Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

The man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man.

"I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound...Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud...At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them...He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms...Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me...That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.

"If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm...to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand." At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

Paul Harvey

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Communication Skills for Effective Parenting

We all want to have healthy relationships with our children. Often the measure of health in our parent/child relationships is the quality of our communication. Positive communication is the key to friendly, trusting, and caring relationships between parents and children. It is also a skill most of us were not born with. Children learn how to communicate by watching their parents. If parents communicate openly and effectively, chances are that their children will, too. Whether you are parenting a toddler or teenager, good communication skills will benefit your children for their entire lives.

So how can you communicate effectively with your children? The ten skills listed below can help you improve relations with your children and bring harmony to your home.

1. Be interested in what your child has to say.
Turn off the TV and put down the newspaper. Kids can tell when you are not concentrating. Maintain eye contact, this lets your child know that you are really interested in what they have to say. If you truly do not have time at that moment, promise to get back to them later, but then do it!

2. Keep conversations brief.
The younger children are, the more difficult is for them to sit through a long speech. The goal is for parents to pass on information a little at a time while checking that their children are paying attention to and understanding what is being said at regular intervals. Parents should let children decide when enough is enough. Look for clues like fidgeting, lack of eye contact, distractibility.

3. Ask the right questions…avoid dead end questions.
Avoid asking questions that just require a yes or no answer. Ask questions that begin with what, where, who or how. But…don't let your questions turn into an interrogation!

4. Communicate at your children's level.
Come down to their level both verbally and physically. Use age appropriate language that the child can understand.

5. Express your own feelings and ideas.
Communication is a two way street. Parents can teach their children many things, for example, morals and values, by expressing thoughts and feelings. For example, watch TV together and engage the child in a conversation about why you believe what you are watching is wrong or immoral. Be careful, however, not to come off "preachy" or judgmental.

6. Regularly schedule family meetings or times to talk.
Use the dinner hour as time to catch up with each other. Or use quiet times before bed as a time to find out what the child has planned for the next day.

7. Admit it when you don't know something.
When a child asks a question you don't know the answer to, use it as a learning experience for both of you. We need to teach our children that the smartest people are not the ones who have all the answers (an impossibility), but the ones who know how to find the answers. Teach your children how to find out the answers to tough questions.

8. Try to make explanations complete.
When answering questions give as much information as the child needs, even if the subject is something that you don't feel comfortable with. If parents answer tough questions without strong reactions, children learn that no subject is taboo, and they will probably lose interest after they get their answer. Remember, anything you make an issue will become an issue.

9. Let your children know they have been heard.
Keep interruptions to a minimum. You can offer encouragement through a smile, touch or nod, without interrupting. When they are done speaking restate what the child said. For example, "Boy it sounds like you had a really tough day!" Not only will this let the child know that you have been listening, but it will often give the child a chance to clarify or give more information.

10. Avoid negative communication. Examples of negative communication:
· Nagging and Lecturing
· Interrupting
· Criticizing
· Dwelling on the past
· Controlling through the use of guilt
· Using sarcasm
· Telling children how to solve their problems
· Putting children down
· Using threats
· Denying children's feelings

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Depression and the Holidays

I don't know about you, but sometimes "the most wonderful time of the year" to quote a famous Christmas carol, is not always so wonderful! The holidays, which start at Thanksgiving and don't end until after the New Year, are stressful! Cooking, spending too much money, eating too much, parties, family gatherings and decorating can take a toll on the best of us. For some people the holidays are really the saddest part of the year. A time when the loss of a loved one is felt the most, and a time when people who aren't surrounded by friends and family feel alone and isolated.

Our expectations during the holidays often set us up for feeling bad. Our fantasy of a loving family singing carols around the tree are often replaced with family friction, moody teenagers, and dinners that don't look (or taste) like the picture on our Christmas card.

We all suffer from the blues at times, especially in the winter when days are short and our "perfect" holidays don't pan out. However, if the blues last more than a few weeks you may be suffering from depression.

