The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When Tolerance Is Intolerable

I have been writing this post in my mind ever since I read a comment at a friend's blog. The commenter basically questioned why Christians call people sinners when they don't agree with the Christian's beliefs and why Christians tell people they are going to hell if they don't believe in the Christian God. The commenter went on to propose a "leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone" type of tolerance.

The saying "Tolerance is the last virtue of a completely corrupt society" immediately came to mind. Sadly, this commenter seems to reflect the views of many people: "Don't tell me what I am doing is wrong. It may be wrong for you, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for me, so just leave me alone."

Let me tell you, I can sympathize with this commenter in one way. I have seen plenty of Christians who are hateful when they see something wrong in someone else's life. I don't think that is right, either. There are ways to tell people they are wrong without alienating them, and we shouldn't stop loving people when they refuse or cannot see where they are wrong. After all, if you are like me (and you are), we all have plenty of our own sins to occupy us. We have no room to hate, dislike, or despise others for their sins.

Another point I would like to make is that in God's eyes every sin is abominable. We I tend to think that I am pretty good because I don't [fill in the blank]; the truth of the matter is that just one sin makes me hideous in God's eyes. Additionally, as my pastor says, "Any Christian can commit any sin that a non-Christian will commit, given the right provocation." Becoming a Christian did not make me any less of a sinner. The only differences between a saved sinner and an unsaved sinner are their final destination and the Christian's desire to avoid sin.

Taking into consideration those two points, the truth of the matter is that there are times when "tolerance" is simply not an option. Here are some issues that are non-negotiable for a Christian.

  • Jesus Christ is the only way to get to Heaven. There are no alternatives. Good works won't save you; no other god [so-called] will save you; church membership won't save you. If a person does not accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he will go to hell when he dies. God has said that even the world around us testifies of Him, leaving us without excuse.
  • All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. This includes Christians. We are nothing special; we are sinners just like everyone else. The only difference is that Christ has saved us from our sins and has given us a hatred for sin.
  • Anything that God has called sin is just that - sin. It doesn't matter how we rationalize it in our own minds; God said it's sin. Lying, gossip, gluttony, envy, idolatry, drunkenness, stealing, coveting, murder, homose*uality, adultery - these are just a few of the things that God calls sin.
I'm sure there are more non-negotiables than those I have listed; however, I am not trying to write a comprehensive list. I am trying to make the point that there are times when it would be a sin for a Christian to be tolerant. That is a very unpopular viewpoint in our politically-correct society, but it is nothing less than the truth.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Hey, E!

Hey, Sunshine! ('member that note and grouchy Mrs. Carter? *smile*) I'm pretty sure you (or maybe your mother?) have been hanging out here at The Porch Light. Please contact me - you can use my contact form. I've missed you - never wanted to lose touch and always regretted doing so.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Mother's Heart Knows - Blog Tour

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review. The opinions contained herein are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Mother's Day is coming up soon, and after reading A Mother's Heart Knows, I would recommend this as an appropriate way to express to your mother what she means to you. Margaret McSweeney dedicated this book to her mother, whom she credits for blessing her life and inspiring her to follow Christ.

A Mother's Heart Knows features an attractive cover complemented by an equally attractive interior. Each page includes both a black-and-white photo of a child, mother, or combination and a line or two of complementary text.

For only $9.99, you may purchase the book through Margaret's website. All royalty proceeds from this book go to WINGS (Women In Need Growing Stronger) and a student missionary scholarship fund. WINGS is a non-profit organization that provides a domestic violence shelter for women and their children in addition to transitional housing and programs.

If you would like a chance to win a signed copy of this book, just visit the blog tour schedule post and leave a comment. Margaret is also holding the the "My Favorite Mom" spa basket contest. In honor of Mother's Day, Margaret would love to hear and share your favorite story about your mother (or someone who is like a mother to you). To enter the contest go here and share your story to win one of TWO fabulously scrumptious spa baskets! She will be posting the stories (with your permission of course) on her blog.

