Build Your Marriage by Cindy Rushton

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

Building your marriage? Is it on the back-burner? Busy with the children and the house and homeschooling and working in your business? Just dropping at the end of the day with nothing left over?

I am not trying to give you another thing to do with your busy day. Rather, we need to get back to God’s design for the godly home. Take a peek at this passage from 1 Corinthians 11: 7-9

“The woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” 1 Corinthians 11: 7-9

Our number one priority after our relationship with God is our marriage. We are created to be a helpmeet. Not a small thing! Not an extra thing. It is absolutely essential.

I have gone through entire years of focusing on different roles that I must fulfill to the detriment of my main calling—to be a wife.

I remember the first year of homeschooling my children. As the last days of the school-year rolled around I realized that in my enthusiasm of turning my heart back home toward my children and really enjoying motherhood to the fullest, I had not nurtured my marriage as I should have! Days had gone by where both of us were so busy with our other roles that we had very little time, much less energy, to connect. The year just flew by with very little focus on building our marriage. Ever found yourself like this?

There are so many different facets of womanhood. We constantly juggle so many roles. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in one area that we lose sight of all of the others!

Our main calling, first and foremost, as women is to the awesome role as a helpmeet for our husbands. We are to bring glory to our husbands so they may in turn bring glory to God.

Isn’t this beautiful? We are those hidden women who reflect all of the glory back to our husbands…who build up our husbands and promote THEM…who do all that we do to help them subdue and have dominion over the world!

Where there is a beautiful marriage, all else falls into place. Two become one. There is security, stability, and a good model of biblical priorities in the lives of the children. There is a ministry to the world. This is the means that there is glory reflected from the family and the marriage. In turn, this glory magnifies God to our culture. Others see God’s perfect plan for man and woman! There is hope. There is abundant life.

The catch here is that beautiful marriages do not just happen. It takes work. Hard work. It takes commitment. Years of commitment. It takes priority. Intentional priorities.

Want a great marriage? Build your home! Build your marriage. Have no idea where to begin? Let me help. Have a good marriage? A good carpenter always looks for new tools. A good carpenter never thinks he is done. He keeps on building. Marriage is teh same way! Let me share a few tools that will make your good marriage even better–or, prayerfully the very best. Ready? Dig in with me…

–> Always build! We don’t have an option. We must intentionally build our marriages or they will fall apart around us. We must be intentional about what we do. Our marriages need to be on our calendar. Our marriages need to be on our daily to-do list. Don’t shove them to the back of everything. The benefits flow to everything and everyone else. So, build your marriage.

–> Don’t hold anything back! Give your all–all your gifts, talents, bents, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom! Be a real helper to your husband! Give him assistance during the tough times. Protect his heart and his name. Step in the gap and pray hedges of protection around him in all that he sets forth to do. Adapt yourself and your whole life to him—to God’s plan for him. Wrap your life around his with the intention to make him great. To bless him. to bring him glory. After all, as you bring him glory, he reflects glory to Jesus, Who reflects glory to our Heavenly Father. It all beings with you. Don’t hold anything back. Pour it all out!

–> Be his best friend! Do the little things to build your friendship. Take time to just enjoy him. Take time to LISTEN. Take time to enjoy the things that he enjoys. Look for ways to pal around. Develop a close, intimate friendship with your very best friend!

–> When in doubt, die to your ways and your ideas and your plans! OUCH! Decide now that you will live your whole life as your husband’s chief support. Only when we die to SELF can we really have an abundant, lavish life. Be the one who gives him that respect that he needs. Be the one who knows all that he is and yet still admires him more than even his little 2-year-old boy! Be the one who loves him unconditionally, enough to give up all life could possibly offer you to build him up! Die to all you had in mind for your life and commit to promote him. Watch what God does when you take that first step!

