Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Someone commented on my blog on Monday when I wrote about teamwork and our spouses helping us:

"Hubby, who swore he would never, ever fold clothes, now regularly helps with the laundry. The other day, he and I cooked together. And I thought, 'Isn't this nice?' Gee, if I'd known all of my perceived rough spots would smooth out in the end, I'd have spent a lot less time stressing. When I'm fairly certain I'll get what I want in the end, I'm really good at waiting! Makes me wonder if he's getting what he wanted at last???"

Kristy, here: Her comment went straight to my heart. Yes, Milton helps me around the house more than he ever has before. And he gets my gas for me most of the time because I don't like to touch those germy handles. He does yada, yada, yada (lots of things) which please me.

So, am I doing some things that please him? I know I am. We've been married long enough that I know most of his needs and desires.

But I thought of something I can not do (stop doing) that will please him.

And I believe the Lord put this in my thoughts because I sincerely and continually seek Him and desire His will in my life, and I know He wants marriages to be strengthened and enriched.


"Lord, please help me to minister to my husband in the right ways, not just in my way of doing things. Help me to see new ways to please him and be his helpmeet. Thank You, Lord, for Milton. Please equip me to be the wife he needs. Bless him, Heavenly Father, and help him to fulfill his destiny which you have called him to do. In Jesus' name. Amen."


These pics, above, are candid shots. We didn't pose, well, Milton didn't. I always smile when I see a camera. It makes me look better. :)

Milton looks surprised in the second one.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Friday's post is entitled "Waiting To Do It." Under the comments section, my husband Milton had this to say:

"Another reason for not having premarital sex is that couples who commit to sexual purity before marriage are building a bond of trust. The man knows his wife is pure and the woman likewise. This secures their confidence of marital fidelity because they both were sexually pure before their wedding and know they each are trustworthy.

I have never had a question of my wife's faithfulness for many reasons, but it all is built on a foundation of purity that began before we were married. I respect her, and she knew I could be trusted. That is a wonderful blessing to bring into a marriage."


The True Love Waits Pledge:
"Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship."

The Five Commitments of True Love Waits:
To God: Matthew 22:37" "Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'"

To Yourself: Matthew 22:39: "And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

To Family: Philippians 4:5: "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."

To Friends: John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

To Future Mate and Children: 2 Timothy 2:22: "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

Monday, January 29, 2007


Friday evening, friends called and said they had tickets to a concert and would we like to go?

Is grass green? Of course, we said. We'd love to go.

We'll pick you up in exactly one hour, they told us.

Milton hung up the phone. "What about supper?"

I thought for a moment. He knew I'd planned to cook a big pot of chili that evening. But how could I do that and get ready? "Tell you what," I said. "You come in the kitchen and help, and I'll cook us some chili in no time flat."

We practically ran to the kitchen. I threw the ground beef and frozen chopped onions into the pot, and he opened cans. Within minutes, the beef and onions were browned. I drained them, then poured the cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chili beans into the pot plus chili seasonings. I glanced at the clock. In seven minutes, we'd made a pot of chili. A few more minutes of heating it till it was good and hot, and we were sitting at the table eating, a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese atop our bowls. We cleaned everything up, and I still had 32 minutes to get ready. Not bad.


Now, if he'd just do that every evening!

Oops. That's not the point of my post.

The point is, he does help me with things around the house. And he's the best grandfather there ever was. He and the little ones have day-long dates at the zoo while the girls and I shop or eat out together. It didn't used to be that way, the help around the house, and the help with childcare when our girls were small. But things have changed the longer we've been married, so take heart if you're wishing your spouse would do so and so or this and that.


"Let's get together,

Yeh, yeh, yeh,

Why don't you and me combine?

Let's get together,

Yeh, yeh, yeh,

We'll have a real good time."

That's a song in an old movie starring Hayley Mills.



Yeh, yeh.

Friday, January 26, 2007



My husband Milton is a minister and is often called on to perform wedding ceremonies. If he doesn't know a couple personally, for instance, if they're a parishioner's child or grandchild or other relative or friend, he will interview them and decide if he wants to be a part of their ceremony. Once he commits, he will only perform the ceremony if they agree to sessions of premarital counseling (he requires this of all couples).

Sometimes his premarital counseling leads them to acccept Christ as Savior (if they aren't Christians), and when that happens, it's a wonderful thing. Recently, this occurred, and a couple of weeks before the couple got married, he baptized them in water in our baptismal pool in the sanctuary. It was a touching moment as their family witnessed the significant event.

One question he asks them in the counseling sessions is, Are you having sexual relations?

If they are, he challenges them to abstain until their wedding for two reasons:

1) It's the God-pleasing thing to do. He quotes scriptures that support this.

2) It'll heighten the pleasure on your wedding night.

Usually, if #1 doesn't snag them, #2 does!

Last Sunday, a couple he's currently counseling came through the foyer, found me, and introduced themselves. "We're the ones your husband's counseling right now."

I was pleased to meet them; I'll be attending their wedding soon.

The young groom-to-be was smiling from ear to ear as he gushed about "Pastor's sessions" and how he "puts so much into them" and "makes them soooo good!"

I don't know about their personal lives; they could be waiting; they could've never done it. But they sure are happy looking.