Author's Bio: Margaret lives with her husband and two daughters in a Chicago suburb. Her book, A Mother’s Heart Knows, was published by Thomas Nelson in 2005. Go Back and Be Happy, a co-authored book, will be published by Lion Hudson in July 2008. Margaret has been featured on Greg Wheatly’s “Prime Time America,” TLN’s “Aspiring Women,” and LeSea’s “The Harvest Show.” Margaret writes freelance articles for The Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. Notable interviews include Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Branch and Dr. John Gottman. Margaret also wrote a feature article for With a master’s degree in international business, Margaret became a vice president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there from 1986-1993. Supporting charitable causes is important to Margaret. For the past five years, she has served on the board of directors for WINGS, an organization that helps abused women and their children get a new start in life.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Please Help Me Win a Contest

*This post will remain on top until April 25. Scroll down for newer posts.*

I shared my love story at Generation NeXt Parenting. If my story gets the most comments, I will win dinner for 2 to the restaurant of my choice. You can help me win by simply leaving a comment on the post with my story no later than April 25 - a simple "hi" will suffice. Would you help me out, please?


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Busy ... Come Join the Fun!

After last week's posting extravaganza, I know my absence this week has been rather odd. I have a very good reason - RS Designs is participating in the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival. Have you visited the master list of giveaways yet? You need to - the prizes are incredible!

At RS Designs, Linda and I are giving away (to everyone who asks) your choice of 6 free headers this week (April 21-25, 2008); so far we have posted the Feminine, Pink Flower Ribbon, Landscape, Smoothy Blue, and Happy Days headers. We are also giving away a total of 2 free design makeovers at Weary Parent.

In addition to the giveaways, we have also added free buttons and badges and a free blog design (it's only free until May 13, 2008). I also published two posts: one details our new free and paid advertising options and the other offers 5 Ways to Pay Less for a New Design.

I am working on a draft of a thoughtful post (seriously! *smile*) about tolerance that I hope to publish here at The Porch Light in the next couple of days. It has been quite awhile since I wrote anything thoughtful or more substantive than just everyday life.

So how have you been doing?


Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Busy Mom's Devotional

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review. The opinions contained herein are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Do you, like me, get so busy that you forget or neglect to spend time each day with God? I know that I struggle with feelings of guilt over my inconsistent devotion time, yet sometimes everything gets going, and I can't seem to stop long enough for that much-needed spiritual refueling. To tell you the truth, today has been one of those days. And my attitude today has been vocal testament to my failure to spend time with God. If my poor family could talk to you ... !

The Busy Mom's Devotional is by Lisa T. Bergren, "the best-selling, award-winning author of twenty-eight titles, totaling more than a million copies in print." [quoted from her official website] As a wife, mother of three, freelance editor, business consultant, and writer, Mrs. Bergren surely knows what it means to be busy.

In The Busy Mom's Devotional, Lisa encourages women to start small. "Think it's impossible to have a spiritual life AND manage family life? There are many days that plainly feel like an exercise of survival. But living a life of devotion means seeing Christ in everything--from changing a diaper to a husband's tender kiss. Join Lisa for a year of "been there" devotions--readings from a mom who lives like you do, in the trenches, but strives to see Jesus beside her, through it all. Do just one devotional a day (or a week!), and you'll begin to see life with more depth and clarity than ever before."

Important: all verses are taken from either The Message or the NIV. I believe the King James Version is the Bible for the English-speaking people; therefore, I cannot recommend this book in that aspect.

Each devotional begins with a few verses and includes a place for you to jot down what is on your mind. Lisa's intent is that by writing down what is on your mind, you will be able to forget it while you focus on spending time with God. After the verses are presented, Lisa shares a relevant story, usually from her own life, and ends the chapter with a short prayer and a place for you to write your thoughts and prayers relating to the passage presented.