–> Contribute to his growth, his enlargement, his excellence! Patiently nurture him and encourage him to develop interests (Bible Study, SWAT team, metal detecting, sailing, email–He needs down time too!) that will help him to re-fuel, re-charge, and become strong. Beautiful, forever marriages all have several key elements. One of the most important is embracing change and growth, encouraging each other to expand, keep learning, keep growing, and helping each other press on toward big dreams together. It knits you together in a forever love story!

–> Affirm your man and his manhood—get excited about his leadership, his masculinity, his sexuality, his work! Reassure any insecurities! Enjoy his masculinity. God created him to fill your gaps. ENJOY that rather than despising it. Yes, so often we get frustrated, exasperated, and despise the differences between man and woman. Such a contrast to God’s plan. God wants for us to enjoy our differences. He wants for us to affirm one another. Ask God to help you enjoy your husband and all of the blessings that he brings into your life. Why not begin a list of things that your husband does to provide, protect, and lead you? Keep that list going. When you find yourself struggling with the differences, take time to dwell on your list. It will change your perspective and help you to build your marriage.

–> Be the one person who always believes in him. Be the one person who always has total confidence in him. Inspire him to greatness! Encourage him dream big and go for his dreams. Have vision for all God wants to do in his life. Encourage him. Be his teammate as he works toward that calling. Relieve him where he needs relief—where can you come alongside to help him??

–> See a weakness? Of course, you will. That is part of becoming intimate and real with one another. The question is what do we do when we see a weakness? Do we point it out? Nag them about it? Ask our friends to PRAY for him? Worry? Fret? Fear the future? OR…Do we come alongside of them and offer them strength, back-up, support? Do we take it all to got in intercession with prayer and fasting? Do we jump in and give them inspiration and encourage them. How do we respond when we see their struggles? It makes a world of difference! One choice builds our homes. Another choice destroys our home. Cry out to God on their behalf. Find ways to make it easier for them, any way you can. Help them succeed! Love them in their weaknesses and struggles. Be joyful and positive, always uplifting and encouraging! Let God supply your needs, not your husband, things will relax…you may change your heart! At minimum, you will be building your home instead of tearing it down with your own hands.

Sweet friend, will you build? Will you build a godly, forever marriage?

Decide now to pour yourself into your husband! Build your marriage! Let the little things go so that you have time to get to know your husband, so you will have time to minister to him in little ways. Take that time for the relationship and you will find that all else will fall into place! Invest your best into your home. You are building a home, a marriage, a godly legacy!

Oh, wise woman, BUILD your home!

Gorgeous Centerpieces Kids Can Make

When sitting down to Christmas dinner, all eyes go to the center of the table.  This is because there is a beautiful centerpiece there that was made by your kids.  Don’t spend money purchasing something elaborate for the holiday table this year.  Let the kids (with your help) do the honors for the family.  Here are some centerpiece ideas that are easy enough for kids to create.

Decorative centerpieces can be crafted from items that you already possess.  Things that you use to decorate the house each holiday can be converted to an arrangement for the family dinner table.  Gather a few things and see what you and the kids can come up with.

It’s possible that a string or two of lights can be spared.  What about a few sprigs of greenery?  Put some of those on the table.  No one ever uses every single ornament on the tree.  Get the kids to pick the ones they like and add them to the stockpile.  Wire bows, wrapping paper, small boxes, and candles are good items for centerpieces.  If you don’t have any, invest in some decorative flat marbles that are frequently used in flower arrangements.  That should be plenty to get started with.

When most people think of holiday centerpieces they see candles and greenery.  Try them together and separately.  You will need a platter or a charger plate for the base of your centerpiece.  Charger plates come in holiday colors and compliment whatever you decide to put on them.

Candles can create a centerpiece all by themselves.  Let the kids choose candles of various sizes and colors.  Let them mix the heights and colors of the candles however they choose.   As an accent have them place colored marbles between and around the candles.  The light will sparkle off the marbles when the candles are lit, creating a pretty glow.

Greenery looks rather plain all by itself.  To spruce it up, add a string of colored or white lights.  A touch of sprayed on snow can be added to the tips as well to give it more of a winter feel.

