Atmosphere of Love

How to Create an Atmosphere of Love

How can we bring unity to our marriage? our families? our nation? to the world? We cannot have unity without love. We need to create an atmosphere of love.

And, sadly, few of us truly know how to love one another.

I searched the scriptures for these “above all, have love” commandments. These scriptures were surrounded by instructions on how to create an atmosphere of love. I believe, if we surround our lives with these instructions, it will create an atmosphere where love will grow.

Scriptures that say, "Above all, have love" #fruitofthespirit #love Click To Tweet
Above all, love

Let’s take a look.

In these days, it seems we have lost all ability to love as Christ loved us.

Our love has grown cold, just as He predicted in Matthew 24:12

And Most important of all, LOVE

First the Prerequisites …

  1. New Life in Christ.  [Colossians 3:1-4] There is no love without God because God is Love. We must first look within to see if we have allowed Jesus Christ to come into our lives and transform us. Without Him, we cannot have the same attitude as Christ. [Colossians 3:1-4]
  2. Put off wickedness and evil. [Colossians 3:5-9] If Christ is in us, then we must put off evil things. He cannot live together with evil. We must no longer have things such as sexual sin,  anger, rage, spite, slander, lying, and abusive language, in our hearts and minds. We must live godly lives that exemplify Christ.

Now that we are in Christ …

We should show to others …

  1. Compassion and kindness Jesus said, “Treat others as you would want to be treated.” Put yourself in their shoes. Help them however you can. You don’t know what they have been through so just be kind and caring.
  2. Humility – As Paul said in Philippians 2 “Don’t consider yourself better than others.” Get over yourself and consider the interests of others.
  3. GentlenessProverbs says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. How can we show love if we are yelling and screaming at each other or calling one another names?
  4. PatienceProverbs says that the one with self-control wins out in the end. Don’t get upset when other people succeed. Let God work it out. Psalm 37:7
  5.  Forbearance – In others words, give each other the benefit of the doubt. Put up with each other’s faults. Don’t we all make mistakes from time to time? One version of Colossians 3 says “Make allowances for one another and forgive..”
  6. Forgiveness.  Forgive, because God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 Think of Christ on the cross. He said, “Forgive them. They know not what they do.” We, too, should forgive.

This seems hard to do,

… especially when the other party is not acting the same way. But truly this is how they will see Christ in you. It’s how they will find Christ; and thus, filled with love as well.

Indeed, we cannot do it on our own. We must allow Christ to live in our lives. We must give our lives totally over to Him so that He has every part of us. Then we will be controlled by Him and these things will come naturally. And His love will cover everything.

We must study his Word, worship Him, guide others to Him, and be thankful.

Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:16, The Voice

So it goes back to where we first started…

Find Jesus and allow Him to take control of your life.

Then we can all live in love and unity.

Mandy Farmer

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wedding

How I Managed Fibro/FMS/RA and Survived my Daughter’s Wedding

This being the two year anniversary of my daughter’s wedding, I thought it appropriated to update this post about how I managed fibromyalgia and enjoyed my daughter’s wedding.

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Friend;

You asked me recently how I am doing after my daughter’s wedding. It took me until now (about 6 weeks) to recover but it was worth it! It was the most beautiful day and I was able to be right there and most importantly, not in pain! I shared about the wedding on my family page The Farmers Place. [Just in case you are curious. 🙂 ]

Mandy & Mikaela
Mandy with her daughter before the wedding

To be honest, I was really concerned that I would be in a lot of pain on the wedding day. I asked all my chronic pain friends for their suggestions and took as many as I could into consideration.  One thing I know, whether a person has a chronic illness or not, is that a wedding can quickly get out of hand. My strongest advice to anyone planning a wedding is to

KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

So here are a few things that I did:

Set Your Goals

If worse comes to worst, what is the very least you want to be able to enjoy? What are the most important things concerning the wedding? I had one goal in mind. To walk down the aisle as the mother-of-the-bride pain-free and possibly without my cane! And I made this happen.

Mandy ecorted in by son #1, Daniel
Mandy ecorted in by oldest son, Daniel

Clear Your Schedule for the months preceding the wedding.

The wedding was in May. I decided the first of the year to do nothing that didn’t have to do with the wedding. I scheduled guest writers on my blog (See My Series Letters-To-Friends) and I turned down speaking engagements. Even some of the smaller opportunities were given a “No” response in order to keep my energy for the big goal.