I really like that Mrs. Bergren encourages women to just begin. While certainly not the final goal, 10 minutes a week spent with God is much better than none at all, and developing that little habit can easily lead to developing a daily habit. I know that I often feel guilty for not having devotions everyday; that guilt in turn leads to discouragement and the feeling that I shouldn't even bother because if I can't do it "the right way," it's no use doing it at all. God, however, isn't like that and doesn't wash His hands of us when we fail Him. He longs for us to spend time with Him and welcomes us whenever we come to Him.

If you would like to win a copy of this book, "[j]ust sign up for her newsletter here and send her a quick email ( with "I just enrolled" in the subject line. She'll be giving away three copies!"


One-Stop Online Shopping

In my post about 5 ways to use less gas, I recommended shopping online if possible. I think just about everyone knows about Ebay and Amazon, but have you heard of ShopWiki? When you run a search through ShopWiki, it doesn't only search stores that have paid to be included in their results. Instead, it attempts to find every web site that offers what you want.

Say, for instance, that you are shopping for an item that would fall in the Babies and Toddlers category. When I ran that search, there were more than 245 million products from which to choose. And ShopWiki isn't only about buying products. They also offer informative guides to help you decided what is the best product for you. Not sure what you need in a car seat? Visit their Car Seats Buying Guide. Worried about hidden hazards in your home? The Babyproofing and Home Safety Guide can help you recognize hazards you may not have considered hazardous before.

I'm sure I'll be visiting ShopWiki in the future. What are your favorite places to shop online?


Finding Contentment

After publicly resolving to be more content, I am pleased that I can honestly tell you that I am fine with our house and am perfectly content to stay here indefinitely. Sure, I still drool over master suites with walk in bathtubs, but I am not fretting because I do not have that.

After having owned our home for two years, Mr. Incredible and I are preparing to paint the inside. We will be doing the baby's room first. We now only have 2 1/2 months in which to prepare for our son's arrival! Of course, his room must be picture-perfect to welcome him home. :) I'm thinking of painting it a soft yellow and decorating it in a circus theme. The ceiling fan is red, so that would finally go with the decor.

I've shared our to-do list with you before, so I won't rehash all that. Just think of us fixing up our home and smile because we are doing so for our pleasure, not because we are going to sell it out of discontent.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Unused Exercise Equipment

I have to wonder how much money our nation spends on exercise equipment that is seldom, if ever, used. I cannot tell you how many weight benches, treadmills, and elliptical trainers I have seen on FreeCycle boards and at garage sales. I know that I once purchased a weight bench at a garage sale. It cost me $20 but had no weights. I invested another $20 (maybe more, I'm not sure) in a weight set and used the thing maybe 15 times. I ended up selling it at a garage sale, barely recouping what I had invested in it.

Why do we do this? Is it because we are not aware of or do not wish to acknowledge our own weaknesses? I have learned that I will not stick to an exercise routine based on this kind of equipment. I do much better using DVDs with aerobic and cardio routines. Now, I am no longer tempted by what a great deal a piece of bulky exercise equipment is. For me, it's not a great deal; it's a waste of money.

Do you have any unused exercise equipment lying around your house? Why is it unused? What works better for you?


Laptop or PC?

I think Mr. Incredible would like a laptop one day. I'm not so sure I want one. I have had very little chance to work with a laptop, but in the little time I have spent working on one, I have decided that I don't really like them. The keyboard is configured in such a way that I am constantly losing my finger position and making typos, and I absolutely despise the "mouse" pad that has to be navigated by finger. I also don't think that I could create my designs on a laptop.

Am I crazy? Is the freedom to use your computer nearly anywhere you wish enough to compensate for those features I do not like? I know that I could purchase a mouse and not have to worry about using the finger pad to navigate. How do you feel about this?

photo courtesy of Fotosearch Stock Photography


Another Hyped Weight Loss Pill

Do you think you could lose 1 pound in one month? Apparently, Alli thinks that you need help to do just that (follow the link to read the review). Seriously, folks, I need a weight loss pill to help me lose 1 pound? When I lost 20 pounds without making an effort, I would often lose one pound in one week!

Am I over-reacting? Are there really people out there who need a pill to aid them lose 1 pound in one month?


