Coming soon: Just a Minute eBook devotional

Happy Monday ya’ll! My daughter and I are off to my parent’s farm this week, where I grew up. The last time we were here was when she was just seven weeks old, so I’m excited to explore with her! Especially in springtime 🙂

It’s no surprise that I love to share devotional thoughts on how God is growing me, and encourage you to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. This blog started as a travel blog almost ten years ago. Over the years, it morphed into many things – from photography to marriage to motherhood to home life – as my life transitioned. But the mainstay topic on this blog has always been short devotionals. It is my heart for people to learn to love Jesus deeper and know Him more, as I learn to do the same.

That being said, I am putting together an eBook of all the posts I have written in the last three years of my life that are faith-based. All the quick thoughts that have come to me as I have entered marriage and motherhood. Both very refining, and out of that have come blog posts that point both me (when I re-read them!) and hopefully you, to Christ.

So this summer, I will release an easily digestible eBook called Just a Minute – a collaboration of three years of quickly digestible Christ focused blog posts.

No matter what change has come my way in the past few years, the fact that I know I cannot do it without the Lord has never changed. I have always valued my time reading in the Word and at least trying to grow closer to His heart. Granted, that looks even more different in motherhood, but I cannot impress the value and necessity of SOME time with God every day if you ever want to know Him deeper. The value of even just a minute in His presence can shape and change our days.

If you find yourself in transition, perhaps this will be perfect for you! Through the blog posts turned eBook you will see the refining process of my heart over the past few years, and how God has used the transition to reveal the gospel to me more clearly. I wanted to provide it all in one simple package for you to refer to when you need a quick scripture and thought to push you closer to Him. I pray that it will be a blessing to you in whatever stage of life you find yourself in!

So stay tuned, coming soon!

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A snippet from After I Do: With kindness and humour

It’s been almost a year since I self-published After I Do – a look into our first year of marriage, all the change, what I learned, and the faithfulness of God through it all. I’ve shared a couple portions before, and wanted to share one very personal one, from the chapter on faith, and the importance of vulnerability and gospel change in a marriage. If you would like to get a copy of the book, you can order it in either print or eBook format here:

Blurb eBook or Print

Amazon Kindle

It can also be found on Apple eBooks by typing in After I Do, Lani Lupul.

Here is a short snippet on two things I learned in our first year of marriage that are key in communication… 

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With kindness and humour

In my alone moments around the house – be it folding laundry or curling my hair – I can catch myself overthinking something. Sometimes I worry without realizing it, and other times I pray whether it’s worth bringing up, or when is the right time to do so.

Two things I’ve picked up on in our first year that would help all of us:

     1) Practice kindness when you express and communicate

Men respond to kindness, not accusation or curtness. Because I tend to stew (I’m working on that with God’s grace!) about something, it works up my emotions, which Troy can read like an open book.

There’ve been numerous occasions where we’re driving somewhere and he’d put his strong hand on mine and ask, “Are you okay?” I can’t lie. Fine is never an optional response. Usually, my intent was to bring up whatever was on my mind later on, when we both had time to focus on the conversation and I had time to figure out how to say what I wanted to say. Well, it doesn’t always happen like that. Once Troy knows there is something on my mind, he will think on it all day, drawing conclusions of his own.

My job in this situation is to learn to pray more, and control my mind and emotions until the point when I am ready to talk about it, and I know Troy is in a headspace to listen.

It’s a learning curve, but I feel like we are further ahead in our communication than we were the day we got married, and that’s what counts – progress, not perfection.

     2) Find a sense of humour in expression

For some reason, this one was really hard for me. Fortunately, there are a few ladies in my life who have 10-40 years of marriage and life experience on me that I can learn from. One thing I picked up on this past year is that I need to learn to lighten up – not make mountains out of molehills.

One new friend of mine is a beautiful interior designer in her fifties who’s been married for about 13 years. When we read through The Power of a Praying Wife together, we’d meet every couple of weeks to discuss. On one of the days, while sipping tea together in her lovely home, I shared how I wasn’t sure how to get Troy to hang up his clothes at the end of the workday.

Again, let’s lay this out. I’d been working from home, thus had a lot more time at home to clean, nest and become a homemaker. Troy on the other hand, would work his butt off all day, come home quite exhausted, and often plan to ‘re-use’ his work clothes.

I clean while I cook. He leaves a storm of butter, spices, and unplugged appliances in his wake.