Reminds me of a joke. There's this church with an unusual membership requirement. The membership application asks: "How often do you and your spouse have sex?" A man fills it out and turns it in. As the pasto is interviewing the man in the application process, he can't help but notice that the answer to that ticklish question is, "Once a year," yet, the man is giddily happy, silly almost. Finally, the pastor's curiosity gets the best of him. "Sir," he says, "how come you're so happy if you only do it once a year?" The man rubs his hands together. "Tonight's the night!"

Remember, it's Fun Friday! Loosen up. With your spouse.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I wasn’t a prodigal, but I needed grace. I had shown disrespect to my mom, and I needed to be corrected. As a pre-teen I wasn’t a bad kid, but I had talked back to my mother. This had happened several times, and my father loved me enough to correct me.

Dad took me into my bedroom and began to discuss what I had done and where I was wrong. He said we had dealt with this before. Then he did something that I will never forget.

“This time, I'm taking your punishment, and you're meting it out.”

I couldn’t believe his words. “I can’t do this. I am the one who has done wrong. Dad, this isn’t right.”

“You have to do this. I am taking your punishment.”

(Note: back then, parents spanked their kids, sometimes with a belt. It didn't hurt our psyches, if it was done in the proper way, i.e. without anger, etc.)

Hot tears flowed down my cheeks as Dad took the punishment I deserved. I realized how much he loved me, and I realized how much my errors impacted both of my parents.

A few days later as I was walking home from school, the Lord spoke clearly to me in my inner spirit.

“Milton, do you remember what your dad did for you the other day when he took your punishment? That is what I did for you on the Cross. I took your punishment so you could be forgiven.”

That is love, and that is unusual grace. It changed my life.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I thought I'd change the subject today (from grace and mercy the last two days), but I've been following the Lord long enough to hear His voice and then to obey.

So I must continue my thoughts on this.

In the flow of the words grace and mercy, is the word forgiveness. Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7 and then some. That's 490+ times we're supposed to forgive someone who's wronged us.

There are many reasons why we need to do this. Here are some:

1. We've been forgiven in the past.

2. We'll need to be forgiven in the future.

3. If we don't forgive others, our Heavenly Father can't forgive us, as taught in Matthew 18.

4. Forgiving others brings us peace.


Do you need to forgive someone?


We watched Part 2 of the classic story Jane Eyre last night. There's a touching scene where Jane is at her aunt's deathbed. Her aunt treated her inhumanely when Jane was growing up, yet Jane leaned down and kissed her dying aunt and said, "I forgive you." She found the secret to granting forgiveness. Not granting forgiveness is like swallowing poison and thinking the other person will die. But you are the one who does if you do that, and when you harbor unforgiveness, you die in your spirit because bitterness eats away at your soul.


I chose a a seaside scene, not because I live in Florida, but because I felt it depicted peace.


Famous quote: "To err is human; to forgive is divine."

To truly forgive takes God's strength. And He will grant it if we ask.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The word grace goes well with the word mercy. Mercy, according to the Bible dictionary, means "forbearance from inflicting punishment upon a law breaker."

An acronym of grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Grace means "unmerited favor" and is often used to express the concept of kindness bestowed upon someone undeserving.

The relationship between law and grace is one of the major themes of the Apostle Paul's writings in the New Testament.

Why am I talking about grace and mercy?

You tell me.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Mercy is a term used to describe the leniency shown by one person to another.

Webster's says mercy means "compassion or forbearance shown to an offender."

Sometimes there's a need to show mercy in certain situations.

Once, we were entertaining a houseful of people in our beautiful new home. This house had white carpet (the builder picked it before we bought it). Wouldn't you know, a little boy spilled red punch guessed it...the white carpet. He was an active child, a child who should've been helped with his food from the buffet line to the tables. But he wasn't, and it happened. The mother was mortified when she saw the large red mess on the plush white carpet. She couldn't quit apologizing. And the child started crying then ran from the room.

For a moment or two, it seemed chaos took over. It upset the whole party.

I assured the mother that it was okay, that accidents occur, that he didn't mean for it to happen. She kept apologizing, even cried. I went searching for the child and found him hiding in the study. He was sitting in a corner sobbing into arms propped on knees, so embarrassed and ashamed he couldn't look at me.

I sat down beside him on the floor. "I want to tell you a story," I told him.

"Once upon a time," I began, "a young girl and her family were visiting her older married sister who lived out of town. The older married sister had just gotten wall-to-wall carpeting in her brand new home. The young girl asked her sister if she could borrow the iron. The sister gave it to her and went back to her bedroom to get dressed. The whole houseful was in a hurry getting ready to go to church. The young girl knew her blouse only needed a tiny touch-up on the front. She plugged in the iron in the living room and set it on the coffee table to heat up. She intended to place a towel on the coffee table, make the touch-up, and turn off the iron. The iron heated up, and she knelt to iron but she jarred the table accidentally.

And the iron landed on the brand new carpet.

She shrieked and grabbed the iron. The bottom of the iron now had carpet on the bottom, and the brand new carpet now had an iron-shaped burn down to the jute.

