The Peanut Shell – How Not to Love Your Husband

Guest Post by Terri Anderson

For my 10th birthday, I received an “autograph book”. Back in the day, that was a small, hardcover book full of blank pages for your friends to write wonderful things about you, and sign with their “autograph”. What a perfect gift for me! I’ve always loved words, and relationships. This particular gem had a zipper closure, and the cover contained two of my favorite colors at the time – sky blue and spring green. This was the 10-year-old’s equivalent to having your high school yearbook signed.

One of the entries has remained in the back of my mind for decades. It went like this:

“I love you, I love you, I love you so well,

If I had a peanut I’d give you the shell!”

At first glance, I thought it was cute. Then I thought, “Hey – you’re keeping the peanut. That’s the best part!” Maybe my friend loved herself a little more :)

Anyhow, as an adult, I’ve actually seen this type of “love”. I’m afraid I’ve known both husbands and wives who are peanut keepers, shell sharers. (Note: this example applies to most things, but NOT chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, it’s every man for himself, to the victor goes the spoils, finders keepers, and every other quip you’d like to insert.)

Sometimes, I am the peanut keeper. Yet, that’s not the woman I want to be. My 6th grade teacher taught us that “To love someone, means to want with the whole power of your soul, what is good for that person.” Love doesn’t withhold the peanut, love gives the best parts. Loving and giving are closely related. They hang out together! Loving and withholding – they’re barely aware of each other.

Here are a few questions you can ponder:

  • Am I patient with my man? Do I give him the benefit of the doubt? Do I let him explain why he did or didn’t do something when I don’t understand? Do I give him the freedom to do things “his way” as opposed to “my way”?
  • Do I speak kindly to and about my husband? What do my actions toward him say?
  • Am I jealous about things he gets to have or do, that I don’t?
  • Do I enjoy being “better than him” in any areas, and put him down in the process?
  • Am I the kind of wife who always has to get my way? When I don’t do I resent it? Do I ever “punish” my husband for some way in which I feel wronged or neglected?
  • Do I get happy or smug when it turns out he’s wrong about something? Am I delighted when he is right?

We women are tricky people. Our wiring is complicated. When we don’t understand ourselves, we can really be nasty to others, whether we realize it or not. When we don’t understand our men, we can be even worse. Giving love is a wonderful cure for the nasties.

Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.       1 Peter 1:22 NRSV

How do we do that? How do we love deeply, from the heart? Many of us have suffered emotional damage over our lives, and don’t function well when it comes to our emotions. Others feel they themselves have never really been loved. Whether we have the understanding and/or know how may not matter. I’ve found that when I simply want to obey God, and ask for His help, He shows me. But I have to listen for His voice, watch for His opportunities. That can take practice, but you can begin at any time, wherever you are.

Do you want to love you husband deeply, from the heart? Get rid of the peanut shell. Toss it. Tear it off of yourself.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.    Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

Then give him the peanut. The peanut is patient, the peanut is kind. It does not envy or boast. Though delicious, the peanut is not proud. It doesn’t dishonor him. It doesn’t look out for itself. It is not easily angered. The peanut keeps no record of wrongs (note that “wrongs” is plural). The peanut does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. The peanut protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

You, dear one, are the peanut. Give him the best of you – mentally, physically, emotionally, daily. If you want to go deep, just ask the Father. He will show you how. Don’t worry about what you may or may not get in return. God gave us Jesus. Have we returned His love that fully? Don’t think so. Does He withhold because of our ineptness, faithlessness, apathy, whacked priorities or stupidity? No.

Should we?

Our world has a tremendous need to see women love their husbands deeply. We can do that! Our daughters need examples to follow. Our sons need to see real love in action. And we need to obey our Lord.

Posted in 27:17, Marriage | 1 Comment

Filled with Joy!

