Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Check out other Wordless Wednesday pictures at WW HQ and 5 Minutes for Mom!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sacrifice

We are in the process of moving. My husband retired this year, I moved my office, we are building a house, and we're changing churches. As much as I am excited about the move, it has never been easy for me to let go of the familiar and comfortable. I am usually not much of a risk taker! Life has been good where we are, and while the sacrifice I am making doesn't seem as extreme as others I have made in my life, it is still a sacrifice. Surrendering the future is required of all of us as Christians. We really don't know what tomorrow holds. So, today, I surrender my position and status for the unknown. My prayer is that God will continue to use me and help me to find a place of ministry in my "new" life.

"Jesus, on earth, never created something from nothing. Jesus used water that was already there to make wine...a fish's mouth to deliver a coin to pay Caesar's tax...fed 5 thousand by taking bread, breaking it and distributing it to all around. God has a way of meeting people when they are hanging by a thread and then asking them for more rope.

Two key principles:
1. Surrender of what you have is always required.
2. Whatever you offer up is going to change form.

The resources you begin with will not be recognizable to you when you are through."
Jesus, Life Coach - Laurie Beth Jones (p. 194).

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15

Monday, January 28, 2008

Marriage Monday

There was some interesting research this week about how spouses who fight live longer. John Gottman, a leading marriage researcher, has classified what he calls "master couples." A master couple is a couple who has stayed married and still kind of like each other. He says that couples who are "masters" don't fight less than other couples, but they have learned how to repair their fights and how to exit fights. Check out Gottman's book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work to read more about successful couples.



Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday's Quote of the Day

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fun Friday

Government Warning! Do NOT Swallow Your Bubble Gum!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Check out other Wordless Wednesday pictures here and here!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Marriage Monday



I was reading some information today about The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. One of their publications, The Top Ten Myths of Marriage, discusses the myth that couples who live together before marriage really get to know each other better and have longer lasting marriages because they are so well suited for each other.

I have found, in almost 34 years of marriage, that marriage is more about commitment than feeling, and more about the decision to accept my spouse than my skill in finding someone who suits me well. My picture of the difference between living together and being married is like the difference between renting an apartment and buying a house. When I was newly married we rented an apartment. In some ways it was great…no maintenance, no lawn mowing, no long term commitment. If something broke all I had to do was call the landlord. There was a down side to being a renter however. I couldn’t paint the walls in my apartment, I didn’t get the benefit of mortgage tax deductions, I had to wait, sometimes for weeks, for the landlord to fix things.

When couples chose to live together before marriage they are like renters. They want the benefits without the commitment. Dr. Willard Harley, Jr., asks, “What, exactly, is the commitment of marriage? It is an agreement that you will take care of each other for life, regardless of life's ups and downs. You will stick it out together through thick and thin. But the commitment of living together isn't like that at all. It is simply a month-to-month rental agreement. As long as you behave yourself and keep me happy, I'll stick around.
Habits are hard to break, and couples that live together before marriage get into the habit of following their month-to-month rental agreement. In fact, they often decide to marry, not because they are willing to make a lifetime commitment to each other, but because the arrangement has worked out so well that they can't imagine breaking their lease, so to speak. They say the words of the marital agreement, but they still have the terms of their rental agreement in mind.

Couples who have not lived together before marriage, on the other hand, have not lived under the terms of the month-to-month rental agreement. They begin their relationship assuming that they are in this thing for life, and all their habits usually reflect that commitment.”

Check out Dr. Harley’s website Marriage Builders and the Rutgers University web site to find out more.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday's Quote of the Day

The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone like us to come along- people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It is overwhelming to consider the numerous opportunities there are to make our love felt.
Leo Bascuglia

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday's Quote of the Day

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. ”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stressless Saturday

One way to get rid of stress is to take a vacation! I may not be posting much this week because I'll be in Cancun for a week! I know...poor me!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Things I Use Every Day











Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Check out other Wordless Wednesday pictures here and here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Anger

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for mans anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19b-20

"Anger stuns. It frightens. It makes people feel bad about themselves. And of course it warns them to stop doing whatever is offending you. But people gradually become injured and resistant. As soon as they see you, they put on their emotional armor in preparation for the next upset. The more anger you express, the less effective your anger becomes, the less you are listened to, and the more cut off you may begin to feel from genuine closeness." When Anger Hits - McKay.