She started crying. She sobbed. Her sister came running and saw what happened. She gathered her in her arms and said, 'You're more important to me than any old carpet. Don't cry anymore. I'll have the carpet man come Monday, and he'll be able to patch it, and it'll be okay. Now quit crying, okay?'

And that young girl was me," I said.

I looked sideways at the little boy. He was looking at me with an intent stare, his tears gone. "It's okay, Joey," I said. "You're more important to me than any old carpet. Don't cry anymore. It'll clean up, and everything will be okay. Okay?"

He flashed me a brilliant smile.



The Bible instructs us to show mercy. Matthew 5:7 says, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." This is from the Beatitudes.

It also says to show mercy cheerfully (Romans 12:8).

Sometimes in marriage, there's a need to show mercy.

It's hard, and it's doubly hard to do it cheerfully.

Have you ever had to do this?

Ever had your spouse...?

Sorry. I can't reveal a real-life scenario. It's my business.

Your mercy-showing would be different anyway, because we're all different.

If you haven't had an opportunity to show mercy lately, get ready, because a situation is coming. Such is life.


Incidentally, toward the end of the party, the little boy was bouncing off the walls of our lanai, and lo and behold, he jerked my screen door so hard, the handle came off in his hands.

The handle to the screen door in my brand new house.


Such is life.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Last night we attended the investiture of a judge. His office is by our church, and he's a friend. It was a nearly two hour ceremony. You'd have thought he was Mr. Perfect hearing all the wonderful things his colleagues said about him, from how much he's helped people his entire career to what a fabulous family man he is. He's also a devout Jew, and amazingly several scriptures were quoted by various people, including a rabbi. This rabbi spoke in Hebrew at times and gave the patriarch's blessing found in the Bible. Another scripture was Micah 6:8 about doing justly. In fact, they said the judge chose this passage to read when he was 13 at his bar mitzvah.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

I was deeply touched by all the fine things said about this man. Obviously, he will make a superb judge who has lots of compassion and wisdom.

Afterward, we were invited to the judge's reception at a fancy hotel on the river. Very nice.

But while we were at the investiture, the opening lines of my novel came to me. The back of the program was blank, so I wrote away. I had been praying and asking the Lord all day to show me how to start this off. See, in novel writing, nothing's in concrete until it appears in a published book. I had written the opening lines, in fact, the opening chapter, in fact, 5,000 words one day last week, and then almost 2,500 last Saturday. I thought things were set. But they're not. I'm changing my first chapter for a good reason. I'm hoping to hook the reader even more in this new chapter.

But back to the "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God," I think my protagonist did that in the highest sense. She chose the right over wrong, she had mercy, and her walking humbly with God gave her the strength to overcome her trials.

I think that's a good admonition for couples: do justly (that which is right), love mercy (be willing to forgive when you've been wronged), and walk humbly with your God (dual: serve the Lord, and, have a humble attitude not a know-it-all one).


I figured my post yesterday was pretty "fun" (about power naps and how they can benefit you) so I didn't do a Fun Friday today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


The hottest thing in health is...

...taking a nap!

The book, Take A Nap, Change Your Life, says a 15-20 minute nap can reduce the risk of heart attack and also aid in weight loss. The research was done by Sara C. Mednick at the Salk Institute at the University of California at San Diego.

In addition, a nap can increase alertness, boost creativity, and enhance your sex life.


I - n - t - e - r - e - s - t - i - n - g!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


What in the world is this, you are probably asking?

Last night, we went to the Annual Bean Auction, a senior citizens' event at our church (my husband is a pastor). You eat bean soup and bid on items with beans that are provided, well at least the first 100.

Each bean represents one cent, so 100 beans represent one dollar. After that, you can buy them for one cent each.

Some of the items are a hoot. Others are pretty, useful, unique, clamored for, and useless! All are white elephants, things around the house nobody wants anymore. Last night I saw a set of silver-rimmed china with a lacy edge, a pitcher and bowl, a Noritake covered dish, a purse, wallets, a Dresden plate, pillow stuffing, dust collectors such as small figurines, even a new container of antifreeze.

They have a pro auctioneer, and it's lots of fun. And the food is yummy. Church women are some of the best cooks in the world.

Milton likes to use up his beans at the Annual Bean Auction, so he bought me a set of footed glass dessert dishes. I have an identical set. Oh well. The idea is to have fun. They even have paddles you bid with.

So, what is that thing in the picture?

I'm glad you asked.

It's a.....tah dah...headscratcher!

The handle has the name of it: Happy's Head Trip. What a trip! The man who donated it told me the knob on the end is a back massager.

Man, I'm all set.

(P.S. I got this thing at last year's Annual Bean Auction. I almost donated it last night to be auctioned again, but I decided to keep it. It's too funny.)

How can I relate this to marriage or writing fiction?


I can't.

So it's just a tidbit from my life.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I have jury duty!

And the jury's out as to whether I'll actually serve. I got a notice in the mail in December telling me I had to show up on a certain day in January at a certain time, but first I had to call a certain number on a certain day before that day after a certain time in the evening and key in a certain number.

So I wrote myself a note to do all that and put it where I could see so I wouldn't forget it. I'm civic minded ("This is my country," I'm singing gustily, "land of the brave..."; oh, I'm writing a post) and wanted to do my duty.

