Monthly Archives: November 2013

How to THRIVE in your 1st Year of Marriage: Christmas Expectations

The year I was engaged to Shane, I was so excited to be married. Everyone told us “the first year is the hardest.” Well, I was anxious to prove them wrong.

The first year passed, and it ROCKED! (Take that, naysayers!)

But then the second year passed, and the third…. and I realized that what everyone said was true. That first year was awesome, yes, but it actually was the hardest (thus far). Thankfully, I learned some pertinent lessons along the way, and I hope to share them with you, my engaged and newlywed friends.

How are you struggling to survive THRIVE in your first year of marriage? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to discuss the issue.

Today’s topic is: Christmas Expectations.

The Rosty’s 1st Christmas

Our first Christmas together kinda creeped up on us. The holidays arrived after 6 short months of marriage. I had an idyllic idea of how it would go:

  • Decorating the tree while listening to romantic Christmas tunes.
  • A snuggly vintage movie night with hot-cocoa, adorable Christmas sweaters, and my AMAZING homemade Christmas cookies.
  • Enjoying all the other traditions with our families (driving to see the lights, Christmas eve candlelight service at church, gift-exchange, etc.)

1st Rule of a healthy marriage: communicate!!! I assumed  Shane wanted the same things. Alas, I was mistaken. Our 1st Christmas was not what I expected:

  • Shane pulled out the Christmas stuff after a meeting with our college student ministry team. I watched with stifled jealousy as 8 college kids hung lights and decorated the tree with my husband.
  • I also didn’t grasp the massive undertaking that is baking Christmas cookies. I spent WAY too much money, made a huge mess of the kitchen, and burnt half of the cookies.
  • We spent most of Christmas Eve and Christmas day in the car, driving back and forth between my parents, my in-laws, our grandparents, and siblings houses trying to snatch pieces of Christmas traditions from each home.

At one point, the disappointment burst out of me like a raging Grinch-storm of unmet expectations. I totally blind-sided my sweet husband who was enjoying the hustle-bustle of our 1st Christmas chaos.

Thankfully, Shane was SUPER gracious to me. After I explained everything that disappointed me, he apologized (though he didn’t need to), and gave me an attitude check. Eventually, we put some compromises in place for next year.

Now, my expectations are much different:

  • It turns out, I love decorating with our students. We made it an annual tradition: the Decorating Party at the Rosty’s. We laugh so much as we decorate cookies, the house, and the tree together.
  • I also fell in love with car-time with Shane. We have the best conversations sitting side-by-side on the road. The intimacy of hearing his heart is worth the hours to and from family gatherings.
  • We have learned to embrace “romantic” Christmas stuff in the days leading up to Christmas day. I try to get all Christmas busyness (shopping, baking, parties, etc.) done several weeks before. By the time our students leave for Winter break, we have a cozy home and plenty of down-time to focus on our marriage.
  • I make a point to communicate my expectations AHEAD OF TIME! I also try to let go of my assumptions, embrace new things, and enjoy HIS expectations for the season as well.

Perhaps the single most important lesson I learned through this season was my definition of “home.”

Stay tuned for another post on Thrive in Your 1st Year of Marriage: Home for the Holidays.

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Adoption Update: Two Stories

Well folks, we are now in month 2 (ish) of creating a Beautiful family. The journey-stage of this month is the home-study. We have an incredible team at Bethany Christian Services making the process efficient and speedy.

A home study is simply a grand story. Through paperwork and interviews, Shane and I get to tell our story, the story of our families, and the story of what we hope to create as a family through this adoption. If you know anything about me, you know that all of this story-telling has been a blast!

On the morning of our home-inspection and interview, the Holy Spirit led me Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Psalm 139: 1-4

I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper, “I have already done your home study. I  know you through and through and I have chosen the Rosty family to bear my image as an adoptive Father.”

These verses affirmed God’s plan for us to be adoptive parents. He prompted us to look into adoption. He guided us through obedience to wait on his timing. At just the right time, He opened up a pilot program to the country we wanted to adopt from. Then, God allowed us to be the 10th family out of 10 accepted into the program! He brought numerous people native to our adoption country to encourage us directly, even in the very beginning weeks of the process.