5 Ways to Use Less Gas

I have always tried to stay home if at all possible. Getting three little girls ready to leave home and buckling them all up is a chore, to say the least. However, with gas prices on the rise and apparently nowhere near their upper limit, I am really trying to stay home. Here are ways I conserve on gas. (These are probably nothing new to anyone, but I thought I'd share anyway.)

  1. "Run" errands online if at all possible
    • need insurance quotes? online auto insurance and homeowners' insurance quotes are only a click away
    • have bills coming due? pay them online; you can even enter the address yourself if the biller is not already in your bank's database
    • need to buy something else? shop for groceries, gifts, and even pizza online - particularly if the merchant offers delivery with your order
  2. Combine trips - instead of making 5 individual trips to town in three days, create an errand day and organize your stops into a circuit that will make the most efficient use of your time and your gas
  3. Drive with care - don't speed, don't accelerate rapidly, and try to avoid stop-and-go traffic
  4. Do without - so many things we think are necessities are really luxuries; learn how to say no to yourself and your family
  5. Carpool - if you do have to go somewhere, car pool with a friend, co-worker, or neighbor when possible (this works even better when you and your car pool buddy take turns driving your vehicles)
What are your favorite tricks for savings gas?

image courtesy of Fotosearch Stock Photography


Thursday, April 17, 2008

TV Shows (Rant)

Have you noticed how rapidly TV shows' quality has declined over the past 5 years or so? I've never been a big fan of sitcoms or many of the other shows that have aired over the past nine years (I never had a TV until we got married), but current programming seems to be glutted with reality shows (is it so hard to find "stars" through traditional talent management sources?), filth that doesn't even bother with innuendo but depicts everything in explicit detail, and shows that seem to have been tossed together without any effort to maintain a plot or include any real content.

Why have television executives opted to air trashy, fluffy programs instead of offering viewers more wholesome choices? I much prefer the type of comedy shown in "I Love Lucy" to what passes for comedy in "Last Comic Standing" or in sitcoms such as "Two and a Half Men." I don't understand what is funny about cursing and putting down others, nor do I think lewd behavior is comedic. Reality shows bore me. Call me a fuddy-duddy (yep, that word confirms that I am one *smile*), but some of my favorite shows are documentaries aired on PBS.

Unfortunately, I do not know what I can do to influence change. Society as a whole continues to push the bounds of propriety, respect, and decency further and further, and that is reflected in television programming. About the only thing I know to do is to not watch shows that prick my conscience and write posts ranting about my dissatisfaction. *laughing*

Do you have any ideas for making a difference?


Couch Dilemma

We are debating whether or not to accept yet another couch. You see, between the kids spilling drinks (which they are not allowed to have in the living room!) and the annoying cat using it as a scratching post, our current couch is in pretty bad shape.

The couch we are considering taking is not new, nor is it luxurious like the home theater seating which haunts Mr. Incredible's dreams. However, it has been well taken care of, is comfortable, and has two recliners - one at each end. The only problem we are facing is space. After smugly thinking that our new living room arrangement was set and would not be changed for quite some time, I found out that this new couch is a foot longer than our current couch. If we do take the couch, we will be rearranging yet again. It might be worth the trouble to have a newer couch in nicer condition and to have the two additional recliners.

Any thoughts?


Frugal Birthday Parties

In a few short weeks, Miss Muffet will turn 4 years old. She is pretty excited and has already requested a Lion King cake for her birthday. I always make and decorate the cake, so I'm not worried about that part, but I do need to find birthday invitations, plates, cups, napkins, and decorations pretty soon.

I won't buy everything with the Lion King on it. I usually purchase half of the necessary plates with the theme picture and half in a coordinating color. The napkins and cups are done the same way. After all, adults don't care if their plate has the Lion King on it! I also try to find or make decorations from what we already have at home. I try not to load the favor bags with a lot of candy but purchase packs of hair accessories, note pads, pencils, Matchbox-sized vehicles, play-doh, and such at dollar stores or from Target's dollar bins.

