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So I’ve had a mini-hiatus from writing here … I didn’t really intend to take a month off, but I did anyhow.  Sometimes life is like that.  It started out with wedding work for which I had to travel out-of-state and then it became recovery from the wedding work and travel (working vacations are far more work than vacation, really)…

And the next thing I knew, it was a month since I’d last posted.  😐

Really not what I’d intended.  But the time and realization did spur me to think more deeply about what I write here.  With this latest incarnation of my family blog, was I being genuine and authentic to me?  To my writing style?  Or had I bought in to a formula to rank my blog on Google?  See, here’s the thing – I love writing.  And I’m pretty good at it.  And there is some ego-massage that goes on when you’re getting hits from all over and people are reading your blog and coming back because you’ve linked to someone else’s post, ad infinitum.

But that’s not really what I’m about.  I love trying new recipes (Tasty Tuesdays).  I’m totally committed to encouraging other women to pursue their husbands and making their sex lives fulfilling and fun (The Challenge) and I really like sharing other “finds” with people and reading about what they can’t do without (Things I Love Thursdays).  But all of that is formulaic.  And I’m not a formula.  I’m far more (to use a catch-word right now) organic than that.  I want to write about what my garden is or isn’t doing.  What my friend overseas means to me.  How much fun we had doing “x” or showing off pictures of our son on his new bike.  And while that fomula kept me active, it also became a burden and stripped some of the joy out of writing.

Which I think is why a month of hecticness passed and I forgot to write.  Of course, the computer issues (now resolved!) didn’t help, either – it became a total burden to do *anything* on the laptop, which is where my files were stored.  Regardless, the formula of writing my blog just wasn’t working for me.

And so I’ve gotta be me.  I’ll still share recipes and I’ll still encourage women to get and keep the hots for their husbands.  And I’m still going to do an occasional “Things I Love Thursdays,” just because it’s fun to do.  But I’m not going to let it burden me any longer.  I’m going to write more about our homeschool adventures, my new garden (I’ve gotta prepare in case gas goes back up to $4 a gallon this summer – yikes!), my decisions about which school to attend (yep, I’m going back!) and how God’s gonna provide for that, and other miscellaneous things in my life.

So stay tuned… and thanks for reading this far.  Because it’s a journey and I want to be real and authentic – with myself and with those who read here.  😉

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So last week, the originator of The Challenge gave us the week off.  This week, she encourages us to pick up where we left off – but to do so vocally.  :)

Many times, women enter in to marriage with the idea that if they drop subtle hints, their husbands will pick up on them.  I don’t know about you, but that has *never* worked for me.  😉

Men, for all of the reasons we love them, rarely pick up on subtlety and despites culture’s say-so that they are lovers full of prowess, they often (admittedly) guess at what makes us purr.  If you don’t speak up, your husband will not know what makes you tick (for the most part).  And many men will admit to finding one thing that works for their wives (such as ‘a+b=c’) and then using that over and over … and over.  This is not to say that repetition is a bad thing, but if you want your husband to explore a bit more and figure out new things, you’re going to have to let him know how, where, and when.  Which entails speaking up.

Do it gently and sweetly – but if you’ve been faking it, STOP!  Faking it doesn’t help your husband or you – and it only builds a case for deception, hurt feelings, and resentment as time goes on.  You and your husband might even create code words for your romps – or find that using steamier language is something that works for the two of you. 

But you’ll never know until you loosen your tongue and speak up.  If you do, you won’t regret it – I promise. 

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There is no weekly installment to The Challenge this week; the author of The Challenge has given participants the week off.  And so in lieu of your encouragement to get busy in the bedroom, I thought I’d wax poetic about one of my favourite beverages:  tea.

My parents are Anglophiles.  There is no other way to explain why they don’t drink coffee (it’s tea only), use British teapots (exclusively), eat British foods (most of the time) and pop their pinkies out when sipping from teacups.  😉

In all honesty, my grandfather on my dad’s side came over to the US from England in the early 1900s – his port of call was Boston and he made his way to Michigan to work at a Chrysler assembly plant.  So my dad comes by it honestly.

