Monday, March 27, 2017

One of the Most Important Decisions of My Life

This post is straight from heart and is painful to share... this is not only for my married readers but for my single readers as well. 

I remember when I was 14 and starting writing in a journal to my future husband.

I guess I've always been a romantic and my love for Disney probably didn't help.

To me the person I was going to marry was one of the most important people I would ever meet.

Marriage to me was/is something sacred, important, it would effect my life forever.

It was also something God had created. To join a man and a women together to form a team to work for him. To be companions for each other.

What God had and has planned for me has been important to me...A priority.

I knew what I wanted. I made a list. I petitioned God for about 9 years for my husband. I prayed for him.

My list:
Had to have a one on one relationship with God. Had to be a lifestyle.
Treated his family with respect and love
Filled with the Holy Spirit and believe in the gifts of the spirit
Had to be employed
Either in college or graduated from college
Be ambitious

That is about all I can remember at the moment... which was a tall list. 

But I was determined. 

I made up my mind to date with purpose and not just be with someone to fill time

I made a commitment to keep my body only for my husband which included kissing, hand holding, ect. 

I was ridiculed by friends, scoffed at by family. 

Insulted. Bullied. 

My beliefs and conviction were not taken seriously, and I could see the eye rolls when I would talk passionately about them. 

It shaped many of my insecurities as child, teen, and now an adult. 

It was a lonely time in my life to be set apart from what culture has deemed acceptable. 

Movies told me to follow my heart. Family told me have fun now before I am tied down. "Friends" left me out and found me peculiar. 

There was a time in my life where there was someone I had feelings for. And I followed my heart and allowed my self to become emotionally involved with. Letting my self be treated as second best and I deserved better. My heart ended up being broken.

During this time I did not listen to wise counsel. I did not see the "red flags" that should have been clear to me. I abandoned my commitment to standards that I and everyone woman deserves. 

Honestly, my young heart wanted to be accepted. and Loved. 

One day I woke up and realized that I needed to LIVE. To have a life that was not about everyone else. 

A life that was about loving me and allowing God to show me how he seen me, his daughter. 

I decided to go to college. 

I started to research and call... finding out how I was going to even begin this new adventure. 

I rid my life of people that were having a negative impact on my life. 

I am proud of my journey during that time. Really proud. God moved mountains for me. 

God began to heal my heart.

Loneliness my friends can really lead you down a path of destruction. So does not being patient. 

My heart was not ready to accept the love of my life until I was ready to love myself. 

So, the one of the most important decision of my life was... to love myself. 

Not in a selfish way. But in a way God loves me. I deserve to be treated with kindness, love, and respect. 

I needed friends who were true friends that stood with me and encouraged me. 


So, a really important key to a happy and healthy marriage: Love yourself. Have a standard. Don't settle.

By the way when I met Josh... he met EVERY single thing on my list. And if any of those naysayers read this post. He is the only man I have ever held hands with, kissed, and or have slept with. I did it. I don't regret one thing. I have had plenty of fun 😜😜


I hope you are enjoying these tidbits. But I am not a marriage or relationship counselor and if your finding yourself hopeless, or your relationship in trouble. Get help. Go talk to some one. 

I will continue this series. But there are other things I want to write about as well.  So I may publish these Keys to a Happy and Healthy Marriage post on Mondays. 

Remember I am always here... message me on my Aunt Lala Facebook page, or email me (auntlala25) at Gmail.

All my love, 
Aunt LaLa



Monday, March 13, 2017

What did you say?

What did you just say??

I remember the look my mom gave me countless times when she would ask me that question...

It gave me a few seconds to rethink what I could say from here...I could repeat what I had said which would of resulted in a punishment...Or I could say something totally different...

Usually I chose the latter...I changed what I said or gave a pouty "nothing"

My mom would say, "that's what I thought" I can still hear her tone. LOL

Our words have power, as a child the negative repercussions we not pleasant but they were not life altering.