Get on an Anti-inflammatory Diet

I struggled with this one because, in all truthfulness, I am a sugarholic. But I stuck to my guns pretty well for 5 months. And it truly did help me have not just a good wedding day, but all the planning days went pretty well too! I even lost 10 pounds. [I hate to admit it but after the wedding, I kinda fell off the wagon again. So I’m struggling with more pain now but trying to get straightened out again.] I guess that shows that getting on the right diet does, in fact, help a lot.

Prioritize the Wedding Events

Which events do you really, really want to attend? You may have to be selective about which events are most important to you, especially during the week of the wedding. Let’s be honest, we just can’t go like this without paying the price. If we go to everything planned for the week, we could likely miss the wedding altogether. I skipped out on the bridesmaids’ lingerie shower.

Also, plan to block out a day or two after each event because you will probably need it. In our case, both the groom’s mom and I have a chronic illness. She and I got together to address invitations. Who knew that just a simple job of writing addresses on envelopes would be so taxing. Both of us were worthless for a day or two. I might suggest getting the addresses printed on the envelopes. If you are savvy with the computer, you can do this yourself much easier.

Plan Your Doctor Visits Wisely and in Advance

I get an injection in my neck at Mayo Clinic every 4-6 months. Typically, by the time I get to the next appointment, I am usually in a lot of pain. This is a long day trip for us and I am usually down for the count that night and the next day. So when I was there last December, I asked if we could go ahead and schedule for the spring about a month before the wedding. My doctor was happy to oblige me. And I had no neck pain the entire month of May!

Delegate Responsibilities

Leaving the ceremony with son #3, Brett

Another tough one to follow. I am a Type-A personality. Apparently, most fibro warriors are Type-A. We want to be right in the middle of all the planning and doing. Thankfully, I have family members and very good friends that took on much of the work. Our daughter-in-law is a go-getter and also doesn’t let people get by with too much slack. She did a lot of the running and directing for me. The wedding gown was being altered about a 1.5-hour drive away. I was able to attend all the fittings but the last one. It was the week of the wedding. Our Daughter-in-law went with our daughter and picked up the gown. She got the instructions for steaming it and such. This saved me that day trip the week of the wedding. Sure, I hated not going, but it kept me in good shape for the most important day .. the wedding!

We found other people that we trusted for things such as flowers and decorations and reception. We gave them basic instructions and then let them run with it. I did have a few sleepless nights because I wondered if they were doing everything just right. But it all turned out beautiful.

By the way, be sure that you delegate people to specific clean-up duties for after the wedding. Especially if this is at your church, it will likely be your responsibility to get everything back in order. With chronic illness, by this time, you will be too tired to do it and everyone will have gone home leaving it to you. For example,

  • the sanctuary platform furniture returned to normal places,
  • reception hall cleaned and returned to normalcy,
  • kitchen cleaned
  • bathrooms cleaned
  • and other rooms used by the bride and groom all straightened and clean, waste cans emptied. 

[As a pastor’s wife, I know from experience that these are often forgotten. The regular janitor did his work BEFORE  the wedding for you, it’s your responsibility to do it after the wedding or pay them to do it again before Sunday worship – which is often the next morning.]

Have Your People Come to You

A friend arranged for someone to do my hair. We actually went and did some hair trials. But then I learned that I was going to have to get up early and go to her house to get it done. I knew this would be too taxing on the day of the wedding, so I decided to fix my own hair at home and arrive at the church in time for pictures with my daughter. My neighbor ran around town looking for a pretty barrette and voila! we had it done. Sure it could have been nicer but I got to enjoy the wedding.

If your beautician can come to your house it will make your day so much easier. I’ve also heard that nowadays there is such a thing as a mobile hairstylist. This would be awesome if you can afford it.

Bring Your Own Chair

I knew that the church had no comfortable chairs. So I had my son transport my chair and footrest to the church the day before. We had this in the bride’s room so that I would have a comfortable place to rest and get my feet up before the ceremony.

I was also concerned about sitting on a hard folding chair during the reception. I had a padded folding chair at the house so we took it in as well. You might take something even better than that. I considered renting comfortable chairs for both family tables and then rent chair covers for them. This really wouldn’t be that great of an expense in the whole scheme of things especially if you are already renting linens.

