Friday, March 16, 2012

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark.
That looks on tempests and is never shaken...

William Shakespeare

Looking at old pictures and a notebook full of sentiment and sap from our 'courting' days, I couldn't help but laugh just a little. At the time I penned so many words to Lawrence, now my husband of 10 years, then just a boy I thought I loved. I'm good for words, lots of words. I speak them. I write them. But, it's actions that count, isn't it?

And, for 10 years, it's been Lawrence's actions that have spoken louder than his few words, though his words are priceless, too. (For the record, he still has the best pick up lines ever, and they work every time.)

We thought we knew each other when we said, "I do." There was so much knowing yet to discover. And it certainly wasn't all pretty or enjoyable. We've seen the ugliest there is to see in a person. Anger.Bitterness.Betrayal.Selfishness.

We've had some really dark moments, some brought on by our own sin and others brought simply by the Sovereign Hand of God. So, how did we get to 10 years--two of the most opinionated (and always of differing opinions), prideful, stubborn people on the planet.

Marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ with His church. Christ lays down his life for His Bride, the church, and the church joyfully submits to the leadership of Christ, no matter the cost, assured of His love for her. Have we demonstrated this so well through our marriage? Not perfectly, probably not even well. But, we are trying.

We keep forgiving. We keep persevering. We keep suffering long. We keep looking to the One who does love perfectly. We keep covering over a multitude of sins because that's the only way we're going to get to 20 years and 30, 40 and should we both live long enough, 50 and 60!

For now, I'm just beyond ecstatic to be celebrating 10 years married to Lawrence Noe Almengor not because it's been better than I could have asked or imagined because, quite truthfully, it's been a nightmare at times. It's been a hard, hard road. It's been a fight to love and cleave and not look back. But, I celebrate because all that hard, all the fight, all the resolve to make this work is ALL because of God's abundant grace.

There is NO way we'd be here today if God had not set His affection on us, if He did not open our eyes to HIS great love that covers over a multitude of our own sins, freeing us to then in turn cover over a multitude of each other's sins.

I do love you, Lawrence. You are my man. I love that we have shared life's most gut wrenching moments together along with its greatest joys. I love your lines, and I am undone when I consider how you have asked God to allow me to die before you so you can "usher me into His arms." You have shown me great grace. You have done me great good. I thank God for you.

Happy 10 years of covenant love, Lawrence!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Funny Kids

I don't think my children try to be funny; they just are funny.

One day recently, I thanked my girlie for getting me a napkin without complaining or arguing. I reminded her that the Bible says, "The greatest among you shall be a servant of all." At the other end of the kitchen, my son, who was making himself a sandwich, followed with, "I'm serving my stomach."

Walking down the stairs to grab a toy, my son noticed the dust buster I was using was starting to lose its charge. He promptly remarked, "Sounds like the dust buster needs a nap."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

March's 30 day challenges

I'm sure many have been waiting on pins and needles to hear about the 30 day challenges I chose for March. ;)

I am aiming to drink no soda and memorize a Bible verse a day for 30 days. Good thing March has 31 days because I forgot about the no soda thing on March 1st and drank my usual diet caffeine free coke that afternoon.

I developed the soda habit when I did the South Beach diet several years ago. For those unfamiliar with SB, it restricts you from eating any sugar for the first phase of the diet which lasts 2 weeks or until your sugar cravings subside, which for me could have taken forever. I really don't know I can kick my sugar cravings, but that's for another post. Wanting to satiate that desire for sugar while "keeping the rules" of South Beach, I started drinking diet sodas. I have since read and learned that "fake" sugars send the same signals to one's brain as sugar does which makes clear why I can't kick my sugar cravings.

Nevertheless, I decided to do the 30 day challenge of no soda to seek to make no one and no thing my master but God alone. I want to make a tangible demonstration of that by taking a bit of a break from that daily ritual of downing a diet soda.

In addition, I want to memorize one Bible verse a day. I went back and forth on my approach for this. I considered selecting a variety of scriptures from an excellent series of CD's composed by Mark Altrogge that put scripture to music. You can find and purchase CD's from the "Hide the Word" series here: I also considered choosing scriptures that pertain to an area of weakness for me in which I'd like to grow, for example passages from James that talk about taming the tongue.

But, where I landed as I was prayerfully paging through my Bible is where I think my heart will be most encouraged. Psalm 145 and 146 contain 31 verses and is a praise to the Lord. The best I can do for my soul is to spend extended time contemplating and giving thanks for the goodness and greatness of God. So, with that I'm jumping in with an effort to memorize these 31 God exalting verses.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

30 day challenge check in

So, apparently February is over and March has begun. I'm having a hard time keeping track of the time of year given the weather we've been enjoying this winter. It was in the 60's today.

My 30 day challenges for February were not to criticize but encourage my hubby daily and to read leisurely for 15 minutes daily.

I chose not to pick up one specific book for the reading challenge but instead continue to plod on in the books and magazines I have on my nightstand along with the various blogs I read online. The goal was leisure. So, even though I typically read non-fiction for information or inspiration, I decided that IS leisure for me.

I picked up a new magazine this month that I am hoping to subscribe to sometime in the future. It's called, "Mother Earth News", and a friend of mine gave me her copy to read. It's choc full of inspiration and information for this tree huggin, crunchy girl. :)

In regards to encouraging my hubby, I figured he would be the best judge on how I did. Half way through the month, without soliciting for this, he said I was "rocking it" with the encouragement. Then, my stinking hormones decided to get the best of me and I turned into a beast. ick.

Nevertheless, I was grateful for the resource a friend pointed me to from Revive Our Hearts, a 30 day challenge on encouraging one's husband. So, I signed up for that and received an email each day with a scripture and a specific area on which to focus my encouragement to my husband. I found these emails very helpful and archived them. I am planning to go through them again in March. You can find that resource along with other 30 day challenges Revive Our Heart sponsors here: