My New Job as a PHM: On pulling all-nighters, chicken salad, and hashtags (Part 2)

PHM.

Don’t you love acronyms? True story: I have to go look them up on google or urban dictionary most of the time. This was particularly true when I worked in CPS (don’t worry, you can figure that one out by the hyperlink). A job which, by the way, I recently quit. Ah yes, you see, last week I wrote about that huge change in my life. This post is a sequel to that one, but it can stand alone as well.

So anyway, back to acronyms.

In that last post I referred to my new job as a “PHM”, and so I’m ready to share the meaning of this acronym with you…. are you ready? Okay…

Professional Help Meet.

I first got introduced to this term “Help Meet” from the book Created to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl. I will warn you that this book is not for everyone. It’s quite traditional when it comes to the role of wives in the household, and I anticipate that many women will fine and have already found it limiting and old fashioned. This does not happen to be my opinion.

True, I was skeptical at first, but in “testing” out being a true Help Meet, I have found it to be absolutely Biblical and amazingly successful in the context of my own marriage.

Anyway, the term “Help Meet” is interpreted is to mean that God gave Adam Eve: a helper who was fitted to meet his needs. But when looking at it’s Hebrew translation–Ezer– it actually means something much more profound and powerful.

Ezer is commonly translated as “help”, but has a much deeper meaning. In her book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, Beverly Campbell explains,

“This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning “to rescue”, “to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong.”

Diana Webb in her book Forgotten Women of God also clarifies this word by explaining,

“The noun ezer occurs 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of these instances the word means “savior”. These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the root ezer means “strength…. the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezer to man. “

dim fog mirrorThe other term, “Meet”, has a little trickier Hebrew translation, but with some research, I have discovered that it not only means “suitable” or “fit”, but “mirror opposite”.

When you really think about this in regards to males and females biologically, this is true. I mean, I don’t want to be graphic, but just the sexual organs alone are mirror opposites, and because of this, they fit perfectly together in order to create life.

Another thing to note: opposites are always equal, aren’t they? They are totally different in qualities and oftentimes function, but they are always equally themselves.

Many have interpreted the role as “Help Meet” as a diminished position of servitude unequal to that of the husband or man.

But I have come to understand Genesis 2:18 as something like the following, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.” (Beverly Campbell)

This is the job I have right now:

A Companion of Strength and Power who had Saving Power and is Equal to my Amazing and God-Fearing Husband.

Awesome job title? I know, right?

See, I have begun to help my husband, Dennis Florine, with his career. My job has no real title, as it encompasses so many different jobs– filming, editing, promoting, posting on social media, choosing outfits, booking photo shoots, setting up shows, editing posts, blogging, writing emails, offering advice, preparing meals while the man rehearses, making posters, updating the website, organizing papers and mail, making phone calls, communicating with designers and venues and merch options, creating album covers and artwork, taking photos, and a ton of other things that we’re still figuring out–it’s only been one month as a PHM!

What I am finding, is that my skills, talents, and general likes are exactly mirror opposites to Dennis’, which makes us a very powerful team when we’re working together.

I am also finding that Dennis’ primary love language, Acts of Service, is actually more specific than just doing laundry for him or cleaning up after dinner (which we both do, BTW).

He feels most loved when the Acts of Service for him are helping with his career-his work-his life calling. It makes him feel supported, understood, and believed in.

So, in addition to using my saving powers of strength as a wife and women of God to help his career, my hubby is also feeling super-hard-core-crazy-loved, which, as you can imagine, is pretty awesome for our marriage!

And you know what?–God is so good!–I’m finding so much satisfaction out of this! 

Whether it’s gaining new followers on D’Flo Productions’ twitter page by using specific hashtags, making healthy chicken salad from scratch that Dennis now wants to have on hand at all times, choosing his clothes for his next headshot photo shoot (pics to come soon!), or pulling and all-nighter editing the newest Flo’s Friday Flick, I am feeling so much more appreciated, loved, helpful, fulfilled, and joyful than I ever have!

If you know me personally, you probably know how hard this past season has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about it in this post.

If you know me personally, you probably also know how hard marriage has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about that in this post and this post.

Needless to say, this season is very welcomed in the Florine household. All-nighters, chicken salad, hashtags, and everything in between!