So I called on the day I was suppose to, only to hear an automated voice tell me all of the above except for a different date.

So I followed her instruction and called on that date, only to hear an automated voice tell me all of the above except for a different date.

So I followed her instruction and called...

You get the picture. I have to call tomorrow night and see if they need me.

Sheesh! I certainly don't mind serving on a jury (though I'd hate to get a really bad case; it might give me the heebeegeebees; I'm not Brandilyn Collins). But I sure wish they'd make up their minds.

You watch. I'll be told to go down there, and the same thing that happened last time will happen again.

You go down there at dark thirty in the morning, park in a stadium parking lot, get shuttled to the courthouse, are told to sit in a freezing cold ACed room (you'd think the city could save a few bucks by turning down the AC), that they'll be back, so you sit there and read or talk, and from then until noon, you're herded down hallways and into various rooms and then back into the main room, and then you're told to get some lunch and come back, and finally, finally, about midafternoon, you're actually seated in a courtroom and being questioned by a lawyer and a prosecutor.

And the lawyer for the one being tried (defendant? plaintiff? I forget), the one being tried being a pretty young woman who was caught DUI, gets up, swaggers over to you (me) having read my juror card, and with a slight smirk says, "So-o-o-o-o-o-o, I see you're...a...minister's wife? (dragging it out like he's loathe to say the words)."

"Yes. That's right."

A bunch of questions.

The clincher question.

"Since you're a minister's wife, do you think you can be unbiased and render a fair decision in this case?"

My red hair gets the best of me but I remain calm and smiling. "Sir, as a minister's wife, I've given my life to helping people, sometimes young people just like her, and if there's one thing I can guarantee you, I guarantee you being a minister's wife has caused me to have great compassion."

Egg on his face. Sheepish look in his eyes.

A gleam in the procecutor's eyes.

Nasal-sounding eh-h-h-h-h-h-h-h (I'm trying to type a word for a buzzer-gong sound).

Interpretation: Dismissed.

By the prosecutor.


I spent all day at the courthouse only to be told to go home and forget it.

Oh, well. I'll try again. If I'm called to serve.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I wrote 7,500 words Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon then spent Sunday afternoon tweaking/editing them. It's for my WIP (work in progress), a novel.

This is a "story of my heart," one that I knew I wanted to write six years ago. About a year ago, I began developing it and plotting it out.

This is an exhilarating stage for a novelist, though it's hard work. All of it is, in fact, the plotting and the writing. And the selling. And the marketing. But it's wonderful, all of it, to me, and I'm so glad God called me to write.

I thought I had the plot right; it's a complicated story. But last Wednesday afternoon, I realized it needed help. It needed retooling.

Milton and I were talking about it, brainstorming. He said, "Why don't you start it off with such-and-such?"

I knew he'd hit on something brilliant and told him so. Talk about exciting? This would be the icing on the cake, the creme de le creme.

The Bible says, "Behold how good, and oh how pleasant, it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity."

My paraphrase: "Behold how good, and oh how pleasant, it is for husbands and wives to dwell together in unity."

When things are flowing between you, when that unity is so...well, unified... that you feel like you're one person, not two, that's a good feeling. That's how I felt as we talked about the opening to my novel.

So now I knew how to write a new first chapter and set the story off in a new direction.


But because it's a complicated plot, I still had some quandries about how I would develop it and format it.

To further set the stage, for the last few weeks or more, I've had a real case of writer's block about this story; this is only the second time this has ever happened to me in my writing. Usually, I revel in creating stories. It's what I was born to do.

But I had confidence that God would help me.

We went to church that night. We were having our Annual Week of Prayer. Milton spoke briefly and told us to follow these two verses in our prayer time and ask God to speak to us:

1. Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."

2. Psalm 40:1 - "I waited patiently for the Lord."

As I was kneeling in prayer, the answer to this complicated plot came to me. It was like the proverbial light bulb had come on in a dark, scary room. Of course, I still had some plot points to work through, but I knew where I was headed and how the story would be formatted and shaped. God had clearly helped me. I give Him the credit for it. I was thrilled.

At the end of the service, Milton gave the opportunity for people to share what God had spoken to them.

One shared.

Another shared.

He said, "One more."

This is it, I thought. My turn.

A woman started talking.

I didn't get to share my revelation, I complained to the Lord.

Hold steady, He said. Be patient.

Well, the woman shared exactly what I needed to add to my plot (an idea, not real people or happenings).

I said in my heart, Thank ye, Lawde! (said with a Southern accent).

The next day, I sat down, and 5,000 words poured out of my heart. It was like an Artesian well in Florida. It just wouldn't stop. Hallelujah again!

Have you waited for something for a long time, like my novel that's been in my heart for six long years, yet it hasn't come about? Have you asked God for something that hasn't happened for you? And you feel like He promised it to you, yet He doesn't seem to be doing anything about it?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I being "still" before God, that is, knowing He's God and He can bring it about?

2. Am I being patient?

Whatever it is, the Lord will help you. Hang on. Don't give up. Be patient.


Friday, January 12, 2007



This is a very important question in marriage:

Where do you keep your ooh-la-las?