Wow! What a year this has been for our family.  2012 brought lots of changes, but with that an abundance of unexpected blessings and an assurance that God answers prayer beyond what we ask and He has plans for each of our lives far greater than anything we could ever imagine.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:20

We are thankful for His hand and provision throughout the transitions in our lives this year. So, so thankful, humbled and full of joy. We are praying for that 2013 will be a year where we experience His love and presence even more – whatever that may look like. We know He is good, His plans are perfect and His love for us is beyond our comprehension.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and the hope for an amazing, Jesus filled 2013!

IMG_4374

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

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Our Only HOPE

We live in a broken, fallen, dark world. I don’t have to look very far to find ugly … I look inside myself and I know I am broken, and sinful and prone to some nasty thoughts, desires, feelings. That’s our nature. We are not naturally a good kind of people.

But God …

In His mind-blowing, sin shattering love, mercy, grace and beauty send His Son Jesus to restore us all. To heal our broken hearts. To make us new. To give us hope. He is our hope.

I don’t know what this season looks like for you. I have absolutely no way of knowing your joys, your heartaches, your worries, your longings. But, I do know and I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt that my God, King Jesus, is bigger than anything this world has to throw at me.

He is stronger.

He is healer.

He is peace.

He is comfort.

He is higher than any other.

He is loving.

He is kind.

He is faithful.

He is merciful.

He is hope.

He is the Savior of the World.

I pray that you will seek Him. That you will know that He cares for you and loves you. I pray that you will embrace the fact that we all need Jesus – his grace, his love, his mercy, his forgiveness. I pray that you have surrendered your life to Him, because apart from Him there is no hope.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  – 1 John 4:14 – 15

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Women at War

Comparison.

We all do it. As women and as moms we look at what others have or do well and immediately compare it to what we don’t have or do well.

She’s more organized than I am. Her house is immaculate while mine is a always a mess.

She is so good at planning fun activities for her kids, she’s so patient and fun with them while I get easily flustered and “fun times” end up with everyone in tears.

She’s so great at decorating. She’s set up a beautiful home and done it so inexpensively while I don’t even know where to hang the first picture.

She’s a master at craft time with the little ones. They are doing something creative almost every day while there is no way I am pulling out the play-doh and paint and losing my mind in the process.

She looks amazing! Her baby weight was gone the minute she walked out of the hospital while mine has lingered well over two years.

She has super smart kids. She’s so patient in teaching them new things and reading book after book with her kids while I don’t even have many books at the house.

She has impecable taste and style and always looks so put together while my hair looks crazy and my shirt always has some kind of baby stain on it.

I could go on and on …

We do this. We spend our days, our time, our energy comparing ourselves to others while making ourselves feel like absolute failures in the process. The truth is, I have never met a single mom who has it all together. We’re all good at somethings and not so great at others. That’s the beauty of it all. We are uniquely created, uniquely gifted. I’ve learned that comparison is an absolute joy killer. And, more importantly than if my house looks great, my body amazing, my kids put together I want joy. So here’s a challenge –  let’s stop comparing and let’s start celebrating each other.

Let’s celebrate each other’s differences, encourage each other, support each other, be there for each other. Goodness knows being a woman is tough enough as it is; why are we making it harder on ourselves by comparing and thinking we should be more like someone we were not created to be? Let’s complement each other and lift each other up! And above all embrace your gifts, who God created you to be and be God’s best version of YOU!

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Let it Go!

Last week we had some amazing posts about making this wonderful Christmas season, peaceful, fun, simple and thoughtful. I think as girls, no matter what we say, we really do want everything to turn out so perfectly and movie scene worthy (with a great soundtrack none the less).

I dream of a perfect family night decorating our Christmas tree … with chocolate chips cookies and hot chocolate for all, while Christmas music is playing in the background and we are all joyfully prancing around … But, that’s just not reality.

Reality is hauling our pre-lit tree (to avoid fights) out of the attic and putting babies down for naps while we get it done. No cookies, no music, no hot chocolate! We can get to those later.

Reality is planning to go visit Santa, getting the kids ready and looking cute and having one of them throw up all over the place just before leaving.