You can see our journey on the D’Flo Productions website, facebook, and instagram. Keep up with the story God is creating through our marriage and my new job as a PHM!

Do you have a non-traditional job? How would you describe it? How has your view of wifehood changed since you got married? If you’re not married, what questions do you have about the role of a wife?

“I Resolve to Date More Often”

 Each week my husband and I have a date night.

We work hard to set an entire evening (starting around 6:30 p.m.) to spending uninterrupted time with one another. This is a tradition and will remain a tradition, as I have seen it to be an essential to keeping our marriage happy and healthy.

I was reminded of this fact after having a yes–slightly tipsy–conversation with one of my husband’s close friends. 

He was telling me the importance of “guys night”, and how he really appreciated that I understood that it would be totally awful if I came along. He then explained to me how he loves conversation with Dennis and asked me what my “girls nights” looked like, wondering if they were anything like “guys nights”. To our surprise, the only thing that seemed to separate our idea of a good friend-hang-out session were cigars (the men being fond of those and the women, not so much).

But yes, it’s true, I did understand, as I too would not want my husband awkwardly sitting next to me while I chatted it up with my girl friends and sipped on coffee or ate appetizers….

We, as married people and as dating people, need both “guys/girls nights” as well as “date nights”. Tonight I will focus on the ever important Weekly Date Night

Now, I am well aware that there are many ways to have a date night, and each person has a different idea about what a good date night entails.

Here are 10 good ideas for fun and meaningful date nights for couples of all kinds! 

(Oh! side note: most the these options are “on the cheap” since my husband and I work to budget for a few “All-Out” date nights, but keep the majority of them affordable.)

1. Questionable Dinner – Write down a bunch of random questions, each on a slip of folded paper. Put the papers in a bowl and randomly draw one and answer it over dinner or desert at home.

This is great for new couples who are just getting to know one another, or old couples who want to reminisce  about the past, or learn some crazy-weird stuff about each other! Here is a sample list of questions.

2. Devoted to The Word – Do a weekly Bible study together! This way, you can read scripture together, learn from one another’s interpretations, and share with one another your walk with God.

My husband and I did a devotional study on love and marriage that we could both access from our iPhones. We especially liked the last one, as it helped us both articulate what it was that we first found attractive in the other person (something we needed to be reminded of at the time!).

3. Snack-Central – Make an array of snacky foods for dinner, spread it out on the bed, and watch your favorite tv series together.

Dennis and I LOVE West Wing, and our favorite snacks are smoothies, popcorn, hummus and pita chips/veggies, chips and salsa/guacamole, brie and fruit with cranberry sauce, cheese and crackers (with summer sausage for Dennis), and of course wine!

4. You-Comedy Night!- Each of you make a list of your favorite funny youtube videos. Alternate showing them to each other and vote on with three were the funniest!  We didn’t do this as structured, but one night Dennis and I just watched a ton of funny youtube videos and had a blast laughing together!

This is my favorite one followed closely by this or this. And this couple put together a list of their favorites.

5. Camera Fun- Find a flip cam, or a video camera of some kind and make a funny video. Or, do a photo shoot together.

Since my husband is a rock star, and I’m a person who enjoys taking photos, we have used this to our advantage and have had many photo shoots (mainly consisting of me behind the camera though…). However, we have not done the video portion yet. We were talking about doing a fake episode of “Cribs” to show off our fun apartment with it’s strange idiosyncrasies. I might have to push for that!

6. The Readers- Read a book over the course of a few weeks, meeting up each week to discuss it. It could be a fiction book or a nonfiction book.

Some books that Dennis and I have read and recommend:

The 5 Love Languages
This one is really great for any couple because it has some really great insights into how individuals feel loved. For the longest time, I would write Dennis these cute little love notes, and always wondered why he didn’t write them for me. After reading this book, I realized that words were my love language, and I was trying to love Dennis the way I wanted to be loved. Meanwhile, Dennis was doing really nice things for me to help me out: bringing me coffee when I had stayed up late studying (this was when we were dating in college), or making me lunch when I had a particularly busy day. Acts of service was Dennis’ love language, and he was trying to love me the way he wanted to be loved! Since we know how to love each other better, now I make him dinner and fold his laundry, and he writes me notes and tells me I’m beautiful.

