Are you lazy in love?

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Are you Lazy in Love?

Here’s a quiz for all you married men and women out there.  Answer each question honestly and I’ll tell you how you rate in the romance department.

1. After my spouse cooks a delicious meal, I’m most likely to say:

a.Thank you, Sweetheart.  The food was extraordinary.

b.Do you know where the –BURP!- remote control is?

2. When your spouse talks about something good that happened at work, you’re more likely to say:

a. Honey, I’m proud of you.  I always knew you were smart and capable.

b. I smell the baby’s diaper.  Why don’t you prove your capability by changing it?

3. When you and your spouse have to be separated for more than one night, your parting words are:

a. I’ll be counting the hours until I see you again.  I’ll miss you and just remember, no one loves you like I do!

b. Tomorrow is trash day.  Don’t forget to carry it to the curb.  And don’t forget to take Junior to his t-ball game.  His uniform is in the dryer.  Don’t let him eat sugar.

4. After a relaxing dinner at home, you’re most likely to:

a. Stroll around the neighborhood holding hands and whispering romantic things in each other’s ears.

b. Sit in front of the tube drinking orange soda and wishing the kids hadn’t eaten all the Doritos.

5. You and your spouse dress up, get a babysitter, go out to eat, and have wonderful dates together:

a. every few weeks.

b. on anniversaries ending in the number “0.”

Romance.  Gosh darn it.  We all seem to get such a good start in this area and end up faltering somewhere in the “middle years.” Have any of you slipped into that obligatory morning/evening kissing pattern?  There’s nothing less romantic than the obligatory kiss.  Let’s be honest.  We’ve kissed our grandmas and puppies with more enthusiasm.

And don’t even think I’m focusing this blog post on men.  Women are equally at fault.  Men and women can easily get preoccupied and focused on things and people other than spouses.  Criticism can quickly become the primary mode of communication.  And let me be crystal clear.  Verbal criticism is death to romance.  Absolute death.

When Phil and I first married we lived in our own little world of romance.  We would go out to eat and shake our heads with pity at the couples who spent most of their time chewing or looking around.  We rejoiced that the horrid complacency we were witnessing was destined to never rear its ugly head in our unbelievably passionate and powerful union.  Yeah.  And we even used words like “unbelievably passionate and powerful union.”  I know.  It’s almost funny.  Years later, we believe the words “unbelievably passionate and powerful union” still apply.  We just sometimes get lazy.

We would never let our yard grow too high.  We would never forget to give children a meal.  But ironically, we sometimes forget to feed the romance in our marriage.  But it’s not too late for change, friend.

Kiss passionately every day.  Write love letters.  Have a lot more sex.  Schedule times for intimacy.  Serve each other.  Constantly.  Daily.  Don’t worry about what your spouse is doing.  Focus on your part.  The result?  You’ll be part of the romance revolution.  A revolution that honors God.  A revolution we desperately need.

For romance and laughter, check out my Doug and Carlie series, available in Kindle and paperback at the link below (And yes, there are a lot of FREE pages you can read of all 4 books at this Amazon link.  And I get it.  You love the word FREE.  I am with you, friend.  I am SO with you.):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074C76273/?ie=UTF8&crid=2NCYJG6PP4U66&keywords=doug%20and%20carlie%20series&qid=1563550251&ref_=sr_1_6&s=gateway&sprefix=doug%20and%20carlie%20series%2Caps%2C348&sr=8-6

 

Southern Summers and Sleeveless Shirts

I know.  Some of you are expecting this blog to be a tearful, poignant, and beautiful look at southern summers with all their glorious traditions.  Lightning bug catching in Aunt Lydia’s backyard.  Lemonade on the front porch.  Doing something, anything, “down by the creek.”  Fish fries at your Granddaddy’s house complete with homemade ice cream cranked out by Uncle George while he complained about local politics and young people’s lack of work ethic.  But I’ll save that kind of heartfelt nostalgia for the back page of “Southern Living” magazine.

I have a confession.  There’s only one time of year that I don’t really love being a southerner.  Summer.   It’s the excessive heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes, the sleeveless shirts.  OK.  It’s mostly the sleeveless shirts.  But the sleeveless shirts are a direct result of those other things, right?

I just can’t do sleeveless shirts.  I don’t have the necessary self-confidence.  I want to.  Oh friend, how I want to.  When it hits 98 degrees with a humidity of 117%, I desperately want to throw on a sleeveless shirt and feel good about it.  Proud even.  But no.

When it comes to sleeveless shirts, there are two things working against me.  No, I don’t mind talking about them.   The first thing is obvious to everyone.  I’m whiter than a piece of copy paper.  And I don’t mean the cream-colored paper that’s supposed to be easy on the eyes.  No.  I mean that stark white paper that’s a dollar cheaper because it causes blindness in infants and the elderly.  I’m whiter than that paper.  Seriously.  Parents have rushed to put sunglasses on their toddlers at the sight of my bare arms.  It’s embarrassing.