As an adult our words hold more weight. We have bigger more complicated relationships. We are in leadership. We have our own children.

I talked about in my last post that I wanted to just put some keys to a happy marriage and a healthy marriage.

I talked about Quality vs Quantity .... The important of investing in your spouse

Today I want to talk about our words.

Josh and I established a set of rules for our marriage with the help of our premarital counselors.

I'm so thankful we did.

We wrote out how we would handle our conflict.

One major aspects of that involved controlling our tongue.

We do not insult, take digs at each other, we don't use sarcasm, we do not call names, we do not yell

Now, in the course of our marriage all of the rules have been broken by one of us.

But it is NOT a practice. When we get heated and tempers are flaring we take a time out. To calm down.

Marriage is a team. A team needs to be united. How can we fight together/for each other...when we are wounding each other?

Words can not be taken back.  They cause wounds in our heart. And without talking it out and apologies being said... That wound becomes infected. Then bitterness is there.

I know couples who have 30+ years of marriage... And they can't stand one another. They are disconnected. They are bitter.

IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!!

Marriage is a gift. You get a best friend, a companion, a team mate, someone to share the load.

Why would you disrespect them? Talk about them? Hurt them?

If you are a new couple or newly married... Please take heed to what I'm saying. Don't fight dirty.

Treasure your spouse. If you have no clue as to where to start,  ask for help.

Surround your self with couples who have a healthy and Godly marriage

Start apologizing

Swallow your pride

Talk it out

Communication

As always if you need me I'm only an email, text, call away

All my love,
Aunt Lala


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Making it Happen

After being married almost ten years I feel like I have some insight to this whole married thing. And let's face it we are always learning.

There some key points that I think are an absolute necessity to a healthy happy marriage.

I'm going to talk about those key things. Not in any particular order of importance just some info I'm going to pass along...

I'm an advocate for healthy and happy marriages. 

I believe they are possible and attainable.

I am an analytical thinker.

To me there is a formula to have a successful marriage.

Before I go into these key points or formula... Be warned... Being in a marriage is work. It's a commitment that is not to be taken lightly. You are a team. 

It's going to take you 100%  to do this. 

This post is talking about a key point: Quality VS Quantity

I'm sure the majority of people have heard that taking date nights are important.

Don't lose the romance

Always date your spouse


These are important.

But I've found its not the "date night" 

It's the quality of time. 

Really a "date night" is just that I guess. But I feel when we encourage a couple to have date night the first things come to mind - money, idea, elaborate, planned...

Sometimes money stops a husband from planning because to him it's not good enough

Ladies, here is a tip... Find an article about cheap/ no money dates. Send it to your husband. Or talk together about some things you could do together

Josh and I have found fun things to do that are free. 

We loved it

We could talk
Hold hands
Dream

Sometimes our quality time has been playing a game for an hour while Ethan napped. 

No interruptions. Has any one noticed how many times a toddler needs you? Or how much they long for your attention? 

Mom's this is for you... Your husband needs to feel needed and heard just like you. Step away from those life sucking kiddos and go greet with a passionate kiss at the door.

Newsflash ladies, our husband's need to be pursued too. Just usually not in the same way. 

So if you want your husband to invest in Quality time into you, try investing in him.

Take out the guess work. Guys don't do hints. No crystal ball in their back pockets. Open your mouth and express in a non -confrontational judgy way what your needs are.

Here are some cheap/free ideas
1. Dinner at home (get those grandparents on speed dial)
2. Local art museum
3. Walk downtown
4. There are usually discounted tickets to symphony or the like during the weekday
5. History museum
6. Play a game at home add in a sexy twist
7. Picnic
8. Go out for ice cream
9. Hike (heard that was fun 😉)
10. Miniature golf

Whatever floats your boat.... Just make the time for each other. Invest in your relationship

Check out the vlog I did with Josh over on his YouTube channel. We went on a date and invited all of you with us! 