Reality is preparing a meal and having it ready to go, just to turn slightly the wrong way and knock the entire thing on the floor.

Reality is setting aside 20 minute for a quick online order than ends up taking over an hour, making your blood boil and the kids go absolutely nuts.

I could go on and on …

What I’m working on though, is letting go of those perfect picture moments, days and seasons. They just aren’t reality. Let’s release those expectations and embrace life for what it is – messy, unexpected, imperfect and without a fun soundtrack in the background! I believe that if we can do that, then our holidays (and days in general) will be much more enjoyable!

Posted in Livn' Life, My Heart, Lessons Learned, Parenting | 2 Comments

27:17 Christmas: Make it Count!

27:17 Christmas Series Guest Blogger: Amy Hickman

By nature I’m a person who prefers to write their feelings down, rather than speaking because, well, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pry my foot out of my mouth.  Pulling a size 10 out of your mouth is no easy “feet” (yes, I know it’s spelled feat, but I never miss an opportunity for a good play on words), so I write stuff down, proofread it and make a lot less people mad at me when I do.  So, when Vanessa asked me to contribute a post to her blog, I was eager.  I couldn’t possibly screw this up, since, after all, I am given the chance to correct anything stupid I might say…right?  Let’s just say that the way things are going for me lately, I could be the first to illustrate a foot in mouth while guest blogging, so I’m doing my best to avoid that while being completely transparent with you…you readers who don’t know me at all, but I hope will not hold it against me!  Here goes….

I’m a little Scrooge-y!

If you know me in real life, feel free to comment, “That’s not Amy at all!”  If you don’t know me, let me defend myself a little and testify to those imaginary comments below that no, I’m not the “Scrooge-y” type during the holidays.  One of my spiritual gifts is hospitality, so my giftedness just about busts out of my head and heart this time of year.  I LOVE it!  I love the hub-bub, the “let’s play Christmas music before Thanksgiving” part, the white twinkling lights, the obligatory family Christmas picture card…even the getting together with family that sometimes (let’s admit it) gets on our last nerve.  As a matter of fact, the Scrooges are NOT allowed in my space!  You know what they say…“never say never”. And I bet you were thinking just Justin Bieber said that! Well, I’m guessing we’ve all said it at some point, thinking we would never do, nor say, certain things, but we find ourselves right there, a little ho-hum and a whole lot apathetic, just not wanting to open our eyes to our reality.  The holidays can be just that, and I believe that for women, they can be a whole lot of that because we’re kind of known for putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform.  We have to have the best Christmas decorations because we’re GONNA post a picture on Facebook and ours HAS to be the very best so we get the most likes, right?  We have to keep it all together during the holidays.  The shopping, carting the kids to their Christmas parties and programs, and hosting family just won’t do itself now, will it?  After a while, trying to have the perfect Christmas overwhelms us and we throw our hands up in the air and give up.  Not you?  Well, maybe this post is just a little therapy for me.  Even this “I thrive on the details of it all” party planner crashes and burns from time to time.  At that moment, it’s a great time for me to step back and evaluate what I’m doing that I love and just simply do that very well!  Over time, I’ve had to let a lot of things go.  My annual staff Christmas party I host every year has gone from every detail in place to no longer having matching place card holders, or those cute, little salt & pepper shakers that I thought just made the party.  I’ve had years where no Christmas card was sent, or not one family came over for dinner, or when garland wasn’t hung, and we missed our traditional trip to look at Christmas lights.  I still had some angst over it, but the times those things were missing were also the times when I can look back and see special memories were still made and lives were still touched just because we loved well.  Over time, I began looking for things that our family could flesh out, while loving others well all year long, by focusing on living Christmas out every. single. day of our lives.  For our family, the previously mentioned obligatory Christmas card is something that we get over the top excited about, so I took what is usually a briefly enjoyed part of our holidays and made it last all year long.  We wondered what we could do with all of those cards, which mostly consist of picture cards nowadays, so we decided to collect them all in a special basket, even a drawer, and on the nights we are all together for dinner we pull a card out and simply pray for that family that took time to send us a card.  The family doesn’t ever know that we kept their card, but our family knows and we know that we get a big kick out of praying for them.  It’s do-able for us. We keep up with it and we all love it.  It keeps our focus on what God has personally called our family to do, and that is to be “missionaries where we live, work and play”.   That is not always seen by others, but  sometimes it simply consists of the prayers we pray for people.

