Tuesday, September 27, 2011

To nitpick or not to nitpick

God calls us to serve one another. He specifically tells wives to serve their husbands.  There are many ways I love serving Taylor. For example I love cooking him breakfast and dinner, and packing him lunches for work, I love keeping the house clean, I love putting him first and serving him in most ways. And God makes me laugh because as soon as I get a little prideful about being a good serving wife God shows me there are more ways I can serve him. And these ways are not ones I enjoy as much or that I even considered were ways to serve him.  While i was at Sam's in Minnesota I got to spend a lot of time with her Mom, who is a wonderful Godly woman, who I love very much.  While the three of us were looking in Sam's closet for some shoes for me to wear, (because I forgot to pack shoes, being from California and normally just wearing my sandals everywhere I forgot to pack shoes for cold Minnesota) anyways while we were looking Sam mentioned something about how her husband leaves clothes on the ground in the closet, and I said my husband does that too he takes them off and puts them on ground right next to the laundry basket, and I don't understand why he has to put them right next to laundry basket instead of in it.  But then her mom said 'God is giving you an opportunity to serve your husband.' I stopped for a second and thought about what she said.  At first I thought I serve my husband in plenty of ways I just need to teach him to fix this bad habit of throwing clothes on the ground. But then I realized she is so right. There are so many little things that I might think I need to teach Taylor how to do better but really I should just use them as an opportunity to serve him.  It's so automatic to nag him to pick them up day after day but really God wants us to serve our husband and love all of him.  It doesn't say anywhere in the bible to "nitpick your husband until he does everything the way you want him to" and most of the time thats what we tend to do. (and lots of times those little nagging commands turn into bigger arguments but I'm not going to get into that). 
This is really something I have to work on because it does not come naturally to me.  I have to train myself to not nitpick little things like that and instead see them as a God given opportunity to serve my husband.  Trust me it's much better to just pick up the clothes on the ground then to yell at your husband to do it, it saves the annoying tension that comes after nagging your husband.  I'm sure it will be hard to not automatically tell Taylor to pick them up but I think after 5-10 times of just picking them up myself with a good attitude (not being angry about it) it will hopefully just become my natural reaction.  I'm really excited God has put this on my heart because the more you have a serving heart the more you will enjoy life.  

Picking up dirty laundry is just one example, maybe your husband always puts the laundry in the hamper but I'm sure there's atleast one thing about your husband that you wish he did, or didn't do that you can use as a way to serve him. Pray about it and try to figure out different ways God is putting on your heart to serve your husband.

If you feel you really would like to read more about this topic a good book about being a helper and serving your husband is called "created to be his help meet" by Debbie Pearl.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Separation makes the heart grow fonder?

As I'm sitting  on an airplane flying over the what I think is probably Kansas, I'm realizing that I have never really understood or appreciated the saying "separation makes the heart grow fonder" I know this isn't one of the topics I said I was going to address but God has put it on my heart that I should not aim to write this blog so much like a book or like instructions but more like a journal or a God inspired diary and that he will use my daily life to speak through me and hopefully encourage others.  This does not mean that I will just be talking about what I do everyday I just mean that not every post is going to address a lesson style format. Does that make sense? Anyway I am sitting on an airplane because one of my very best friends Sam, who lives in Minnesota, got very sick a few weeks ago, I won't go into details but basically she was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks. As soon as Taylor and I found out how bad it was we began to pray about what we could do. We made her a care package which consisted of magazines and Sam and my favorite candy, almond joys.  But I just felt this wasn't sufficient, so Taylor and I began to pray about if i should fly out there to be with her.  As I mentioned in the previous post we are a very busy newlywed couple on a tight budget, so we just gave the decision to God and if he wanted me to go he would make a way.  So I just ran the idea by my parents and my boss.  Both responses I know were God showing me I needed to fly out there to be with her. And thanks to my wonderful parents, who paid for half my flight which allowed me to go, I am now on a plane.  But the inspiration for this post is the statement "separation makes the heart grow fonder" I have never agreed with this statement in fact I would normally probably argue against it.  Anyone who knows Taylor and I know that we don't do anything apart. We both thrive when were together. Now every couple is different and I'm not going to say that in order to have a good marriage you need to be together every minute of everyday. In fact I know many couples who thrive and completely agree with the statement that separation make heart grow fonder.  But Taylor and I have always been the kind of couple that love each others company and truly enjoy just being together. Many people I'm sure would say don't you get sick of each other and I can honestly say that I married a very patient wonderful easygoing man that I don't get sick of and I am very blessed that even all my annoying quirks that most people would get sick of in an hour he enjoys and loves about me. Ok I'm getting way side tracked here.  What I'm trying to say is that this is the first time I will be away from Taylor since we got married and it has made me think about different types of marriages.  Now God gives us plenty of wonderful verses and advice for marriage but he does not say "you must spend 14.5 hours a day together in order to be happy" and I have read different ideas of appropriate amounts of time in different marriage advice books. 