A. Folded in a drawer.

B. Hanging in the closet.

If you chose A, you're correct!

If you chose B, you're correct!


During the era of The Newlywed Game on TV and beyond even, the couples at our church loved to play The Oldywed Game at church parties, particularly Valentine's Day parties. We followed the same format as the TV show: the husbands exited, the wives answered the questions, the husbands returned, the questions were revealed, the points were tallied up. Then, the wives exited, the husbands answered the questions...

We'd all get a kick out of the questions and the answers. We always kept it clean and couth, unlike the TV show, which occasionally touched on the raunchy (Question: What's something your husband should do that he doesn't? Answer: He doesn't wash his hands after he goes to the bathroom). I still shiver thinking about that one.

At one of our parties, an o - l - d couple was chosen to be on the panel. Get the picture? That's spelled o - l -d. Set-up of our geography: we were pastoring in North Florida.

The question: In all the world, where would you like to go for a second honeymoon?

The answers: Paris. Niagara Falls. Hawaii.

The o - l - d couple's answer, both of them: Vi - dale - yer, George - ee! (That's Vidalia, Georgia.) We howled with laughter.

One of our men who had a great sense of fun once asked during the game, "Where do you keep your ooh-la-las? Folded in a drawer or hanging in the closet?" That was the closest question I remember that came to close to risque (for a church group).

And that's where I got the question for today's Fun Friday!


In searching for a picture for today's post, I thought I'd post a picture of a nightgown, model-less however, for propriety's sake. Not daring--or wanting to--type "lingerie" into Google, I took a safe stance. J.C. Penney catalog. There, I typed in "lingerie." The first item on the list was "flannel."

So not-t-t-t-t-t what I was looking for!


More choices: "Gowns and chemises." "Nightshirts." "Pajamas and boxers." "Robes." "Bridal lingerie." With a few more clicks, I found "stay at home socks." And "chemises and babydolls."


"Chemises and babydolls" was more what I had in mind.

But then I decided to hunt for "feather boa." That's definitely an ooh-la-la!



Good thing I don't need to order a boa.

'Cuz I already have one.


A giant question marked seemed the perfect picture after my search. When I found one with flames on it, I smiled.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Great marriage skills can be learned, and men can grow spiritually and scripturally into all that God intends. What does it take?

It takes a heart like Christ.

It takes a willing heart that breaks issues of pride and stubbornness.

It takes vision that looks deep into the needs of your spouse and determines to faithfully fulfill those needs.

Great marriages are the effort of work, grace, understanding, caring initiative, and lots of forgiveness.

There are a lot of men who have done a super job of catching a wife, but the field of men who do a great job of keeping their wives really narrows. The list of men whose wives really feel loved narrows even more. The tragedy of this is two-fold. First, the fact is, there are many wives who feel unloved. Second is the tragedy of men whose lives are not fully blessed because their spouses’ needs are not met. Unfulfilled wives cannot effectively fulfill the needs of their husbands, so the cycle of unfulfillment continues.

Coach McCartney of Promise Keepers once said, “You can tell how a husband treats his wife by looking into her eyes when she looks at her spouse.” He said his goal is to keep the glimmer in the eyes of his wife.

If a wife has lost the glimmer in her eyes when she looks at her husband, it is most often the result of a wife whose spouse does not make her feel cherished and special.

Harsh words, dictatorial ways, thoughtless gestures, stinginess, forgotten birthdays and anniversaries, unappreciated homemaking, cruel teasing, lack of care and assistance with children and household chores, and unreasonable amounts of time spent on sports and personal hobbies by husbands all make for wives who have lost the glimmer in their eyes. Not one of these issues requires a man to climb Mount Everest, but it does require a heart of love that gives like Christ.

The good news is that bad habits by bad husbands can be changed, and poor habits by poor husbands can be improved. It is a matter of the heart that becomes an issue of the will.

If we will, then we can.

We can love our wives and love them in those ways which will keep the glimmer in their eyes.

Now, what about the husband who feels he is doing all he can, including doing the little things, and it is still not enough? Sometimes, but rarely, this is the case. But I believe that even in such isolated cases, the initiative to first express love is still in the man’s court. Christ first loved us, the Church. And remember, we are told to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. He loved us when we didn’t love Him and didn’t receive His love.

Men are to be the leaders, role models, and priests over their households. When we sow love, we will reap love. The fruit of a blessed marriage is gathered after we sow the beautiful seeds of Christ-filled love.

Remember what I said a few moments ago.

If we will, then we can.

The good news is, the man who loves his wife will be blessed, happy, and full of joy!


Kristy, here: He looks pretty blessed, happy, and full of joy in the picture above, right? :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Man needs God’s gift of completion that a loving wife fulfills. His hopes, dreams, and desires are shared by God’s gift of “wife”. No job, amount of money, fame, popularity, power, or prestige can ever complete and fulfill a man like the gift of “wife.”

The secret for men to have a blessed marriage and happy home rests on this issue of how to love your wife. Sounds simple, and basically it is simple. Men must look beyond themselves and what gratifies them, and see the special unique traits of their spouse. It has been said, “Happy wife, happy life.” As John the Revelator wrote, “These words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:5, NKJV)! :)

Kristy loves sweet words, tender touches, and uninterrupted quality time. She is not demanding and has never been overbearing, but these are important and satisfy the deep longings of her heart. Now that doesn’t sound too hard, does it? I promise you, my effectiveness in fulfilling these wishes brings great rewards!

