Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How To Really Fall In Love All Over Again

(Love Affair by Andy Warhol)

After writing the post on Marital Drift and having the song by Erin O'Donnell speak so deeply to my soul, the Lord brought this post before me.

I share an excerpt, but the whole piece is definitely worth your time.

"Funny, how love, this thing muscular and the only eternal, this bridge between our souls, it will sag sorely under pressure, love can’t bear the weight of our expectations, cracking at the joists where I slam foot in demand, where I peer laser sharp in the over analysis. Our bridge has near split, swayed and only grace saves us.

The days and the years, they teach me the startling; love can’t be strong-armed by the tongue. Love isn’t a function of communication. Love’s a function of connection; the gentle whoosh and rush of the blood through the veins, the tender connecting of the one flesh.

Poor communication doesn’t disconnect souls. It’s the disconnected souls who poorly communicate. I am learning.

Words may only magnify the fractures.

It’s the souls that laugh.

That let eyes linger and the fingertips meet, that find their way back to the beginning and share the values and the relive the memory and the flame every morning. How we first fell and ignited. Can I call that place home?"

Read the rest here. 

Towards the end of the post the author give a challenge on how to fall in love with your spouse.  It's an inspired idea.  Please take the time to check it out.

4 minutes times 4 affirmations, 4 hugs, 4 fixations = Fresh Love!

(The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt, 1907)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Marital Drift

I've been thinking a lot lately about that inevitable (unless you set your eyes on the prize and stay vigilant) thing called marital drift. This has particularly been on the forefront on my mind as I watch multiple friends go through rough patches in their marriages and some getting divorces.  It breaks my heart.

Somewhere between running the kids around town to soccer games and getting to business meetings and church events and bills and holidays, life can get lost!

I hate feeling disconnected.

I was talking on the phone with my mother today and my cell phone battery died.  We got disconnected.  But, in real life, with people and not electronics, the disconnect happens gradually.  Sometimes by the time we realize we are disconnected there is a chasm to cross.

It's good to sometimes step back and make an honest evaluation of things.  And more importantly to reach out--while the distance is still the kitchen table and not the Grand Canyon.

The other night Gana built a fire in the pit outside.  We sat outside for four hours drinking tea and talking.  Four hours!  It was wonderful!  It seems like when we finally slowed down and starting talking, we couldn't stop!  We had so much to say and so much stuff stored up! 

Now for those that do not have six children under eight years old, this might not seem like a big deal.  Maybe you are having simply rivetting coversations with your spouse everyday.  But, to be honest, it had been a while since we talked for that long a stretch of time without interruption and without distraction.  No computer.  No phones.  No television.  No company.  Even no children (they were in bed sleeping).

We are in the process of moving.  And in sorting and packing I came across this song from an old Erin O'Donnell album called "A Scrapbook of Sorts."  I haven't listened to it in years.  But, listening to it the last couple of days this song just spoke deeply to my heart, as I prayed for marriages.  The marriages of my friends, family members, in the Church, and even my own.

We keep standing.  And if you are tired of standing, you should know that we are standing with you.  Together, we are going to make it through.

"Dear Francis, I wouldn't still be here, if I didn't think, we'd get through......"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January Date-Your-Mate Winners!

At our family picnic on January 10 (pictures will be posted soon!) we drew a winner for January Date-Your-Mate!  And the winners are.......

Jordan and Kristina Evans with their entry of a long bike ride in Griffith Park together!  Runners up are Kevin and Minoska Villegas who were drawn but graciously surrendered first prize because they won last month!  They win the CD of their choice from Alpha Beth Ministries.

Mr. and Mrs. Evans win His and Hers T-Shirts from Union28!  Click on the button on our sidebar to visit their site and see all their great stuff!  Tell the world that marriage is worth it!  And for a limited time Union28 is giving our cell group and blog readers 15% any order of two or more items!  Enter this coupon code at check out: U28datesRgood15.  Good only through February 12, so order soon!  Makes great Mother's and Father's Day gifts!

Jordan and Kristina met in high school.  They were in show choir together!  They just celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss! 

Q. What do you love about each other?

Kristian:  I love that Jordan is steadfast and loyal (beyond anyone I've ever met). We've grown up together (23yrs) and it seems like I've loved him forever. He's my hero and my very best friend!