Provide Accommodations to Visiting Guests Other Than in your Own Home

I have no family nearby. This meant everyone was traveling in for the wedding. In order to keep my home a peaceful place to retreat, I arranged for other accommodations for family members. Check out vacation condos or a bed and breakfast. I went to Airbnb and found a townhouse right in our neighborhood that could house all the bridesmaids and another family just a mile or so away that was renting a suite in their home which was perfect for my parents.

Honestly, I had a wonderful day at the wedding. I was tired, for sure, but who wouldn’t be? It’s taken me some time to get back into my old and new routines but I’m getting there. I hope that your wedding plans go just as perfectly as ours did.

Just Remember to KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!

The Farmer Family

With Love and Kisses;

Mandy Farmer

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right husband; jewel in his crown

How to Find the Right Husband

A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

jewel in his crown : the right husband
created in canva.com

I picked up this book for some insight into writing a post about self-esteem. As I expected, Priscilla Shirer is right on target. As with her preaching, she gets right to the truth of the matter and makes us look deep into our own lives. She will open your eyes to the source of your low self-esteem and actions that come from it. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up soon.


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What I Wasn’t Expecting

I know that how we look at ourselves can obviously affect our relationships not just with friends and family but also with men who would be potential dates or husbands. I was surprised to find a chapter on finding a mate right smack in the middle of this book on self-esteem.

Having made the same kind of mistakes when it came to love interests, I found myself connecting with Priscilla. She shared how she sabotaged relationships and I realized that I had done the same thing in my college years.

We Were Made for Relationship

Today’s society will beg to differ from Priscilla’s words but she has taken her ideas straight from the Bible. Here are some truths she brought forward.

  • We’re made to be a helper.
  • God created us to be in a relationship with men.
  • Our primary purpose is to come alongside a man and assist him.

Ironically, the very thing we were created to do, the very thing we want to do the most, is the very thing that often contributes to our low self-esteem.

One reason for this is the way we prepare ourselves for relationships. Most of us don’t spend time waiting for God’s chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom. Instead, we read novels, go to movies, and get hooked on soap operas. We buy into a fantasy world, and we secretly hope that it will one day become the portrait of our lives.

A Jewel in His Crown, Prscilla Shirer
Most of us don't spend time waiting for God's chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom . – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthatfirstdate Click To Tweet

The Sin of Control and its Curse

God placed a curse on women. And it follows with her sin. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did it. Still today, we are most tempted with the matter of control. We aren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His plan for us. So we take things into our own hands.

We chase after men rather than letting them pursue us. Men aren’t made to be “captured”. They were made to be the pursuer; to search us out and “win the prize”. When we are falling over ourselves to get their attention, it causes them to lose interest.

We are never, and I mean never, to throw ourselves at a man. – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthefirstdate Click To Tweet

Do We Trust God Enough?

We are often afraid that if we wait on God to bring the right man into our lives, we will miss our chance and end up alone. But God has a beautiful plan. If we draw close to God and His principles, our spiritual beauty will draw the right kind of man to us.

When it comes to taking you from where you are into the phase of life He has chosen for you, will you trust in the Lord to take you to the other side? Your destination may be a whole lot closer than you think. You need to trust Him through patient obedience as you wait on Him. Remember, you are a jewel – a jewel on layaway.

A Jewel in His Crown, Priscilla Shirer

He’s Got This Worked Out

It’s hard for us to believe, but God has this figured out. He knows exactly what kind of man you need for the right husband. You can rest easy knowing that at the right time and the right place God will bring you together. You truly can sit back and wait.

You are of matchless worth. Believe it. And rest in the fact that you are a valuable jewel saved for that one special someone. When we are always chasing after a man it is because we think we aren’t worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not desirable enough to draw that man to us on our own character.

When the Right Husband Comes Along

So as we wait on God for the right husband to come along, we need to spend our time reading His Word, meditating on the scriptures, praying for wisdom. As we grow in Christ we become more attractive on the inside and the outside to the spiritual man you actually want and need.

When someone comes along, you can look for a few specific things.

  1. He will cherish you. He will do whatever it takes to please you. You will feel like a princess. When he talks of you, it will be praise.
  2. He will be the leader in your relationship. You will have been chosen by him without you chasing after him. He will be a great decision-maker. This does not mean that you will be treated like a floormat. If he is doing #1 above, he will include you in the decision making process. He will want you to be happy with the decisions.
  3. And, of course, He will have a strong relationship with the Lord. Not because you love the Lord, but because he has made a firm choice to follow Christ. It must be real or it won’t last.