All my love,
Aunt Lala





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Nitty Gritty Mom

I have have been a mommy for a little over 2 years

That's 28 months

Which is 876 days

Or you could say 21,024 hours

When broken down like that it doesnt seem all that long.

But I feel like it was a lifetime ago that it was the two of us. Before Ethan.

Now to warn you I'm about to go all mom on you... So if you are a guy this may not be entertaining... If you have no interest to face the reality of being a mom...Or if you don't want to read my mom confessions....

Then this post is not for you ::smile::

I'm laughing here... Oh boy...

So I was doing laundry...I noticed my underwear.

They are quite... Eh worn

I told J I really needed to get some underwear.

He asked when was the last time I had gotten any new ones...

I had to literally sit down and think. Think. And think.

Oh moms...I really hope I'm not alone here.

I have not bought new undies since I was pregnant with E.

What in the world is wrong with me?

I started to think... When did I by last bra?

Two years ago!?

When did I buy my last pair of decent shoes?

May 2014... And they were a present.

When was the last time I had a professional hair cut?

Summer... Over 9 months ago


J was all, "that is going to change" "you need to take care of yourself" ....

All I could think of was the book party coming up and how I was going to budget for Ethan to these great alphabet cards... And he needs bigger shirts... J needs some more t-shirts

You see the pattern here?

I know I'm not alone. I seen my mom do these same things.

She would wear her Ked's until they were sporting  holes.


This is a picture of  my family (minus my older sister) circa 1993-94.

This is one of favorite pictures.

Guys, I had a great mom. I wrote a whole post about her in my post I am determined

We as moms are born with this drive to do the best for our kids

When I see my mom in this picture I see a mom who made sure everyone got their matching outfits
Perfect hair
Fanny pack

Then there was no desire to make herself look perfect or there wasn't enough time. If I remember correctly we probably had new clothes on for the vacation and my mom is wearing one of my dad's older shirts.

My mom is beautiful isn't she? She still is.

But as I've been working on this blog post a scripture keeps coming to my heart

Mark 12:30-31
Love the Lord with all your heart
Love your neighbor as yourself

When Jesus says this I don't think he means be haughty or prideful.

But to realize your worth in Christ.

Your made in his image... He loves you.

You are a priority to him!

Listen, I get it...I am one of those moms that my kid is my life. Josh and I enjoy him so much. We adore him.

But I want him to see me love myself so that he has a healthy view of what a mother and wife look like.

Moms... It's okay to buy ourselves underwear or get a new bra. Stop feeling guilty.

Invest in yourself.

If that means needing a morning away so you can spend some time in the Bible or in prayer

If that means going to counseling ... Having a mental wellness day

Sometimes that means saying no to all the "stuff" your kids do not need

It's important that we see our value... Our sons, daughters, niece's, and nephews are watching.

So this Valentine's day love yourself single, married, in a relationship... Love yourself... Than do as Christ says go shower love on someone else.

My love to everyone!

Aunt LaLa

PS Check out J's YouTube channel "Sometimes I Say Things" .... Video below is a collaboration with us talking about one of our favorite things....food! Top 5 burgers and sandwiches with special guest Aunt Lala


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Moving Forward

I admire my cousin. She lost her husband last year. His birthday was this last month.

In a post she wrote that she wasn't moving on but she was moving forward.

Life continues, it doesn't stop for your crisis, grief, problems, delays... It just goes.

It is really inconsiderate like that.

I think one of the most difficult things to process for me this last season of my life was that very thing- moving forward.

I dug my heels and refused to move until I was ready.

Which trying to do that with a toddler that is one of my greatest joys in life is almost impossible.

I felt guilt for not thinking of Little Bit...Or being happy.

Then there are times when guilt comes because I have not "moved on" or "counted my blessings"

This journey has been more difficult in some ways than losing Hope... And in someways it's been easier

It hurts my heart that I have two babies in Heaven. Not just hurt... Its broken... But it's held together with love.

