Honor God in this area, and He will honor you.

Today’s Challenge: Thank your man for working hard to provide for you. If you have been overspending, apologize and humbly ask him how you can be a better support with finances.

How is the challenges going for you? I’d love to hear in the comments!

31 days to a better marriage – The Foundation.

31 days to a better marriage

Today I begin a month-long series on marriage. I want to spend the next 31 days focusing on my marriage and I am challenging YOU to spend a little time on yours! :)  I am joining  Write 31 Days for a blogging challenge. I will be sharing little bits of our story and tips for growing closer as a couple.

The Foundation.
If you want a strong house that stands the storms of life, start with a solid foundation. Jesus Christ is that strong foundation in a marriage. All the answers you need for your marriage are found in God’s Word. What does the Bible say about marriage?

  1. Become one.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Not two people co-existing, not roommates, but ONE. Two people, blended into one, yet still individuals. Doesn’t God think of the best things?! This means you don’t carry on with your plans for your life as if it only concerns you. You stop and discuss things with your husband. (I’m writing to wives, primarily, although much applies to both. :) ) Career, vacations, days out, evenings, weekends. You build a life together – not two separate lives that intersect over dinner.

2. Submit to your husband. 

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24

Oh boy. Here we go, right?! No one likes these verses. But there they are. We could try to explain ¬†them or just avoid them altogether, but there they are. I believe that it is a clear as can be, that wives are to submit to their husbands. Oh yes, I know all the excuses and wild for-examples. For the record; no, I do not think you need to submit to your husband if he asks you to sin. But that is the rare exception, isn’t it? Mostly, we just want an excuse to live the way we want, not submitting to anyone.
And that’s all I have to say about that.

3. Respect our husband.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Respect is such a powerful thing. I mean, it can change a person’s behavior! If you don’t believe me, start to purposefully show respect to your husband. See what happens. If you haven’t respected him till now, you may be surprised at how he begins to love you. Respect begets love.
You respect him – he will love you. Shouldn’t he love you first? Shouldn’t he have to earn your respect? Yes, in a way. But even if you can’t respect him as a person, you can respect his position. God has placed him as the one responsible in your marriage, so respect that position.

4. Love each other.

 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12:10

Love each other fervently. Love each other the way you desire to be loved. Be understanding. Be gentle. Overlook small things. Serve. Set your mind to love your husband well. Ask God for wisdom in this, too. Every day, get up and ask God “How can I show my husband genuine love today?” ¬†Do this for 31 days, and I believe you will find a difference in your heart and attitude.

Won’t you join me for the next 31 days, as we look at some ways to deepen and strengthen our marriages?

Comment with one thing that you feel is essential to a strong, Godly marriage. I’d love to hear from you!

Today’s challenge: Look up and read 5 verses about marriage in the Bible. We must begin reading our Bibles again. No matter how much we respect Christian leaders, we must start listening to God. Spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to show you what He thinks about marriage.

Day 2  -Committment                          Day 17РRomance vs. Love
Day 3  РWhat is Love                           Day 18 РDate Nights
Day 4¬†– he’s changed! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Day 19 – Technology
Day 5¬† – Happiness ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Day 20¬†– Don’t allow things to build up
Day 6  РFinances                                  Day 21 РNo Tattling
Day 7  РKids                                          Day 22 РNo Disrespect
Day 8  Рin-laws                                     Day 23 РTeaching Kids Respect
Day 9 РChurch disagreements          Day 24 РSpeak Well of Him
Day 10 -Big stuff                                   Day 25 РHormones and women. (2 tips!!)
Day 11 -Introvert vs. extrovert           Day 26
Day 12 -READ THIS!                               Day 27
Day 13 РAsking for help                       Day 28
Day 14 Рroles                                        Day 29
Day 15 -Disagreements (fights)          Day 30
Day 16 РLiking him                               Day 31

Cowboy Poetry – The Ranch Wife.

ranch wife

First published in Working Ranch Magazine.

The Ranch Wife
by Kay Schrock


The cowboy is a dashing figure
With wide-brimmed hat and jangling spur.
He’s the hero of the big screen
Riding and roping in his blue jeans.

But there is someone behind the scenes
Who tends the babies, and cooks, and cleans.
She’s not well-known to the public eye
Her life is obscure under western skies.

Up at dawn to fry the bacon
Wash the clothes, and feed the children.
When her cowboy needs help, she is called
If errands need run, or calves need hauled.