As far as food goes, we have found that it is time-saving, filling, and economical to purchase pizza instead of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. We buy our pizzas from whomever has the best deal - Cici's or a local pizzeria. The past two times we have paid no more than $6 for a large one-topping pizza. (Although I normally make our pizza from scratch, I prefer to pay a little bit more so that I don't have that additional stress the day of the party.) As I mentioned, I make the birthday cake, and we have even made homemade ice cream a couple of times. We usually purchase two or three 2-liter soft drinks (generic brand), and I brew a gallon of sweet tea. We do buy ice instead of freezing enough ahead of time (we don't have an ice maker), but if I plan ahead for once, I can cut out that expense as well. We usually offer chips along with the pizza, but the adults might like it better if I were to make a salad and offer that instead.

All in all, I have found that by making and doing things myself, I can spend less than $100 on a birthday party that includes at least 12 adults and 15 kids.

What are some of your favorite ways to save money on birthday parties?

illustration courtesy of Fotosearch Stock Photography


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Locked Out

I try to be careful and think about what I'm doing, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have locked myself out of my own house. The worst time was shortly before Mr. Incredible and I got married. (This happened sometime during July or August of '99. We closed on the house during the first week of July, and Mr. Incredible moved in with me only after we were married in August.)

I was the church pianist at the time. One Sunday morning, I left the house, intending to make it to Sunday School early so that I could play a short prelude before the service began. As usual, I made sure to turn my Schlage lock before exiting the house. Unfortunately, when I got in my truck, I discovered that I had left my keys inside the now locked house. I had neither a spare truck nor house key hidden outside and did not have a cell phone. What on earth was I going to do?

At that time, Mr. Incredible lived with his parents approximately 3 miles from my house. I glumly decided my only option was to walk to their house and hope that he hadn't left for church yet. (He was usually late for Sunday School.) I started walking - church clothes, high heels, and all. After about half a mile, the heels hurt my feet, and I took them off, walking barefoot on the warm asphalt. I had tough feet from running around barefoot (still do), and the asphalt hurt my feet less than did the heels.

After I had walked about a mile, a nice car (made me think of a Cadillac) pulled up, and an elderly lady asked where I was headed and offered me a ride. While a bit doubtful about accepting a ride from a stranger, her church attire, nicely coiffed hair, and spotless car reassured me that she wasn't a kidnapper or psychotic killer, and I gratefully accepted her offer. In about three minutes, she had dropped me off at Mr. Incredible's house. I thanked her, and she drove off. To my knowledge, I have never seen her again.

I rang the doorbell and was relieved when Mr. Incredible answered the door. He was understandably surprised to see me there. We rode to church together, and he informed me that I would have a spare key stashed outside for just such an emergency. Ever since then, I have always had the comfort of knowing that if I locked my keys in the house again, I would still have a way to get back inside.

Have you ever done something like this? (Actually, I'm pretty sure everyone has a story of their own they could tell.)


Vote for Me!

This is definitely a shameless plug, but I would love to win a dinner for two at the restaurant of my choice. Who needs to worry about dieting or taking weight loss pills? Not me! I'm pregnant, and besides, what fun it would be to go out for a night on the town with Mr. Incredible!

How can you help me do that, you ask? Simple, go vote for me by leaving a comment on the post with my story. (Psst - if you've ever wondered about Mr. Incredible's real name, you can find out in my story. Just make sure you leave a comment if you stop by. *smile*) The contest ends on April 2oth (I thought that it had ended on the 10th), but voting has been extended until the 25th. I'd really love to win! So please leave a comment ... pretty please? :)


Junk, Be Gone!

Why do we keep so much junk? We don't have an official "junk drawer"; we just have junk in nearly every drawer and room. And let's not even talk about what we have in our barn (storage shed, for those not acquainted with local vernacular). Actually, lets.

The tools, boxes of children's clothing, lawnmower, wheelbarrow, and other such assorted odds and ends do belong in the barn; too-large appliance boxes, golf bags without the accompanying clubs, and tiny unusable scraps of lumber do not. Neither do broken toys and stained clothing.

