Being Happy with Less than Perfect – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

As my family grows it gets harder for us to show up and sit still for a family portrait all at the same time. We’re not good at staying on task, with the different ages and energy levels at play.

And our colorful personalities are hard to corral to get everyone focused on the camera without our faces expressing everything from hilarity to stoicism. It’s quite challenging.

There are fixes for this. Sometimes Photoshop is nice, but it can also be a disaster. We have one photo where there are too many legs for the number of people lined up.

Then there’s the one where my creative son traded everyone’s head for someone else’s on our family football team. That one had to go.

Also, trying to be all-inclusive can backfire. When my nephew couldn’t attend my sister’s wedding we included a framed picture of him in our family portrait. A friend saw it and thought its presence meant he had died. We’re so glad you’re still with us, James.

It’s good enough

I changed the banner photo on my website this week, resolved to show my family as we were on a beautiful fall day at Amazon Park. We’d asked a stranger to capture the moment, it was a low resolution camera, and some of us were ready for nap time though I’m not mentioning names. It’s not a perfect photo, and some family members are missing, but I’m happy with what I have.

An aside: I’m going to break a writing rule and include a random, unrelated tidbit. I played at the same park and crawled on the same cement dinosaur that’s in the picture when I was a kid. It’s a senior moment, I know, but hey, it’s my family.

We have what we need

I don’t have to list our problems or brag about our accomplishments. We’re all imperfect, his grace is enough, and love covers a multitude of sins—all those wonderful phrases from Scripture that give us hope for a perfect future.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 4:9-10 ESV).

We’re in this life together, folks. And Jesus really is all we need.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

 

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Letter to a Wife – Proverbs 31

From a guy’s perspective, a man who values his wife more than riches or the great coupons she finds. My brother has consented to let me post his anniversary letter this week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

A great woman is hard to find, she is worth far more than pearls, opals, topaz, or great coupons. Her husband trusts in her, if he is smart. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life, with the exception of sharing from her large chocolate stash in that desk drawer.

She constantly shops for the best values, found in high-end stores (just looking), or second-hand boutiques. Her second-hand is as lovely and her first, by the way. She works hard to keep her husband looking sharp, which can be a challenge.

She is like a Trader Joe’s buying rep who scours the country looking for yummy surprises and hard to find finds. She is up before 10, preparing mochas when her husband doesn’t have time. Otherwise, she gladly accepts his breakfast while she reads the paper, with still more scouring.

She looks over a field, discovers that her husband has grand ideas concerning it, and says, “You’ve got to be kidding.” She lets him landscape and plant a garden anyway. God bless her.

First thing in the morning, she dresses, always styling, rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. If she is wearing short sleeves, that means its July. She keeps work in balance, and really knows how to juggle. She puts the home in homemaking and gladly works side by my side.

She is quick to help anyone, anytime. She doesn’t think twice. She quietly challenges her husband to put compassion over practicality.

She doesn’t worry about her family when it rains or snows, because she has already found great deals on winter clothes. Her own clothing is always sharp and classy. And unlike her husband, she pulls off retro.

When her husband deliberates with city fathers, they roll their eyes and look to her, knowing they’ll now get the real story. Her children know and do this too. She keeps an eye on her household and keeps them all productive. Especially her husband.

Charm can mislead and beauty fades, but seriously, how does she still look so good? Colby is to be admired and praised (she is wincing right now but I tell it like it is).

Her life secret: She humbly and wisely walks before God. My decision to link up with her 32 years ago was the second best decision I ever made.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

Terry Sheldon, guest blogger. A letter to his wife, Colby Sheldon, as they celebrate their anniversary 2017. Terry also blogs periodically for City Salt Church in Eugene, OR.
Note: Slightly modified from Proverbs 31:10-31 TUV (Terry’s Unauthorized Version)

How Watching TV and Going Hunting Improves my Marriage – Genesis 2:20-24

There are a couple of things I do to make my marriage better, things I wouldn’t be interested in if I weren’t married to Jerry.

First, staring at moving images on a screen has never been my favorite pastime. I prefer doing something with my hands, like writing, straightening up the house, turning pages in a book, visiting with my parents, and playing with grandchildren.

I used to tell my kids that when I am old and housebound, then I’ll catch up on those important shows I should have seen on TV. If I feel like it.

Jerry likes taking it easy on the couch after a long day at work. I don’t spend time on the couch except when I’m sick, and when he invites me to watch something with him. Most evenings now we find a documentary or historical drama on the Web and hunker down to share some chill time.

Second, I don’t care much for hunting. Early in our marriage I asked Jerry to teach me to shoot a gun. I’ve brought home game, but I don’t enjoy sneaking around in the woods being quiet for hours on end. Sometimes I want to throw rocks, sing, explore, and talk to God out loud.

What I do enjoy is living life with my husband, so last week I tagged along with him and his buddy Leo on their hunting trip. Along with more kitchen supplies than they would have taken, I packed my Bible, my laptop, and a charger to plug into the truck.

United is our choice 

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man . . . That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:20-24 NIV).

It was a great week. The guys pulled out before sunrise and I didn’t see them till midday. They came back to rest and eat, then headed out for another try at finding those elusive elk. When they were in camp I supported them by making some of their meals and hearing about their day.

A writer’s retreat – my special place

While they were gone I did the housekeeping (or camp keeping), read my books, explored, and wrote, relishing my time alone.

Dorcas Smucker, author and columnist for the Register-Guard, wrote about the cabin her husband built for her so she could write in a quiet place. She posted a photo of herself on her blog, a contented writer perched in her nest. Compare her photo to mine.*

The writing space my husband provided for me was quite different, and my position in the photo is harder to discern. There’s a look of deep intent on my face as I write, sitting by the heater in our tent trailer wearing nearly every stitch of clothing I brought along.

Dorcas doesn’t look like she’s having trouble staying warm, but what we are both experiencing is the much-appreciated support of our husbands, and our mutual love of writing with God.

Guess what Jerry and I did when we came home from our hunting trip? Different tasks as we unpacked, reorganized, and cleaned up. Different stories about our adventures. Different plans for the next few days. Different but together.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

*Dorcas Smucker can be found at dorcassmucker.blogspot.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com.