What to look for...
• Loss of pleasure from daily life.
• Sad, anxious or “empty” mood.
• Sleeping too little or too much.
• Changes in weight and appetite.
• Feeling restless or irritable.
• Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
• Fatigue or loss of energy.
• Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless.
• Physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment.
• Thoughts of death or suicide.

Here are some things you can do if you're feeling down during the holidays
• Set realistic goals
• Ask for help when you need it.
• Get enough sleep.
• Go to sleep and get up at about the same time every day.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Exercise regularly.
• Build and keep friendships and a network of support.
• Take a course in stress management or assertiveness.

If these don't help and you feel several of the symptoms of depression listed above for more than two weeks call your doctor. Don't let the blues get the best of you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stressless Saturday

Dear Jesus,

I am so tired. My weariness goes all the way to the bone. Even when I sleep, I wake up exhausted. I am worried about so many things. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that you understand even my doubts and that you love me in the midst of them.

My schedule is so packed with important things, and I can’t imagine giving up even one of them. Help! Will you really show me where to put my left foot and my right? Lord, I want to believe; help my unbelief. Give me a heart that hungers and thirsts to know you, even more than I hunger and thirst for rest and peace. When I want to know and understand you more than anything else in my world, I will have come to the beginning of the end of the stress that threatens to undo me. Reveal yourself to me, Lord, and I will follow.

Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"The worst disease in today's world is not leprosy or cancer: it is the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted, of being deserted and alone“ Mother Teresa

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stressless Saturday

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.
Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds...but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day...Today. Any man can fight the battles of just one day, it is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities...Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad...it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring

— Author Unknown

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Friday


"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever.
Great stories. But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize the guy was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy).
By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Senior Service

The word “retirement” isn’t in the Bible, at least not in the sense that we ever retire from serving God and others. Seniors who’ve had active lives may want to relax a bit during their retirement years, but continuing in ministry—even just a day or two each month, will help them realize that God still wants what they have to offer.

Here are 25 ideas for “senior service” to get you started:


1. Adopt a “grandchild.”
2. Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center.
3. Help young business entrepreneurs.
4. Provide childcare for MOPS or other young mothers’ programs.
5. Plant flowers in working neighbors’ yards (with their permission, of course).
6. Visit nursing home patients.
7. Volunteer to work at a church camp.
8. Watch a single mom’s kids while she goes grocery shopping.
9. Serve meals at a homeless shelter.
10. Be a prayer partner, or volunteer to coordinate a prayer chain.
11. Teach English as a second language (ESL).
12. Do odd jobs for a neighbor.
13. Collect or distribute food at a local food bank.
14. Volunteer at the humane society.
15. Work on a Habitat for Humanity home.
16. Deliver Meals on Wheels.
17. Teach crafts, music, or another skill.
18. Serve as a hospital volunteer.
19. Help with a community cleanup project.
20. Coach Little League or a kids’ soccer team.
21. Work at a blood drive or flu shot clinic.
22. Serve as an election judge.
23. Provide meals for families with new babies.
24. Deliver prescription medicines to shut-ins.
25. Help a mission or nonprofit organization do mailings.


These ideas were originally published in Rev! magazine, and this is just one of the thousands of articles available to members of Church Volunteer Central in our Idea Depot.
Copyright © 2009 Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Gift of a Bible

Very convicting words...from an atheist.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. – Ambrose

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stressless Saturday

Assertiveness

I was listening to an audio recording of a seminar on women in leadership today. The woman speaker said that as a child her mother often called her the ”b” word…bossy. Today many assertive, take charge, confident women are called another “b” word that is designed to “put them in their place.” The assertiveness that is never questioned in men (who are supposed to take charge) is not looked on favorably in women. Because we, as women, often have to put our natural leadership skills aside to play well with others, we sometimes give up our basic human rights. When I pull out the following list of rights and go over it with some of my female clients I can see their anxiety level rising. Sometimes they just can’t see themselves demanding fair treatment, and sometimes they just never realized that they could!

As a counselor I often tell clients that we teach people how to treat us. By standing up for our rights we show we respect ourselves and usually get respect from others. Sacrificing our rights usually results in teaching people to treat us badly.