Jordan:  I love everything about Kristina. Her personality, her adventurous nature, her looks! ;^

Q. What's the best thing about being married?
Kristina:  Sharing life. We've always said we're better together than apart.

Jordan: Being a team. We don’t always agree, but we are certainly ALWAYS on the same team. We work through things, share things, and thoroughly enjoy sharing our life experiences with each other.

Q.  Favorite dates, beside the obvious bike riding?

Kristina:  I don't know about Jordan, but I think I have two. 1) After we put the kids to bed, we grab some cheese, bread and wine. Put on our pajamas and snuggle on the couch for a chat or a good movie. It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had, spending time like this always makes it better! 2) Going out and trying a new taco shop. We're always on the hunt for a good taco! Bike riding is good, too!!! :)

Jordan: Kristy has nailed two of my all-time favorites. Running off to Paris for the weekend is fun too!

Ooooo, la la! 


Our next drawing will be February 5th so start dating!  And encourage your married friends at HRC to Date-Their-Mates and enter our drawing, too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pity Party Interrupted

Philippians 4:8-"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

One day Corlette, my wife, said something that really disappointed me. I went out to the backyard to rake leaves. For about 15 minutes I treated myself to a real “pity party,” increasingly convinced that I should go back in and let her know how hurt I was.
But then, by God’s grace, [Phil 4:8] came to mind. Ha! I thought at first. What’s honorable, right, or lovely about the way she’s treating me? But the Holy Spirit wouldn’t give up. Within a few moments, I grudgingly conceded that Corlette is a good cook. Then I admitted that she keeps a beautiful home, practices wonderful hospitality, and has been very kind and thoughtful toward my family. Then I remembered how much she’d supported me through some difficult times in my work. And didn’t she even take up backpacking because she knew I loved it?
Within minutes my attitude was turned upside down and I saw the offensive comment for what it was, a momentary and insignificant flaw in an otherwise wonderful person. I went back inside, but not to confront Corlette. Instead, I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her how glad I was to be married to her.
Ken Sande in The Peacemaker

How many of us can relate to this story in our own marriages and relationships with other’s? I know I can, and I can tell you there have been plenty of times where I chose to hold onto the offense and allowed anger to boil. This is an example of when we look at the good in our spouse, as oppose to dwelling on the negative, we allow God to create an atmosphere of love, kindness, forgiveness, understanding, grace, and it allows intimacy to grow between us and God, and with our spouse. Ask yourself, how might I apply this to a problem or conflict I’m currently encountering?

Mark Soto

Monday, January 11, 2010

Selfless Giving

My wife and I just recently became grandparents to a beautiful baby girl.
Her name is Aubrey. First of all I can’t believe I’m a grandpa at this point in my life, but she is definitely a gift from God. Our son and his wife are living with us, so we get to see our grandbaby everyday. My wife has been a tremendous help to both our son and our daughter-in-law. She has shown me a new meaning of selfless giving these past two weeks. I am married to an amazing woman. Our daughter-in-law started having mild contractions a week prior to her delivery. She was unable to sleep at night during this time. My wife was up every night with her to comfort her. She would get up early the next morning to help her through the day. She has been doing laundry for them. Helping set up their room, organize the babies stuff and so on. At the hospital she was there from beginning to end. Helping with our granddaughter, helping with breast feeding, changing her, dealing with the hospital. I can go on forever. She did all this with minimum amounts of sleep. We also have our two daughters’ at home to take care of. Just watching my wife give of herself without ever complaining. In fact I complained for her and she would just tell me it’s in her heart to serve. God has truly given her a heart to serve. I was convicted in the area of serving others. Don’t get me wrong, I love to serve, but my wife can just keep going even when she is tired and she does it without complaining. Don’t worry; she has learned to draw boundaries, so she does not taken away from me and our girls. She is amazing. I know I said that already, but I can’t say it enough. She has inspired me to do things selflessly and without complaining and that can be a challenge with me at times. I ask God to give us His heart. To be able to serve with a joy in our hearts. To serve our spouse, our children, family, friends, and even strangers. Jesus was the example of a servant’s heart. He went to the cross for us. I think about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. How humble of an act it was. John 13: 15-17- “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” This doesn’t mean we go around washing everyone’s feet, but it does show us how to humble ourselves to serve other’s even if we feel we are above what we are doing. So remember, our service starts at home first with our spouse and children. But we are also called to serve one another. I know it will sometimes take us out of our cozy little lifestyles, too bad. Imagine if Jesus decided not to die on the cross because it wouldn’t benefit Him or He was too busy. Let’s go out of our way for each other. Let’s pray, encourage, and love one another as Jesus showed us. Thank you babe for reminding me what a selfless heart looks like. You are amazing. I love you.
Romans 12:10- "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