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that men get tunnel vision and think and act from their perspective. Men are turned on by sight, and women are turned on by kind acts, sweet nothings, and tender touches. We are different. Men tend to be wanderers, and women tend to be nurturers. Men tend to forget little things, and women tend to remember little things. Love, for women, often centers around “little things.” Men want to climb the highest mountain, and women just want the garbage taken out. Men want to be rewarded for bringing home the bacon (or their part of it), and women want a little help cleaning up after the bacon is cooked.

Let me illustrate.

Our honeymoon set the pace for a marital learning curve that yet continues. My dream of marriage and enjoying the marriage bed before the Lord came back had been fulfilled. We had married that summer and were honeymooning in the Great Smokey Mountains and Atlanta, Georgia, to enjoy the historic South and take in a Braves baseball game. I didn’t want to watch the Braves play, but Kristy made me go!

Not! She dutifully went with me, not caring much about the game. But she loved me. I can still hear the crack of the bats and the roar of the crowd as my bride sat beside me in the stands.

"Peanuts, popcorn, ice cold beer,” the vendors yelled. “Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, just one beer, and you’ll never be the same.” Well, I didn’t drink the beer, but I loved watching Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hit a homerun.

That week, I failed the first lesson of love.

We were zipping along the Interstate when Kristy saw a sign advertising a donut shop. “I want a donut,” she said. “There’s a shop at the next exit. Let’s stop.”

Zoom. We speeded on. We’ll get one later, I thought, but made no expression of my desire or intention.

To Kristy, it was a setback. Why wouldn’t her new husband grant such a small request on her honeymoon? Especially when she’d gone to a ballgame she cared nothing about? I failed to communicate my intent and failed even more in granting a small wish. Yes, I could climb the highest mountain, but I couldn’t exit the Interstate. It was such a little thing, but the little things loom large in the heart of a woman. I had much to learn about how to love my wife.

There are scriptural principles men should follow to love--and live with--their spouses. God’s Word speaks clearly, concisely, and conclusively on how to love your wife. There are specific directives men need to learn and relearn.

As I said earlier, God saw Adam and said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Men need companionship and completion that come from a marriage blessed, anointed, and rewarded by God. Men can face all manner of trial and test, but when there is no rest at home, every trial and test looms larger than life.

As the old saying goes, “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Real joy and rest come from homes where both spouses’ needs are being met. Men have a need for companionship and respect, and women have a need for love. Simply put, when women experience love, they more readily and effectively fulfill the needs of their husbands. The point is clear. Happy wife, happy life.

Are there any perfect marriages?, you might ask. Are there any happy marriages? Will I ever learn to please my wife? Is there any hope for me? I have failed so miserably, you might say. Our marriage is boring, and our life together is hopeless.

I have heard these questions and statements over and over through the years. Yes, there is hope. Yes, you can have a wonderful marriage. Are there any perfect marriages? No, at least not in the true sense of the word. But bad marriages can become good marriages, and average marriages can become great marriages…

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


“Kristy, will you marry me? I love you and want you to be my wife.” I had always loved redheads. And Kristy’s bright, beautiful red hair was the prettiest of them all. She was smart, witty, and pure. Her family was well thought of, and all her siblings were successful. I knew Kristy would be the perfect mate to complete my life. She was committed to the Lord and had a passion to do His will. All these qualities added up to the perfect 10, in my assessment. I would be the next Billy Graham with her at my side.

Through the years, I have called her my partner in life and partner in ministry. “I chased her until she caught me,” I like to say, which brings a laugh when I say it. The truth is, I was the one doing the chasing, and I caught her. She loved me, and I knew it. But I did the chasing. And she was a great catch.

Our love was a pure love, and it was growing. We were both committed to putting God first in our lives, and we both had done our best to serve the Lord and give Him our best. Now we were ready to marry and enter the ministry. And there were so many things we had in common that would make for a great marriage. Besides, the Lord was coming soon. I wanted to go to heaven one day, but I wanted to be married before I got there. Heaven is a wonderful place, but there are mixed theologies on whether heaven includes marriage. I had saved myself sexually for my wife, and I wanted to enjoy the marriage bed before I saw the pearly gates. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for someone who had served the Lord all his life.

So when she said, "Yes," I was thrilled.

Kristy and I loved each other, and we were respected as mature young adults with a great commitment to God, but we had so much to learn as we prepared for marriage.

Our parents made good role models for us with their long-lasting marriages. But now we had to make marriage work for us. It’ll be easy, I thought. She loves me. I love her. We are mature young adults. Our faith, family, and future are all in agreement. It won’t be hard.

Regarding premarital advice, Dad told me, “Son, all you have to do is love her. Don’t try to figure her out. Just love her.” It sounded right to me. That wouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Wrong! Now, after years of marriage, I know Dad was right. “Just love her,” he said. “Don’t try to figure her out.”

