Change Changes Everything!

Everything always changes, doesn’t? I mean no matter what we do or how we try to keep things going the same, something will always change somehow.

So many times change can be great! I loved when I changed from a girlfriend to a fiance  to and to a wife! A couple of weeks ago Sweets and I had the chance to get back to the States and Canada for some great family visiting. I was FINALLY able to change my name! I LOVED that change!

But while we were there, a number of other things also changed. Some not so good, some not so bad and some we are still unsure about!

Sweets’ wonderful grandfather was diagnosed with cancer the day – actually the MOMENT we arrived. (Literally we walked in the door the second the phone rang and the hospital CALLED to tell him he had cancer – I still can’t believe they did that over the phone!) Many things will have to change now.

About 5 days later Sweets was asked to go to Iowa to see about a job opportunity. (We were in MO, so it was about a 7 hour drive to IA) We were kind of in shock! This was not in the plan! We were set to stay in Japan 18 more months, save as much money as possible and THEN start looking for work for him closer to his home/family when we could pay cash for a car and closer to 50% down on a home. Leaving Japan now we will only have about 1/3 of the savings we hoped to have before leaving.

Needless to say we drove the 7 hours to IA, had a very intense interview for a pretty niche job opportunity and then we drove another 7 hours back discussing Gods hand in all of this and what He could possibly be up to!

Let me tell you I was glad to have those 7 hours! ūüôā

So here we are, in a very difficult situation emotionally for both of us as we try to figure out the best steps to take next. Sweets has accepted the job offer and will be moving to IA right after Christmas. I on the other hand find myself in a VERY difficult situation that needs much prayer and only direction from the Lord.

Should I stay and fulfill my contract til March or leave with Sweets and be with my husband as he takes on this new responsibility in January?

To make it easier/further complicate matters I am Canadian and therefore need to wait for immigration clearance before I can move. This helps me to know that if it doesn’t happen before January then I can stay in Japan until it does. But then there’s the being apart for so long…

Alternatively I can go to IA with him for a month or two, then fly to Canada and stay with my family until the immigration process is cleared. This way its easier/cheaper for us to visit 1-2 times a month on weekends as we wait out the immigration. In Japan this will not be possible.

I go back and forth almost everyday! I love my students, and my work but I also want to be by the side of my husband at this very stressful/amazing time in his life. I want to be there when he comes home from work and help him get settled into the new life for at least a month or two before living apart…. I just really do not know whats best. Sometimes I think it is more selfish for me to stay in Japan and leave my husband. But other times when I think of the students, and the promises I made to them, their parents and my boss. Not to mention I do not think it is a good witness to break contract. I sometimes feel more selfish wanting to be with my husband rather than honour my word to complete the work when it gets hard because I miss my man….

Both sides are totally valid and depending on the view both would be honouring to the Lord and Biblically obedient!

So no matter how much I tried to keep our life the same (and I have been trying!) one call changed it all! Despite the trying I am in the process of life changes, but all the while learning that God is also in the process of changing ME.

In Sweets taking this new job, I am forced to face a lot of things about me that I know God has been pointing to, but I have been conveniently ignoring and rather working on the things I THINK I should work on first! (you know, the easier stuff!)

Change: For the good, the bad and the Glory of God! Bring it on!

-Bree

Change your mind not your spouse!

A big welcome to Summer – Finally!

This has been the first week of THE real heat for us in Nagoya. The past few weeks have been hot but thankfully were lacking the humidity that typifies our area of Japan. Actually, I love the humidity! I know I am weird. I just look at it as a free sauna experience – my skin never looks better than this time of year and I love the feeling of walking out the door and into a wall of humidity. Sorry I just do!

We organized a beach BBQ event with our friends from work, great people, tons of fun – not Christians. This generally does not get in the way of having a great time, or enjoying each others company though. They respect our lifestyle and choices and we enjoy their friendship. It is all good!

However, every now and then the topics or content can show strong differences between our views and ideals.

The topic of marriage came up and most of the couples we were with are married, one divorced,  one couple are common-law and the other couple is just newly dating.  This leaves room for a lot of comments, advice and opinions. Mostly Sweets and I just listen and it was yesterday that I noticed just how vastly different married life can be with Christ involved.

Of course everyone is talking about how we can’t change the other person (thankfully they have all gotten to learn that!) but more of it was about how to put up with your partners annoying things, how to ignore or what tactics one may use to cause about a change. Most of it was negative and I know marriage isn’t perfect, its hard and it takes sacrifice but more negative things were being said about marriage and spouses than good. And these are happily married couples speaking! (for the most part.)