Are You Attracting the Right Husband?

  • What tendencies do you have in the way you relate to men/your husband?
  • Do you truly trust God to take you to the other side of singleness?
  • What relationships in your life need to be given to God?
  • What do you expect from men whom you choose to date?
  • Do you want to date at all? Why or Why not?
Mandy Farmer

4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriage Book Review

I have noticed lately that there is a lot of talk about a joy-filled life in recent years. It seems at every turn you can find someone talking about finding joy. Even the Bible is filled with references on finding joy. Got Questions says that The Bible refers to finding joy over 300 times.

As it turns out, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have found there is a scientific basis behind it all.

There is no more powerful motivator in life than joy.

Chris Coursey

Warner and Coursey discuss finding this joy in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.


It takes a plan to achieve a joy-filled marriage

Our emotional capacity is directly proportionate to the amount of joy we have. When you have large amounts of joy, life is just better. Note here that joy is not the same as happiness as we learn in the above-mentioned article from Got Questions.

So first, what is emotional capacity? It’s the ability to bounce back after a difficult situation.

And how can I have more joy? It takes a little work but it’s really not that hard. Make a plan, just a few minutes a day for 30 days can change your whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp shared in her book, A Thousand Gifts, that finding joy through gratitude changed her life radically. She took a few minutes a day to think of three things she was grateful for and her life has never been the same.

Chris and Marcus say we can decrease our joy gap in 30 days. Our joy gap is the amount of time between feelings of joy. The way to do this is through your own intentionality. They say if you follow the instructions in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages and do the prescribed exercises…

“… you will almost certainly begin to see changes for the better in your marriage. If you do them for sixty or ninety days, you will develop habits that make joy the new normal in your marriage.”

OK, What’s the plan for joy-filled marriages?

I was glad to find that my husband and I have been following the plan without even knowing the plan. 🙂 We have been doing many of the things Chris and Marcus suggested and I’d say it must work because Michael and I consider our marriage joy-filled. There are four habits discussed in the book easily remembered by the acronym P.L.A.N.

  • Play together
  • Listen for emotion
  • Appreciate daily
  • Nurture Rhythm

I would say that these are quite self-explanatory. I mentioned that my husband and I feel that we have already been doing these things. Some suggestions we follow are:

  1. Going on dates. This does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to spend money here. Take a walk. Goo.g.le “Things to do for free” in your city. You will be surprised at what you can do. Check out what we can do in Savannah. When we lived in Milwaukee, citizens could visit the museums for free on certain days. We hit these as often as we could.
  2. Listen for Emotion. Make sure when you are talking that you are actually listening to your mate. Keep eye contact. And LISTEN, don’t start thinking about your reply. Hear what they are saying to you. The book will give you some wonderful exercises to teach you to listen.
  3. Appreciate Daily. When is the last time you said, “Thank you” to your spouse? Not for the big things but the small things like taking out the garbage. Take notice when they do a small kindness and show appreciation.
  4. Nurture rhythm. This is about routine. find a routine and stick to it. Don’t continue to break the times you do have together. Michael and I always enjoy breakfast together and in the evening, we watch some tv together. These are times you have to catch up with what is happening with your spouse. This is important.

An Easy Read

You won’t have trouble reading this small book. The first three chapters explain the brain science behind it all and then how and what they have developed to helped others have joy-filled marriages.

The remaining chapters discuss the PLAN and give you plenty of simple exercises to do together. The exercises are very simple. Some of them might feel awkward at first if you haven’t already been doing them. (ie. eye smiles.) You may not be in the habit of looking into one another’s eyes but they explain how to work on it and lengthen the time.

I did get caught in the last chapter. They actually said if I was like them I hadn’t done the exercises. ha! They were right. Seriously, for us, we do these things so, in a way, we did the exercises. I would encourage you though if you need more joy in your marriage, read the book, do the exercises.

Need a more joy-filled marriage? Read the book, follow the plan, do the exercises. #joy-filledmarriages #marriage #moodypress Click To Tweet

Caution:

Men who have done these exercises faithfully with their wives have commonly reported feeling more secure and less anxious in their marriages. The same is true for women, who have reported feeling more highly valued and cared for by their husbands.

