Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wifey Wednesday: Hope in Change

I found this sticky note on my desk. I don't know where the idea came from or if it is a quote, but I obviously wrote it down for myself as an encouragement. This is what it says:

If you don't change, nothing will.
This maxim can apply to most every aspect of life. If things are going badly it is very rare that you can change anything but yourself and your participation in the problem. How often are we able to rewrite our job description, makeover our coworkers or our children to make the situation better? Rarely! Almost never, in fact.

Most problems are only solved by a reworking of ourselves. So in any given situation we must ask ourselves:

How can I change?

We can usually change our attitude, our actions, or both. In fact, changing our actions often leads to a change in attitude, so it is often best to focus first on our behavior. In a marriage, this is a vital piece of information to have--especially in those "for worse" moments our vows talk about. You can change your attitude by changing your behavior.

Really? Yeah, really. Just try it some time.

In fact, try it for simply two weeks and see what happens. Pick some little something that your spouse has asked you repeatedly to do that you've not bothered to ever do. It might be to put the toilet paper around on the holder in the other direction. It could be to brush your teeth before coming to breakfast. It might be to actually stop and listen when he's talking instead of simply pretending to listen. For two weeks, do that thing, whatever that thing is.

But don't do it resentfully. Don't begrudge the toilet paper it's new position every time you have to grab it. Do the new deed generously with the intention to please your spouse. That's what I mean. Let yourself feel a bit of a thrill of generosity and good-deediness as you brush your teeth half an hour before your usual time. Pat yourself on the back for being a good spouse while you put down that iPhone and give your full attention to your beloved. Say to yourself, "See? I'm a good listener!" and then listen.

 You'll see in that span of two short weeks that you can power your way through the behavior change. You can feel, rather quickly, that your heart will be softened a bit toward your spouse. But, in two weeks, you won't see any real changes or any real healing in any given area.

That sort of work takes time, effort, and much prayer. But this sort of change in so short a span of time should be enough simply to give you hope that in more time and with more effort things can really change. Knowing that you are the instrument and the object of the change that has to occur is truly empowering. Old habits have massive inertia and marriages can get ground up beneath them, but if two weeks can make even a small dent, just think what you and God can manage with a little more time and effort.

There's a lot of hope in the fact that if you don't change, nothing will.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes:The Devil and the Details

--1-- The Podcast Is Up

I swear I'm going to have to stop talking about the occult. Blogtalk Radio and Facebook are starting to SPAM me with how-tos for Satanism. Next week will be about putting your gifts from the Holy Spirit to good use among other things. I rebuke thee, SPAM! Get thee behind me computer cookies!
Listen To Religion Internet Radio Stations with Deeper Truth on BlogTalkRadio

--2-- The Devil in the Ordinary

As promised on the show, here's the website for Father Dwight Longenecker's piece about possession. He asks us to ponder if demon possession is rare or if it is more common than we know. It's a very interesting piece.
Al Pacino in Devil's Advocate

 --3-- Happy Valentine's Day

This is the anniversary of our regularizing our marriage in the Church so it is a special day for us. We went out for breakfast this morning with all the kids and my parents. It was Mr. Baby's premier appearance at a real sit down restaurant. All was well, the waitress was charmed (and well tipped) and the day adequately feted. To top it all off the owners hired a troupe of singers to serenade their customers. They sang "Love Potion Number Nine"! It was so hard not to sing along!  


--4-- I've Been Under the Weather

 I've been unable to shake the last cold/flu bug and have been running on half speed for the last several weeks. Last week it really caught up with me, so I took yet another unannounced break from blogging, and sought out medical assistance. I'm on anti-vitals, totally off of sugar, and am on the mend. Finally! My coffee is unsweetened for the duration. Well, now I guess I'll have to give something else up for Lent.  

--5-- I'll Be Speaking at an ACTS Retreat!

In April I will be giving my personal testimony at an ACTS retreat. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an ACTS retreat, take it! This particular retreat will be for anyone who has been on a previous ACTS retreat and needs to recharge.

ACTS is an acronym that stands for Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service. Here is more information regarding ACTS retreatsGo here to find an ACTS retreat near you. Retreats are amazing. If you can go, you should go. You really do deserve to spend some time with God.  

--6-- Speaking of Speaking

  I can come to your event and speak on marriage, family life, my conversion story, and the life of a foster parent. To reach me, contact me at via email at andychrism at

--7-- Speaking of Foster Parenting

(Yes, I did! Right up there in #6, see?) Here is my favorite prayer asking for Saint Joseph's intercession. He's the patron of foster parents, being one himself.
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your devine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.

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