How does a man love his wife? Was Dad right about not trying to figure her out? Kristy was different from me, in so many ways. Her physical beauty was strikingly different, but there were differences in her inner qualities. We had so much in common, but there was still so many differences.

She was strong in spirit and faith, but tender in emotion and heart.

I was direct and to the point.

She was quiet and more timid.

She liked spontaneity and made decisions filled with emotion.

I was slower and more methodical.

But she loved me, and I loved her, and there was a complete bond of trust. We knew we could trust each other because we had kept ourselves pure morally, and we knew our walk with God was real.

We married with high expectations and exciting dreams. We wanted two children, and we wanted to serve the Lord in ministry all the days of our lives. I was called to preach, and she was called to be my helper in ministry. What more could you ask for?

Now all we had to do was enjoy the journey.

It has been a joyous journey, and the journey isn’t completed. Through the years, Dad’s words would ring in my ears, “Just love her.” I have counseled hundreds of couples and performed scores and scores of marriage ceremonies, and most of the time men don’t have a clue what that means!

Love, for a man, immediately or inevitably means or leads to the bedroom. For the woman, it means more about romance filled with kind and tender words, quiet romantic dinners, roses, Hallmark cards, jewelry, and a tender touch. Most women sense they are loved when their men are quick to do the little things. Little things are not really that hard to do, but for most men it would be easier to climb Mount Everest than to love in those special ways that women need.
How do you love your wife? That is a big question with lots of little answers. The Bible commands men to love their wives. It is a repeated direct command in the Scriptures. It is commanded to be done in the same manner that Christ loved the Church, in that He died for the Church.

Now that doesn’t mean that our love for our wives is going to kill us. But it obviously means that it will require sacrificial, life-altering, ego-adjusting, self denial that promises to produce rewarding benefits that far outweigh the costs. Men who learn the value of loving their wives are happy and blessed men.

Kristy has shared a message with women across America entitled, “How to Love Your Husband.” It has always been a hit. Men like for their wives to hear this teaching, and pastors have often said that the men of their church had more smiles on their faces than they had ever seen--the day after she shared. She teaches women many qualities of love that are important to men, but the high point is her scriptural teaching on how women need to “know” their husbands--in the biblical sense of the word. That means that wives are to respond to their husbands’ sexual needs. The ladies love it, but the men are ecstatic.

Kristy and I developed what we call Joy in Marriage seminars and have taught it in churches, which includes her message on "How to Love Your Husband." When I promote her teaching on this topic, I immediately follow that up by saying that I will be speaking to the men on “How to Enjoy It!” That always brings a great response.

The truth is, when we men learn how to love our wives in the way they desire, we will enjoy it. Our assignment as men to our wives is to love them. It is a focused, direct command that brings great dividends and blessing to the men who learn the secret.

In a study, men were asked what three things they wanted from their wives. They wanted 1) an interesting, exciting sex partner, 2) a fun partner, and 3) a good cook and good mother to their children--in that order! That is how wives love their husbands from a man’s perspective.

Likewise, a study showed that women wanted 1) time, 2) tenderness, and 3) talk--in that order!
Therein lies the challenge. Men must learn to turn muscular, macho, methodical manner into timeless romance that fulfills the innermost desires of their wives...
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Monday, January 08, 2007


This is a picture of a triangle depicting how synergy works (1 + 1 = 4). Two triangles may be combined to create the tetrahedron, a figure volumetrically embraced by four triangles.

Why in the world did I put this picture on my blog today? Look at the title of my post:

"Don't Trade Synergy for Energy!"

What does this mean for couples?

Simply put, a couple is made up of two people who, alone, are entities of energy (2) but when together, are entities of synergy (4).

And what is synergy? I'm glad you asked.

Let's look at energy first. The word energy is defined as "the potential for causing changes." Also, this definition: "The ability to do work."

Sounds pretty good. We, as couples, have lots of "work" to do, such as establishing and maintaining a home, being parents perhaps, being good citizens, doing good in our communities, etc. We are each producing energy.

Synergy, on the other hand, means "working together." Specifically, it refers to "the phenomenon in which two or more agents acting together to create an effect greater than the effect by separate agents." Interestingly, according to, synergy "stems from the 1657 theological doctrine that humans will cooperate with the divine grace in regeneration."


"Synergy usually arises when two persons with different complementary skills cooperate."

And, in revenue:

"A revenue synergy refers to the opportunity of a combined corporate entity to generate more revenue than its two predecessor standalone companies would be able to generate."

And, in computers and humans:

"Computers can process data much faster than humans, but lack common sense. When a person uses a computer, his/her thoughts are translated into efficient processing of data."

Again, what does this have to do with couples? Well, your mate may be disappointing the dickens out of you--or, hurting your feelings, or, not living up to your expectations, or, irritating you, or, __________________________ (you fill in the blank), and you're tempted to bail out.

I'm here to tell you that there's a synergy between you and your spouse, and if you ditch him/her, you'll only be energy.

Put another way, you and your spouse as a couple can produce greater effects together than the two of you separately (synergy).

Does that make sense?

Milton and I have been told we have synergy. Where I'm talented and good at things, he may not be, but where he's talented and good at things, I may not be, and when we work together, our strengths join and produce much more good than the sum total of the two of us.