Wow that does sound cheesy... But it's true.

Love.
Being loved.
Loving others.

Love has been my lifeline.

It's been difficult at times when no one seems to remember Little Bit. Which I know they do... But it's not the same for parents who lost.

Everyone around us is in love with our E.

He just shines so brightly! His personality keeps us laughing.

But there are times when I miss our two little angels.

Times when grief snuffs the laughter I had just moments before

Times when tears pour down my face

I recently took out Little Bit's ultrasound. Held it close.

It is the only tangible thing I have of Little Bit.


Over this last month I've been working on coming to terms with moving forward.

It is tough.

There has been so many emotions to work through.

But last Sunday at the alter I really feel like I was able to heal a little...

Then at Monday night prayer someone shared with me that as I hold and protect Ethan is what my heavenly Father does for me. As I love Ethan is how God loves me...I needed that more than anyone knows.

God loves us more than we can imagine...

There are other things that are moving forward but more on that in another blog.

My love to everyone!

If there is something that I could pray for or stand in agreement please message me!

Xoxo



Friday, January 27, 2017

Reprieve

Happy Friday!!

For the last 21 days I've been apart of a fast... 

What is a fast? 

Glad you asked...

To me personally it means to set aside something that I enjoy. A sacrifice. In place of this thing replace it with prayer and time with God. 

I feel it is like an extra "umph" to my prayers and petition with God. Like shooting a flare gun to Heaven...

I am not a scholar and that my friend is the best I way I can explain it in layman's terms.

It's not something to treat lightly...Or to get attention ( Jesus teaches against that in Matthew 6:5) 

It's a personal thing between you and God. 

At the first of every year of church does this fast together. And we see God move in such a mighty way.

He honors our sacrifices. 

But it's been painful too... At least for me. 

As I replaced my idol time with time in the Bible and praying there were things in my spirit that were not pleasing to God. Certain things that had to be dealt with

In John 3:30 it says "more of him less of me"

That can hurt. I'm not done by any means... There are several things I'm working through. 

It has been so refreshing. Not dealing with the pettiness and self absorbed world of social media. 

Let's just say it was perfect timing with the transition of Presidents...

I want more sustenance in my life... And be present for my family. 

If you want to know more about fasting this was an interesting post:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners


Here are some scripture reading:
1 Corinthians 7:5
Acts 14:23
Esther 4:16
Luke 2:37
Psalm 69:10
Luke 4 (Jesus fasting)

Just a tip read these scriptures in context... Read the before and after. 

If you have questions or want to know more feel free to contact me

If I can help pray for anything I'm here

Xoxo
LALA

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Is this the answer?

My last post was not a happy one or really all that joyful was it?

When I wrote No Answers I was in a rough place.

This has been a trying year. A year of death, loss, trial after trial.

At one point we owned three cars and not one was dependable. It was like a comedy and we were the punch line.

Honestly with December came this feeling of hopelessness.

I felt desperate to feel some sort of soothing balm to my open wounds.

I have seen my sweet cousin lose her husband, Brian. 

A young woman who was 25 die of cancer leaving three young children behind.

We lost a pillar of our church, a man well into his nineties. He was and is dearly loved.

A little child burned

Children taken from their mother

My sweet husband has lost two aunts and an uncle this year....

My sister was in a car accident and if not for the wonder of Doctors would have been permanently paralyzed...

We lost our Little Bit, and a few months earlier a cousin lost her baby

I know I am not alone in saying 2016 has been a rough year.

The final straw that broke me and made me feel defeated were the wild fires here in East Tennessee.

This is my home. There was so much loss, death, and devastation. I cried for two days. We have so many memories in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I felt there was devastation all around me.

There for a minute (more like a few weeks) , the enemy had me. He had me believing there was no use, he had  me doubting everything I stand for, he had me wondering what is the point?, that I was never going to feel happy again...

