My Biggest Fan- Restoring Home

Who’s your biggest fan?

Do you know who mine is? My husband.

He is my biggest fan and relentless supporter and I am his.

For me, being his biggest fan is easy. Tony is Mr. Steady, he rarely finds himself in a bad mood and his continual optimism is inspiring.

Me? I am a hot mess most of the time. And yet, he focusses on my strengths and praises me. He is convinced there is not a better writer, mother, wife on the planet.

You should be your spouse's biggest fan. Restoring Home, Marriage, and Love
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This means the WORLD to me. I struggled this past weekend. I had a writing deadline (which I met) and this had me in a funk. Not because I was behind and there was too much pressure. I thrive under pressure, I was struggling because of the onslaught of self-doubt that comes every time I meet a goal and whenever my work is about to be published. I get sideways and have a hard time picking up a pen or typing a sentence. This sort of behavior in its various forms has been present my whole adult life.

But, does my husband roll his eyes or tell me to get over it?

No, he tells me how brilliant I am. He focuses on my strengths and loves me through it. He accepts me the way I am and pushes me to believe in myself and to keep pursuing my goals and dreams.

I pray to God, that I am the same for him.

This world is nasty and mean, we have an enemy whose ONLY purpose and goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. Our home should be the safe harbor in the storm. Everyone in your home should feel safe, loved, and encouraged.

So, be your spouse’s biggest fan and relentless supporter.

If you are sitting there thinking that there is nothing to praise or support- you aren’t looking hard enough.

If you both go at each other like you are each other’s worst enemy- go get help. You are destroying your marriage and your kids. Grow up, stop seeking the drama and get help with breaking the dysfunctional cycle.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:20-21

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18-19

We have the power to build a happy marriage, well-adjusted kids, and a happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

We have the power to wreck our marriage, destroy our kids, and trash our happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

Watch your mouth!

Watch Your Mouth! Be careful with your words in your marriage. Speak kindly to your husband, wife. Holly K. Ross
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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after
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Is There Any Good Thing Left? Absolutely!

Words are swirling around us and have been for months. Most of these words are predictions of death, despair, desolation. There is a reason for this- a fearful person is easy to manipulate.

All this talk may make you think that there is nothing good left in this world, nothing good left to look forward, and nothing good to celebrate.

This is not the truth.

Here is the truth:

Whoever seeks good finds favor,

but evil comes to one who searches for it.

Proverbs 11:27

Yes, there is evil in the world, and death, and destruction but there ALWAYS has been. There are NO good old days, evil walked the earth in 1950, 1850, 850 and even 210 B.C. Evil has been lurking on the earth since God hurled Satan out of heaven and he landed here.

BUT, and it is a BIG BUT- Jesus also came to the earth, righted the wrongs of the first man, Adam, and restored us to right fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit walks with us, fills us, and speaks to us.

There is good, plenty of it, all around us but we have to look for it. When you find the good, SHARE it. Fill your social media feed with the good in the world, your city, your life. Fill your mouth with good reports of what is happening in your life. Find the good and spread it around like sprinkles on a doughnut.

Regardless of what is going on in D.C. or Austin, Texas, my life is bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ and EVERY promise made in the Bible is MINE because of Jesus. There is nothing a man or woman can do to change that fact.

So, take heart to day. You are not hopeless you have the power to live a good life, you just have to look for it and put your HOPE in Jesus Christ.

Hope and Encouragement for Today

But blessed is the man who

trust in the Lord

whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted

by the water

that sends out its roots by the steam.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17-7-8

I can’t recommend Jesus enough.

When the news reels play or the social media feeds fill up with doom, despair, disrespect and every other negative thing- I wield this scripture like a sword to slay the anxiety and fear that threatens to over take me. This promise and every other promise in the Bible are without condition. It does not say in Jerimiah that if the Republicans are in power that I will be like a tree planted by the water. It doesn’t even specify which country I should live in to experience the promises of God. The only requirement is that I trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord= I do not need to fear difficult times.