Sacred Marriage    This book is a real earth-shattering one. If you are Christian and you are engaged to be married or already married, I would say this book is a must-read. Without knowing it, we all have notions about marriage in our heads that make us expect the craziest things of one another. This book taught me how to set priorities straight in a marriage, with God being the number one for both husband and wife.

Rocking the Roles     This is the book we are currently making our way through. It is also quite earth-shattering, even though it is slightly dated (I think it was written in the early 90’s). We both were struggling with our respective roles as husband and wife and this book really broke it down. We even had a huge Ah-Ha! moment where we finally realized some of our biggest differences. I would also say this is a must-read for married couples.

The Alchemist     Now, this is a fiction novel with a lot of truth behind it. When we first started dating Dennis told me his entire philosophy was based upon this book, and so, because I was crazy about him, I read it. I LOVED IT! It provides so many philosophical topics of conversation and the entire story could arguably be an allegory for something larger. Read this one or any of this author’s books, all of which would be a good choice.

Captivating and Wild at Heart     Both of these books are pretty great! Captivating is about women and Wild at Heart is about Men. I would recommend women reading Captivating while the men read Wild at Heart, all the while taking notes on each chapter. Then you can switch off and read the one about the opposite sex, and also take notes, comparing them with your spouse or significant other’s.

Other books that I’d like to read with Dennis:

Divine ConspiracyThe Four LovesDietrich BonhoefferEating AnimalsIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto , and The Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius  

7. Eco-Friendly and Equally Tasty – Start a garden together, then choose a day to harvest, or walk to a local Farmer’s Market and pick out some things. Go cook something up for lunch or brunch together with the fresh ingredients!

If you read my blog over the summer, you saw some sweet pictures of Dennis’ graduation/birthday gift to me, which was a vegetable garden! We even moved that potted garden to the South Side of Chicago when we left Bloomington, and have just harvested the last of the cinnamon oregano and green onions for the year.

Here is a great website where you type in your ingredients and they generate some possible recipes!

Here are some farmer’s market recipes!

Some Garden-growing help!

8. Smart Date with TED – For an intellectually stimulating date that we have yet to try (but may in fact this upcoming Friday!), choose a few TED talks to watch together. I was thinking of choosing from these due to the New Year. But your date could have a theme which you then find TED talks which have to do with said theme (such as work, dreams, technology, money, music, love, self-confidence, faith, inspiration, creativity, family…).

This kind of date would be a great way to expand your way of thinking, get to know each other intellectually, have stimulating and intelligent conversation, or just simply get inspired together.

9. A Bucket List Date –  Honestly, I keep stealing ideas from this blog, so I’ll just provide you with the link! This particular date sounds super fun and really useful for planning:

Create a “Bucket List” (things you want to do before you “kick-it”) separately. Perhaps limit it to 10 things you’d like to accomplish, places you like to go, or things you’d like to do. Share them with one another, then come up with anything else that you’d like to do together!  

This would be a great way to know what is important to your significant other or spouse as well as just have fun dreaming of the future together! You can even pair it with watching the movie The Bucket List as part of the date!

10. Splurge! – Go on an “All-Out” date.

The previous dates are all pretty cheap, which is how, as I mentioned, Dennis and I usually plan our weekly date night. But our numerous low-cost dates allow us to save for a rare and special occasion when we can go “All-Out”.

On our “All-Out” date, we will choose a really classy restaurant to go to, and we’ll get really dressed up to go to dinner. We’ll start with drinks, then slowly order an appetizer (we’re in no rush!). We’ll take our time with the food, and usually we will ask for a box so we can have leftovers later during we week (the portion sizes are usually pretty gigantic!).  We’ll sometimes choose a desert to share, if we’re not too full, or sometimes we’ll order the desert to-go and save it for another date night at home!

During our “All-Out “date, we don’t worry so much about price because we’ve saved enough to indulge. But there are always ways to make your “All-Out” date a little more manageable:  Ask for gift cards to nice restaurants for Christmas and Birthdays, pay attention to seasonal specials like this one a Maggiano’s which we just took advantage of, check Groupon or other coupon websites for deals, or go to a less fancy place and just make it fancy by dressing up and indulging in a 3 course meal!