I cook with a recipe. He cooks by taste.

He wakes up making funny noises and accents. I wake up, well, I wake up.

You get my drift. We’re different. Thus the reason we actually work so well together as a team, but have also had to adjust to each other!

I know this isn’t uncommon for wives and husbands to have the debate over home and tidiness. I just wasn’t sure how to approach it without being accusing or sounding like a Mom – the last thing I wanted.

She joked that she had used the comment, “Is this your new floordrobe?” to her husband and something clicked for me; the sense of humour this New Zealand friend had was something I needed to practice more.

And since that time, I have found it easier and easier to be sarcastic or humorous with things around the house, or with our differences. Troy and I love laughing together, and laughing at ourselves. One breakfast recently we found ourselves laughing over pancakes as we started our day together. It was special, even if we were laughing at ourselves!

Communication with kindness and a sense of humour goes further to diffuse the possibility of hurt feelings when we intentionally approach it with a lighter heart. Try it out, I bet it will work some wonders for you like it did for me!

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The spiritual side of finances (From the book, After I Do)

After I Do Book CoverFrom Chapter Five: Money money money

After I Do, Copyright 2016

Available here (print and eBook) and here (Kindle)

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The spiritual side of finances

Have you ever walked around your house, looked in your closet, or sat online and actually listened to your heart play a song of “I wish I had this…”, “Why doesn’t mine look like that?” Or my personal favourite, “Now that we have this, I also want…” If I stop and listen, my heart plays that frequent off-key tune.

My desire for instant gratification actually steals my peace in the moment and the joy of what good gifts God has already given me. In my striving for more, be it a $30 item for home or something I think we need, as soon as I know what I want, I think about it. A lot. And it steals my present peace.

In fact just this morning, I sat down and opened my Bible to Psalms 105. This revelation had nothing to do with what I was reading, but I felt the Holy Spirit shine light on the anxiousness in my heart that I often feel about having all the answers now, in any area of life. It actually creates short-term vision and steals my present joy.

We are transitioning yet again in Troy’s work, and with a baby on the way, I have battled fear and worry.

But God, so graciously, pointed out this morning that there is something deeper in my heart that wants everything just right, just so, now. Like the Israelites, I am trying to get my manna for tomorrow, today. But faith doesn’t work that way; it requires trust.

I shared this with Troy as we had our morning coffee and it came as no surprise to him. Ah the openness we share! I realized there’s tangible evidence in how I operate around the home or in our finances of deeper issues in my heart. Oh instant gratification, you have met your match and seen the light.

A friend recently prayed for me in this transition and said that God is often working on the small things in our heart, in the seemingly big things of life. Because of the deeper understanding God has been doing in my heart regarding sanctification and the complete work of the gospel, I know that only God can change my heart; that His grace is sufficient for me in this weakness. Wholeness in that area of my life can only come by Him showing me His Father love and healing whatever it is in me that makes me want to know and have everything in order, today.

You see, finances can be very spiritual, and even show us deeper things going on in our hearts. Step-by-step on the journey, if we let the Lord in, I so believe He will graciously show us the sin in our hearts, heal us when we repent, and bring wholeness.

And in the meantime, I have a husband to partner with.

I don’t know about you, but Troy works far too hard for me to bring home whatever I want, whenever I want, or to make financial decisions without him. We both have an interest in what goes in our home and have creatively navigated much of that through DIY and restoring, like I said before. I know not every couple has the ability to work tools or loves to DIY, but any couple can be resourceful with what they have, while they save or plan for what they love.

We’ve both lived with an instant gratification mindset before, and then had to pay for it later. And now that we’re a team in this, what one decides will instantly affect the other. We need God’s continual help to make us good stewards of what He’s given us; all of His good gifts.

 

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Lani Lupul, Copyright 2016

Available here (print and eBook) and here (Kindle)

Honey Do vs. Haven (an excerpt from the book, After I Do)

For someone who has worked in marketing and communications pretty much her whole adult career, it doesn’t come natural to promote my own work! Buuuuut….In case you haven’t yet ordered a copy of my book, After I Do, that was published this spring (sheepish tooting of my own horn), I would love to share an excerpt from the chapter, Creating Home. In this chapter I talk about how Troy and I navigated setting up a home together in our first year of marriage. If you or someone you know is about to, or wants to, get married, it may be a book that would inspire you to pursue a God-given marriage, and that when conflict arises, it’s normal and able to be navigated!