I will take that deal. Notice that this scriptures does not say that drought never came to this tree. It says the tree has no worries in a drought. Not only does it not worry, but it never misses a year of production. Friend, this is a no brainer.

The world can keep their fear and fighting, hating and destruction- I will go with God. Regardless of what comes in this world, I will be like a tree planted by the water. God is my hope, my trust is in HIM. He has proven himself to me time and again.

Make no mistake, we are in a world at war. This war is between good and evil. It rages everyday. Battles can be bloody and I may take a hit, but my hope is in the Lord, I trust in the Lord to bring his promises to bear. So, turn off the television and internet feed and turn to the One who is able to save your soul and drench you with so much love that it drives out all fear.

Jesus Christ came and died for you and for me. He restored us to a perfect relationship with God. He didn’t come to steal all your fun and wrap you in chains of shame and guild. Jesus came to give you life. The only thing that Jesus want to take from you is fear and death. Give your life to Christ, you will be glad you did!

Out of the Shadow- Vote for Your Favorite Cover

I had fun with the last cover reveal and I think you did to, so lets do it again!

Here is the book blurb:

Fierce- Beautiful- Unreasonable- Bulldog- Sexy- Unapologtic- Irreverent- Compassionate- Successful- Principled- all words used to describe Brett Bentley, all of them true.

Risk is not a word Brett runs from, frankly she likes it.  After her husband and voice of reason dies, there is no one to stop her from building a team of hackers to hunt sex trafficers down and drain their bank accounts.  Now trouble is stalking her.  A case of mistaken identity or has someone discovered her secrets?

Help is a four letter word to Brett.  When help shows up in the perfect form of a former Army Ranger, Brett’s first response is to have her Italian Mastiff clamp down on his family jewels.  If this doesn’t serve as a warning, Alex Jensen only has himself to blame.  Retirement has been a bore, he can’t resist taking a ride on Brett’s drama train. First impressions are deceptive, not only is Brett’s life really on the line, it becomes clear that neither of their hearts will be intact when this ride is over. A South American drug lord has Brett as the object of his rage and desire.  Cornered and alone, Brett must be her own hero.  Lethal is the word she needs now- does she have what it takes?

Now, which cover would you choose?

Cover #1

Cover #2

Leave your vote in the comments!

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Don’t forget, you can find me at Goodreads!

Talk About It! The Biggest Hurdle in a Marriage

On this Marriage Monday, I want to talk about the biggest hurddle you have had to overcome in your marriage.

For me and my love, it has been communication. I am betting, that this has been yours. Even if wasn’t THE biggest hurdle, I can guarantee it was key to you overcoming that hurdle. Communication is key when building a marriage and probably the most challenging aspect early on.

With us, it wasn’t even that one of us didn’t want to communicate, it was that we didn’t understand the other’s communication style. Every person comes from a nuclear family- even if they spent the majority of their childhood in the foster system. That nuclear family, for better or for worse, defined how that person communicated. Mostly, the ways of communication are defined by all the unwritten rules.

The unwrittten rules of communication.

Those little devils can really make communication hard. Its been said that the devil is in the details and the unwritten rules of communication are the details.

Think about it. For those of you that grew up with your mom in the house, what did it mean when she huffed? I know exactly what it means when my mother huffs. I have a whole vocabulary of sighs that my kids and my husband understand. However, a stranger would have no idea.

But this is what we bring into our marriage with us.

In my family, we communicated loud. Like all the time. If you wanted to be heard at a family gathering, you had to be louder than the person sitting next to you. I am telling you, it is an introvert’s nightmare. I married an introvert. I thought for a long time, that he hated my family. He didn’t, he just needed a nap- but that is a topic for another post!

