Friday, July 28, 2006

Unexpected Opportunity

Originally uploaded by muha....
Usually my sweetie and I don't spend any time together in the morning. She gets up to go excercise and I am gone to work before she gets back. She says good bye as she leaves. Its not a problem as neither of us are morning people anyway.

However, we had an unexpected opportunity to spend some time together. It was a rare treat for us both. I drive in a carpool but had to drive alone today. I decided to sleep in a little bit since I had to drive myself. My sweetie got up and left as usual. A few minutes later she returned. Her walking partner wasn't able to go with her.

"Wanna go for a walk with me?"

"It will take me a couple of minutes to get ready."

"I'll wait."

We ended up walking for quite a while and then eating breakfast together, all because my sweetheart saw an unexpected opportunity and asked me to join her.

OK, I had planned on catching up on some sleep. But walking in the cool air of the morning andconversing uninterrupted with my best friend were much better than being lazy in bed for a few extra minutes.

When plans fall through, maybe is not a bad thing. It might just be an unexpected opportunity.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Romantic Bible Verses: Sowing and Reaping

heart-shaped mini-tomato
Originally uploaded by iz*source.

After being on vacation for over a week, I took on the task of weeding the garden. Our garden is just a small one. This year we planted peas, carrots, tomatoes in 2 varieties, cucumbers, and swiss chard. For some reason, the carrots never came up but everything else did really well.

The peas and the swiss chard have been on for a while. As a matter of fact, the peas are all done and I pulled them up with the weeds. After the weeds and the peas were removed from the garden, I noticed out first tomatoes and cucumbers were ready. The garden is now back in shape and my sweetie is in tomato heaven.

Working in the garden reminds me of the simple yet profound "law of the harvest". Simply put it is: you harvest what you plant. This law is found in Galatians 6:7-10
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Consider how silly it would be to plant carrot seeds and expect pumpkin, or to plant peas and expect an apple tree. A gardener knows what is planted in the spring determines what is harvested months later. The decisions are made and the work performed long before the fruits are expected.

Of course, planting does not guarantee the harvest. The plants need care. They require proper amounts of sunshine, water, feeding and weeding to thrive and produce a bounteous harvest. Daily weeding and care makes the garden easy to care for and a joy to behold. Neglecting the weeding stifles the plants and makes a for a much harder task. The weeds rob the growing plants of needed water and food, and if allowed to remain, can even kill the desirable plants. Ongoing, thoughtful care of the garden will produce better results than extended periods of negligence followed by intermittent times of effort and attention.

There are many applications of the law of the harvest to marriage and I expect to visit this topic later.

What is being sown? How is it being cared for? Each act of benevolence and kindness plants a seed that can, in the future, produce a harvest of joy and love. Daily care and attention applied to your sweetheart ensures that the seeds will sprout, grow and thrive. Similarly each act of spite, discourtesy and malice also plants a seed. These seeds will also grow, producing anger and distrust.

Be sure to keep your garden planted with good seeds and to keep the weeds out by daily care and attention.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Weekly Date Night

Candle light
Originally uploaded by 1_ralf.
In church a couple of weeks ago, the topic for discussion was "improving the relationship between husband and wife". There were a group of men, most of whom had grown kids and had been married for a long time. My sweetie and I have been married 17 years and I was one of the younger men in the crowd. It was a rare opportunity to learn from the voice of experience.

One common thought was the importance of planning, scheduling and having a date with your sweetheart on a regular, weekly basis. Some weak objections were raised about not having enough time. The response to this objection is it depends on your priorities. Our lives are so full and our time so occupied that it takes planning to make a regular date night happen.

Each of us has the same 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. There is not time to do everything, but there is time to do the important stuff. Those men who seemed to have the longest, happiest marriages made continued courtship one of the important things in their life and thier marriage. Some of those precious minuites each week were dedicated to their most important relationship.

They also mentioned how important it was to actually schedule the time. For the really important tasks in life, we write them down, block out the calendar, and protect that time from other conflicts. Do the same with your date night.

Some ways to help ensure a date happens is to pre-pay for the event. Movies and plays allow you to buy tickets in advance. The same goes for sporting events. A gift certificate or a reservation at a fancy restaurant at the top floor of some hotel with a great view can also help in motivating a date. Another trick is to invite another couple to double date with you. Its fun and harder to back out on.

Invite your sweetie on a date today.

BTW: The other readers would love to hear some of the unique, inexpensive dates that you and your sweetie have enjoyed. Post them in the comments for all to get ideas. Remember this is a kid friendly site.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Working overtime

a very, very bad place
Originally uploaded by autowitch.
Many thanks to those of you who have stayed with during my "break". As I mentioned before, I converted this blog into a book, a blook if you will. The blog book. That took a lot of time and energy away from actually writing the blog.

On top of the book, I have been working a lot of overtime for the past several weeks. Being a "bit miner" or computer programmer, I can work at work and work at home when need be. The project was running late and so I got to work late for several weeks running. Working late night after night means a lot of time away from wife and kids. However, my family was very supportive and understanding. Thanks guy, I love you all.

What are some tricks to keeping romance alive when the amount of time to be together is limited? I have a few thoughts.

First, keep the flame burning bright with lots of affection and communication before the overtime starts. A wife or husband who is feeling loved and appreciated will be more understanding of a temporary lack of affection and communication. A fire that is buring brightly can be easily tended by adding the occasional log. A fire that has died down to glowing embers might be extinguished without constant tending.

Next, continue to give small tokens of affection. There are lots of things that can be done that don't take any time at all. Send a romantic card, buy some flowers for no reason, leave a note and a small candy. Let your sweetie know they are still in your thoughts, even if you aren't able to spend the time together you would like to.

Also, have something to look forward to. Make plans on what you can do after the overtime ends. It might be a get-away or dinner and a movie. Make it something your sweetie will enjoy. Anticipation can be very romantic.

Lastly, make time to communicate. Even though I was working lots and lots of hours, I took some time to spend with my wife and kids. For example. I starting reading Harry Potter to my daughter. It only cost me a few minutes an evening, but it helped my wife and gave my kid a few minutes of "daddy time". Even if you can't spend a lot of time, spend what time you can.

Working overtime or going out of town on business can put a strain on any marriage. Keep your relationship burning brightly by continually adding fuel to the flame.