I have the right to change my mind…about anything.
I have the right to make mistakes.
I have the right to be listened to and taken seriously.
I have the right to ask for what I want.
I have the right to think before I answer.
I have the right to say “That is unacceptable behavior…if you continue there will be consequences.”
I have the right to impose consequences on unacceptable behavior.
I have the right to feel angry (and any other emotion) as long as I don’t hurt others with my anger.
I have the right to make my own decisions, even when others don’t agree.
I have the right to ask for information.
I have the right to be left alone when I want to be left alone.
I have the right to say NO without feeling guilty.
I have the right to ignore the advice of others.

So, did you feel your anxiety level rising? Do you believe that these are rights that every human being has? If not, who told you that you didn’t have these rights? What happens when you try to assert yourself? If these rights are unfamiliar to you, start small. Begin by being assertive with a stranger in a non-threatening situation like asking your waitress to substitute something on the menu. Assertiveness is like a muscle. The more we use it, the better we get.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun Friday

On the first day God created the cow. God said: "You must go to field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said: "That's a kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty years and I'll give back the other forty."

And God agreed. On the second day, God created the dog.

God said: "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said: "That's too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I'll give back the other ten." So, with a sigh, God agreed.

On the third day, God created the monkey. God said: Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty year life span.

"Monkey said: "How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don't think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that's what I'll do too, okay?"

And God agreed again. On the fourth day God created man. God said: "Eat, sleep, play, enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy, enjoy. I'll give you twenty years."

Man said: "What? Only twenty years? No way man. Tell you what, I'll take my twenty, and the forty cow gave back, and the ten dog gave back and the ten monkey gave back. That makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God. "You've got a deal."

So that is why for the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, have sex, enjoy, and do nothing; for the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family; for the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain our grandchildren; and for the last ten years we sit in front of the house and bark at everybody.

Life has now been explained. Any questions, ask Him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Marriage Monday


How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

One of the most important features of successful couple relationships is the quality of the friendship. Do you know your partner's inner world? Take the quiz below and find out.


1. I can name my partner's best friends. yes no
2. I know what stresses my partner is currently facing. yes no
3. I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately. yes no
4. I can tell you some of my partner's life dreams. yes no
5. I can tell you about my partner's basic philosophy of life. yes no
6. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least. yes no
7. I feel that my partner knows me pretty well. yes no
8. When we are apart, I often think fondly of my partner. yes no
9. I often touch or kiss my partner affectionately. yes no
10. My partner really respects me. yes no
11. There is fire and passion in this relationship. yes no
12. Romance is definitely still part of our relationship. yes no
13. My partner appreciates the things I do in this relationship. yes no
14. My partner generally likes my personality. yes no
15. Our sex life is mostly satisfying. yes no
16. At the end of the day my partner is glad to see me. yes no
17. My partner is one of my best friends. yes no
18. We just love talking to each other. yes no
19. There is lots of give and take (both people have influence) in our discussions. yes no
20. My partner listens respectfully, even when we disagree. yes no
21. My partner is usually a great help as a problem solver. yes no
22. We generally mesh well on basic values and goals in life. yes no



Your score:
15 or more yes answers: You have a lot of strength in your relationship. Congratulations!


8 to 14: This is a pivotal time in your relationship. There are many strengths you can build upon but there are also some weaknesses that need your attention.


7 or fewer: Your relationship may be in serious trouble. If this concerns you, you probably still value the relationship enough to try to get help.


This quiz highlights elements of what Dr. Gottman refers to as your "love map." In his workshops, Dr. Gottman discusses the step-by-step process of making sure that you nurture your friendship with your partner. In a survey of 200 couples attending a weekend workshop, Dr. Gottman found that the best predictor of passion and romance in a relationship was...you guessed it...the quality of the friendship!
Check out http://www.gottman.com for more information about marriage.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You've probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion'. I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live." Francis Chan - Crazy Love

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Friday


How the world works lately...


  • If a man cuts his finger off while slicing salami at work, he blames the restaurant.