For the longest time though, I didn’t appreciate tea.  And if I did drink it, it was herbal tea – you know, fruity flavours that are steeped in hot water … not really “tea,” but close enough for jazz.  And then, something switched for me.  I’m not really sure what, but I know that it happened quickly and almost imperceptibly.

Mark bought me a beautiful teapot last year – a Japanese tetsubin.  It’s enameled cast iron and is gorgeous, but most importantly, it keeps tea hotter than a clay pot that requires a tea cozy.  In the teapot is a beautiful device called an infuser – a small, finely-meshed basket that allows me to steep loose teas.  I adore it.

As I began experimenting with different teas (looseleaf and otherwise), I found a great little online retailer for teas and other British foods.  It’s called EnglishTeaStore.com and is a delightful place to find great deals on amazing teas.  They carry all the traditional British brands (PG Tips, Twinings, etc.), British foods, etc., and have both looseleaf and bagged teas at excellent prices. Right now, through the month of March, there is free shipping with a $10 purchase and using code Mar09.

So enough for the commercial – I get nothing out of promoting this little place, it’s just my favourite place to buy British specialities.  And free shipping is awesome when I need HP Sauce (in glass bottles – their price is cheaper than local stores, but shipping glass is typically expensive).

But some of my favourite teas from the site include Irish Breakfast tea, which is a stronger tea with a beautiful nutty flavour to it.  I don’t steep it terribly long, but I adore it for a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon (I still drink coffee in the morning).   I also love Twinings Lady Grey tea – it’s a beautiful blend of citrus and an earl grey tea – little bits of lemon and orange zest and blue cornflowers in it.  It’s not very strong, but makes a wonderful cuppa that goes well with dinner or dessert.

In the same vein, Twinings also has some wonderful bagged, flavoured teas – they smell amazing and taste even better.  Peach Black Tea is fantastic (and I’ll be making this iced this summer, too – yummy!), and their Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Tea is good too – it’s not too heavy on the cinnamon and the apple is readily discernable.  But my all-time favourite flavoured tea from Twinings is their Four Red Fruits Tea – it has bits of strawberry, red currant, raspberry, and cherry in the tea bag with the leaves.  It smells incredible and tastes even better – and I keep a bag or two with me when I’m out and about for the day, just in case I need a good cup of tea while I’m away from home.  😉

But by far, the best tea I’ve had to date is the Lady Londonderry blend from EnglishTeaStore.com.  It’s their own house blend of black tea, floral petals, strawberry, and lemon.  It’s light, airy, beautiful and delicious – and has been served for high tea at Buckingham Palace.  There’s not a tea-drinker or tea-hater to whom I’ve served this who hasn’t immediately fallen in love with it – that’s *that* good.

There are so many more teas that I want to explore in the upcoming year, but these are several of my favourites.  I suspect that as the weather here warms up and I begin to make iced tea, I’m going to go through a lot of tea, filters, and ice trying out all of these different blends.

But I’m okay with that – tea’s good for you, don’tcha know?!  😉

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When Mark & I were engaged, there were several friends who were getting married around the same time we did.  And being young and a little silly, we bought each other beautiful pieces of lingerie for our respective wedding nights and honeymoons.  One time, a friend of mine & I walked in to Victoria’s Secret (as an aside, I’m not really sure what Victoria’s “secret” is, but she’s not doing a very good job of maintaining that secret, is she?) to buy a peignoir for mutual friend.  We found a beautiful gown and my friend took it off the hanger and dropped it on the floor.  I stared at her and asked what the heck she was doing – her reply was, “I just wanted to see what it will look like after we give it to her!”  😉

Those days probably seem a long time ago to you.  They were a ways off for me, too.  And yet, there’s something really nice for wives and their husbands when the gift is … wrapped.  😉

