Work Ethic And My Dad’s Hat

Dad's hat

I love to see my dad wearing this old, broken  work hat.

It reminds me of who he is, and who he taught me to be.

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Never one to “say” and not to “do”, he lives out a good work ethic.

When I was a girl, he really insisted that all chores were done right. Done correctly.

And I’ve never forgotten those lessons.

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Back then I resented every lesson, I am sure. They seemed silly and too uptight.

When I see my dad in this hat?

Every lesson comes flooding back to me. Those lessons have served me well.

For I know the value  of a job well done.

And I have a husband who carries on the tradition, of a dad who put his family’s needs above all, no work below him if it’ll keep the family afloat.

He learned alot from my dad too, coming around as a young man.

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The satisfaction of a hard day’s work. Pride in a job well done.

My dad still works with the same ethic. I do wish he’d slow down a bit now, and enjoy the fruits of his labor more.

And he will, when the work is done. The best way, the right way.

He’ll relax and survey his project and mentally start planning the next.

Good thing there is hole in his hat, to let a few ideas escape… because I love to see him sitting down too. Content.

Are there lessons your parents taught you by example, that have stayed with you for life? Consider leaving a comment with your story. I LOVE to hear from you, and read every single one.

Bible Journaling: Using Transparent Text Overlays

bible journaling tutorial www.christasterken.com

You know how sometimes you see something…and there is an immediate sensation of recognition?

Of finding exactly what you were looking for, even if you didn’t know you needed it? That is how I felt the first time I was introduced to the concept of Bible journaling. I came across this post by Shanna Noel.

For a easily distracted sort, like myself, this was a perfect blend of creativity and faith. I’ve been doing this for less than a year, but get such joy from it, it’ll be a long time pursuit. Most entries are fairly simple as I learn new techniques.

A friend shared a song with me, and the lyrics hit me in a deep place. A special piece of art by Maxfield Parrish has been my “soul” expression for decades. They were a perfect combination.

I was inspired to do a detailed entry using transparencies with text overlays. I love the way the song lyrics were less dramatic than the lines chosen to be accents, blown up on the center of the picture underneath.

bible journaling tutorial  www.christasterken.com

Don’t be afraid to experiment!  The looser you approach this, the more fun you’ll have. Mistakes can be made into something new. Beginning is the hardest part. This layout was much easier than you might think. I broke it down into many steps JUST to show you specific details in case this is new to you. The whole layout came together very quickly.

How might you imagine using this technique?

Here is a detailed step-by-step tutorial, to help you create a similar style in your own journaling Bible.

[Read more…]

How to love your spouse, when they have nothing left to give

how to love spouse www.christasterken.com

Sometimes loving our spouse takes great effort.

My husband had struggled in a difficult time for several years. Not that he hadn’t found joy in his home life, but his career has held  profound personal disappointment.

A hard place to be in.

On one hand, humble gratitude to have a job when so many don’t. There is no job security in his world, so he doesn’t take this lightly.

On the other hand, much of his perceived self-value comes from the work of his hands.

And that work has been life stealing instead of satisfaction giving.

We know that our value does not lie in what we “do” in our lives. We know God has a perfect plan for us, don’t we?

Do we?

In the darkest moments of  the journey don’t we sometimes whimper a question to God? I did.

Shame filled me as I told God that my dear husband didn’t see evidence of that plan. I couldn’t see it in his life either.

I knew it to be true, but in those moments I doubted. What if my husband couldn’t see his value through God’s eyes? I worried.

That would be tragic.

God can handle our doubt. Our questions. Our fears. He offers countless words speaking to us, comforting us, teaching us to follow Him even when nothing makes sense.

He spoke to me in that moment of my shame and said,

“I show your husband love and joy every day through you.

You are my love to this child of mine!”

That, my sisters, is humbling. We are a gift to our spouse every day. In the Godless places where many of us work, it offers a beating, but…not destruction.

Our home is a refuge, the place where we can offer hope and healing. God’s home is in us and we have the tools we need to comfort each other in difficult seasons.

These steps have helped in our home and I prayerfully offer them to you:

  • Don’t complain about his job to him. Boy, have I had to learn this the hard way. Put yourself in your husband’s shoes and imagine the stressors of providing for his family. Now imagine our complaints on top of that. This is a top way to create a peaceful home by simply biting our tongues. Proverbs 18:21 “Words kill, words give life; they’re poison or fruit—you choose.”
  • Be extra patient. He might not be able to see your needs clearly. Extend grace.
  • Ask trusted friends to pray. Isaiah 26:3 promises that God “…will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on GodPray for a right state of mind.
  • Save money when possible. This alone helps relieve a bit of pressure, especially when you are facing uncertainty in the family income. It is a comfort to our husbands to know they can trust us to make the money go farther and respect the boundaries of the budget.
  • Work to not take it personally if he is distracted. Likely, he truly does care about your needs, but sometimes marriage requires we give when we don’t feel we have much left to offer. Just a little more might be the words that provide hope to stand against despair.
  • My husband says he found it very encouraging to receive short texts or emails. A scripture, a love note, just a smile emoticon. Anything to remind him that he matters to us. And even more importantly, this can remind him how much he matters to God. These are impactful distractions.
  • Keep the joy alive in the home. Another thing my husband appreciated was that the house was kept nicely and things were in order for a peaceful evening. Do what you can! Don’t make this a burden upon yourself. My girls are getting older so this was easier; when they were younger we made a game of picking up before Daddy got home. This isn’t something he demanded, far from it. It is a gift that I can give to him. One of the few things I can offer him to counter the chaos in his work world.
  • Be his wife. It is easy to get caught up in our multiple life roles. Find joy in your relationship.
  • Remember, this is a season. Some seasons bring peace and some bring troubles. All bring growth and opportunity to love each other richly. There is fruit to be had even in our winters.

Since we became one when we married, we agreed to share each other’s burdens. I might feel the joy of life, but it is incomplete if my partner suffers.

Does this feel like too much pressure for you to handle?  I get it, truly. It isn’t easy when our plates are already full to add this monumental mindset to the list. But I promise there is little else more important.

We can turn to God who asks us to trust in Him with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding. Stand strong then in boldly praying.

Psalm 34:4 shares the heart of David who knew troubles, I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” God will deliver us as well.

The change we need may be just around the corner. But the courage we need is already in us. We are more than conquerors!

What have you learned from dark times in your marriage that might encourage someone else?

If you aren’t already a subscriber, sign up today for a free ebook on tips for marriage. My gift to you!

Things Not To Say (when my mom gets cancer)

Things not to say when someone gets cancer www.chrisasterken.com

Today is a big day.

I want to share with you the story of when my mom got cancer. And what is was like for someone who loved her…

I couldn’t be more honored to share this as a guest post today on The Wounded Dove. My sweet friend Charity invited me to contribute there, and if you haven’t read her stuff, she is worth the time investment.

If you wouldn’t mind clicking here to come read the story, we’d love to have you join us on her site.

See you there hopefully, and I’d be grateful if you left a comment to help me thank her for the belief she felt in sharing this story.

P.S. Here is a link to one of my favorite post of hers. The transparency in her work is a beautiful thing indeed ♥

 

What Kind Of Image Do You Want To Project?

What kind of image do you want to project? www.christasterken.com

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The Sanctuary Of Ordinary Moments

sanctuary of ordinary moments www.christasterken.com

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