The second thing is that I’m jiggly.  You know, I have a lot of arm jiggle.  Your Aunt Bess had a lot of arm jiggle.  Remember?  You’d be working with her in the garden and she would enthusiastically raise her arm up and down to celebrate a particularly big zucchini squash.  And it was like a whole massive blob of white arm Jell-O was jumping up and down celebrating right along with her.  Oh, the memories.  The memories.  Yeah, I’m just like your Aunt Bess.  The sad thing?  I can’t even grow a decent zucchini squash.  Now you see why summer is so depressing for me.

I know.  Some of you successful, driven, Type A people are saying, “Lisa, just get some sun and lift some weights.  Tone those arms and stop complaining.”  You’re probably the same people who disinfect the shower every other day.   Let me guess, you got your online Masters degree while nursing twins and writing a Mediterranean cookbook.  Yeah.  I know your kind.  I respect you.  I do.  But I cannot be you.  If I could be you, I would have already grown a prize-winning zucchini squash.

Summer is here.  Sadly, I put away my tasteful and figure-flattering sweater sets.  But don’t worry.  Out of respect for small children and the elderly, I promise to wear summer clothing with some kind of sleeve…unless I’m mowing, weed eating, or gardening.  But don’t worry.  I do those things as often as I disinfect the shower.  Everyone’s summer is safe.Orlando, Florida, USA

Wear Clothes…Please

bathing beauties

Before you race to the pool or water park, may I share a heartfelt confession?   I really don’t want to see your belly button.  I’m sorry.  I don’t want to see your belly button if you weigh 400 pounds.  I don’t want to see your belly button if you weigh 100 pounds.  There are just parts of the average American human that I don’t want to see unless we ran off to Vegas and got married.  Did we get married last night?  If not, I’d like to pass on seeing your belly button and other crevices beyond description.

The last time I went to a water park it was a bizarre experience in human behavior.  My, oh my.  People completely forgot their clothes.  I saw things that should only be seen in a horror movie.  By the end of the day, I felt like I had married half of Indiana.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have no problem with the average one-piece bathing suit.  I have no problem with shorts or tank tops.  I don’t even have a problem with a fat hairy man wearing a swim suit with no t-shirt (as long as it’s not a Speedo).   Oh friend, trust me,  I’m all about tolerance in the area of bodily imperfections.  SO, whether you’re school-glue-white and chubby or whether you’re tan and toned, in my book you are equally welcome to come to the water park and enjoy a day in the sun.

What did you say?  Oh, what’s my feeling on men who have a lot of hair on their backs?  Again, I take a broad-minded view of tolerance and openness.  Hairy-backed men or women with a lot of cellulite or children with dirty finger nails are all to be treated with kindness at the water park.  All are welcome, friend!

Just wear decent clothing.  That’s all I’m requesting.  Stop and think before you leave the house.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself a few pivotal questions.  Are ALL bodily crevices covered and/or contained by this swim suit?  When I jump in the water will all bodily crevices REMAIN covered and/or contained by this swim suit?

Whether you weigh 400 pounds or 100 pounds, your clothing choice shouldn’t make you the center of attention.  Are you wearing something that makes everyone drop their drink and say, “Lawsy, I’m glad my granny isn’t here to see THAT.”  Yeah.  Might want to re-consider being an offense to the grannies of the world.  I know.  Some people like being the center of attention.  They need to get over themselves and give the rest of us a visual break.

In summary, don’t wear a swim suit that’s too small.  Men, you should never wear a Speedo.  Yes, I said never.  What?  You say you work out two hours a day and you’re 22 years old?  Yeah.  Still no Speedo.  Sorry.   Women, save the graphic visual display for your honeymoon.  Leave some things to the imagination.  Never forget the “no crevices” rule.  OK.  My work here is done.  Happy rest of the summer!

Cell Phones in Church?

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Technology.  Most of us love to rail against it while simultaneously checking Facebook like a chain smoker.  Today we’re going to feature a question from a reader and my response which I know will cause people to both love and hate me.  Don’t worry.  I can take it.  Here’s to our love/hate relationship with those blasted cell phones.  Lord, give me strength.

Dear Lisa,

I have witnessed numerous teenagers bringing their cell phones to church and being too busy texting to hear their Sunday school lesson or better yet the preacher’s sermon. Is this disrespectful to God or is it just me being from an older generation where this was unheard of?  I don’t know if this is anything you’d like to write about, but I wouldn’t mind reading your thoughts regarding this problem. I would also like to remain anonymous.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen Tired of Young People Being Ridiculous

(Okay.  The letter is real.  But yes, I made up the name.  You already figured that out, right?)