You have to be careful though. One man who went through the process wrote, “I work from home and I had to cut back on the exercises because my wife and I found ourselves in bed too much during the day and I was not getting any work done!” You’ve been warned.

The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages
Mandy Farmer

I express joy-filled gratitude to Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey along with Moody Press Publishers for providing a copy of the book. This review is my own words and not affected in any way by the publisher or authors.

Book Giveaway

Who wants my marked-up 4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriages book? You will be entered in the drawing each time you comment during November. Comment on any post during November 2019 for an entry in the drawing. Winner to be announced in the December 3 newsletter.

Speaking of Ann Voskamp

There is a free Bible Study of her book One Thousand Gifts coming up on Faith Gateway beginning November 18. Come join me to learn how to create a joyfilled-life. Sign Up Now.

How to Make Your Marriage Last Forever

 

A Marriage That Lasts Forever

In honor of my own marriage that we have committed to last forever, I share some notes I have found along the way. They have worked well for these thirty years. I expect them to continue keeping us Lovestruck.

Lovestruck! Yes, that would be a good description of my husband and I. Definitely, Michael was lovestruck from the first day we met. That Sunday in August 30 years ago began as normal as any day could. My pastor’s wife, Charlotte, drug me to Georgia to retrieve her daughter who had spent the summer with her grandmother.

However, Charlotte had ulterior motives – to introduce me to some preacher. (As a side note – I did not intend to marry a preacher.) I went along just to make Charlotte hush about this “Michael” whom she thought I needed to meet.

Michael, on the other hand, had no clue at all that he was being set up. I was just a friend of Charlotte and I would be singing at church that morning. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

Twitter-painted!

Yep! Just like Bambi, he was “looking neither to the right nor the left” when “Boom!”, he came face to face with me. That’s how it started.

Many Waters

But marriage is more than that mushy feeling you get when you are dating. Marriage is a covenant “to have and to hold… from this day forth… ’til death do us part.”

You do remember those words you recited at the altar ‘x’ years ago? Right?

Those emotions and all the chemical reactions going on make for a great start but the covenant seals the deal.

“Marriage is about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of his presence.”

— Sharon Jaynes

The Covenant – Forever Words

Have you read those promises recently? Let’s remind ourselves of the words and promises we made. It probably went something like this…

I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.

www.weddingwire.com
2 Imperfect People

God’s plan for marriage is that it will last forever. We can look around and easily see what happens when marriage vows are broken. It leaves not only broken hearts but pure disaster in its wake. Mark 10:9 says that marriage is forever. I believe that God created marriage to show the world an example of His love for us. So we need to enter into those vows with that purpose in mind. Divorce should never be an option. No easy outs here. It takes work and the work we must do.

The “Work” of Marriage

First, Love is not always easy. Love means giving in to the other’s will and giving up what we want to please the other… even when they aren’t returning that kind of love. What if we did that? I’ve shared before from Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God’s presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More that to Make us Happy?

Oh goodness, marriage exposes sin? You better believe it does. You see, when we are dating we always have our best foot forward, right? But once the wedding bells have chimed, we slack off and those fairy tale ideas are found to not be so true. Our own desires come floating to the top and the next thing you know we are fighting, screaming, yelling because we want our own way. {sin of selfishness}

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.


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Marriage Fosters Good Prayer

Additionally, there is likely nothing better for a marriage than prayer. In the past, we often heard this adage… “A Family that PRAYS together STAYS together.” It’s still true is you implement it. Prayer brings you together. Praying together helps you hear what the other one desires, it helps us bring those desires together as we search for God’s Will and agree together to live it.

We also should be separately praying for our spouse. I have been using Sharon Jaynes’ book, Praying for Your Husband From Head to Toe since it was released in 2014. (I’ve also purchased it for nearly every bride I have known since then.) Sharon admonishes us…

As a wife, you have the power to open the floodgates of heaven through prayer on your husband’s behalf. Whether your husband hasn’t yet decided to follow Christ, has a lukewarm fledgling faith, or lives a fiery firm faith, there is no one more qualified to pray for his relationship with Christ than you.

Sharon Jaynes, Praying For your Husband From Head To Toe, page 6

The Importance of Intimacy

significance of sex

Ultimately, intimacy is highly important. It must be treasured and enjoyed always.