You can order a print or eBook version here, or order it for Kindle here on Amazon.

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I clean while I cook. He leaves a storm of butter, spices, and unplugged appliances in his wake.

I cook with a recipe. He cooks by taste.

He wakes up making funny noises and accents. I wake up, well, I wake up.

You get my drift. We’re different. Thus the reason we actually work so well together as a team, but have also had to adjust to each other!

Honey-Do vs Haven

Since I am a more of an instant satisfaction person, my list of things I want Troy to build or complete around the house is ongoing. Especially with a baby on the way. He works so hard during the day, that I have had to learn (and let’s be honest, I am still working on this), that he needs home to be a haven, not a constant project. Our home needs to be a safe and cozy place that depicts us. I want it to be a place that Troy loves coming home to, not one where he is met with more demands or complaints.

How do I navigate this? Not so successfully many days. I tend to process and talk things out loud so that I’m not the only one thinking about something. Isn’t that kind? (note the sarcasm) On my more successful days, I try to gauge if Troy is out of work mode, or ask to set aside a time where we can talk budget or house projects. That way he knows it’s a ‘talk’ that’s coming and can give devoted time to it. I can then anticipate that the conversation will happen at some point, rather than in bits and pieces.

There was one night recently, where I was feeling hormonal and a bit bored of being at home, and Troy said, “Do you want to go room by room and talk about what we’d like to do before baby?”

Well, he spoke my love language! He knows having as much of home settled before our baby arrives is really important to me, and in a moment where I needed cheering up, he was intentional. Husband for the win! And as we speak, he is in the garage building laundry room shelving.

How has Troy navigated our home-life? Well, just like I said above, he’s had to learn to pick up on my cues as well. When I need his help or something is really a priority for me, he has learned to make it a priority as well. When he comes in and I’m still working on supper, he will ask if he can help with something. All things which we have learned to ask for and communicate.

Recently, he left me a little note in my journal that I found one morning. It said, “Good morning Beautiful! I love you so much! Thank you for all you do to make our home so beautiful and peaceful. Xoxo!” That note made my day, and was a reminder that my efforts in the home are for him as well as myself.

When we were both working full-time at the beginning of our marriage, we shared house cleaning duties and cooking. Rather sporadically, but we shared the duties. But now, since I am freelancing and have a lot more home time, I have carried the bulk of the cleaning and cooking. Troy is excellent at both and helps when I ask or need him to. I see that as a way I can serve him in this season, though I ask for his help with certain tasks (like cleaning our shower because the smell is too strong for this pregnant mamma!) With a baby on the way, we know that will change yet again, and we’ll navigate that together when the time comes.

As a woman who spent the first 33 years of her life on her own, I wondered how I’d navigate creating a home with and for someone else. I wondered if it’d be stressful, if I could handle it or would even enjoy it. In my mind, the expectations of my future husband were so lofty that I didn’t know if I could ever live up to them. But it has become one of my greatest pleasures in our marriage and a way I love serving Troy. Like I said before, I love hosting and having people in our home. I love creating a home together. And though there are things that ebb and flow and we can learn from or change, it is yet another reminder to me; that God often brings pleasure to those very things we were once hesitant about. Like a gentle reminder of the foolishness of fear, God gathers you up with a satisfying sweetness that is almost palpable.

I believe that you’ll learn to read your husband, as time goes by. You’ll learn to see when he needs downtime and appreciation, not another request. Likewise, as you express your desires, he can learn what is important to you. If you keep your communication open, you’ll learn how best to create the home that you and your husband love.

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After I Do Book Cover

 

After I Do – Book Now Available!!

After I Do Book CoverDrum rooollllll…… I am so pleased and honoured to share with you today my very vulnerable, practical, and personal experience of our first year of marriage through my self-published book, “After I Do: A first year marriage story”.

I wanted to share a glimpse into the changes, the adjusting, and the beauty of those first 12 months of marriage. When Jesus is the centre of your heart AND marriage, I believe that He can and will help us along the way. So while this is primarily for you gals who have yet to get married, perhaps my vulnerability and stories will inspire you to ignite something in your own marriage!

There’s three ways you can order the book, After I Do:

Print copies here, on Blurb

eBook copy on Amazon Kindle

eBook copy for Apple iPad format or search Lani Lupul in iBooks

Enjoy this little video as I share a bit of the ‘why’ behind this book… Thank you for all your support!