How about adding some glittery ornaments?  Red ornaments resemble large shiny holly berries sitting atop the greenery.  Ornaments can be arranged in a glass bowl with miniature pine cones to create a different kind of centerpiece.  Floating candles can also be placed in a bowl of water and lit during dinnertime.

The ideas are plentiful when it comes to centerpieces for the holiday dinner table or coffee table.  Let the kids create as many as they can think of.  If you have more than you can use, give them away to friends and family to adorn their holiday tables as well.

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Learn more here Recipes, ideas, encouragement to help you make your Christmas the very best ever! All centered around Christ and family!

Fun Food Crafts with Kids!

What’s better than a cute craft made by your child?  A cute craft made by your child that you can eat, that’s what.  Most kids like to cook.  When you are baking cookies or cakes, they want to help.  And no I don’t mean just licking the batter bowl.  Strap a kid-sized apron on them, grab a stool and get ready for some fun family time.

Edible crafts are a hit with family members, teachers and friends too, so you can never make too many.  Here are some ideas for edible crafts that your kids can help you to make.

Chocolate is a good choice for treats all year ’round.  For the chocolate lovers in your life, create chocolate stirrer spoons.  These spoons can be used in hot cocoa or coffee for extra sweetness.  To create your sweet stirrers, you’ll only need a few ingredients and cleanup is a snap.

First, pile a bunch of plastic spoons with melted semi-sweet chocolate and let them cool.  Then wrap the tops of the spoons in colorful bags or festive cellophane and tie with a twist tie.  The chocolate spoons can be added to gifts of coffee, mugs, kitchen baskets, or placed in Christmas stockings.

Candy canes can decorate your tree or you can decorate them and give them away.  Turn that candy cane into a reindeer by adding pipe cleaners, a nose, and felt ears.  Lay them down and glue a box of candy on top to create a sleigh.  Take several different flavored candy canes and tie them with a wire bow to create a candy cane bouquet.

Enlist your child’s help when baking holiday cookies too.  Red hot candies or M&M’s can be added to make faces on Santa or reindeer cookies.  Christmas tree cookies can be frosted with green icing and candy sprinkles for lights.

Christmas is the time that many bakers make gingerbread houses.  Gingerbread kits contain everything needed to bake and assemble the house.  Kids will need your help to put the pieces together, but they can add the icing, gumdrops, and other candies to the house.  Covering the gingerbread house with a protective coating will help preserve it over the Christmas holiday.  If the kids decide to eat it, forget about the coating and dig in.

An alternative to gift tags would be to create cookie gift tags.  The cookies are baked and then a hole is made in the top center while they are still warm.  The recipients name is written in frosting on the cookie and attached to the gift with curly ribbon.  To keep the cookies fresh, seal the cookie tags in plastic bags after they are attached to the top of the gifts.  Wait until the night before Christmas to attach them so the ants don’t enjoy them first.

Food crafts are tasty and oh so much fun to make.  Creating them gives kids a chance to get in the kitchen and learn all about the art of baking and allows you to relieve yourself from some of the stress that all that cooking can cause when you are doing it alone.

 

Keep the Kids Busy AND Make Great Gifts at the Same Time!

If you plan on sending homemade gifts this year, get the kids to make some crafts that you can use for specifically for that purpose.  The kids will have a blast, you’ll enjoy the time together and the stress relief of doing it all yourself and the recipient will feel extra special knowing the gifts were made by the little ones.  Here are a few ideas to get your kid’s big imaginations started.

When it comes to kitchen items there are tons of crafts that kids can make and you can give as presents.  Craft stores sell blank aprons in various colors.  Kids can decorate these aprons using craft paints, stencils, and iron-on shapes.  For unique shapes, use the cut edge of a white potato dipped in paint.  Oven mitts, placemats, dishtowels, and napkin rings are other examples of kitchen crafts kids can turn into gifts with just a few simple decorations.