But God is not only sovereign over our journey to adoption. God is also sovereign over the life of our child. The rest of Psalms 139 reminded me of this promise:

For you formed [our son or daughter’s] inward parts; you knitted [him] together in [his birth] mother’s womb. I praise you, for [our child is] fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. [Her] frame was not hidden from you, when [she] was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw [his] unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for [our precious child], when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:13-18) ESV

God has been affirming this truth from the very beginning. This kid is HIS, from the moment of conception, through the first gasp of breath, to his home in the hands of beautiful nannies and care-takers. And though Shane and I are only human, God has also invited us to be a part of this little life. However, God is now, and always will be, the one holding the life of this child.

Right now, these are 2 separate stories of Gods sovereign grace. Two individual “home studies” from heaven. Someday they will join together, and we will be a Beautiful family.

With our interviews and home inspection finished, we eagerly wait for the next stage of the journey (hint, it involves more paperwork and many dollar signs 🙂 )

This video, by Matt Bieler, is a lovely reminder of exactly what each step is leading up to…
What each month I am waiting for…
What each day I am praying for.

Though we have a long way to go… here’s to hopeful dreams from a future mama!

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Want Peace?

My dear friends, peace is on the horizon.

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I know many of you need this truth today. Let my words be few, but my prayer so bold today:

Jesus, we know that “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God…” Holy Spirit, our helper, please settle our restless spirits. Bring us to repentance and renewed unity with you. Direct our minds to truth, like an arrow set firmly toward its target, released to a swift destination.
We are not against you, Father, because the power of Jesus death and resurrection bring us peace with You, a truth we inherit through faith, by your great grace! In that peace we command every thought, desire, and emotion to honor you, by the power of Jesus name. As your daughters, we claim the promise of peace and life.

Amen.

Feel free to download this word art, use it as your phone background or desktop picture.

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How to Update Your Swimsuit for Vacation Season

Ok, I don’t have a bunch of fun tips to update your swimwear for an upcoming beach vaca…

but, I do have a little quiz for you:

Q. What do Power Rangers, Audrey Hepburn, and your favorite Pinterest swimsuits have in common?

A. Jessica Ray!

  • Former Power Ranger (the white one)
  • Swimsuit designer (you’ve probably seen her designs on Pinterest)
  • Author and inspirational speaker (Her  book is called Decent Exposure)

This lady is worth 9 1/2 minutes of your time. She is fascinating, beautiful, and has a meaningful message.

I am committed to finding great fashion along side my quest for modesty. Jessica Rey puts into words exactly what I believe about our bodies. God created us (yes women too) in His image. That image should not be “hidden” per say, but rather displayed with dignity, confidence, and to the glory of God. I was very intrigued by the information she presents in her talk “The Evolution of the Swimsuit.” In fact, I couldn’t say it better myself.

So please enjoy her message here: http://www.qideas.org/video/the-evolution-of-the-swimsuit.aspx

I also had so much fun looking at her design line! With vacation season right around the corner, you might like to update your swimming suit options. Shop for an ADORABLE swimsuit at Rey Swimwear, where each piece is inspired by the various characters of the gorgeous and graceful, Audrey Hepburn.

My favorite is definitely “Jo” ($49.00) inspired by “Funny Face” (watch the preview for this “s’marvelous” film, here).

I am not affiliated with Rey Swimwear, but I am happy to promote a woman and business with an encouraging perspective of women and fashion.

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Have Fun (It’s Biblical)

Every once in a while, we need a reminder to have fun.

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Oops, sorry, let me clarify…

Every once in a while, we people over 14 need a reminder to have fun.

You don’t need to tell a kid to laugh. To play. To explore. To be silly.

Nope. These gems of society do it all on their own.

But those of us 14-and-up need a reminder.

I say “age 14 and up” because I think life has become very serious for adolescents. This continues, and perhaps intensifies, for young adults, middle-aged, and the “seasoned” alike.

Of course, these serious things are crucial to life. We can’t be 13 and under forever: wild and wide-eyed, not knowing how the mac-n-cheese ends up on a plate for lunch. Energized, yet clueless about the responsibilities our caregivers wish they had energy for.

Work trials, relationship maintenance, selfless servanthood, missional living, daily hygiene, resisting temptation, staying awake, parallel parking… it’s a lot of work.