It was during that conversation that I learned a few things:

1) Marriage is meant to make us Holy not happy (I had read that millions of times but it sunk in yesterday) when I realized that things about Sweets that make me want him to change is always an opportunity God uses to bring a change IN ME/ MY attitude and my perspective on myself. Anytime I think a negative thing about my husband I am immediately reminded of how much he has to put up with me and it makes me so thankful for our marriage instead of annoyed. No one ever admitted during that conversation that maybe THEY were also in need of changing.

2) Only with Christ is change a real hope. This is not about dirty laundry on the floor or petty things like that. But some of these people are dealing with things that really should be changing with maturity – but it is clear that no one believes those personality flaws can be changed – ever. I know that there is hope for me and my man to become more and more Godly and so change for the better is inevitable as a christian. He gets the Glory!

3) People do not think that these ideals are possible or even natural after the first couple of years of marriage. This will have to be proven in the coming years, as it is true Cullen and I are still in our first year only and maybe my perspective will change – but faith will not allow me to change my mind that God can not change people and make us more like His Perfect Son. That is what we are living for!

It’s true we cannot change our spouse, but we can change how we view them and the situation – and how we view ourselves. We are equally not the perfect catch for them – and they are equally putting up with a lot from our end as well.

Christ is ever ready to change us though and praise to His name it is not only possible but POSITIVE!!

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage advice from a newlywed?!

Last post I shared a bit of my thoughts on respect for my husband. Today I was thinking about my wonderful man and reflecting on the week, thinking back to times I may have shown respect to him and ways I may not have. I try to do this every night before we go to bed, just to be sure that he knows that I am aware of times I failed him and that I am working on making them far and fewer, and also so that he knows how much I respect him in my heart and mind even if at times my actions or words do not demonstrate that so well.

I don’t know a whole lot about marriage, its only been 11 months! But I can say that one thing that I am compelled to do at least once a day (sometimes more!) – is to thank Sweets for marrying me. The first couple of times I said this to him, I saw him light up and shine like never before, I know that I touched a place in his heart though he didn’t seem to know what to do with that!

He was surprised by my words and I think he took it negatively, as if I thought he had pity on me, or was doing me a favour in which I needed to thank him. In some ways maybe I feel this. Not for the same negative reasons, but my man is pretty amazing!¬†¬† I dreamed my whole life of marrying a great guy, I had standards after all – but I never thought I would marry someone THIS awesome. I am still shocked he felt we were well fitted. On top of that, I come from a kinda wild, dysfunctional, emotional/vocal family and he comes from the most traditional, stable and reserved family. When I was young I dreamed of family life just like the kind in which he grew up, but with my personality coming out of my upbringing, I never imagined I could be yoked with someone from the complete opposite spectrum. I wasn’t expecting to marry poorly, or anything but I did expect to marry someone with a more similar upbringing, and a bit more chaos in their life.

So that being said, I am just so thankful for my marriage. I am thankful for so much about Sweets, our relationship, and our lives. But more than all of that I am so thankful that he chose me to be his one.¬† So everyday I cant help but tell him how thankful I am that he married me! Every day I see that same shine come into his eyes and smile as he assures me that he is equally thankful that I said “yes”.

I can not think of a better habit to have started in our marriage than open, vocal, love and appreciation for each other and this relationship.

So there’s my marriage advice of 11 months!¬† Appreciate your spouse verbally and let me know if they don’t light up and shine like never before!

Honour you God, Honour your marriage,

-Bree

Allowing him to be The Man

Hey all,

It has been a long while! I wont bore you with the details, but I am glad to be back and hope to make it a more regular thing! I have missed the world of blogging!!!

Ok for my first post I will start with a mini update. Cullen and I have now been married 10 months! Its shocking how fast time goes by! I have learned a lot and lacked a lot his year and though I wish I had had the time/energy and wherewith to share it all, I do believe this was a time in our lives that was meant to be intimate and sweetened by privacy. The Lord has been working over time in each of us, and we have had a fabulous year together! I can say that marriage is WAY BETTER than I anticipated it could ever be. It really does leave my dreams in the dust!

That being said I want to start my first post back on a topic that is close to my heart. Respect for our husbands.

I came across something on FB the other day that really annoyed me! (Shocking I know) but it really made me think about what kind of message we send to our husbands with jokes, pictures and other comments that are meant to be funny but actually make a statement about our level of respect for them.

Here is the picture that really had me going:

Sad

I couldn’t believe how many of my (christian) friends were agreeing and posting this on their own walls. Especially shocking when I know their husbands will also see it.¬† I felt really sad for them knowing that my friends are declaring their own husbands to be so little in their eyes….to every person they have ever met or sometimes haven’t met!

I encountered a similar feeling when I was looking at wedding cakes last year and I am sure you have seen these also, but does this not just make it seem like it is all set up for failure, ridicule and disrespect?