I think the most awful feeling is being disconnected with God.

Doubting him. and not just a thought here or there but it started to take root.

I was standing in Sunday services and crying because I just needed God's help. I wanted to have these weights off my shoulders and legs.

I had a baby boy watching me and a husband who needs me. I could not abandon the one thing that has always sustained me...

Then something happened.

Our church put on a Christmas play, and it was actually written as a joint effort. Everyone collaborated and added their own take on the character they were playing.

I wrote two scenes toward the end of the play.

I wanted to write something that would be meaningful since I was playing the Christian trying to encourage others during a tragedy. The scene I wrote involved a the principle who was an atheist because of her being sexually assaulted as a young girl... she wondered where God was... this is a snippet of that scene...

DEVILLE: Then you explain to me where God was when I was just a young girl? When I was brutally attacked? Where was He then? I’ll tell you, He was nowhere and my innocence was stolen. I knew after that there was no loving God.
 MRS. LAWSON: I am so sorry that happened to you. I cannot tell you that I understand God's ways. His ways are not our own. But there is evil in this world and sometimes we come in contact with darkest of it. But when I lost my baby...
 DEVILLE: Your Baby?
MRS. LAWSON: Yes, my baby. I felt lost and hopeless. I questioned everything. But I was reminded of Christ and his disciples. And all they suffered in the name of God. Not turning their backs when they face persecution and death. Then I remembered all the other times I had seen God's hand in my life.
 DEVILLE: I heard the scripture that Janice quoted, has it been like that for you?
MRS. LAWSON: At first it wasn't but God restored my heart. And once I took the step toward healing, only then the burden of grief and heartache was replaced with peace and joy again.
DEVILLE: I do want that, but I just don't know that I’m ready and quite honestly, I don't know if God will even want to hear me.
MRS. LAWSON: He still loves you, he has never left. He is waiting for you and all you have to do is ask him

My dear friend played Deville, and I was Mrs. Lawson. Both of were telling real stories and real feelings... and we were both in tears. The moment this scene happened I felt something deep in my soul. When I made the proclamation of giving it to God and in return he gave me peace and joy again... I felt the weights leave.

It was a powerful moment for us both. And I know God ordained that moment... not only that moment but the whole play.

At the end of the play characters came to surrender their lives to Christ at the alter... which moved others in the audience to come as well. At the alter it hit me... I felt God healing me heart. I felt his presence around me. And he sent a friend to pray with me and I felt renewed again.

James 1:2-7
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 

I felt HOPE.  This scripture is one I've heard a million times, I have taught on it, I have qouted it. But as I felt God show me what to write he brought some things to my attention. One very big thing.. in verse 6 it says if you have doubt you are like wave tossed by the wind... I was feeling that way. The doubt and hopelessness I felt made me feel lost... a wave has no aim it is just moved by the wind.  Here and there. No purpose.

That is how I felt...

But not anymore!

Did you know my grandfather was healed from cancer this year?
Did you know someone gave us a car this year?
And when that one did not work God opened a door for us to get a great SUV?
Did you know that my brother got engaged to a wonderful girl?
Did you know that my non verbal autistic nephew asked for me?!
Did you know that I watched my 8 year old niece pray for her dad?
Did you know that our very dear friends are going to foster to adopt?
Did you know that a little girl is safer now?

He has provided, healed, delivered, saved, rescued.... Yes we faced some tough stuff. But even in the darkness he is our light.

Does it still hurt? Yes. Will I still cry? Yes.

But oh my dear friends, I have never been more thankful than I am this Christmas!

We have a savior who offers us so much more than this world

Merry Christmas my readers!!! I Love you! I really do. I pray 2017 would be better and you would be closer to him who saves us.... in him is where our HOPE is and forever will be!

He is my answer to this life. He can be yours too.

All my love,