Dear Concerned,

I often long for bygone days when cell phones were only owned by brain surgeons and bail bondsmen.   But alas, now the average 14-year-old is evidently in such incredible demand that he or she needs to be on call 24 hours a day.  Personally, I don’t know one 14-year-old who could bail you out of jail or remove a tumor from your cerebral cortex.  So it makes no sense to me.

But despite our disdain, cell phones are here to stay.  Well, unless something even cooler than a cell phone comes out.  Don’t be surprised if manufacturers figure a way to install a chip in your child’s brain which will give them the power to instantly “message” friends day or night with important information about American Idol and the cutest boy at school.  Yes, I know.  They could also message back and forth about the history assignment.  But they won’t.  Go figure.

However, you may be a bit surprised by my answer regarding cell phone use at church.  My husband is a techie.  He hasn’t read a Bible with paper pages in years and years.  He reads the Bible on his iPad and his iPhone.   When we read the Bible together in the mornings, again, it’s always on an electronic device. I can assure you he stays on the text during church or sometimes scrolls down for reference materials related to the text.  If the pastor is speaking about the temple, I’ll look over and see that Phil has pulled up an illustration of the temple on his iPad.  It’s a great reference tool.  So, just be aware that some church-going techies might actually be on the Bible lesson being discussed.  In fact, this is becoming more and more prevalent.

Now, to those who are actually messaging or receiving messages during church (or ANY place where someone is speaking up front) allow me to be crystal clear.  No.  Just no.

Church is a joyful sacred time to hear the word of God and encourage others with the gospel of Christ.  So, dear precious readers young or old, unless you’re on call with a job or  you need to remove a tumor from someone’s head, please stop messaging during church.  Stop checking FB to see if your old high school friends are thinner than you.  Stop looking at cute cat videos on Instagram.  Stop reading emails from your stock broker.  It’s rude and frankly, ridiculous.  I hope that was clear.  If not, feel free to message me (just not on Sunday morning).

 

Teenagers Need You!

Arkansas 4H

I don’t wear skinny jeans.  If I did wear skinny jeans, the jeans could no longer be called skinny.  I wear orthopedic shoes too.  You know the kind of shoes your grandma wore?  Yes.  I love those shoes.  I embrace those shoes.  Those shoes keep my 55-year-old feet happy.  And when a woman’s feet are happy, the sun shines brightly all over the world.

The truth?  I wasn’t cool even when I was sixteen.  I was awkward.  Painfully awkward.  Of course, now I’m thankful for that teenage awkwardness because I learned so many things that help me as a speaker and a writer.  But at the time, I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to be free from the whole teenage scene.   I would happily be a grown-up and never look back.

So you can imagine my shock a few years ago when people started to ask me to speak at events targeted at teenagers.  My first thought was, “Are you kidding?  Absolutely not.  I am NOT the right speaker for teenagers.  I don’t wear cool clothes.  I never went to prom.  I hate current pop music.   I refuse to use teenage lingo.  Oh, and I wear orthopedic shoes, remember?”  But by God’s grace, I didn’t say those things aloud.  I simply said, “Yes.”

I still remember that first event years ago.   I stood in front of 500 teenagers in Nashville and said, “I get it.  I’m not cool.  Let’s be honest.  I’m not even as cool as your mom.  I’m probably not as cool as your grandma.  I drove a ’73 Gremlin in high school.  Most of my high school classmates don’t remember my name because I was invisible back then.  Truthfully, being in front of you today kind of terrifies me.  But I’m here to tell you something important because I care about you.   The life inside these walls?  This teenage world?  Well, it’s not the real world.  Not at all.”  I pointed to the auditorium door and the crowd fell silent.  “The world out that door doesn’t care if you are ‘somebody’ in this high school.  Not one person outside that door cares if you were on every page of the yearbook or if you didn’t even show up for pictures.  They don’t.  That’s just the truth.”

I talked about the things that matter in life.   The things that never stop mattering.  Kindness.  Selflessness.  Elbow grease.  Humility.  Respect in guy/girl relationships.  I reminded those teenagers that their intelligence is a gift but it would never insure their success.  Not at all.  I’d rather hire a kid with average or below average intelligence who will work cheerfully than a smart kid who complains.  Whining makes young people (or adults) seem immature and ridiculous.  Yes, I told funny stories.  I tried to season my words with humor and humility.  But mostly?  Well, mostly, I just told them the truth.

We live in a world filled with adults trying to be “cool enough” to relate to teenagers.  But that’s completely backwards.  Teenagers don’t need lessons on how to be teenagers.  They need lessons on how to be grown-up.  They’re crying out for someone to love them enough to tell them the truth.  Trust me.  They won’t even notice your shoes.