You might not still have something from a lingerie shower from your pre-wedded-days, or if you do, it might not be your current style or size.  Regardless, I encourage you to splurge a bit on yourself and your marriage – either dust off what you’ve got or buy yourself something new.  Don’t consider it a “waste of money” – you’re investing in your relationship with your husband!  Men are (generally) quite visually-oriented and gift-wrapping yourself is not only a gift to him, but a present for yourself, too.  You’ll feel better about yourself and that extra-boost you give yourself is worth it.  You’re worth it!  :)  you don’t have to spend a boatload of cash to accomplish the goal – just pick something other than flannel or sweatpants that is specifically *you* and surprise your husband (and yourself) with it.

You won’t regret it!

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I will fully tell you that this week’s challenge is going to be nearly-impossible for me to complete.  I have yet to complete my husband’s “education” on making out – it was something we never did while engaged and, based on his lack of experience in this arena, he isn’t terribly comfortable with.  So to say that I can complete this challenge successfully is probably stretching reality quite a bit.  I will bring it up – and I will try.  But don’t let that stop you!  :)

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How many of you remember when you were dating your husband and got those electrical sparks just from touching?  The fireworks from kissing?  And how many of you, once you married your sweetheart, stopped making out?

Because what’s the point of simply making out when there are so many … other … fun things to do, right?

Sometimes, it’s fun to re-create the special spark that kissing and the build-up that it creates – and isn’t that the point?  To kindle the romantic spark and flame in your marriage with The Challenge?  So the next time the kids are occupied with something else, plant a passionate kiss on your husband and let him be surprised.  Don’t tease with your kisses – let them be a foretaste of what is waiting for him.  But let those kisses remind you of the sparks and flames that you used to feel; that electricity that sparked from a mere touch.  And if the kids DO see you, well… wouldn’t it be better that they understand that marriage isn’t the death-knoll of a passionate time together?  Isn’t that a good example to set for them?

I think it is.  😉

Have fun with this one!

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So this is entirely new.  And I truly debated about doing it.  But I’m all about talking honestly about life, including marriage and motherhood.  If you’re not comfortable with the topic (I won’t get in to TMI, I promise!), are single, or aren’t a Christ-follower, feel free to skip this installation – it will be once-a-week for 20 weeks.  But if you’re married and a Christ-follower, then read on, MacDuff!

1 Corinthians 7|5 is a verse that talks about our marital obligation – sexually – to our spouse.  It’s a pretty clear cut verse that says (from The Amplified Version): Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

When I read on The Diaper Diaries the Challenge referenced here (I came in at Week 4), I thought it was a great thing – encouraging women to be more sexually responsive to their husbands and strengthening their marriages in this way.  I’m not a sex-blogger and I’m not going to be.  But strengthening your marriage and having an honest sexual relationship with your spouse?  That is a goal to be applauded and that is something I can support.

So this week’s challenge (you can find the previous 4 weeks’ challenges here) is to commit to doubling the amount of fun you & your husband have together.  For the rest of February, see if you can double the frequency of your lovemaking sessions.  If you’re a 3-times-per-week (or more) kind of couple, you get a pass.  But if you’re in the lower numbers and this Challenge resonates with you, then see if you can double your sessions together – either monthly, weekly, or whatever.  Double something.  😉

If you’re afraid of this step, take heart and go back to The Diaper Diaries and pick another week’s challenge.  But consider your marriage and the relationship you entered in to – however long ago that was.  We were all like little bunnies in the beginning and then life got in the way.  The point of The Challenge isn’t to condemn you or give you another “thing to do” on your list, but to encourage you to consider the importance of your sexual relationship with your husband.

Once a week for 20 weeks, I’ll join in with The Diaper Diaries and encourage you to consider a new aspect to your marriage & towards strengthening your relationship.  I’ll be doing The Challenge right along with you – I believe in the importance of it that much.

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Category: life musings, the challenge  Comments off