So heres my top three ideas on this topic

1.   I think its most important to pray about this with your husband and that if one person is feeling like you do not spend enough time together you must tell your spouse otherwise You may unintentionally build up resentment and that is never a good thing. This my stem from differing expectations and priorities, if this applies to you, my advice would be to sit down and talk to your spouse about your priorities and expectations, even write them down which will help you keep yourself accountable to stick to your priorities throughout the years. Do that instead of just saying "i don't think we spend enough time together" which probably wouldn't be as productive.

2. Dont compare your selves to other couples.  There are couples that are long distance that see each other once a month but are completely happy and there are couples to spend all the free time together and even work together.  You need to figure out what works best for you and your husband and not compare with anyone else.  It is easy to see a really happy couple and say they must be happy because they only see each other 2 times a week. Or vice versa you may see a couple and say wow they must be so happy because they spend so much time together. So just make sure you don't compare your marriage to anyone else's that just asking to sin and be envious.

3. Quantity of time does not = quality of time... That sounds a little cliche but it's true.  There was in semester in college that Taylor and I had every class together so we were together at least 6 hours a day but that time was not time we spent talking or enjoying each other.  So if you looked at quantity you would say wow you guys spend  a lot of time together. But then there was a time where Taylor was working 40 hours a week and taking 15 units and had fire academy on Thursday's and Saturday's. But we had Sunday's together to just enjoy each other and go to the beach and on dates ad watch movies and even though it was much less time we spent together I enjoyed it so much more.  It seems like there are a lot of couples and we are even guilty of this at times, that come home from a long day at work and slouch on the couch and watch tv or go on the internet and don't take the time each night to connect with their spouse.  Taylor and I try to make sure we eat breakfast and dinner together and read bible, pray, and talk about our days to really connect before just jumping into something else. Taylors grandma, who i also consider my grandma is a wonderful woman who had a wonderful loving marriage. She got married when she was about our age and told us that one thing she thought helped her marriage thrive the way it did was because every night for 50 years when grandpa came home from work she would make the kids go play ( and they had 8 kids) so she and grandpa could talk and connect for half an hour before family dinner.  This seems like such a small thing but sometimes the daily grind gets us down and all we want to do is relax but I think it is so important to connect whether it's over dinner, or breakfast or lunch, or when going to bed, otherwise the daily life seems to distance spouses. I have read multiple times that isolation and distance starts with a loss of daily connection.

I didn't mean for this blog to go this long and honestly I just began to write because i miss my husband and i was not completely sure where it was going to go so I know this is God speaking through me.

So this week I challenge anyone reading this to try and devote 30 minutes a day to spend with just your husband no phones, no kids, no tv, no Internet, just husband and wife.  Feel free to let me know how it goes.

"In the Lord neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman" 1 Col 11:11