Mr. Incredible has already declared that this Saturday will be used to clear the junk from our barn, so wish us the best. It's not my idea of fun, but it definitely needs to be done.

Where does junk accumulate in your house?


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

It's hard to believe that Mr. Incredible and I will celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary this year. I don't know where the time has flown. (Don't I sound like an old person when I say that? *smile*)

I was and still am happy with last year's gift, the canvas with our three girls on it. That is the kind of gift that has special meaning for me. One of my favorite Mother's Day gifts was the set of two black 5x7 picture frames containing black and white photos of Pookie and Miss Muffett. (Baby Bear had not yet been born.) However, I often draw a blank when asked what I would like for our anniversary or when picking out wedding anniversary gifts for others. Even looking at lists of traditional and modern gift suggestions doesn't help me very much. For example, appliances are the gifts suggested on the fourth anniversary modern gift list, but how many coffee makers, toasters, and blenders can one household use?

In recent years, several of Mr. Incredible's relatives, including his grandparents, have reached that 5oth wedding anniversary mark. While I tried to give a gift suited to such a momentous occasion, I fear that I did not do a very good job. I wish I had come across this personalized photo quilt a few years ago. I bet we could have gotten a few other families to help pay for it and give it as a group gift. That would certainly have been a special and one-of-a-kind gift. Perhaps I should take up quilting so that I can make something like that in the future.

What are some of your favorite wedding anniversary gifts - to give or receive?

clip art courtesy of Fotosearch Stock Photography


Friday, April 11, 2008

Giving Thanks Where It Is Due

Over at RS Designs, I just posted about my lack of business knowledge and skills. Since I am a small business owner and have been for one year now, I am doing all I can to change that fact. I am finding myself more and more fascinated by how much is involved in being a successful business woman. I'm just glad mine is an e-commerce business so I don't have to purchase expensive clothing or invest in a Zero Halliburton briefcase (though I really like their leather briefcases). I have enough to learn and be without having to worry about presenting a polished appearance at all times. That simply isn't me.

As I was reading The Edge of Success: 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales, a free e-book which I highly recommend, I realized that it was about a year ago when I solicited 25 brave souls who would be willing to let me, an unknown and inexperienced wanna-be designer, experiment by creating headers for their blogs. Thankfully, the headers turned out well, and many of those bloggers still use the headers I created nearly a year ago.

If it weren't for these people's bravery, I probably would never have started RS Designs, and I'd like to publicly thank them for giving me the confidence I needed to make that giant leap. Here are their first names or pseudonyms and a link to their blogs.

  1. Linda - Making a Happy Life (she is now my design partner)
  2. Ginny - Mom of 2 Dancers
  3. Justice Jones - MamaLaw
  4. Shawna - Through the Midst of Despair
  5. Julie - Cutting Back
  6. Jenny - Three Ring Circus (that blog no longer exists, but the link will take you to another of her blogs)
  7. The Mommy Blawger - The Mommy Blawg
  8. Michelle - Smooches and Smacks
  9. Michelle - Colored Girls Who Have Considered...
  10. D - Memory Bay
  11. Heidi - God's Grace in Practice (She is dealing with having her newborn baby in NICU. Some encouragement would be great, I am sure!)
  12. Amy - Amy's Blah, Blah, Blogging
  13. Holly - Keeper of the Home
  14. Tanyetta - Days Like These
  15. Gracie - Echoes of Grace
  16. The Hot Dog Man - The Hot Dog Truck
  17. Babystepper - Still Taking Baby Steps
  18. Heather - Heather's Reality Show
  19. Twin Sun Plus 1 - Land O' Sunshine
  20. Meredith - Like Merchant Ships
  21. Charity - Adding Arrows to Our Quiver
  22. Michelle - Faith, Family, and Friends
  23. Barbara - Naturally WAHMs
  24. Cynthy - Porch Rails
  25. Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry
To all of you, thank you very much!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Generation NeXt Marriage - Addressing the Challenges Faced in Gen X Marriages

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review. The opinions contained herein are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

I don't know if, in this blog, I have often referred to my love of reading, but I can assure you it is a deep, abiding love. *smile* I started reading at a very early age and have always loved escaping into another world through the pages of a book. Because I do love reading so much, I was very excited to be asked to review both fiction and non-fiction books by Christian authors. Today, I am taking part in a blog tour reviewing one of those books: Generation NeXt Marriage by Tricia Goyer.