Songs of Solomon is an Old Testament book that we tend to gloss over. But there it is right in the middle of the Bible. So I’m thinking. God put it there for us to find instruction. It’s a love story of a King (Solomon) and his bride. It gets a little juicy but it also deals with handling health issues and those “little tiffs” we can get into.

Sharon Jaynes’ newest book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, & Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon offers much hope for our marriage. Sharon talks frankly to us about encouraging one another, Speaking life into each other, withholding intimacy, becoming indifferent, extending forgiveness and grace, fulfilling one another’s desires, becoming best friends, and so much more.

The Short List For a Forever Marriage

  1. A Commitment to Forever
  2. Love That Lasts Forever
  3. Prayers That Have Forever in Mind
  4. Lifelong Intimacy
  5. Working Together Forever
  6. Uplifting Words Toward and About Each Other
  7. Most Importantly, God is in the Center

This list is only the first few foundational and necessary actions we must take to have a forever marriage. As I have said before, it takes work and lots of it. it takes commitment to stay the course to forever. I pray that you are committed to the plan just as I am.

Let’s Do This!

If you desire to ignite your marriage, check out any of Sharon Jaynes’ books on marriage. I especially encourage you to pre-order your copy of Lovestruck before the Release date (Tuesday, August 6th). You will receive a free downloadable study guide and more. Just follow instructions at www.lovestruckbook.com

I’m praying you will find new ways to spice up your marriage.

It takes intentionality and ingenuity to make lifelong intimacy a reality. #lovestruckbook @sharonjaynes Click To Tweet
Mandy Farmer

How many years have you been married? Share in the comments.




Want a Male Point of View?




93 Years of Marriage: An Heirloom Wedding Gown

My daughter celebrates her first year of marriage this Sunday. I’ve been wanting to share about her wedding gown all this time. Finally! Here’s the story starting at the beginning in 1957. Canton, Ohio

Restored wedding gown,
Mikaela and Ethan, May 18, 2018

The Bride Wore a Satin and Lace Wedding Gown

April 21, 1956 – East Sparta Methodist Church – The bride wore Satin and Chantilly lace with a cathedral length train and a fingertip veil. The gown was handmade by the bride, Elaine Easterday. (my mother). The hem was so long that she has all her bridesmaids come over and help her finish the hem before the wedding. She married a handsome dairy farmer, Gene Dawson, from Louisville, Ohio. They said “standing room only” with over 400 guests attending. {Mom said the cost was $36}

1957 Gene and Elaine
original wedding gown made by Elaine, worn by daughter and  granddaughter
Gene & Elaine April 21, 1956

Off to Finish College

Gene had one more year at Ohio State University School of Agriculture. So they moved their few belongings down to Columbus, Ohio. Wedding gifts and such were packed away in the attic of the family farm. The gown was packed along with a few other special gowns in a cedar chest made by Gene’s brother, George.

family farmhouse
The Dawson Farm in Lousiville, Ohio before 1957

Fire Destroys the Family Farmhouse

March 1957 Louisville, Ohio – Elaine went to the farm and collected a few serving items to throw a birthday party for her beloved husband. She was now expecting their first child. It was the last she would see of her wedding gifts as a few days later, a fire would engulf the 3 story home and gut it completely.

farm house destroyed by fire
1957 after the fire

Upon surveying the damage, they saw the cedar chest high up on a beam. They knocked it down and it fell to the basement. The lid broke open to reveal her perfectly preserved wedding dress! No burnt ends or even the smell of smoke. (Just like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego! – Read Daniel 3)

The dresses were returned to the cedar chest and there they remained in the cedar chest for the next 32 years, except for a few times to just take a look. Like Mary’s little lamb, the chest went everywhere Gene & Elaine went. Their first home in Wooster, OH; Then two other rental farms in Louisville before moving back the homeplace. In 1975, the family, cows, and cedar chest moved to Cambria, Wisconsin.

Daughter Marries A “Farmer”

December 31, 1989 – Columbia, SC – Daughter, Amanda (me) marries Pastor Michael Farmer. Just a funny side note that has nothing to do with the gown, I said I would “NEVER marry a farmer or a pastor.” God has a sense of humor… I married Pastor Farmer. ha!