When the neighbors come – she cooks the food,
For branding and shipping and pregging, too.
She knows how to drench a leppy,
And what to do, if it’s not too peppy.

She takes a turn at the night-calving –
Dreaming of sleep she could be having!
But when the calves sell for a good price,
When her man cleans up so nice,

When she watches a stunning sunrise,
Crimson and gold – cov’ring the skies.
When she tucks her babies in bed,
Still chuckling inside from things they said,

When she rides the prairies wide,
She feels a thrill of joy inside.
She thanks God again for this wonderful life,
Wanting nothing else but to be a ranch wife!

Cooking with mamaMom and babyranch coupleIMG_0839

Scented, Non-Toxic Play Dough Recipe

Scented, Non-Toxic Play-DoughDo your kids have those days where nothing is interesting, anymore? ¬†Mine too. This morning, my youngest told me mournfully: “Mom, your phone doesn’t work, the iPad doesn’t work, and the dvd player doesn’t work. There’s nothing to do!!”

Oh my goodness. Child, mama will find you something to do! ūüėÄ ¬†So after lunch, I pulled out my stained recipe, and punched up some play dough.

Trust me, once you make this easy recipe, you won’t want to spend another dime on the boughten stuff! This makes 2+ cups (maybe 3 cups?) of dough, and it smells so good, and is so soft and fun to play with. My kids LOVE the homemade version. They love picking the scents, too!playdough


What’s great about this recipe, is the fact that it uses only 4 simple ingredients. The only one I have to specially buy is the drink mix. But it is very inexpensive, so I buy a 10 pack and keep it around for sudden play dough urges.


You can use any type of flavored drink mix ¬†to scent it with. The recipe calls for 2 envelopes, but I have scraped by with one, if I don’t have two of the same kind. Note: if you mix 2 kinds of drink mix, your play dough may turn out brown. :)

The process is quite simple: First, you mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then, you set that aside for a minute. Put the water in a large kettle, bring to a boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the dry mixture. Stir well.
The dough will look terrible for a bit, but use a sturdy spoon and keep stirring!playdough

Once it starts forming a ball, turn it out on a clean, dry counter, and start kneading.
CAUTION! The dough will be very hot at this point! Be very careful or wait till it cools a bit. Don’t let it cool completely, though, or it won’t get nice and smooth.

playdough

I gingerly start kneading it with my hands (stand mixer with dough hook might work too!). After 3-5 minutes, it becomes very soft and smooth. If there is still small specks and lumps in it, you can either knead longer or just give it to the kids. Once in a while, mine doesn’t quite get smooth, but my kids still love it! :)

playdoughplaydoughplaydoughplaydoughplaydoughplaydoughplaydough

So there you go! A large ball of play dough for mere pennies. Scented, non-toxic, and child-friendly.

Here are some cookie cutters that would be fun to use with the play dough! My kids have a big basket of cutters.

We keep ours in a zip-loc bag for several days up to two weeks and it stays nice. Usually they play with it like crazy for about a week, then someone leaves it set out for a night, and it dries out! I would guess it would keep several weeks in an air-tight bag or container.

TIP: Make several batches to give as gifts. Any kid will enjoy it!

 

Scented, Non-Toxic Play Dough Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Easy recipe for scented, non-toxic play dough.
Author:
Recipe type: Craft
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 pkg flavored drink mix
  • 3 TBL oil
  • 2 cups boiling water
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, drink mix, and salt in a bowl. Place water in a pot, bring to a boil. When water boils, add oil and dry mix. Stir vigorously till it clumps together. Turn onto a clean, dry surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and soft. Caution!! Dough will be hot!!
  2. Store in a airtight container or ziploc bag between uses.

 

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Summer on the Ranch.

View from Kennaday Peak, overlooking  Coad Mountain and Elk Mountain.

View from Kennaday Peak, overlooking Coad Mountain and Elk Mountain.

Summer is nearly over – a summer full to the brim with work, fun, activities, and lots of time outdoors! We crammed as much into the last 3 months as possible. Soaked up every drop of Wyoming sunshines and sage-scented breeze. We swatted mosquitoes in June, drove to branding after branding in July, and made hay between rainstorms in August.

My parents spent the month of July here at our place. They parked their camper in the backyard and enjoyed the beautiful weather. (they did not enjoy the skeeters, but they put up with them!)

Mom sewing a dress for Reata.

Mom sewing a dress for Reata.

