"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: June 2012

Saying Goodbye

39 Things the people are saying

walking away

I remember starting this blog back in 2009 because I wanted to write for Weddingbee. Newly engaged, I discovered this wedding site full of blogging brides where you followed their journey to the altar. They were on the lookout for new writers and I thought why not; the only caveat - I needed to have my own blog.

New to the world of blogging  and with the cheesy name of afamwedschichi, I started documenting our wedding planning journey to a handful of readers.

I never did get picked for Weddingbee but I enjoyed writing so much that I continued to blog beyond the wedding, seeing the blog evolve to include topics such as my faith, family and marriage as I shared the things God was teaching and showing me.

This year my life changed and so did my priorities and there comes a time in every ‘project’ were you realise that it has run its course and you need to move forward into other things. This is that time and it is with peace in my heart that I announce that this will be my last blog post.

It is something that I have prayed and thought a lot about and is the right choice for this season of my life. I do plan to return back to blogging in the future, but only when the time is right.

I want to thank you for being such a loyal reader over the past three years. For your comments and messages, prayers and stories, I will truly cherish the memories from this blog. You are part of a wonderful community on here.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Stay blessed!

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ps. The blog itself will remain online, so that the archives are still accessible but I won't be posting any new posts.

The Facebook page will also remain open and I will frequent there from time to time to post things I find around the web. Please check out my resources page for other blogs you might like to read.

If you want to stay in touch you can find me on twitter.

pps. We celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary tomorrow (26/6)– woo!

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The Lord Is My Strength

2 Things the people are saying

song of praise

I don’t have a lot of words today, but rather a verse of encouragement.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

There are times when life knocks you back, people let you down and you feel LOW. Their words may pierce your heart but I am encouraged that God’s word tells me that He is my strength and I can trust Him with ALL my heart and I will be helped.

If this is you today, join with me today – put on your favourite worship CD and offer him worship and praise. Let your heart rejoice and praise Him with your song.

It is well.

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On This Your First Father’s Day

0 Things the people are saying
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On this your first Father’s Day… I want to tell you just how proud of you I am.

Fatherhood has come so naturally to you and as I watch the bond the two of you share, I am so grateful to God for your relationship. You really are her first love and I pray that it remains so.

My own personal father-daughter relationship has been challenging at times, but my experiences only makes me appreciate what you do and who you are you even more.

You consciously make the effort to buck the mould, REJECTING the stereotypes that society try to enforce as a black father. Instead you carve out your own blueprint for practical biblical fatherhood, understanding the importance of spending time, being hands on and giving of yourself 100% regardless.

Thank you for walking the walk in fatherhood.

Thank you for showing your love practically.

Thank you for being a wonderful father to our daughter. She is blessed to call you Daddy.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Friday Finds: Inspired By The Men In Our Lives

0 Things the people are saying

friday finds
How is it Friday already! Hope you’ve all had a good week!

With Father’s Day upon us this weekend, this week’s finds are focused around the men in our lives.

I was on Pinterest and saw this post in someone’s ‘things for the man I love’ folder. Our husbands are the most important people in our lives after God, so if you’re looking for ways to inspire your other half, here are 50 Ways. I loved the article so much I had to share.

Via Twitter I came across Unveiled Wife  which is a fantastic blog with the sole purpose to provide help and encouragement to wives, daily. She has a feature called Letter to My Husband, where you write a letter to your husband and send in. It gets published on a certain day and you direct your husband to the site to read. I think it’s a really nice way to show appreciation to your man publicly (or privately if you want to be anonymous).

Finally if you’re short on ideas for Father’s Day gifts, there is still time to get creative. Check out the great craft ideas from The Crafting Chicks where gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive!

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Have a great weekend and don’t forget to show the fathers in your life some love on Sunday!

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Proverbs 31 Series - Investing into your future

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Investing in Your Future

The Proverbs 31 woman was a wise investor who understood the value of sowing and reaping.

Verse 16 – She looks at land and buys it, and with money she has earned she plants a vineyard.

A prudent saver, she ‘looks’ (or ‘considers’ as some versions put it) a land and then makes her purchase. She is not an impulsive shopper but rather a thoughtful one.

This verse tells us she decides to plant a vineyard. Why a vineyard, you might ask? Of all the ‘businesses’ she could have gone into, she chose something that requires hard work and toil and does not produce a harvest overnight. However she considered all of this and based on the needs of her family believed that this was the best venture to undertake. A vineyard is a long term investment, therefore this shows that she was forward thinking and PATIENT – looking to the future.

‘With money she has earned’ indicates that she only made purchases from money she already had. She does not make financial decisions which will put her family into debt, but rather in agreement with her husband (who trusts her - Proverbs 31:11), she considers the best ‘deals’ for her family, weighing up the overall cost and purchases accordingly.

As I reflect on this verse, I ask myself ‘Do I look and consider my purchases?’, ‘Am I patient enough to sow into the future of my family?’ Am I making good financial decisions? ‘What is my vineyard?’

As a Proverbs 31 woman I believe we need to always consider these questions and how we can apply it to our current situation.