Big Deal Proposals

Pride and prejudice

 

There’s a trend in America right now.  Make everything a big deal.  A really big deal.  Let’s take marriage proposals.  There was a day when a marriage proposal was pretty simple.  A young man didn’t even consider spending money on the proposal.  He didn’t spend months planning it either.  He looked at the young woman lovingly.  He may have even gotten down on one knee or held her hand.  But the words were simple.  “Will you marry me?”  She said, “Yes.”  They got married a few months later.  Was it a big deal?  Absolutely.  It was a big deal because they were actually getting married. To each other.  The proposal didn’t have to be rocket science.

 

But now everyone wants to do something worthy of a viral YouTube video.  They jump out of planes.   They propose in scuba gear under the blue waters of the Caribbean.  Some have the proposal written on a Jumbo Tron at a Cardinals’ game or flying across the sky behind an airplane.   Some men even hire a stringed quartet and rent out a whole restaurant.  And that’s fine.  Really.  If you want to rent a hot air balloon and jump out of it with the words “Will you marry me?” written on the parachute, knock yourself out.  Literally.

 

But one creative marriage proposal in California disturbed me greatly.  A man recruited 300 friends and associates to ride motorcycles in such a way as to shut down Interstate 10 with a massive traffic jam.  He then proposed to his girlfriend right there in the middle of the interstate with friends and family watching from a nearby overpass.  He later commented that the commotion and terrible traffic jam was worth it.  Worth it?  Was it worth it to the people trying to get to work or another obligation that afternoon?  That, my friends, is the height of selfishness and narcissism.  A word to the wise.  Don’t marry someone who would shut down traffic on a busy interstate highway because he thinks the world revolves around your undying love for each other.  It doesn’t.

 

The good news?  If you’re a young man who wants to secure the undying affection of a good woman, you don’t have to stop traffic or don scuba gear.  You don’t have to hire a private pilot or a stringed quartet.   You don’t even have to think of a proposal that will go viral and land you a spot on the evening news.

 

I suggest you do something far more meaningful.   Be kind even when you don’t feel like it.  Be considerate of her needs.  Man up and work hard at your chosen profession.  Ask forgiveness when you hurt her.  Ask her to join you in the great adventure of a life built together…with all the sacrifices, difficulties, and rewards.  Be meticulously faithful.  Tell her you’ll love and protect her until death.  Then do it.  Day after day after day.

 

If you do that, you’ll probably never be on the evening news.  Your marriage may never make the papers.  But you’ll be a stand out, friend.  A stand out in a selfish world that desperately cries out for real love.   And trust me.  That’s a big deal.

Christmas Decorating? Don’t do it!

Halloween candy was still 50% off at the local grocery store when some of my friends put up their Christmas trees.  Seriously.  Friends, if you’re still eating pumpkin-shaped candy corn that tastes fresh, don’t put up a Christmas tree.  If the mums on your front porch haven’t turned dark brown yet, put that reindeer wreath back in the hall closet.  If your Thanksgiving turkey is still frozen or it’s still walking around on a turkey farm in Maine, step away from the Santa Claus candy dish.

I understand a retail business decorating for Christmas a little early.  They’re trying to sell stuff.  But when my Facebook timeline began to show friends’ homes lit up for the Christmas holidays during the FIRST week in November, I wondered if the heated political climate of the last few months had caused folks to lose a grip on reality.

May I make a suggestion?  All of you need to pick up a Norman Rockwell calendar. You need to run your life by that calendar.   A Norman Rockwell calendar will clearly and beautifully illustrate what every American is supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it.  The November page of the calendar always has that classic picture of the friendly chubby grandma bringing a golden-brown turkey to the table.  That chubby grandma is trying to tell you something, friend.  She looks old and wise so you should probably listen.

In November, you’re supposed to think about Thanksgiving.  You’re supposed to plan for Thanksgiving.  You’re supposed to spend the whole month being thankful.  If you want to decorate, it should look like the Brady Bunch home of the 70’s.  Orange, brown, avocado, and harvest gold.  If your pumpkins haven’t rotted yet, you can leave them on the porch.  I’ve usually killed all my mums by now.  But this year, I’ve kept them alive.  It’s a Christmas miracle…uh, I mean, a Thanksgiving miracle.

I love Christmas trees.  My family loves Christmas trees too.  We love icicle lights.  Who doesn’t love a long string of fake icicles made from little white lights?  Wreaths?  We’re big fans.  Really tacky Popsicle stick ornaments made by Kindergartners?  Absolutely.  I’ll even cheerfully tolerate a can of fake snow sprayed around your bathroom mirror, if you’re so inclined.  But let’s all slow down a bit on the Christmas celebration.  Remember to celebrate Thanksgiving with great joy and appreciation.  No matter what you think about our country’s political situation, our blessings are many.

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