Becoming a Marriage Expert – Romans 12:9-13

The author of an insightful blog post explains that much of the hard work we do is only practice, preparation for a masterpiece to come. He cited the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, when he said it takes 10,000 hours to become the best at something, like 10,000 hours of singing or shooting basketball hoops or teaching or knitting.

PaulDelores crop 9-2012
My parents, Paul and Delores Sheldon

“Most artistic ventures, including writing, require you do most of it for practice.” – quoted from Dan Balow’s post on The Steve Laube Agency site.

Growing a great relationship with anyone takes work, but the effort to maintain a lifelong bond requires unending diligence. Like my garden has taught me, the weeds will come. If I don’t continually deal with them, aggressive plants will encroach on the strawberry and clematis vines and rob them of vital nutrients.

As a child I thought nothing could come between my parents. They certainly did not have weeds to pull to keep their union healthy, did they? I don’t remember seeing weeds, probably because they grew proficient at removing them before I was old enough to notice. They are good at marriage, but their union of 61 years is still a work in progress.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 NIV).

The key words show action: sincere loving, hating evil, clinging to good, staying devoted, honoring others more than self, keeping spiritual fervor, serving God; being joyful, patient, faithful, generous; practicing hospitality.

It might take me more than 10,000 hours to become an expert, but I will keep practicing.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

What to Hold On To – Philippians 3:10-14

My husband scrolled through Facebook last night and stopped at side-by-side photos of a couple on a motorcycle, one taken when they first married, the other 60 years later on the same bike. The woman highlighted the similarity between marriage and motorcycles–with both you just keep holding on.

Jerry’s mother often rode with his father. She could even sleep leaning against her husband’s back on long rides. That idea makes me shudder. I could never relax that much. For a time I enjoyed hanging on to my husband on short jaunts up the McKenzie River, but that was before I had children at home and felt I was risking leaving them motherless. And being printed up in the Register-Guard as Foolish Mom of the Year.

motorcycle. mauricio mendes. free

Some things are important to hang on to

With a sparkle in his eye Jerry reminded me of a photo of me sitting on his motorcycle, posing with his helmet in front of my large pregnant belly, and would I be willing to look for it so he could upload it to Facebook?

I have hundreds of photos and since my little girl took her first steps years ago, most have not seen the light of day. Before, I had carefully arranged our family memories in photo albums, but since then I’ve failed to keep them current. Many of them should be culled, awful prints that were taken when you couldn’t preview photos before paying for them (and therefore difficult for me to throw away).

The pregnant Kathy on a motorcycle image is now stored in the For Family Eyes Only file.

Letting the past go

“I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:10-14 ESV).

I won’t be overly concerned about how my pregnant belly looks in the motorcycle photo, or what others think about my choices now. Instead, I will “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” And I’ll forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, to the prize that is most worthy of my attention, participating in life with Jesus.

With my focus adjusted I should be able to get the photos in order, don’t you think?

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Marriage, Knives and Laughter

I was stressed and anxious this past weekend, because instead of one deadline, I had two. And instead of spending Friday meeting those deadlines, my husband was tugging on my heartstrings to spend the day with him at the Oregon Knife Collectors Show.

JD KD Knife show 4-2015
A stranger stopped by to snap this picture.

Jerry didn’t know I wanted to spend the day writing. My plan was to pop in at the show to share lunch with him, then get back home to work.

Selling knives

When I stepped behind his table and he welcomed me with a squeeze, I knew I should stay. And while he chatted with potential customers, I rearranged some of his knives, wrote SOLD on three of the photos, and watched him. There weren’t many breaks when he could take a bite of his sandwich, but he was having a blast!

Several times he turned to me to tell me how happy he was that I was there. I felt some of my stress shrinking as I made the choice to re-evaluate my work priorities in the next few days.

KD axe knife show 4-2015
This ax is a homesteader’s tool.

Time to enjoy my husband’s joy

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:15-16a NIV).

It turned out to be time well spent, because we had a great time making new friends, negotiating prices and encouraging other knife makers. Once home, Jerry busted up laughing. Not 20 minutes later it happened again. His joy was spilling out, and we delighted ourselves recounting our experiences late into the evening.

The deadline was still there, but my happy heart put it in its place; not dominating me, but quietly waiting its turn for my attention.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis