THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

June 19, 2013

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Jon and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary yesterday on June 18th. In some ways, it seems as if I've always known Jon and it's difficult to remember my life without him; on the other hand, it's hard to believe that we've already been married for eight short years. We have had a very blessed eight years and have experienced some very unexpected adventures, and I'm looking forward to what God has in store for us in the future.

When a couple gets married, they often have misconceptions about how perfect everything is going to be. Before the wedding, others may try to tell them about the differences between the thinking of men and women and issues they will have to deal with and adjustments that will have to be made; but in that idealistic moment of romance and the promised new beginning of a life together, they "think" that somehow their spouse will be an exception to the rule. Surprise, surprise!! Eventually that day will come when they are awakened to the realization that other couples really did know what they were talking about.

Jon recently played a You Tube video for me, that a co-worker had shared with him. It was a skit performed by a husband and wife entitled, "It's Not About the Nail." Although a bit humorous, it clearly portrayed the differences in men and women's thinking.

The gist of the skit was: A wife was trying to share her feelings with her husband. A nail was protruding through her forehead. As she was talking, all the husband could concentrate on was the nail. His solution was, get rid of the nail and everything will be okay. Her answer was, "You always try to fix things, when all I want is for you to listen. It's not about the nail!"

Many times, that is a common issue in the communication between couples. She just wants to talk about what's going on in her life, issues she's dealing with, how she's feeling..... and instead of really listening, the husband feels like he has to do something to fix it for her, when all she really wants is to talk about it and have him be sympathetic and understanding. But the truth is, the majority of the time, the man has difficulty grasping what his wife is saying, because by nature, men tend to be "fixers" and not "talkers".

I know that there are times when I'm talking about something to Jon and he "thinks" I want him to do something to take care of it for me or that I want advice, when all I really want is for him to give me a hug and listen to me. Generally, I know in my heart what the answer is or what needs to be done or what I'm doing wrong, etc..... but for that moment I just want Jon's comfort and compassion. I want him to hold me in his arms and pay attention to me as I share my feelings and thoughts. That's often difficult for men to do, because their mind is concentrating on, "If you would do this or that, then you wouldn't be feeling so emotional!" or "If you know what to do to fix this, then just do it!" or "Let me fix it for you, and it will all be better and we can move on!" But to the woman, "It's not about the nail!!" They are thinking, "Concentrate on me and what I'm saying; not about the problem and how it needs to be fixed!"

I am convinced that this has been an ongoing issue since the beginning of time that everyone from Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sarah, to Boaz and Ruth, to David and Bathsheba, to Joseph and Mary.... down throughout history to you and your spouse.... all have dealt with.

I tend to be a bigger talker than Jon most of the time, although he has his occasional moments of chattiness. When we are driving for a long distance, I always feel like I need to stay awake and talk, in order to keep him awake when he's driving. On the other hand, Jon has no qualms about napping if I happen to be driving. There have been times when I've questioned Jon, "Do you want me to keep talking, or would you rather I be quiet for a while?" Generally, he will reply that it's okay for me to continue talking.

We have some of our best conversations when we're in the car together for lengthy periods of time because there is no TV, or iPad/computer games, or books, etc. to interrupt us. We have that time to concentrate on one another and share our dreams, talk about what's going on with our families, discuss concerns and problems, chit-chat about the scenery we see alongside the road, or whatever subject comes to mind. It's probably one of my favorite times when we are together, because that time tends to be quality because it is uninterrupted and we can concentrate on one another and share our hearts. We also can laugh together and have silly conversations that would not make sense to anyone else.

Jon's cousin, Luke, recently wrote a very thought-provoking statement:

"Something cool God is teaching me: prayer is meant to be like a road trip with my wife. We start the journey and begin a conversation that never ends until we reach our destination. We talk... laugh... vent... listen. There are times when we are quiet, times when we are just enjoying being with each other, times when we crank up the music and sing along. The conversation never ends, it just continues. Prayer should be like that. Pray without ceasing."

This sums up exactly how our relationship to God should be. It is a continuing conversation that never ends. We never run out of something to say to God, but it is ongoing communication from one day to the next; just as communication between a husband and wife should be.

In the eight years that Jon and I have been married, we have never run out of things to say to one another. We don't struggle with topics to discuss. Our conversation isn't forced and our time together isn't strained. We discuss everything from the important to the mundane. We even have the occasional disagreement or difference of opinion. But the conversation continues from day to day and never ends.

There are also times when we communicate without speaking. We are comfortable in silence and don't always have to be having a conversation. We also communicate with one another through a touch on the shoulder, holding hands, a wink, a smile, a facial expression..... at times we can discern one another's thoughts without saying a word.

That's what it means to "Pray without ceasing". It doesn't mean that we have to constantly be on our knees or in a church or singing worship songs; but we can communicate to God with our thoughts, how we conduct ourselves, things we do for others, etc. We can have an attitude of worship and prayer through silent meditation. Throughout the day, we may say a short prayer for someone when they come to mind. We may whisper, "I love you, Jesus!" in the midst of our busy day. It's a continuing conversation with God that never comes to an end.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Men look at talking about problems a little differently. For most of us, we go on the attack with a problem. The primary goal is usually to identify who is at fault. We want to make sure we know who is responsible, who did wrong, who was a defenseless victim, and who should be expected to fix it. The secondary goal is to figure out how the problem should be solved. We might even come up with more than one strategy at a solution.

Sympathy may play a role, especially with identifying a victim. But it isn't usually the primary or secondary goal.

But there are similarities in how men approach problems. We don't often act on the solution. Too often, it's enough to identify that there is a solution, and feel confident it would work. Putting the solution into action might be someone else's responsibility (sometimes the whole nation's), it might be beyond feasible, or it might just be too much work to get started right now, so we'll do it, but not right now. Or we might start attacking a project, and get distracted with sharpening tools or cleaning the garage.

We don't always see eye-to-eye, especially when we are working toward different goals. It can make it tough sometimes.

But ultimately, most of our problems are minor compared to eternal life with God. We do have the same goal in life--to follow Christ, and meet him face to face ever after. We just differ on which path we're on.

ON THE MENEWE:

Chicken Salad

Chicken Breast, chopped

Red Grapes, split in half

Hellmann's Mayonnaise

Croissants

Celery, chopped

Boil chicken breast; cool, debone and chop. (Or you could use a rotisserie chicken from the deli -- or in a pinch, used canned chicken breast.) Add Hellmann's mayo (the real stuff tastes so much better), chopped celery, and grapes that have been split in half. Mix until a good consistency and serve on croissants.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Ideas for cool summer drinks that can be made using the blender:

Blend 1 can frozen limeade, 1/2 can Sprite, 2 cups frozen strawberries, and the pulp of two limes. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

Blend together: 1 can of frozen lemonade concentrate, 1 juice can of water, 1.5 cups of frozen strawberries, 1 tray of ice.

Blend on high: 1 (6 oz.) can of frozen orange juice, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 10-12 ice cubes, 1 tsp. Vanilla

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup,

Whenever you're wrong, admit it; Whenever you're right, shut up. - Ogden Nash

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org