So, in the beginning Tony would say “Stop yelling” and I was like, “I am not yelling. Would you like me to yell so that you can see the difference?” Tony on the other hand is a man of few words. I had to learn what his body language meant. After 28 years, I am pretty good. I still miss it sometimes, so I am still a fan of using your words.

Another example of different communication styles is the phrasing that is used. Tony, being a laid back guy who is, well, nice- would aske me, “Are you ready to go?” To this I would reply, “Yes” or “No”. In the early years this caused problems because in his mind, he just told me he was ready to go. In my mind- he asked me a question. Where I came from, I watched all the men in my family walk in and say, “I am ready to go.” I thought all men did it that way. So, we had to hash that out in the car.

As time went on, I still expected him to be more direct, but I also realized that that wasn’t his way. I needed and loved the steady love he gave me, with that came an indirect approach to communication. I choose to acknowledge that when he aske me if I was ready to go, that he was politely telling me that he was ready. I then showed him love and respect by leaving then, or at least communicating when I would be ready.

It’s funny, but because he didn’t grow up with direct communication- everything that was said had underlying meanings- he didn’t take what I said as what I meant. Trust me- I don’t know any other way to be. If I don’t want to have a conversation or I want to avoid conflict- I just don’t say anything or I make noises of agreement. I don’t speak in veiled meanings because I don’t know how. Now, learning how to phrase things so that it doesn’t sound like you are attacking the other person is important.

How something is said is just as important as what is said when you are communicating with your spouse.

Regardless of where you came from, learning to communicate in your marriage is essential.

On marriagetoday.com, Jimmy Evans shares this:

That’s how you overcome conflicts: You talk through them. Talk about money. Talk about sex. Talk about parenting issues. One study showed that 86 percent of divorced couples admitted they had communication problems in their marriages.

https://marriagetoday.com/the-six-levels-of-communication-in-marriage/

86% of divorces might could have been avoided if they had learned how to communicate. If you are having trouble in your marriage, get some help. There are a plethora of articles online to help improve communication. Apply what you know from communicating with people at work to your spouse. If you wouldn’t call your coworker an idiot, then don’t call your spouse and idiot. If you wouldn’t tell your boss that he was the biggest loser you ever met, don’t tell that to your spouse.

Sometimes, communication is hard because we think we should get to say whatever we want to our spouse. We don’t. That person we promised to love and cherish to death do us part should get the best of what we have to offer- especially our words.

So, what has been your biggest hurdle to overcome in your marriage?

Guaranteed Encouragement

When my heart or my mind or my soul or all of the above are troubled, I remind myself of the promises made to my by the King of kings and the Lord God Almighty.

Here’s how I read this out loud (I like to read it out loud on my balcony so that these words are spoken over not just me and mine, but over my island.

Psalm 91

I dwell in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save me
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
    and under his wings I will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is my shield and rampart.
I will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at my side,
    ten thousand at my right hand,
    but it will not come near me.
I will only observe with my eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

I will say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and make the Most High my dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake me,
    no disaster will come near my tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning me
    to guard me in all your ways;
12 they will lift me up in their hands,
    so that I will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    I will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because you  love me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue you;
    I will protect you, for you acknowledge my name.
15 You will call on me, and I will answer you;
    I will be with you in trouble,
    I will deliver you and honor you.
16 With long life I will satisfy you
    and show you my salvation.”

Glory to God, Halleluja! This comforts me in a way that nothing else can! Share this with everyone you know, we all need comfort and encouragement right now. The One True God, the Name Above All Names has made you a promise and HE is faithful.

Here is the orginal text:

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

What I Wish I Had Known… Two things that would have saved me so much grief.

When I married my husband at the mature age of 19, I had no idea of what I was getting into. Who does? What I also didn’t know, at the time, was that the unrealistic expectations of perfection and “normal” that I carried were going to steal so much joy and make adjusting to married life so much harder.