Christians often think that anger is a bad thing...that we shouldn't feel anger. Read Ephesians 4:26-27 again. It doesn't say don't get angry - it says, "don't sin in your anger." Anger is a normal human emotion. It is a signal that something is wrong. When I talk to clients about anger I give them the picture of putting their hand on a hot stove. The pain causes a signal from the brain that says, "take your hand off the stove....it's hot!!!" We need pain in order to keep us safe. The signal is healthy. Anger is healthy too - how we express our anger is what gets us in trouble!
Here are some suggestions for expressing your anger in a healthy way.

1. Learn to say no. Sometimes we set ourselves up to get angry because we say yes when we should be saying no to unrealistic demands from others. Check out my post on our responsibility to say no if you have trouble with this one.

2. Use your anger as a motivator. When we get angry it is usually because of some injustice or something we feel is unfair. Think about Rosa Parks or the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers M.A.D.D. They used their anger to change things.

3. Give yourself a time out. Try holding your breath for 10 seconds...it take oxygen to maintain anger...holding your breath will keep you from exploding.

4. Do something physical. Years ago, when women had to beat rugs and men built their own houses, humans had daily physical activities to relieve their stress and take out their frustrations. Today we live very sedentary lifestyles that don't give us a way to discharge our negative energy.

5. Use a sounding board. Find a friend to talk to about what happened, but be careful that you choose someone who won't fuel your anger by reminding you of all the other things you should be angry about.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Marriage Monday: Putting Marriage First



It happened again this week in a counseling session. A woman told me that her husband complained that she always put the kids first. I said, “Really?” and she replied, “I get so tired of hearing that!” I think she wanted me to agree with her that kids should come first…that her husband was being unreasonable. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many marriages fail because of inattention, so we talked about how to make her marriage a priority.

Having a baby is a joyous experience, but the shift from spouse to parent can be difficult! All of sudden the new parents have a little being that they love more than life and that demand all of their attention. Moms are hard wired to put their babies needs first so that they will survive, and dads feel an urgency to work hard and support their growing family. All of that leaves the marriage on the back burner…where it often stays even as the demands of a new baby lessen. Both husband and wife are doing more, talking less, and feeling under appreciated.

So, how do you make your marriage a priority when the demands of family life are great? Here are five suggestions for making your marriage the best it can be in 2008.

  1. Build a support network. Many new parents are learning to live on one income and less money. Find some other parents who are in the same boat and exchange babysitting services so you can find some couple time.
  2. Get your kids to bed. Not only do your kids need lots of sleep, you need some time to focus on each other after the kids are in bed. Spend at least 30 minutes a day talking to each other (about something other than kids!). Without that connection you may find yourself years from now sitting across the restaurant table from someone that you don’t know and aren’t sure if you like.
  3. Schedule a date night. At least once a week get out of the house and away from the kids. Even if it’s only going to McDonald's to get a coke, spend some quality time focusing on your relationship.
  4. Find something to compliment. It is easy to find things to complain about, but people in healthy marriages find things they admire about their spouses, and they comment on them! An amazing thing happens when you look for good things…you begin to see more and more of them, and the compliments get returned!
  5. Ask your spouse the question “what can I do this week that will make you feel loved?” Having a healthy marriage is easy when we are open about what we need and open to hearing what our spouse needs.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday's Quote of the Day

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.

Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stressless Saturday: Taking Charge of Your Life


There is a commercial on TV about a dieter who talks about her struggles in losing weight. She says that she even thought about hiring a life coach to help her meet her goals, but then decides that she alone knows what is best for her...

Of course, she is right. The misconception is that a counselor or life coach will somehow wave a magic wand and make things better without the client having much input. Life coaching is not about having a director who tells you what to do. It is more about having a cheerleader who gives encouragement and accountability to meet the goals you set for yourself.

As a counselor/life coach I often get people in counseling who, after a few sessions, tell me that they don't think the counseling is working because nothing is changing in their lives. Let me give you the "picture" I give them. Picture a piece of string that is 168 inches long. Put a 1 inch piece of tape on that string. That one inch represents the one hour you meet with a counselor in the 168 hours out of a week. Working on your life for one hour a week isn't going to do much if you don't work in between sessions.

Most of us DO know what is best for us. We know we should exercise, lose weight, eat healthy foods, maintain healthy relationships, etc. Unfortunately, knowledge doesn't always translate into action. A counselor or life coach can help remind you of the knowledge you have, challenge you to put it into action, and hold you accountable for the steps you want to take to take charge of your life.

We often make New Year's resolutions during the first few weeks of January and then drop them in the last few weeks of January because we have already failed or decide it is just to hard to change. This year get yourself an accountability partner or hire a life coach or counselor to help you become all that you want to be in 2008!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Check out other WW pictures here and here!