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Image of two cups of coffee on table with romantic couple on background

Here are my favorite reads of the week, my take on ’em, and a few other finds that I thought you would like! Grab a cup of coffee — or tea, & enjoy!

“A Picture of Marriage”

by Hallie Lord

“As we walked out of the candlelit church and into our marriage, I was blissfully unaware that creating a strong marriage isn’t entirely a matter of identifying our mutual desires and bringing them to life (fueled entirely by the force of our wills, of course). I didn’t yet understand that marriage is refined by fire; that it feels more like traveling along a mountainous path that leads through a series of beautiful peaks and dark, cold valleys. I had no idea that there would be elements of our marriage that took me so completely by surprise that they took my breath away, challenged my faith, and filled me with an anxiety so vicious that I feared it might never release its grasp upon me… We didn’t know how much we would change as individuals and how much we would grow in love.” (read the rest here)

My take: Yes, yes and yes! Marriage refines us — and while it is a good thing, the best thing, it can hurt, and you don’t know the growing pains until you’ve felt ’em for yourself. But it’s a beautiful thing. It’s what God intended for us in each of our vocations.

The First Prayer Wine Chocolate Retreat

hosted by Amy:

“Take some time out of the busy fall season to reconnect with the Lord; enjoy the faith and friendship of others and recharge your soul with prayer, wine and chocolate! Let’s tour the St. Katherine Drexel shrine . . . then pour the wine!(more details here)

My take: I’m going! And I’d love to see you there!

“Yes, You Should Say Something: Overcoming Awkwardness with Grieving People”

by Nancy Guthrie

“It’s not up to you to recommend the book they need to read, the counselor they need to see, the drug they need to take. You don’t have to provide a framework for thinking and feeling their way through their loss. Really, you just have to show up and say little. What they need more than someone with a lot of words is someone with a willingness to listen without judgment, someone who seems to be entering into their hurting world for the long haul of grief.” (read more here)

My take: I don’t know too many people who know how to do this, but the few that I do know have made an indelible mark on my heart. It’s something I struggle to really put into practice, myself, but it’s totally on my list of how to love people better.

Our Tailor-Made Crosses & How to Make Them Lighter 

“By accepting the sufferings ‘offered’ by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.”

— Fr. Jacques Philippe

My take: Our crosses become lighter when we reach out and ask others to help us to carry them, to pray for us, and to walk alongside us. In turn, we should also try to do this for our loved ones. It also helps to remember that these crosses were specifically the ones that God has chosen for us. For me. For you. They may be very different, but they’re meant to refine us, to sanctify us and to bring us closer to God.  (read more here and here)

God’s Favorite Prayer: “Change Me, Lord”

Anniversary Round-Up Series (4)

My take: I firmly believe that this is what makes the greatest difference in our prayers, in our lives and in our relationships: asking the Lord to change *us.* Our circumstances may not change. The people we have relationships may not change. Our husbands may not change. But we have the power to change us, and to ask the Lord to give us what we need to change — and He *will* give us those graces when we ask for them. And believe this: when we change, those other things I mentioned — our circumstances, relationships, and husbands — often change as well. It’s sort of like a domino effect — like a ripple effect. People cannot help but be changed by love. (read more here)

Weekend Wish List

Lastly, here’s something I added to my Amazon wish list this week, and it’s less than $3:

God Will Use This for Good: Surviving the Mess of Life, by Max Lucado

(This is an affiliate link. That means that if you click it, I’ll get a very small percentage of whatever you purchase through Amazon so that I can keep my blog up & running. If you would rather me not get any money from your purchase, you can click this link here)

I have really enjoyed everything I’ve read by Max Lucado and this looks like it won’t be the exception to that.

“When tragedy strikes, people desperately search for answers. Believers and unbelievers alike find themselves turning to God. Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado points to the only real answer to tragedy and crisis: Prayer. In For the Tough Times, Lucado helps us understand how to pray despite our doubt and fear.”

Check it out and have a beautiful weekend!