{ Meet Esther Goetz ~ The Dolly Mama }

It’s funny how people float in and out of your life. Your best high school buddy has disappeared, but the girl you didn’t know, who sat in the back row of homeroom, is now your dear friend and neighbor. 

Esther Picture for Dolly Mama

In a way, Esther Goetz is that kind of person. She was the friend-of-a-friend at our college on the outskirts of Chicago. I knew she was outgoing and friendly, and had grown up in Ethiopia as a missionary kid, but I didn’t know much more about her while we shared the same campus,

We went on with our separate studies and friends and lives. Graduation scattered everyone to build their own careers and families all over the map.

Fast forward three decades, when I stumbled upon a blog called The Dolly Mama.

Here I found someone with a kindred world view, words of truth, and a winsome sense of spunk. Esther’s photo and name looked familiar, and later I discovered that she was the Esther from college years, molded and sharpened by a life yielded to God and His Word. 

After college, she married Allen; they have four adult children, one son-in-law and a feisty toddler grandson. Esther and her husband lead the marriage mentoring ministry at their church (they have met with over 120 couples over the past 15 years!) Esther also leads a women’s group.

Her blog reflects what she does in real life, as she discusses faith, family and friendship.

Besides family, church, blogging, leadership and more, Esther likes to read! Right now, she is enjoying The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman, and her three favorite books of all time are:

Whenever I visit Esther’s blog, The Dolly Mama,  I often end up crying or laughing. She inspired me to choose a Word of the Year– her 2020 word is HYGGE.

Some of her recent posts have titles like these:  

So visit Esther Goetz at the Dolly Mama.  Say hello, and be encouraged and inspired!

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{ Dear Me as a New Bride }

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~~ Celebrating our 28th Anniversary~ 06/23/1990 ~~(We don’t look like this anymore.)

 

Dear Me as a New Bride,

You look really happy and content.

Stay that way.

Right now, your new husband seems as kindred as one of your female friends.

But, he’s a man.  Don’t forget that.

On the surface, you two speak the same language.

But your heart language is different.

When you love him in FemaleHeartSpeak,

he won’t understand.

Speak LOVE in his own language:

Respect

Loyalty

And Intimacy

(The physical kind.)

If you ever get discouraged,

Always, always consult your User’s Manual first.

You will have bad days…

…but don’t wallow in self-pity.

A Christian marriage is not about YOU,

any more than The Christian Life is all about YOU.

Marriage is one big school to make you more like Jesus.

Someday, you will look back and see

the big picture

and the footprints of God

who effortlessly carried you through every joy and trial.

Keep that fresh, dewy, idealistic smile on your face.

With God,

You got this.

Love, Me

 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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6/23/2018

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/possibility/

 

© Lisa M. Luciano

{ Tending Life’s Garden }

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Picture and poem by Beatrix Potter

 

We have a little garden

A garden of our own

And every day we water there

The seeds that we have sown.

We love our little garden,

And tend it with such care,

You will not find a faded leaf

Or blighted blossom there.

 

When I sow pumpkin seeds, I harvest pumpkins.  When I cover the garden with dandelion-infested mulch, I find lots of dandelions growing later in July.

We know this about gardens, but sometimes forget about the law of sowing and reaping in life. When I sow bad seeds, I will reap bad fruit:

  1. When I gorge on chocolates, I will reap extra pounds.
  2. When I harbor bitterness against someone, I will reap an injured relationship and stifle forgiveness.
  3. When I allow my children to read or watch foolish things, we will reap more foolishness.

And then there are weeds….

  • Weeds grow faster than anything else.  Pull, uproot and destroy before they get so big you need an ax to chop them down.
  • Weeds are tricky.  They can grow and network underground where you can’t see them.  Little sins in the thoughts left unchecked turn into big problems later.
  • Weeds rob the good stuff.  Weeds in a relationship drain us.  We cannot enjoy each other when the annoying, prickly weeds of bad habits are bugging us.

 

Gracious God,
We want to have good soil in our souls,
show us how to tend to our spiritual gardens.
Thank you for the Master Gardener!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.  The harvest will bring either flowers or weeds.”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

Prayer from http://www.flowingfaith.com/2013/03/tending-your-spiritual-garden.html

 

 

{ Marriage Is Like Football? }

The Vikings won yesterday!

  • Will they make it all the way to Super Bowl LII –here in Minneapolis?
  • Will the Vikings break our hearts OR
  • Will they conquer as VIKINGS should do?

vikings

On an entirely different note, some family friends are getting married next weekend.

Some of us are involved in the wedding as usher, best man, food server, etc.

Wedding talk and football discussions are mixing it all up around the house.  So, I thought it was time to put them together…

4 Ways a Christian Marriage is Like Football:

You wear your gear.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

You play your position.

Every team needs players.  Is the offensive lineman better than the kicker?  They both have their important roles to play.