However, I always wanted to wear mom’s gown when I married; so I had mom bring it to me in Detroit, Michigan in October of 1989. We were together for my brother’s wedding. It was a bit snug on me but mom had left the seam allowances so a church friend, Gabriella, did the work to make it fit! {Cost: $36}

Michael & I married in West Columbia, SC on New Year’s Eve 1989 with over 300 in attendance. As we headed to San Deigo, CA for our honeymoon, Mom took the gown back to Wisconsin. We met them there a week later for a 2nd reception with the home folks.

Then we headed to Barnesville, GA were Michael was already pastoring. And the gown headed to the cleaners for preserving. {cost: $36} Michael & I did a bit of moving ourselves. And the gown followed us everywhere!

  • 1990 – Chattanooga, TN
  • 1992 – Savannah, GA
  • 1997 – Milwaukee, WI
  • 2003 – Moultrie, GA
  • 2015 – Pooler, GA

Fifty Years Celebrated

April 2006 – Randolph Wisconsin – After 50 years of marriage, 6 kids, and many foster children a couple deserves a party, right? We planned a western event for my parents. Our youngest brother, Le, helped us three girls create a CD for our parents. It was entitled “For All You’ve Done”. I brought out the gown so that it could be displayed.

antique wedding gown celebarting 50th anniversary
Mandy and her daughter at Mom and Dad’s 50th

Another Marriage Begins

May 19, 2018 – Savannah, GA – Mikaela and Ethan wed!

wedding gown before alterations
Mikaela in dress before alterations

Mikaela desired to wear the gown as well. She’s just a bitty thing and the gown swallowed her whole! We weren’t sure there was anything that could be down but we began searching for a seamstress.

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But who do you trust with an heirloom such as this?

Who do you trust to alter your heirloom wedding gown? We found her! Click To Tweet

Fortunately, we found an awesome seamstress (in Waycross, GA) who is experienced with antique fabrics. She was excited and willing to update the dress to Mikaela’s style. At our first visit, Mikaela donned the wedding gown and told Mrs. Tammie what she would like. Mrs. Tammie pulled and pinned and tugged and offered ideas. Then we left the dress in her hands for about 3 months. (Hurricane Harvey plowed through Waycross during that time but the dress was safe.)

The Seamstress Works Her Miracle

January 2018 – First Fitting – It was hard to really visualize what Mrs.Tammie would do with the dress. But when Mikaela stepped from the dressing room tears filled our eyes and excitement filled our souls. {The cost this time, a bit more than $36.}

Ethan’s First Look

The wedding day arrived and sister-in-law, Tina drove to Waycross (about 2 hours) to fetch the gown. It was lovely. Just like Mikaela wanted. Her goal was to make her sweetheart cry. I believe, she succeeded as she entered the sanctuary on her daddy’s arm.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Tammie Thomas of Waycross, GA for doing the redesign. If you need alterations of any type, I definitely recommend her. And so did the girl trying on her third bridesmaid dress when we first arrived. The Okefenokee Living Magazine Spring 2017 featured Mrs. Tammie in their bridal Issue.

More story below…

Getting Married? Register on the Amazon Bridal Registry

Amazon Bridal Gift Registry

So Much Wedding Gown Fabric Left Over

Mom’s dress was so full. We had seemingly miles of unused fabric. So I started planning some repurposing. My first thought was a purse for Mom and I. And a small purse for Mikaela’s trousseau.

With plenty of fabric remaining still, I created a different style purse for my sisters who also have children preparing to marry. This gave each of us girls a part of mom’s dress to as a keepsake.

Still More Gown Fabric Left

The fabric seemed to multiply like the widow’s oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7. So, the next item we decided to make was a beautiful blessing gown for future grandbabies. No grandbabies will arrive in the near future, but I decided to make it now before the fabric ages more, or it gets lost. So I’ve gone to work on that. It will be waiting for any and all of the great grandbabies of Gene and Elaine to wear at their Baby Dedication. I found this free pattern and directions at See Kate Sew. I still have the finishing touches to do, but here’s what we have so far.

Will the Legend Continue? Who Knows?

The gown will return to it’s home in a cedar chest for years to come. You never know what could happen. But at this point, we have 93 years of good marriage represented in the gown.

Mom & Dad at 63 years, Mike & Mandy at 29 years, Ethan & Mikaela 1 year and we are all still counting.

Mandy Farmer

I’m certain that you know an heirloom wedding gown does not a great marriage make. Below you will find some great reading that may help you in this matter.