In what ways can we show financial wisdom in our lives?

Other Posts in the Proverb 31 Series
Proverbs 31: 10-31 CEV Version
Proverbs 31 - A woman that Fears the Lord
Proverbs 31:12-15 - Doing Him Good + Having the Right Attitude
Proverbs 31: 15 - Planning + Starting Your Day Right

Proverbs 31 Series: Planning + Starting Your Day Right

2 Things the people are saying

early morning

Continuing with our Proverbs 31 series, last week’s verses were Proverbs 31:15-16. My original post was too long, so I have done verse 15 today and will post verse 16 tomorrow.

Verse 15 – She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do.

Getting up early allows for time in the Word, time for yourself and time to plan and prepare for the day ahead. Even Jesus did it (Mark 1:35), which shows you how important it is.  Sometimes my baby will wake up at 4am and not go back to sleep for a while. After she finally goes back to sleep, since I am already up, if I am not too tired, I will try to make the most of the early morning. In addition, depending on the day, I might be able to prep for dinner or do a load of laundry as well. The great thing about early morning starts is that I manage to achieve a lot before the day officially begins and by planning the day ahead, it allows me to focus my time on the important things I need do.

Obviously rising early depends on your season of life, it might not be practical with a newborn baby for example and what I describe above doesn’t always happen, but I know as she gets older, I will look to instil a regular early morning routine for myself.

The second part of the verse talks about servant girls, now I don’t have any servant girls but I could liken what a servant girl would do to all the modern day conveniences that I currently have. Courtney suggests things like your washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer etc. The Proverbs 31 woman has a plan before the day begins. She is aware of the needs of the household, and is organised in addressing them. So if laundry needs to be done today, it gests done.

As a planner she does not do this on her own, but she plans with the Lord as her consult. She does not go off and do things but rather, she prayerfully considers the things she wants to achieve and asks God to bless her plans.  Other parts of Proverbs reinforce the importance of this:

“Ask the Lord to bless your plans and you will be successful in carrying them out” – Proverbs 16:3

“Plan carefully and you will have plenty, if you act too quickly you will never have enough – Proverbs 21:5

How many times have you just started your day without any consideration of the things that need to be achieved or entered into a new venture and realised that you jumped in head first without considering everything properly. Even worse you didn’t ask God for his input. I know I have and while it doesn’t mean your venture will outright fail or your day will be poor, you open yourself up to potential challenges or misfortune. God is our loving Father who wants to be part of everything we are doing, even the daily stuff.

By bringing our plans to God He is able to open our eyes to any things which we may not have thought about and order our steps. He might even tell you not to go ahead! Planning is not something to be rushed and takes careful consideration. As the old saying goes – failure to plan is planning to fail.

Are you committing your plans to God?

Other Posts in the Proverbs 31 Series

Proverbs 31: The Contemporary English Version
Proverbs 31 - A Woman That Fears The Lord
Proverbs 31:12-14 - Doing Him Good And Having the Right Attitude

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Understanding The Heart of Your Husband

2 Things the people are saying

Recently I have been listening to various podcasts and audio books as a way to utilise the time when I’m cooking or doing chores around the house. It’s a fantastic way to ‘read’ a book or hear a message if you find that you don’t have the time to traditionally sit down and read.

Over the weekend I listed to a message by Dr Emerson Eggerichs called “Love and Respect”. For those of you who haven’t read his book of the same name, it is a must read in understanding the mind and emotions of both males and females and how it can help your marriage to grow and succeed.  Reading the book helped me to understand why my husband is the way he is and how I can relate better with him, which in turn helps him to relate better with me.

The message highlighted the fact that men crave respect and women crave love. This is shown clearly in Ephesians 5:21-33 where women are called to respect their husbands and men to love their wives. God has commanded this from us, because these are not things which come naturally to us. As a woman it is natural for me to show my husband love. To nurture is ingrained within my DNA. Respect on the other hand, well that takes a little more thought and effort, especially in the middle of a fight! The same rings true for a man when it comes to love.

Without love a woman reacts in a way that is disrespectful to a man and without respect, a man reacts in a way that is unloving to a woman and this can continue on and on, slowly destroying a marriage, unless somebody decides to break what Eggerichs calls the Crazy Cycle.

The Crazy Cycle

How does Dr Eggerichs describe this craziness?

Craziness is when we keep doing the same thing — again and again — with the same ill effect. Marital craziness is when we do the same thing — over and over — with the same negative results. I call it the Crazy Cycle. When hurt and frustrated, we continue reacting in negative ways to motivate our spouse to be positive. Can you believe it? That's like flipping broken light switches for 30 minutes.

What challenged me in his message was that in order to get off the crazy cycle,  I needed to look beneath all the craziness and see the heart of my husband. My husband is not a Judas but rather a Peter. He is not out to do me evil or cause me harm, but rather love, care and protect me. 

At different points both Judas and Peter let Jesus down, but their hearts were in completely different places and Jesus knew this. Therefore I need to believe that my husband means well and his heart is in the right place. He is human of course which means he won’t always get it right but it is in those times that I need to extend grace, just as the Father does to me and I would want for him to do to me, when I get it wrong.