In our marriage, my husband acts as the general manager / head coach. He makes the final calls. But we both give our input.  I have a different perspective on things. He welcomes my input (and wants to make me happy.)  But, I allow him the right to make decisions and remind myself not to pout even if it all doesn’t go my way.

Ephesians 5:33

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Note: Does this sound strange to you?  Do I sound like a doormat?  I am a (fairly) normal, college educated, suburban raised, coffee consuming female.  I am not superwoman. I claim Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

You follow the rules.

It would be easier to study and practice a list of stringent rules than to obey rules of love, given in I Corinthians 13.

It takes nothing less than the Spirit of Christ living in me to be patient, kind and humble when it would be more natural to respond selfishly.

This passage is a perfect marriage playbook:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 

 It’s great to have lots of people on your team.

Neither my husband nor I grew up in a large family.  But when we got married, we decided we would take as many children as God would give us.

Eleven children later, we are grateful.

They are gifts.  They are tools God uses to refine our character.  We have our good days and bad days.  We are a one income family and work hasn’t always been steady. But we have never regretted this decision.

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.”

 © Lisa M. Luciano

 

 

 

{ A Lifetime Nest }

As I mentioned a few days ago, my husband and I were asked to give a little talk / devotional at a family bridal shower.

The purpose: to pass along some marriage wisdom to the bride and groom.

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When I discussed this with my husband, he said, “Us?  Why?” and….”Let’s borrow someone else’s story.”

Haha. Sigh.

I’d like to say that is humility, but really it’s just the fact that we are still learning and struggling sometimes to just love each other they way we should.

But, powered by God’s grace, we are making progress. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

You can plan a gorgeous wedding with all of the trendy colors, Pinterest ideas, and delectable treats.  You can rake in gift cards, checks, and gorgeous baubles to decorate your new nest.

However, building a successful marriage goes far past the dreamy wedding; it takes a lifetime.

It’s the day-in, day-out dying to myself that wins victories. It’s the consistent obedience to the Author of marriage and the regular forgiving and asking forgiveness that establishes trust.

We have been married for 27.5 years.  At least we can look back and see that God has done some refining — in ourselves and as a couple.

And maybe that is worth passing along to a pair of fresh little lovebirds.

 

Word Prompt of the Day:  NEST

(Also helpful: Angela’s post today about Priscilla, a godly wife.)

Photo credit: Virgil Cayasa

{ Jello & My Mother-in-Law }

colorful jello
Multi-colored, layered jello.  One of my amazing Mother-in-Law’s edible specialties.

A few days ago, I wrote the post Moxie & My Mother-in-Law.

I promised some ideas for sweetening your relationship with your mother-in-law. They are listed below. Sometimes it helps to have a new perspective. Please add your excellent ideas in the comment section 🙂

So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her), here are some ideas:

  1. Do you know what pushes your buttons? Plan for the encounter before she walks in the door.  Practice receiving her ideas. Make it clear when you have a different way of doing things, but say it kindly.
  2. If you occasionally seek her advice on issues and follow it appreciatively, it may give you more space when your way isn’t Mom’s way.
  3. Set boundaries as graciously as possible, such as: “We want to spend time with you; let us know you’re coming so we can plan ahead.”
  4. Attack any problem issues when you and your husband are alone. As a team, work out a plan to improve things for the future.
  5. Mention what you like about your mother-in-law — to your husband. Complaining about his mother may only motivate your husband to defend her.
  6. Praise her sincerely. Praise her often.  Tell her what you like about her as a mother-in-law or a grandmother.  Speak of the excellent habits or qualities that she taught your husband when he was young. Show gratefulness for the sacrifices she made.
  7. Love her, forgive her, speak of her strengths and overlook her offenses. Don’t ever criticize her in front of your children. Extend understanding to your mother-in-law and speak the truth graciously. She will see your love for her…. as well as your firm resolve to create an entirely new household.

Finally, treat your mother-in-law with love, honor and respect – just like you would want a future daughter-in-law to treat you.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/edible/

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{ Love Doesn’t Jangle }

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L ove doesn’t jangle — noisily drawing         attention

O r pleasing & praising self…instead–

V olleying kindness toward others, it’s not rude, arrogant or resentful,

E ven when others offend.

 

from 1 Cor. 13.

Word prompt of the day: JANGLE

Photo: painted canvas “Love One Another” created by Yankee Belles Vintage Farm Store

Jangle“>

{ A Gentle Answer }

You can’t control what another person says. But if someone’s angry words ignite a conversation,  you can stall an emotional explosion.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Harsh, angry words + gentle answers don’t seem to fit together.

But it’s God’s way.

The loud, angry person sounds tough. But the person that replies with a gentle answer is stronger.

Try it some time.

A surprisingly gentle answer can prevent an angry spark from detonating an outburst…or damaging a relationship.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”– Proverbs 15:1

 ~ Lisa

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/detonate/