Mark Soto

Friday, January 8, 2010

Congratulations Mark and Raquel!

Mark and Raquel welcomed a sweet little bundle of grandbaby joy yesterday! 
Her name is Aubrey Modesta! 
Happy parents, Ana and Andrew,  are doing great!

Hippest grandparents ever!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Do I Have A Right To Be Offended?

(Excerpt from Daffodil Dreams blog.)

In my meditations lately, relationships have been heavy on my heart. I’ve been noticing a phenomenon lately. One that has no wisdom, Biblically or otherwise, as a foundation. But widespread nonetheless.

What is this prevalent, though unwise, thought? The thought that one should never be offended. That if one is offended about anything, something is wrong. Something needs to be said, done, or corrected. Someone needs confronting. And then, of course, a person also has the perfect right to stew about it.

However, Jesus says in Matthew 18:7, that offenses WILL come. So, the first thing we need to come to terms with is that offenses WILL COME. There is no way around that. You will be offended by your spouse. By your parents. By your child. By your boss. By your employee. By your neighbor. By the person sitting next to you in church. The only way to not be offended by someone is to not let your life touch that person or that person touch your life. Since you cannot follow Christ and also not be in fellowship with His Body, that is not an option.

(Read the rest here.  You will NOT be disappointed!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January DATE YOUR MATE reminder!

We have some exciting prizes to announce for January Date Your Mate! We will draw the winner at the picnic on January 10. You do NOT need to be present to win, but you must have entered in person, via email or in a comment on the blog before that Sunday. 

The prize is.......*drumroll*........

HIS AND HER SHIRTS from Union 28! You can see some of their products on this post.

The fine print:

1. Turn in your date by the first cell group meeting of the month. That is when we will draw a winner!

2. You enter by telling us when, where and what you did on your date. No TMI, please! LOL!

3. You may enter in person at cell group, via an email to Raquel or Daja or via the blog (leave a comment with the particulars).

4. You do not need to be present to win!!!!

5. You do not need to be a regular cell group attendee to enter! If you read the blog, you may enter on the blog. We want to encourage all married couples to set aside time for just the two of you! Remember your marriage!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Is this how Jesus will present us to His Father?  We think, YES! 

Gana and Daja

Marriage is sacred.  It was created to be the wedding portrait of Christ and His Bride hung over the blazing fireplace of judgement.  A match made in Heaven, a contract signed in blood.  In the bond of marriage, we are to stand at the altar of Sacrifice or we're not to stand at all.

Colossians 1:16-17, gives us this assurance-- " him all things were created...and in him all things hold together."

God alone created marriage.  Adam slept through the entire ceremony.  Eve came in late.  It seems to me men are still sleeping through marriage and women are still coming to their senses a little too late.  God alone performed that ceremony and He alone can hold it together.

Much of our disillusionment over marriage stems from the fact that we've been duped into believing that good equals easy.  In other words, we often assume that if something is difficult, it can't be of God.  Nothing has been more difficult for Christ than the marraige to His Bride yet Jude 24 says He'll present her to His Father with great joy!  The Greek root word is "Agalliao."  It means "to show one's joy by leaping and skipping denoting excessive or ecstatic joy and delight!"  Just picture it.  After all the ups and downs in the relationship, after all the marriage has cost Him, He'll act like a love-struck boy introducing his girl to his dad for the very first time.  Why? Because He thinks she was worth it.

On the pleasant days of marraige, gaze across at your groom and conclude that he is worth it.  On the difficult days of marriage gaze up at your Groom and conclude that He's worth it.

"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:12b

(by Beth Moore from her book Things Pondered.)