This Christmas, my encouragement to you would be to slow down and find out what it is that energizes you and where you find your passion lies.  Is it baking Christmas cookies for your neighbors?  Is it serving in a soup kitchen?  Is it simply reading Christmas stories to your kids before bed?  When you know what that is, then my advice to you is do it well, and in doing that well, you will find the sweetest Christmas memories you will ever make.  Scrooges unite!  Make this a Christmas that counts!

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27:17 Christmas: Traditions

27:17 Christmas Series Guest Blogger: Angie Green

December is one of our favorite months as a family!  In order to avoid getting wrapped up in the never-ending “to-do” list each year, we have established several traditions to create vivid family memories and not get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season.

1. We commemorate each year with a new ornament for each family member that represents something unique to the individuals. Then, as we spend time decorating our tree, we have fun talking about each ornment that we have chosen for our family over the years and remembering why we chose the specific ornaments.

Because Ashton played with his train set every day last year, this was his 2011 ornament.

2. We set up a smaller tree in our playroom as our “Advent Jesse Tree.”  This gives us a moment each evening to focus on Jesus and how His story is woven through the history of the Bible.  We use this as an alternative to an advent calendar.  Each night of December, we unwrap a present that has an ornament which coordinates with that day’s Bible story.

 Our “Jesse Tree”

3.  We come up with activites that we post on the refigerator of fun holiday activities that we want to be sure to incorporate into the month of December.  This year our family has the following activities on ornaments:  Bake and decorate Christmas cookies, Drive through the “Festival of Lights”, Take a bedtime drive to look at neighborhood decorations, Play “Frosty the Snowball Toss”, Make a gingerbread house, Check out and read Christmas books from the library, Make a puzzle wreath ornament, Watch “The Polar Express”, Take a holiday family photo, Watch “Frosty the Snowman”, Make a sock snowman, Visit Santa, Make a reindeer from handprints and footprint, and Make an “Elf Yourself”video.


Our kids love the holiday traditions that we have begun as a family and it helps us to stop and take time to enjoy each other at this time of year.  I would love to hear your ideas of ways that you enjoy the holidays with your family as well! We are always up for adding a new tradition!

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27:17 Christmas: Keep It Simple

27:17 Christmas Series Guest Blogger: Beth Marshall

Hey moms! I heard today people are camping outside of Best Buy to be first in line for Black Friday shopping! I’m not kidding. Five nights of creepy concrete camping to find a deal. I remember attempting some crazy things when our kids were little in hopes of creating a ‘perfect Christmas.” Are you tempted to decorate everything in your home without a pulse? I was.

As a mom of three grown kids and two (most precious) baby grand nuggets I want to let you in on a secret. A lot of the stuff we stress about in the next seven weeks really doesn’t matter. Whew. I said it. Wish I’d known that a long time ago.

What our kids remember are things like kitchen disasters decorating cookies, the tires all falling off the cabbage patch car on Christmas morning, and running down the stairs in pajamas to see if Santa came. Every year their dad would read the Christmas story from the bible before opening presents. It’s funny but those are the things I remember when I was a kid-making gingerbread men with my mom, taking groceries to a family, and going Christmas caroling.

This year before the sugar plums start dancing in your head, would you take a moment and enjoy this Simple Christmas video? I wish you a beautiful Christmas season.