Before I begin, you should know three things:

  1. You can visit the blog tour schedule to find links to all of the other bloggers reviewing this book.
  2. You could win your own copy of both Generation NeXt Marriage and its companion book, Generation NeXt Parenting. Details may be found at the end of my review.
  3. You can "win a dinner for two to the restaurant of your choice ($50 max)" - just for sharing the story of how you and your spouse met. The link to the entry form is at the end of this post. You can believe that I'll be sending in the story of how I became Mrs. Incredible. *smile* (I know I won't win because the results are based on votes and the results will be tallied at the end of the blog tour, which happens to be today, but I'd like to share my story anyway.)
on with the review...

Generation NeXt Marriage explores and offers ways to overcome the challenges faced in Gen X marriages. Since the author is herself a GenXer, she knows about those challenges first-hand and writes from her own observations and experiences. Because I grew up in a very strict Christian home, I cannot relate to the songs Mrs. Goyer references or some of the other things she talks about, but she dealt with plenty of other things to which I could relate. The parts that spoke to me the most were the ones dealing with developing an intimate (as in knowing a person inside and out) relationship with my husband.

I've told you about the walls I have erected and my desire to bring them down. I don't know that I have made much progress in that area of my marriage. Honestly, I'm still learning how to be vulnerable in my relationship with Mr. Incredible, and Tricia's chapter on Conflict Resolution really hit me hard. Here are a couple of the passages that really spoke to me.

"'Withdrawal may not look like one of the most damaging relationship germs, but it is... When someone withdraws from conflict, he or she only delays the inevitable. It doesn't help to leave the battlefield and go out for a long jog; in fact, this usually makes things worse. When we avoid conflict, we merely brush the hurt under the rug of our soul. Eventually the mound of hurt gets so big that it starts spilling out the sides, and what seeps out often look a lot like anger, bitterness, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and worse.' [Dr. Greg Smalley, The Marriage You've Always Dreamed Of]
...It has taken me time to realize that lack of conflict in marriage [emphasis mine] should not be the goal. No one wants an emotionless marriage, but rather one in which the conflict is as carefully tended to as the romance, the care, and the consideration."

"When it comes to conflict, here are two important things to remember:
  1. Closeness fosters conflict. When you open your heart to your spouse, you can no longer hide your struggles...
  2. Through conflict, we grow closer to our spouse and to God. When I have conflict in my marriage, God's Spirit prods me to repent..., and though it hurts, I admit my mistakes and my brokenness to John.... I give him a glimpse inside me. Sure, it is a glimpse of my sinful human nature, but it is an honest glimpse all the same. And as John looks into my brokenness, an amazing thing happens. Conflict becomes the doorway to intimacy."

There are many more passages I would love to quote for you, but the next best thing I can do is to offer you a chance to win this book and its companion book, Generation NeXt Parenting. To enter, simply leave me a comment on this post no later than 9:00 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and mention that you would like to win these books. I'll use to pick the winner and will announce the winner and a couple of runners-up by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

If you wish to submit your love story for a chance to win that dinner for two, here's the link to the contest entry form, which you will find toward the bottom of that page.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Testing Scheduled Posting

If this works properly, this post will not go live until tomorrow, April 8, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. I will be thrilled if this does what it is supposed to do!


Monday, April 07, 2008

Coming Soon...

What would an actress receiving an Oscar be without designer jewelry? She could be perfectly dressed, but without the stunning jewels, her outfit would be missing the finishing touch. To me, Blogger has often been like that actress - the "bling" has been missing from some crucial areas.