Dad and Reata.

Dad and Reata.

Dad's camper and car - as they leave the ranch.

Dad’s camper and car – as they leave the ranch.

In August, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came for a few days. We really enjoyed showing them our part of the country. We drove to the back of the ranch, went fishing, had a picnic at Turpin res, and took them to the top of Kennaday Peak (first pic).

Cliff and his brother Josh, canoeing on Turpin Res.

Cliff and his brother Josh, canoeing on Turpin Res.


turpin reservoir

Jenni and Lucia get a ride with Uncle Josh and Grandma.

Jenni and Lucia get a ride with Uncle Josh and Grandma.

Our boss blessed us with 35 dozen ears of corn one fine Saturday, so the kids and Grandma and I, pitched in and put it up for winter. Husked, blanched, cut, and bagged – it made 23 quarts of corn (if I remember correctly). Such a good feeling to get corn in the freezer!

Summer suppertime...

Summer suppertime…

We stopped and watched the eclipse, too. Although we were only 98%, and from what I have seen, the 100% totality range was far better. But we still enjoyed the eerie duskiness, and the kids will surely remember the day it got dark and cold at noon.

Sun-watching!

Sun-watching!

Taking a break from raking hay, to eat a bite and watch the eclipse.

Taking a break from raking hay, to eat a bite and watch the eclipse.

Our son learned to rake hay this summer. Our oldest daughter learned, too. They have been raking a few days each week, and I am so happy to see it! Nothing like hard work to mature a kid. Yes they get hot and tired. Yes they get hungry between meals – it doesn’t hurt them – it prepares them for life. Real life.
I am concerned for our current culture where folks think they can eat and live with minimum effort. I mean, there is nothing shameful about hard work and a little discomfort.
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be sissies. Let them taste hard work, and the resulting contentment. Let them get tired and sore and wind-blown. It will put steel in their backbone and strength in their arms. It will make them more understanding, and they will have less time for foolishness. It will teach them LIFE.

I see kids at age 8 and 9 who have never pulled a weed or picked up sticks. The poor kids have no idea how to work! It really is a disservice to your child to not allow him the privilege of honest work.
You live in the city?  Your yard needs raked and cleaned up, no? Teach your child.
You eat and live in your home, right? Teach them to cook, clean, and repair.
If you can’t think of a single job for your child – volunteer. Take them to a soup kitchen or hospital or park board, or enroll them in 4H. There are plenty of businesses that need small jobs done.¬†Get creative of you must, but please teach your child how to work. They may dislike it now, but will thank you later.

Frank raking hay.

Frank raking hay.

My sweet mother-in-law picked these flowers for me.

My sweet mother-in-law picked these flowers for me.

Until next time…

 

One way to build a connection with your child.

 

connection

You want to connect with your child, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you didn’t grow up with siblings, maybe you didn’t have a close relationship with your own mother. Anyways, you aren’t sure how to go about building those connections.


When I became a mom, I didn’t know how! I thought connecting would come naturally, like learning to comb your own hair. But as ¬†it turns out, it can be hard! Maybe it’s just my independent nature. I like to be left alone to red a book, or take a walk, or whatever. I am somewhat of an introvert, so I can handle alone-ness quite well.

But, to be a friend, one must step outside of their comfortable space, and step into the life of another. And this was where I got hung up.

“But your own kids?! What is wrong with you?!”

I don’t know. Maybe I am just weird. Maybe I am more of a introvert than I thought! Maybe I didn’t have a close enough relationship with my own mom. At any rate, I struggle with this!

laughter

One easy way I have learned to connect with my kids, has been to laugh with them. (not at them!) Who cares if their jokes are corny or their stories repeated? I just laugh with them! We laugh at silly pictures we find online, we laugh at corny jokes and puns (latest obsession!), we laugh at funny accents and just pretty much anything we can. Now, I am the first to say “cut the foolishness”. After all, God’s Word tells us that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

So, we sure don’t want to encourage foolishness. But happy giggles, clean fun and lots of laughter – oh, this is good for the soul!

I purposely look for funny things to share with my kids, so we can laugh about it together. There is something about laughing together that builds a bond.

I encourage you to try it. Google “clean kid jokes” and you will find some great ones! Surprise your kids with some gut-busting humor today. ūüėČ

laughter

Do you like to joke and laugh with your kids?
Is it hard to connect, or what things do you do, to build that connection?

Let us know by dropping a comment below, we’d love to learn from you!