Shaunti Feldhahn a leading researcher and author asked the following question to men she was interviewing:

What is the one thing you wish your wife knew but you feel you can’t explain to her or tell her?

The answer? “Just how much I love her”. For me that is such an encouragement to know, because I think sometimes as women we forget this, I know I do.

She continued on to say that men have a lot of goodwill and love towards us but don’t always know how to show it or get it across to us and as wives ”God has given us as women, a whole lot of power in our husbands lives to either build them up or to tear them down” {Proverbs 31: 12 coming back into play once again!)

In marriage just simply remembering this fact will help you move away from typical reactions (disrespect) in a conflict to showing your husband love AND respect, hopefully resolving the situation amicably.

Have you read Love and Respect? What do you think about the Crazy Cycle – does it happen in your relationship?

I am linking up with Jolene over at The Alabaster Jar.

The Alabaster Jar

Friday Finds: Not settling, facing insecurities + doing good all our days

2 Things the people are saying

friday finds

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week!

After two glorious extra bank holidays celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee, the weather has become decidedly British and rained ever since!

This week's Friday Finds are a cross section of links you might find useful.

1. Jolene over at The Alabaster Jar regularly blogs about marriage and I have been blessed immensely by her writing. She has started a new series called ‘Smitten for Him’ aimed at single women and her recent post about What not to settle for in your future husband is a must read.

Smitten For Him

2. Insecurity is something that a lot of us battle with. As a mother it can be 10x worse, this post discusses Why you can't afford to be an insecure mom and practical ways to deal with it.

3. On Tuesday I blogged about what I am learning in my Proverbs 31 series – this post is a continuation about Doing Good All of Our Days over at Good Morning Girls.

Hope you enjoy the links…feel free to share any good links/posts (including your own) in comments.

Have a great weekend!

Proverbs 31 Series: Doing Him Good + Having The Right Attitude

6 Things the people are saying

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I am currently doing a Proverbs 31 study with Good Morning Girls and thought I would share with you what I have been learning. We are part way through week four and so far I am really enjoying getting deeper into these verses and applying them to my life.

Last week’s verses were Proverbs 31: 12-14.

What do these verses mean for today’s women?

Verse 12 - As long as she lives, she does him good and never harm.

This verse reinforced for me that marriage is for life -  “as long as she lives” the Proverbs 31 woman is committed to her marriage and doing good for her husband. As a wife I should make it my priority to ‘do him good’, realising that I have a powerful influence over my husband which should not be abused but honoured.

Doing good needs to be part of our character, which God will help us cultivate and we should always seek to ‘do good’ first and foremost to our husbands. Many times I have found myself treating others better than I treat my own husband, which is wrong. Verse 12 reminds me of where my priorities should lie. Looking for some ideas on how to do good to your husband, check out this post. 

Are you doing good to your husband?

Verse 13 – She keeps herself busy making wool and linen cloth.

Different bible versions say that she ‘works with eager hands’. I believe this verse is referring to the attitude we have when we are undertaking our duties around the home. This does not just apply to wives, but to women in general. Now I don’t get excited cleaning the bathroom as much as the next person, but my attitude when I do it should be a positive one. I mean in the first instance I should be grateful I have a toilet to clean! There are many people in the world who would be happy for this ‘luxury’ which we take for granted. Secondly everything I do should be to the glory of God {Colossians 3:23}. Finally, this is a labour of love for my family and that alone should change my perspective.

Do you struggle in this area? Courtney in her ebook  The Proverbs 31 Woman - One Virtue at a Time, encourages us to research and find inspiration {Pinterest in great here}, speak to other women who we know are good in this area and seek encouragement and advice. When I first met my husband I was not that great in the kitchen, I hardly spent any time there and much preferred to eat out all the time. As a newlywed this was not an affordable long term strategy, plus my husband preferred home cooked meals, so I had to change. I decided to spend some time with other wives I knew who were great in the kitchen, to ask them to show me how to make different dishes. I really enjoyed (and still do) this time of learning and have improved so much. Today I have a genuine love for cooking and preparing meals for my family.

Are you willing to work in your home? Do you have the right attitude?

Verse 14 – She brings home food from out-of-the-way places, as merchant ships do.

I grocery shop online for convenience, it is especially convenient when you have a baby in tow. This verse however did make me think, whilst it is convenient, is it cost effective? Could I be getting better deals if I visited different supermarkets (sans baby!). In what ways am I using our food budget effectively?

For the first time in a long time, this past weekend I planned our menu for the week and went to the store to buy the relevant ingredients. I then spent time making up 4 of the meals for the week in one batch (thanks for the inspiration Mrs O), so that I could freeze some and take some of the pressure off during the week. It’s great not having to worry about ‘what will we eat’.  This verse has challenged me to find ways in which I can serve my family better in this area.

How are you applying these verses to your life?

Related Proverbs 31 Posts
Proverbs 31 - A woman that Fears the Lord

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