Do the kids like to sew?  They may not be ready to operate your Singer sewing machine yet but they can learn cross stitch and latch hook techniques.  Cross stitching uses colored thread and a needle to create designs on a pre-dyed pattern.  For Christmas, there are cross stitch angels, snowmen, Santa Claus, winter scenes, and other holiday patterns.  Completed patterns can be turned into wall hangings or framed for grandparents or other friends and relatives.

Potpourri is used at all times of the year, but more so around the holidays.  Take the holiday scent of dried flowers, leaves, and pine cones and give it to someone else.  Kids can make drawer sachets.  All that’s needed is some festive cloth, needle and thread, and the potpourri.  They can create a square sachet or a drawstring purse sachet so that the potpourri can be changed to other scents whenever the recipient likes.

Candles are a favorite of many.  At night it’s easy to light pine scented candles and feel like you’re sitting under the stars without the cold air of winter side effect.  Kids can make candles, too.  Purchase wax, wicks, and jars from a craft store.  Let the kids decide which scents they like.  Glass paint in red, green, silver, and gold will do for decorating the jars in holiday style or simply add stickers.

Christmas ornaments go over well as gifts.  Let your kids make some of their own designs.  They can make Christmas stars or snowflakes out of Popsicle sticks or make paper ornaments.  Whatever they choose to use, have them write or paint the year on the ornament and sign their name as the creator.  Then you can keep them for years to come as a memory of the holidays and the time you spent together making them.

Encourage your child’s creative side this Christmas.  Everything from picture frames to holiday decorated socks are easy enough for kids to make on their own or with a little assistance.  Once they are through, they can give their creations to teachers, friends, and family members for Christmas presents.

Homemade Gifts for Family Members Who are Away

Families love to spend the holidays together. Sometimes, circumstances are such that family members aren’t able to be present in the same place during Christmas. There are many reasons that some family members can’t be together during the holidays. If they are in the military, they could be stationed overseas. Family members who are ill may find it hard or not possible to travel long distances.

When situations arise that keep families separated don’t let it stop you from making those who can’t be with you feel they are still a part of the celebration! Homemade gifts sent to them through the mail will help you to accomplish this. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Do you own a video camera? Create a holiday video for far away family members. Each person can talk about how much they miss them and send their own personal message of love. Kids can drop hints about what they want for Christmas too. If you haven’t seen the person in awhile, talk about what has changed in your life to get them up to speed.

Along the same line as videos are scrapbooks. Scrapbooks are like a hyped up photo album. They can contain funny sayings, neat designs, and other added ornamentation that you wouldn’t find in a photo album. Scrapbooks can be about the person who is missing, about their family back home, or both. Each person can create a miniature scrapbook of themselves to send. Scrapbooks contain magazine clippings, announcements, and other keepsakes not just photographs. Use your imagination and come up with new ideas that will make the gift special for the family member who can’t be with you.

If you decide to send edible homemade gifts, be sure to check on the requirements for shipping those gifts. Not everything travels well through the mail. If the gift is breakable like cookie mixes in jars, they must be wrapped well with bubble wrap to prevent accidents during shipping. You’ll also want to be sure you send the gifts early enough so that they arrive on time. Check with your local post office to find out how much time you should give for the package to arrive.

Homemade accessories like scarves, hats, and gloves are easy to ship and even kids can make them with a bit of help. These items are always needed in cold weather. Using solid color yarn will make them more versatile with different outfits.

Certain homemade gifts can be too large or bulky to send in one piece. Package the gift in separate parts and send instructions for constructing it on the other end. This can actually be fun for the family member receiving the gift.

Speaking of fun, jigsaw puzzles provide hours of brain boggling fun. Create your own using a blow up of a family portrait. Glue the picture to a piece of cardboard and cover it with clear contact paper. Create different shapes in the picture and cut them out. Paste a smaller copy of the picture on the top of the gift box so that the person reassembling it will know what the completed puzzle should look like.

Homemade crafts are appreciated by family near and far. By sending homemade gifts you help the miles separating you seem closer and the heart warming thoughts put into the gifts will show no matter how far apart you are.