Like I showed you at the beginning:

1 + 1 = 4.

Pretty neat, huh?

Friday, January 05, 2007


Christmas 2006 is in the past.

But only in time.

Not in my heart.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Three of these pictures show outdoor ice skating in Florida! Milton called it a slush pond since it was melting, but the kiddies had a great time.

There's a picture of baby Lorenzo in front of the Christmas tree. It's like he's thinking, I know I'm not supposed to touch this, but I can't resist. I think that's the only time he touched the tree.

Then there's a picture of Claudia in her pink furry boots that she never gets to wear in San Juan. In fact, they were bought just for the Florida trip. Yes, it does get nippy in Florida. Occasionally.

Then there's a shot of my two beautiful daughters and me.

I know.

I'm blessed.

I mean we.

Milton and me.

"Tha-a-a-n-nk You, Lord," (singing that old song here) "for your bles - sings on me."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007



My hero husband Milton and our kiddies in front of the stage at church. It's as pretty as any performing arts center, the way our music minister and congregation decorate it every year during their annual stage blitz. Their dramas are worth coming to see.

Next is daughter Jennifer with her almost-three-year-old daughter Claudia at the zoo in front of the carousel. This is just one Christmas activity we did while we were together, among the many. Jennifer's blog, It's All About Him, chronicles her unique spiritual experiences and journey. She lives in San Juan.

Next is me, with baby Lorenzo in front of my purple and teal "peacock tree." (You can barely see the peacock ornaments with real peacock feathers, nestled among the green branches, in this photo, though you can see the peacock feathers at the top. (I love peacock feathers; it doesn't hurt the birds; they shed them.)

Next are beautiful and sweet daughters Jennifer and Julie with Jennifer's baby Lorenzo. J & J are best friends, and they're my best friends!

Ah, Christmas...

Come again soon!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


We've been Merry Christmasing around our house so much, I wasn't able to post last week. But from here on out, it's Monday through Friday on my blog, as usual.

I'd hoped to at least post a Merry Christmas during Christmas week, but it never happened. Our family was together for nearly 10 days, and then we traveled for a few days to see several sets of extended family since our youngest daughter Jennifer and her family were here from San Juan.

We did lots of kids' activities...

With seven-year-old Alexander, four-year-old Nicholas, almost-three-year-old Claudia, and 13-month-old baby Lorenzo.

Light seeing here and yon.

Outdoor ice skating. In Florida. Milton called it a slush pond, but boy, could our kiddies skate.

Visits to the hands-on children's museum.

Monkey-viewing at the zoo.

Seeing the live outdoor nativity.

Caroling as we rode the Holly Jolly Train (tram) in St. Augustine during Nights of Lights.

Looking at the gingerbread house display at the mall.

The kiddies making their own gingerbread houses at home…

…dressed in their Emeril (TV chef) aprons and chefs' hats…

…adorable, even if they are mine.

BAM! (An Emeril saying.)

Monday, January 01, 2007


The firecrackers are popping as I write this—9 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Earlier this afternoon, I said to Milton, "Want to go walk on the beach?" He said he'd like to go, but he needed (wink) to finish watching his football game. So when our team lost (sigh), we headed to the beach.

I just wanted to clear my head, and I felt that getting out on the beach with its usual brisk wind would do it. I also love the calming effect water always has.

Hand in hand we strolled on the sand, the waves gently lapping near our feet, surfers in the water hoping to catch a wave, a few swimmers braving the 70s temperature and swimming anyway, people on the beach playing volleyball, others tossing footballs, lots of people walking like us.

We strolled for quite awhile, until some woman opened a loaf of bread and started holding up pieces and every bird in the universe (wink) came to her. Sandpipers a-geeking and a-honking flew over us like some sonar signal had announced "Y'all come, dinner's ready" and "There's plenty of it."

But having been on the beach myriads of times, and having seen birds around people and food, I know what happens, and I said to Milton, "Let's go," so we high-tailed it up some steps to the boardwalk and continued our walk up there, the long skinny sea oats dancing on the dunes to our left.

She might've been a Northerner and had never seen birds, people, and food.

Splat is the most delicate way to say what happens.

Reminds me of Milton's splat incident a few years ago…

We were vacationing on Florida's west coast where you can see the sun drop like an orange beach ball into the horizon every evening. Stupendous. We were sitting on the beach waiting for the sunset, and Milton picked up a rock and threw it into the surf.


It hit a flying bird, and the flying bird landed in the water.

He felt really bad about it; he didn't mean to do it.

A year goes by…

We're pulling up to the beach to meet friends for dinner. We get out of our car. We're standing in the sand near the water. A bird flies directly over Milton, and…

You guessed it…


Right on Milton's chest.

Yewee, yuck.

It was like Birds United, Inc. was saying, See there, fella? Gotcha' back. Hehehe.


Yes, the firecrackers are popping in our neighborhood right now, as I write. Guess it's some early celebrants. We're heading downtown a little before midnight to see our city's spectacular double fireworks display that's reflected in our mirror-front skyscrapers.

I'm planning on getting a big kiss at midnight.

Hope you are too.


Just got back from seeing the fireworks. My kiss came at 12:08 a.m. We were so enthralled with the dazzling display, we forgot.