Here are two things I wish I had known:

  1. I wish I had known that all of these big, hairy, problems I thought we had were just normal challenges that every young couple faces. It is so clear to me now (I am 48 as I write this) that it takes time to blend two different families of origins, two different communication styles, two different sets of needs, and two different approaches to life. Gracious, when you look at what must be done to become “one” its nothing short of a miracle that any marriage survives the first five years.
  2. I wish I had known that we had plenty of time to work things out- it didn’t have to be all done and fixed and perfect by day 27 after we said “I do”. You think I am joking. I kid you not. That is what I mean by unrealistic expectations. I hold myself and all around me to a ridiculous standard of excellence. If I have learned one thing in these 28 years, it is to let go of my timeline and standards and accept what people are capable of and to know that it will work out if I don’t give up. Not giving up and forcing my agenda are two very different things. I had to learn the difference.

So, there it is. If I had known/understood those two things, our first years of marriage would have been much smoother.

What do you wish you had known?

The Handwritten Word

I love writing. Not jus the act of stringing words together to tell a story, but the actual, physical act of writing. I like watching the ink leave the pen, the ink flowing from one letter to the next, one word added to another until a page is filled. So beautiful!

I learned by accident that my way of writing is to write the rough draft on paper. I use old school legal pads and a really great pen. I am so picky about my pens, it has to feel right, be a fine point, and the ink must flow smoothly. The physical act of writing forces me to slow down. Then, when I enter it into the computer- I use that as the first big edit/rewrite. It’s not fast, but it is more through. I have a better manuscript faster. It also makes me happy- and that satisfaction is so much the point of writing.

My #3 daughter brought me a journal from Italy. A steel quib pen from England and ink from Germany when she was studying abroad. This was a perfect gift for this word nerd. I have been wanting to journal scripture and decided that those gifts would be perfect for this project.

I wasn’t wrong. I loved the mindfulness of writing out the scriptures. I choose a passage that God used to minister to me at a pivotal time in my life and spiritual journey. One day, I want my grandchildren to be able to look back at MY handwriting and read passages that meant something personal to me.

I will say that using a quill and ink pen to write gave me new appreciation for those that wrote books this way! Wow, it takes a long time. One of the characters that I love in church history is Martin Luther. He translated the WHOLE Bible into German using a pen similar to this pen. I can’t even imagine it. I think of Joe in Little Women- her perpetual ink stain on her finger- and then her sister burned her manuscript. Oh, the heartbreak!

I so enjoyed the process. I was sure you would be just as facinated by the process as I was I made a video!

What do you love about writing and books?

How To Keep Fear Out of Your Joy

As I was talking with my therapist the other day, we were discussing how I, as an individual, and we, Tony & I, are in a really good place.  I agreed and mentioned that we were a little anxious in moments that the “other shoe was going to drop.”  She stated that we can never know what the future will bring.  The only thing we can do is be resilient.

Now, having been through a tornado destroying our home and business, I understand the need to be resilient.  But I hadn’t really thought of it in this tense.  So, that night I was pondering (an old fashioned southern word for deep thought) this as I was going to sleep  it hit me.  The only way to live, like really LIVE to embrace. it. all.

To do this is to accept that:

The shoe will drop.

The rug will be pulled out from under you.

Life will happen and some of it WILL hurt.

But what you WILL NOT accept is the fear of the future or fear’s ugly cousin, dread of what might happen to steal your JOY from this happy moment.

I will not let dread or fear of what is coming or not coming steal my joy in the really good place.  I will let my joy run FREE. I will soak up every nuance of this season.  I will be grateful for every walk on the beach, every stroll down our historic neighborhood, every kiss from my grand-babies, every smile from my husband.  I will gobble it all up like a sumo wrestler at an all you can eat buffet.

Then, when the bumps come- even if the bump in the road is filled with heartache- I will have no regrets.  These moments I am enjoying right now will be what sustain me when the road is hard.

I will be so busy being grateful that there is no room for fear.

I will be so busy being happy that dread cannot steal a bit of joy.

The other shoe will drop...