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27:17 Christmas: Making Time

I’m kicking of our 27:17 Christmas Series today with what I’ve been working on to make this Holiday Season a bit more calm, peaceful and enjoyable. Make sure you come back each day this week to hear from some other gals as they share what they do in their homes. Don’t miss out on these great guests posts – subscribe to receive them via email on the top right side corner. 

Last year a friend shared with me that one of her friends was always “wrapped and done by December 1!” This fascinated me! Completely done shopping, decorating AND wrapping all presents before the 1st of December? Is that even possible? I’ve been known to be shoving presents in gift bags on the way to parties and family gatherings. I also sent out Happy New Year’s cards one year because I got so behind on all the holiday to do’s. Needless to say, “wrapped and done” was definitely a foreign concept to this gal. But, I decided it was worth a shot, a stress-free holiday season sounded pretty good, so I  marked my calendar back in January – start shopping in October, schedule family pictures by November and go ahead and organize the family gift exchange.

The reason I really wanted to make this my goal this year was to ensure that our family of five actually got to enjoy this beautiful season. I want to have time to make cookies, just because the kids want to make cookies. I want to break out into spontaneous Jingle Dance Parties in the kitchen because we are actually joyful and not feeling stressed out. I want to drive around looking at Christmas lights without having to stop for a few errands in the middle of our family time.

I have no idea if you have your Christmas tree up and the gifts are neatly tucked under it, or if you haven’t bought the first gift this year. I am not writing this to make anyone feel guilty or behind (remember, this is the first year I’ve been this “ahead of the game.”) I want to share some thoughts on time and motherhood that I recently heard from Teisha Houston. She was so freeing! This is good stuff year-round, this isn’t specific to the Christmas season, but hopefully they will give you some freedom as you work to make the holidays special and memory-filled for your family.

“We all have the same 24 hours in a day!”

That saying is such a lie for moms. We just don’t! If you have little ones at home a “quick” trip to the grocery store isn’t really quick once you load in the kids, buckle them up, load them into the buggy, deal with the tantrum over not having the “car” buggy (anyone?), take one to the potty, stop to get the free cookie so you’ll have a few minutes to actually shop …. you get it right? That quick trip, really isn’t quick at all. And, that’s just one example. What mom’s can get done in 24 hours, just isn’t the same as what others can get done in 24 hours. Everything takes longer when kids are in tow. So, I challenge you to remember that this holiday season –  whatever your house may look like, whether the presents are wrapped or not, and whether or not the cookies you are baking are made from scratch or break and bake – your time looks different, my time looks different and we are each doing the very best we can. So,  let’s …

1. Stop comparing ourselves to others

2. Stop feeling guilty about what we are or are not doing

3. Allow ourselves to rest (doesn’t this just make us more pleasant to be around?)

4. Stop trying to be perfect (we just simply can not do it all at the same time)

5. Don’t over plan

Above all, I pray you will enjoy your family, have fun and make some sweet memories.

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My Holiday Prayer

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and after that we enter (if you haven’t already) into full-swing Christmas mode. I love the holidays, but I also know that this time of year can get a little crazy, a little busy and sometimes a little out of focus. We lose sight of what’s truly important – and really, let’s not just say this happens during the holidays, ’cause it can happen any time of year.

This year, though, my desire is for things to remain calm, peaceful, full of laughter, joy and love. That life won’t become crazy, off-kilter and out of focus. My hope is that I will seek Him daily and fall in line with the story He has already written for me each day. It’s not my job to write the story, but to live it out as He leads and guides me. The way to make sure this happens is by making this my prayer each morning (hour, minute, second),

“I am here, Lord.

Help me listen, see and do as you have prepared for me in advance.”

And, I hope it will be the same way for you. Remember to seek Him, follow Him and do what He says and not what others expect of you – it’s okay to say no. Sometimes, that’s actually what’s best.

Make sure you tune in next week for a new series of 27:17 posts specific to the holidays! I have some amazing ladies sharing some good, good stuff with us as we enter into the Christmas season. So, make sure you stop by and check that goodness out!

Until then, may you and your family have an amazing Thanksgiving!

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