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of things I love about Blogger: the freedom we have to edit our template and customize it to our hearts' desire and the preview feature that means you can view your template changes without first having to make them go live are two of my favorite features. But I have never liked the comment form, the inability to require commenters to leave their e-mail addresses so that you can respond to them personally, or the inability to set a post to automatically publish at some future date.

I am happy to have found out that Blogger is working on fixing bugs related to the new scheduled posting feature they have created. It's about time! Right now, this feature still has bugs when used in blogs published via FTP, and you have to login to your blog via to be able to schedule automatic publishing, but if this feature is already at this stage, it isn't too far from being released to everyone. Three cheers for Blogger!


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Family Vacation: Part Ten Zillion

Well, not really, but it feels like it. Over the course of nearly 15 months, I have mentioned (several times) that my family would like to take a beach trip together. It appears that this really may be the year we fulfill that desire.

I have been researching rental properties and prices and am nearly ready to present my findings to the rest of the family. I've never planned a trip like this before, and it really is quite a bit of work. I think that if we ever decided to take a family trip to Branson, MO, I will let someone else research the Branson rentals. *smile*

Have you ever planned a multi-family trip? What planning/organizational tips do you have to offer? I can use all the help I can get.


Because of an HDTV....

I think the domino effect caused by Mr. Incredible's HDTV purchase has finally come to an end. It's kind of like the poem that says something like, "Because of a nail, a shoe was lost. Because of a shoe, a horse was lost..." Here's how our tale unfolded.

  • Because of the widescreen TV, a new TV stand/entertainment center was needed. (Mr. Incredible debated but finally opted not to go with the wall tv mount.
  • Because the new TV stand was much shorter than our old entertainment center, two shelves were purchased to go over the TV.
  • Because those two shelves were both shorter in width than our old entertainment center, Mr. Incredibles' 24-car NASCAR display case needed to be moved to a new location, which decreed the purchase of one more shelf.
  • Because Mr. Incredible's display case was moved to a new position, the canvas photo of our three girls had to be moved to a new location.
  • Because the new TV stand did not have all the shelfs that our old entertainment center had, a 3-shelf bookcase was purchased to make up for the missing storage.
Thankfully, that is all that "needed" to be purchased; however, today we spent close to an hour rearranging our living room to best utilize our furniture. I like the new arrangement better than the old, but I'm glad to have everything settled once more.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Honey-Do List

We all have one, don't we? I'm sure my husband dreads hearing me say, "Honey, when you have time can you take care of ... for me?" Between the two of us, we certainly have quite a list of things to do around our house, but at least Mr. Incredible can count on my helping him.

  • replace the leaky faucet in our bathroom
  • thoroughly clean, paint, and decorate the baby's room (I'm thinking circus animals would be cute)
  • strip the wallpaper in both bathrooms, the kitchen, and the hallway
  • paint every room in the house except for the girls' room
  • replace all of the old nasty windows with energy efficient double-hung double-pane windows (someday)
  • have the carpet professionally cleaned (will definitely need to be replaced in the next few years - after the kids are a bit older and less prone to making dreadful messes)
  • spray paint and recover our patio furniture
I'm sure we will find plenty more to do, as if that weren't enough! What does your Honey-Do list look like?


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Cleaning

It's that time of year again -
Time to thoroughly clean within.
From bottom to top and up to down,
I'll clean with not even the trace of a frown. [ha!]

My kitchen will sparkle; my windows will gleam.
Say! I'm a regular cleaning machine!
I'll even sing as I scrub my deep sink.
Wow, it's so clean I should stop for a drink.

The dust I'm evicting from its comfortable spot.
The carpet I'll clean with my trusty Spot Shot.
My bathroom fixtures now are so shiny
I can see my face in them (even though tiny).

Laundry is finished, and dishes are done.
Whew! I'm glad that's one fight I have won!
All rooms are in order, and the house, it smells clean.
I'll sit down, relax, and get lost in a dream...

[until next year finds me cleaning all over again]

(P.S. So far this is just fiction that I wish were fact. *sigh*)