Dennis and I usually like to try out new places for our “All-Out” dates, but we always seem to choose either Italian or Sushi places.

 

And there you have it! 10 super fun date night options for you and your special someone! I hope that part of your New Year’s Resolution is to take care of your relationships by being intentional with time, energy, and effort. 

What are some of your favorite dates? Can you and your spouse/significant other commit to a weekly date night reserved for only one another? 

Enjoy lovebirds!

Shake the Dust

“I’m going to shake the dust off this crummy old town and I’m going to see the world.” –It’s a Wonderful Life

When my husband and I first started dating, he took me to a Slam Poetry event in Chicago and we saw a wonderful poet named Anis Mojgani perform. One of my favorites that he performed was a piece entitled Shake the Dust.

I recently ran across this poem and after reading it again don’t think I liked it then for the same reasons I like it so much now.

Back then, I thought it was a poem for the reject, the neglected, the hopeless, and the down-trodden, encouraging and inspiring the lowly to be heard.  But back then I did not connect it with what Jesus tells his apostles in Matthew 10:14: 

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Anis isn’t the only one who borrowed this phrase to describe a need to be listened to and recognized, even as an imperfect and ignored human being.

“Shake the Dust” is a feature documentary by Adam Sjöberg that tells the stories of break-dancers in struggling communities around the globe. Although separated by cultural boundaries and individual struggles, these communities are intrinsically tied to one another through their passion for hip-hop culture and the freedom to express themselves.

(If you have time to watch the video in the above link, I highly recommend you do so)

And now for some more Bible-talk!

In Acts 18:5-8, the apostle Paul and his traveling church are all in Corinth, and he initially spends his time preaching to the Jews. Unfortunately they don’t listen and are unwelcoming (to say the least). So Paul shakes out his clothes in protest and says, essentially, “Fine! If you’re not interested, from now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

And so he does, and the Word is heard.

This is a story about what to do with “difficult soil,” and oddly enough we find out that it’s not to keep on keeping-on. It’s to high-tail it outta there. This story also highlights a principle of fruitfulness in disciple-making and gospel ministry.

Essentially the message is: Cast seed widely, but concentrate your efforts where the harvest is ripe. If the harvest isn’t ripe, move on.

Everyone remembers the parable of the “Good Soil” right? Well, it’s in Matthew 13, if you need to review.

Here’s how Jesus explains it:

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Paul, unlike many Christians now-a-days, did not waste his time with rocky ground, or weedy soil. He spread his seeds wide and waited to see where they would come up strong and healthy; he waited to see where the good soil was, then he spent his time here. 

Many Christians can get caught up in staying persistent with people who just aren’t producing fruit, and that makes it difficult for them to produce fruit. Jesus tells us not to “cast our pearls to swine”, meaning we cannot afford to waste our words or time with people who will not welcome it or hear it.

Sometimes it’s hard, and it almost sounds crass and mean, but Jesus makes it quite clear what the cost of his discipleship is, and it is far from easy to be a follower of Christ:

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — 36  a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. 40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:34-40

Jesus rebukes people and tells us we have to do the same. We have to learn when to Shake the Dust and move on to people who are worth our time.

 So what does all of this have to do with Anis and the brake-dancers I mentioned earlier?

My guess is that these artists were greatly inspired by the idea of leaving and going elsewhere if you are not being accepted and listened to where you are or with what you are doing. Anis’s poem encourages the lowly that they are loved above the rest, just like Jesus’s message! And Adam’s documentary helps tell the story of underprivileged children who find their voice through hip-hop, never letting their struggles get in the way of their expression, but rather, allowing them to fuel their talents and strength. Jesus tells us to deliver our own message in a way which others will hear it too (ie: putting it in good soil rather than bad). He also tells us to expect trials of great pain when spreading his Word.

If your message is falling on deaf ears, stop talking to those ears!

If you are not welcome where you are with your Spirit-inspired words, get outta there!

Jesus promises that there will be people who hate you because you love Him.  (Matthew 10:16-21) So get used to shaking that dust and never letting it get you down or stop you on your mission.

What truth do you find in Jesus’s promise of pitting brother against brother and added persecution? In what ways have you shaken the dust from your feet and left someone or something hard to leave? Is it mean-spirited to think that some people are so-called “lost causes”?

What do you think?