On This Day, Seventy-Four Years Ago…

canstockphoto9100017[1]My mom would be celebrating her seventy-fourth birthday today had she survived her battle with cancer four and a half years ago.

As I shared on the blog before ( http://deniselfair.com/remembering-my-mom/), she did not receive Christ until very late in life. The second half of Mom’s life was riddled with challenges that led her down a dark and difficult path emotionally. But, in my early childhood my mom loved life.

She was vibrant, loving, nurturing, and amazing!

My Mom Margaret E. Kellander March 24, 1942 - November 23, 2011
My Mom
Margaret E. Kellander
March 24, 1942 – November 23, 2011

As I celebrate her on her birthday, I chose to remember her that way.

Indulge me briefly while I reminisce about the top three indelible marks she made on my life.

~ She had given me a love for homemaking. I love to garden and preserve fresh fruit and vegetables.  I remember summer days spent by her side as we picked garden fresh tomatoes, climbed ladders to pluck tart green apples, and shucked endless ears of corn.  We’d then prepare jams, freeze corn, and can tomatoes for days on end.  Nothing tasted better in the dead of winter, with snow up to my belly button, than Mom’s sweet strawberry jam slathered on warm bread.  I think of her every time I look at my pantry shelves with neatly arranged canning jars, full of tomatoes, apples, and grape jelly.  A love for sewing, knitting, crocheting, and creating through craftiness were also passed down in this love for homemaking.

~ She instilled in me a love for animals. Mom had a soft spot for critters large and small.  Growing up we had ducks, hamsters, gerbils, mice, cats, dogs, and fish.  I’m certain, if we would have had the space, we would have had goats and horses too.  We keep the animal population in our house to one small dog due to space.  But, we’d have a population explosion of the four legged kind if we lived in a more rural setting.

~Lastly, she left me with the overwhelming desire to sing out loud no matter how bad I sound! Mom loved to fill the air with her out of tune melodies…so do I!  My children chide me just like I had often chided her.  Unfortunately, I also inherited my not-so-great singing voice from her as well.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”     Psalms 16:6

Happy Birthday, Mom!



P.S.—to my sisters, Beth and Sarah (who also inherited all three traits), I’d love for you to add your thoughts in the comment section!


Why Do I Talk to My Husband Like That?



It felt like my heart was in my throat as I swallowed a hard, cold lump of air. I turned to my daughter, as we sat at a red light and asked her what she was talking about. She went on to explain to me that I seemed to be upset with her daddy all the time lately.  She looked at me with her big blue eyes and ask me if something was wrong.

Was I mad at Dad because of something he did?

Was I feeling sick and didn’t want anyone to know?

Did I still love Daddy?

My answers were quick and short as we turned the corner and pulled into the drop off zone at school…



Of course, I still love Daddy!

The conversation made me weep the whole way home. It was crushing.

I had been short on patience with the man I love more than any other human on this earth.  The excuses were numerous and valid.

I wasn’t sleeping well.

Some extended family issues troubled my mind.

He was worried about work and not as emotionally available for me.

I’ve often felt like the only woman in the world that had so much trouble displaying the love for my husband that I have in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way?

When I’m not with him, I think about how wonderful he is, how well he cares for us as a family, and all the wonderful aspects of his personality that I find so attractive.

Then he comes home and tracks mud across my freshly polished hardwood and stinks up the powder room and I turn into a completely different woman!!! Words fly from my mouth before I can stop them and condemnation floods my soul.

My husband and I have been married for almost nineteen years and for all those years, I have thought this struggle was uniquely mine. Yes, there have been a handful of friends who confided in me that they share similar struggles with their men as well. But, overall I thought that it was a sign of a spiritual weakness in me, a struggle that I alone battled.

My eyes were opened to a greater truth two weeks ago when I started taking a class on biblical counseling at my church.

The first topic was marriage.


We looked at Genesis chapter two. Man needed a helper.  The animals were brought to Adam. None were suitable helpers.  God made woman from man’s rib. Man had dominion over woman. Everything was blissful.

Then in chapter three everything changed! The chapter is entitled, “The Fall of Man”.

“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”     Genesis 3:16

If you have been in church for any length of time, I’m sure you have heard teachings on the fall of mankind from this very passage.

Presented in a different context, God opened my eyes and I saw for the very first time why I struggled to communicate my love to husband in the midst of certain circumstances.

In chapter two, Eve, as she represented womanhood, was content under her husband’s authority. She was astutely aware of the fact that she was created from him and for him.

After the fall, as a consequence of the fall, it was determined that the harmonious relationship would no longer exist without struggle. “Her desire will be for her husband” would become her desire to challenge his authority.  “He will rule over you” would become his tendency toward harshness or insensitivity, and perhaps unawareness of her needs.  So, the battle began.

The struggle is real, my friends.

We now live in a new age.

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1Corinthians 15:22

“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a life giving spirit.’” 1Corithians 15:45

Jesus is the answer.

Knowing this, I no longer feel condemnation during those moments of struggle. I know why I struggle and I confess those struggles to Christ, repent, and turn to Him for life-giving help. The more quickly I do this, the more loving our relationship becomes. The more I grow in my love for Christ and from Christ, the more His grace changes me and my expression of love for my husband.

I can then echo Paul’s words in 1Timothy 1:14, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”