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3 strand rope

Hi everyone,

Sorry for taking so long to write another post, our live is pretty busy.  Which actually leads me to the story which prompted this post.  Taylor and are very busy people.  Taylor works full time at an Ambulance company as an EMT he is also a reserve firefighter, and he is taking 10 units at the local college and is now hopefully starting to play worship at our church. I have 3 different families that I nanny for and I go to school 2 days a week and on my day off I clean my parents house.  We also are in a bible study once week, and try to see our families once a week.  Sounds hectic but we are both so happy and in love. Anyway the point of me saying all this is that Taylor has been signed up for a class that is crucial for his career as a Paramedic.  If he does not take and pass this class he will not be accepted into medic school in January and our whole 5 year plan would become a 6 year plan.  So Taylor and I both thought this class started next Monday, Sept 19th.  This Monday (sept 12) Taylor and I carpooled to work, which we do whenever we can, Taylor worked at 10 and I worked at 930 so it was perfect.  There is normally heavy traffic at that time so we left early but there was no traffic so we decided to treat our selves to Starbucks.  As we are at Starbucks one of Taylor's friends, (who is also in the class Taylor desperately needs) texted him and asked why he wasn't in class.  We both thought he was kidding until we realized he wasn't the class started this Monday not the next.  (This is where God is crucial in marriage) Instead of me yelling at Taylor for not paying attention to his schedule, or Taylor getting mad at me for not checking.  We both were calmed by God's promise to "work all things for good for those who love Him".  Because we have a 3 strand rope instead of a 2 strand rope neither of us got angry.  This would have been a perfect situation for complete full blown argument to take place.  This was not like Taylor leaving a wet towel on the floor, (which drives me nuts), this was a really serious matter.  If he got dropped from the class we would have to re evaluate everything because that would put us another 6 months with just my income which would stretch us to thin, and many more problems would result because of this.  But we both just knew that God had a plan for us "to give us a hope and a future" Jer 29:11.  And this is just one example of how amazing your marriage can be blessed if you put God first.  God tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:12 "one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, a cord of three is not easily broken."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

True Love Never Fails

Where to start..where to start...
I guess I should start in explaining why I am starting a blog and what the blog is going to be about.  Well, I was sitting on my couch with my husband as he is playing worship songs on the guitar, after a wonderful dinner that consisted of Tilapia and sweet potato fries, there are yummy chocolate chip cookies in the oven that are making our tiny little house smell delicious, and I am just thinking about our day today.  Before we got married we went through the marriage counseling program through our church, we were paired up with a "mentor couple" we took a few personality tests to see our compatibly and were mentored on different topics that can come up through married life such as, finances, conflict resolution, in-laws, the usual marriage issues. We met with them again today and they went over our test results with us.  They told us we were the best matched couple they had ever seen.  And I'm not saying that to brag I'm just explaining what led me to start this blog.  They then started to explain to us that God had brought us together to have a blessed wonderful marriage and since he did this for us we should use this blessing to bless others.  So this sparked a discussion between Taylor and I, how could we bless others with our amazing marriage? Seems like a silly thought to say 'hey my marriage is so stinking awesome let me show you how awesome my marriage is.' I felt like it would come across as bragging, but then realized that if its coming from a place to show God's glory and that marriage can be amazing because of God not because of just our efforts then it hopefully won't come across as bragging.  Anyway, Taylor and I talked about maybe leading a marriage counseling group at our church or different ways we could help others with their marriage.  My sister writes a blog about her life and raising kids and it hit me, that's what I should do.  I do not know if anyone will read it or take the advice given but if it helps save one marriage from divorce it will all be worth it.  Anyway let me explain who I am and the amazing, beautiful Godly man I was so blessed to marry.
        Hi, I'm Erin Kellogg, formerly known as Erin Riley.  I am the middle daughter of Debbie and Robert Riley. I have a wonderful older sister who I admire very much her name is Caitlyn Balderas she is married and has a 5 year old son Tucker, a 2 year old daughter Ava and a new baby on the way.  I also have a younger sister who is amazing in everything she does, her name is Megan Riley.  I grew up in a Christian home always shown God's love through my parents.  I met my husband when I was 16.  His name is Taylor Kellogg, is an only child and is the best thing that ever happened to me.  He took me on our first date on my 17th birthday.  We were only dating for a month when he told me he loved me and from that moment on we were inseparable.  High school dances,graduating high school, going to college, graduating college, gaining family members, vacations, job losses, new jobs, new church, we have experienced pretty much everything in the last 5 years, which was a great foundation to start our marriage. Taylor asked me to marry him May 17th 2010 and we got married July 15th 2011. I am sure if you are reading this (and you don't know me) you are probably thinking 'you have only been married 45 days how can you help me?' But let me assure you I have prayed, listened to many women who have been married many years, read many, many books about marriage so hopefully I can offer some advice that might help.  This is plenty for a first post but I am going to finish every post with a bible verse.  This is the Bible verse we used in our vows at our wedding.  "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. True love never fails" 1 cor 13:7-8 This is a great verse to remember throughout your marriage.
Stay tunned, love Erin

Topics for the next few blogs include.
1. 3 stand rope is stronger than a 2 strand rope
2. a little smile goes a long way
3. God wants us to have 'happily ever after'
4. we need to be a mirror for each other
5. giving 50/50 is not as good as it sounds
6.  books that give good, real life marriage advice