For more about the 2018 wedding click here.

wedding vows, redesigned antique wedding gown
Saying their vows led by both fathers.
wedding ceremony; cathedral train
Susannah Spurgeon Legacy

7 Ways Susannah Spurgeon Left a Legacy of Faith

I was given this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Susannah SpurgeonYou have likely heard the saying, “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.”  Susannah Spurgeon is just such a woman. Wife of the infamous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, she was an integral part of his life and ministry.  She was behind him in prayer support but also beside him in ministry.

Even after reading only the introduction and first chapter I wished that this book had been available to me 30 years ago as I was becoming a pastor’s wife. If I had the time all in one sitting, I would have read this book to completion in a day. What a beautiful example of a Christian wife, pastor’s wife or not.

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Movie Review: Breathe

What a beautifully, inspiring movie!

“Breathe” is an inspiring true story. After being paralyzed by polio at age 28, Robin Cavendish refuses to be immobile and with his loyal wife, Diana, becomes an advocate for the severely disabled. “Breathe” is the feature-film directing debut of actor Andy Serkis.

I love to see how others have made their way through trials. And this movie fast became a great biography. Celebrating the lives of ones who made a huge difference for the severely disabled. So many good takeaways from the movie. The first being, “Don’t sell yourself short. Your life isn’t useless.” And then especially the loyalty and commitment of his wife and other friends. We can all learn something from this life.

Deeply Touching

“Breathe” deeply touched my heart by the determination of Robin and Diana to never give up. Even though things seemed hopeless or they had no one backing them, they moved forward and made things happen. In the end, they helped countless severely disabled people have a fulfilling life instead of one of depression with no hope.

This movie also gently spoke of allowing terminally ill patients the privilege of dying on their own terms but not only that but also that a change of venue can bring an amazing change of view on one’s viewpoint of life for the severely disabled. Each life has value and should be treated that way. It isn’t right to put people away from view in a hospital ward just because they are severely handicapped. We should be doing whatever we can to make life better for them.

In the end, Robin chose to end his life because his body could not take any more from artificial breathing. But he lived a fulfilling life for twenty years. His son got to know him and love him. He was able to die gracefully with his family nearby without a traumatic ending.

I was spellbound by this movie, cheering at times and crying at other times. Beautifully done.

Definitely a MUST SEE FILM.

Inspiring Must See Movie - Breathe Click To Tweet

Sacred Marriage – For a Better Marriage Relationship And More

I heard a radio interview the other day with Gary Thomas, the author of Sacred Marriage, and it really caught my attention. What especially drew me in was the subtitle, “What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”. I had to purchase the book to get “the rest of the story”.

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Reignite Your Marriage by Valentine’s Day

Is your marriage getting a little dull in the romance department?

romance challenge

Click image to purchase

Have you lost the passion you once had for each other?

Sharon Jaynes has written a little book that I’m sure will help you ignite the fires again. In 14 days she can help you spark that fire. She will take you step by step, offering little things you can do to reignite the fires.

Add a spark a day for 14 days

In just a page or two a day, Sharon talks about the things that will get the passion ignited for your guy. She explains what’s going on in his head and what you need to do to get his fires going. Each day she offers 3 or 4 little things you can do for your husband each day. It could be as simple as sending a sweet text or some a bit hot and sexy. She offers testimonials from women who tried them and from the men who received them. These will certainly, be an encouragement to you to try them out.

Each day she offers 3 or 4 little things you can do for your husband each day. It could be as simple as sending a sweet text or some a bit hot and sexy. She offers testimonials from women who tried them and from the men who received them. These will certainly, be an encouragement to you to try them out.

One Act of Romance a Dayadmiration

Each day she challenges you to do one small act of love. She offers 3 or 4 little things you can do for your husband each day. It could be as simple as sending a sweet text or something a bit more hot and sexy. She offers testimonials from women who have tried them and from the men who received them. These will certainly, be an encouragement to you to try them out.

The Best Little Romance Reference Book

In the last third of the book, Sharon includes some great addendums.

  • 150 additional Ways to Romance Your Husband
  • 10 Ways to Romance Your Husband According to His Love Language
  • 14 Tips for a More Romantic Bedroom
  • 10 Easy steps to Writing a Love Letter

Even if you don’t complete an act every day, you will find the passion in your marriage escalating. This is a book you will want to keep in your bedstand as a reference for whenever you need to add a spark to your relationship. Go out and buy yours today!

Mandy Farmer