1 2 3 4 5

I hope that I can be the kind of wife that allows my husband to be The Man in my life but also that I confirm to him how greatly I value, respect and need him to be MY MAN.

Maybe I am making a bigger deal of it than is needed, but I want to ask you to please comment and let me know what do you think ? Do these images send a negative  message to our husbands  or are they just in fun?

Thanks for stopping by!!

-Bree

 

Meal Menu Monday

Hope everyone had a fabulous week! I have a ton I want to write about still, and have 3-4 drafts saved but NO TIME!!! I am really hoping to get some down time tonight and finish what I have been working on.

It has been a crazy week with Thanksgiving, and wedding planning (we will have a second wedding banquet here in Japan on sunday – and it is a nightmare! Nothing has gone right, there are so many issues and with each problem it gets more and more expensive!) I was blessed with a stress free – problem free wedding in the summer and this “simple dinner” has turned into double the price and triple the headache!) BUT it will be so much fun and all my little students are very excited to be part of Miss Bree’s Wedding! ūüôā

This week I decided to not put too much thought into the meals and trying new things. It’s a good week to go with simple.

Monday Lunch: Left over thanksgiving dinner (also part of the “make my life crazy campaign” I wasn’t able to make the dinner Thursday, we went to eat at Outback and so I made Thanksgiving last night – still a surprise for Sweets!)

Dinner: Lemon chicken, steamed broccoli and beans, garlic bread with cheese

Tuesday Lunch: Hayashi rice, soybeans, fruit

Dinner: Chili, green salad, with crackers and french bread

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Fiesta Skillet, sliced avocado, fruit

Dinner: lemon pork chops, grilled bell peppers, pumpkin soup

Friday Lunch: beef stew, tangerine, broccoli with sesame dressing,

Dinner: Church Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner with TURKEY!! and dishes from all over the World. (International Church, with more than 20 Nations bringing food!

Saturday: spaghetti, and salad

Sunday: Wedding Celebration!!!

Meal Menu Monday

Wow! This week has gone by so fast I feel dizzy! It has been a very busy week but a lot of good food was eaten! YUM. This week I have been reflecting a lot on being a wife and my value as a helpmeet in this marriage. Lots more to post about this week! BUT for now: Here is this weeks Meal Menu. I am pretty excited to head out to the grocery store in the next hour or so and start cooking!

Monday Lunch: Baked fish, sting beans, corn soup, granola bar

Dinner: fettuccine Alfredo, steamed broccoli with sesame and mixed salad

Tuesday Lunch: Left over alfredo, cut fruit, vegetable “trail mix”

Dinner: Green Bean Casserole, and cut fruit

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Left over casserole, yogurt, mixed nuts

Dinner: (It Will be American Thanksgiving, and since Sweets is American I will surprise him with a Thanksgivingesque meal) Rotisserie Chicken (Turkey is hard to get and very expensive!) Mashed potatoes and gravy (I secretly stashed away a couple of gravy mixes in my suitcase last time we were in the West) cranberry sauce, Salad and Stuffing. Mini Apple pie for dessert.

Friday Lunch: Left overs!

Dinner: Curry rice, spinach salad and yogurt

Saturday Lunch: Leftover Curry rice, fruit and yogurt

Dinner: Homemade Pizza, with salad

Sunday: No Cook Day!

Have an enjoyably Delicious week,

Thanks be to The Lord!!!

Meal Menu Monday

Hey all, Sorry I’m late on this one! It’s been one of THOSE weeks, you can just imagine! Non stop all week, no rest time and worst of all Sweets has been sick with a fever and terrible coughing fits. By Gods grace he has still be able to work and function very well, today has been a better day!

I am looking forward to some great food and best of all the temperature is dropping this week (no this is not the best part!) but because of this I get to make soup, soup and more soup! My favourite thing about having to put up with the cold!

Hope everyone else has a great week as well! Blessings!

Monday Lunch: Ham sandwich, corn soup, soy beans, cut fruit, granola bar and green tea

Dinner: Slow cooker Teriyaki Chicken , fruit and green salad, pumpkin soup, apple cider!

Tuesday Lunch: left over chicken, broccoli and raisins in sesame dressing, bread roll, mixed nuts

Dinner: Hearty home-made chicken noodle soup, crackers, cheese and cut fruit

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Leftover chicken soup, bread roll, fruit and granola bar

Dinner: pork chops, steamed string beans and spinach, scallop noodles

Friday Lunch: Minestrone soup with chicken, crackers, fruit and mixed nuts

Dinner:Leftover minestrone soup, garlic bread with cheese, cut fruit

Saturday Lunch: beef stir-fry on rice, and miso soup

Dinner: baked salmon with dill, steamed broccoli and carrots, sautéed yellow and red peppers in taco seasoning and baked potato

Sunday: No cook day!