God knows this. God designed this. But He also recommends fun:

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15 NLT)

Do yourself an immense favor and read Ecclesiastes. Not in ye olde’ KJV (which is not fun). Read it. Despair with it. Nod your head in agreement. Yep, work and responsibility can feel endless.

Sigh.

Whether you are 16 and worried about future scholarships,
Or 30 and you love your kids, but don’t like them right now…

Whether you are 19 and experiencing burn out from the dorm life,
Or 25 and bored with the daily grind…

Remember that verse about fun.

And have it.

Have a blast this weekend everybody! I know I will be!

Becky.

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Ps. I recommend frisbee golf, this extreme course is found in Billings, Montana. And yes, my husband is the MASTER of folf putts on the edge of a cliff.

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Gleaning with a Grateful Heart

After unpacking how to Give-as-you-go, I realize there is another important quality we can practice from the book of Ruth: gleaning.

As I mentioned before, gleaning is the “gathering of extra.” One of my college ladies pointed out that Ruth had an incredible attitude as she was gleaning. She was grateful, kind, confident, and unselfish. (Read Ruth 2 for more).

One way or another, we are all gleaning from someone. Have you ever received

  • hand-me-down clothes/furniture?
  • tips?
  • free tutoring?
  • someone paying for your meal or coffee?
  • advice?

When someone tries to offer me this, I tend to be unreceptive. Depending on the gift, I end up in one of these categories:

  • Self-entitled (well I deserved that anyway). I tend to do this with good grades or positive critiques on my hard work.
  • Reluctant (I don’t want to impose). When someone offers to open the door, or help carry my groceries, I hesitate.
  • Prideful (I don’t need your “charity”). My self-reliance rears its ugly head when it comes to paying for a meal.
  • Snobbish (that gift wasn’t all that super). I don’t often receive a sermon, teaching, or study material that I don’t connect with. I think, “I’ve heard better,” and dismiss the entire content.

I am very ashamed to admit all of these. Sure, I can be good at giving my stuff, time, money, and space… but I need to learn to receive well. Ruth was  grateful, not demanding or pushy. She didn’t reject Boaz’s gift. Nor did she put it all aside for someone less fortunate (though she did save some for her mother-in-law).

My goal is to glean with the right heart. I want to have a teachable spirit when I listen to a sermon. I want to have a grateful heart when someone offers to pay for my meal. I would like to be graceful and respectful when a person holds the door for me. My humility should shine, like Ruth’s, when God uses others to care for me.

I cannot think of a better way to describe Ruth’s heart, and the one I hope to have, than this quote (by former basketball player John Wooden):

gleaning

There you have it. Give-as-you-go, and glean-with-a-grateful-heart. That’s how I am asking God to grow me this season. How about you?

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Give as you Go: Space

Another way to give as we go is by making space. Not schedule space, we talked about that yesterday. I am talking about bursting our personal bubble to let others in. This is extra difficult for those of us “no-touchy” types (Jesse Katsopoulos from Full House, Kuzco from Emporers New Groove, etc.).

give as you go

From my studies this week, I read that Boaz noticed Ruth, a foreigner, and made space for her. (Ruth 2:14)

I know there are people in my community who feel like outsiders. I am trying to intentionally let go of “my space” and welcome them to be near me. Here are some practical ways to do so:

How to Intentionally make room for people to get close to you.

  • While sitting at the cafeteria or coffee shop, feel free to put your phone down and invite someone new to sit with you.
  • Offer a hug to the “outsider” at your church. We all have that one annoying, smelly, awkward, person in our community. Be Jesus hands and feet and wrap love around them, even if only for a moment.
  • Offer a smile to that person of a different culture or language. A beautiful Muslim friend of mine won’t respond to a hand-shake, but she will definitely take a smile and genuinely look into your eyes as an offer of friendship.
  • Purposefully sit next to the “loner” on the bus or in class. Ask questions and really listen. Or be a silent friend and encouraging presence.
  • On the airplane, be gracious about the arm rest for the person sitting next to you. Be conversational, if God gives you the opportunity. Or ask to pray for the person.

Have another way to create space? Share it! Leave a comment and feel free to push the “follow” button for more subjects like this.

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