  • If you smoke three packs a day For 40 years and die of lung cancer, your family blames the tobacco company.

  • If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, he blames the bartender.

  • If your grandchildren are Brats without manners, you blame television.

  • If your friend is shot by a Deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer.

  • And if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilot at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the crazed deceased blames the airline.
I must have lived too long to understand the world as it is anymore.

So, if I die while my body is parked in front of this computer,

I want all of you to blame Bill Gates.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Francis Chan - Balance Beam

I am reading Francis Chan's book Crazy Love. A great read...if you don't mind being convicted!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." Tim Kizziar

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Friday

READ BELOW FOR
IMPORTANT NEWS !!!

If you receive an email from the Department of Health telling you not to eat canned pork because of swine flu..............
Ignore it. It's just spam.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"When the archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim - improve yourself." Gilbert Arland

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stress Inventory

1. Give yourself 10 points if you feel that you have a supportive family around you.
2. Give your self 10 points if you actively pursue a hobby.
3. Give your self 10 points if you belong to some social or activity group that meets at least once a month (other than your family).
4. Give your self 15 points if you are within five pounds of your "ideal" body weight, considering yur height and bone structure.
5. Give your self 15 points if you practice some form of "deep relaxation" at least three times a week. Deep relaxation exercises include meditation, imagery, yoga, etc.
6. Give your self 5 points for each time you exercise 30 minutes or longer during the course of an average week.
7. Give your self 5 points for each nutritionally balanced and wholesome meal you consume during the course of an average week.
8. Give your self 5 points if you do something that you really enjoy which is "just for you" during the course of an average week.
9. Give your self 10 points if you have some place in your home that you can go in order to relax and/or be by yourself.
10. Give your self 10 points if you practice time management techniques in your daily life.
11. Subtract 10 points for each pack of cigarettes you smoke during the course of an average day.
12. Subtract 5 points for each evening during the course of an average week that you take any form of medication or chemical substance (including alcohol) to help you sleep.
13. Subtract 10 points for each day during the course of an average week that you consume any form of medication or chemical substance (including alcohol) to reduce your anxiety or just calm you down.
14. Subtract 5 points for each evening during the course of an average week that you bring work home: work that was meant to be done at your place of employment.

Now add your total score. If you scored in the 50-60 point range you probably have an adequate collection of coping strategies for most common sources of stress. However, the higher your score the greater your ability to cope with stress in a healthy way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Real Church

"I think that is God's plan -- to meet me where I am, in all my ugliness, not where I pretend to be or wish I were; to meet me in my weakness and shame and fear and to give me hope that God loves me, that He can change me, and that He can use me. I need help to dare believe that though I deserve to be hated, God delights in me; that though I keep living in my mess, He is changing me and will one day finish the job; and that He can use me to change the world, to make an eternal difference in this sorry but God-loved planet." Larry Crabb - Real Church

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bank of Time

" If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400.00 that carried over no balance from day to day and allowed you to keep no cash in your account...and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day...what would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Well...you have such a bank, and it's name is "Time". Every night it rules off, as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose...it carries over no balance. It allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. Ther is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present - on today's deposits. Invest it...so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success."
- Author Unknown

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day




"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
- Albert Einstein



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stressless Saturday

Don't Quit!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must; but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

_____________________________________________________

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Friday

I Am a 'Kept' Woman You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, But GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)

There were times when I thought I could go on no longer, But the LORD kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)

At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong,
But the LORD kept my mouth shut. (Ps. 13)

Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough, But GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)

When I thought I would fall,
HE kept me up.

When I thought I was weak,
HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

I am indeed a 'kept' woman and praise God for it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God is Good

The past year has been a struggle. Moving, changing churches, moving my practice, and starting over. I have faced many losses. Although I often felt that the church I had attended for almost 20 years was an island experience – at least it was a familiar and friendly experience. People knew me, respected me, and in a limited way, loved me. Limited in the way that a counselor/staff person is known and loved. I had gone from lay person to staff person back to lay person again. When I moved off staff I found I really had no place there. People in the church were distant because I was a staff member…and then when I quit my job I didn’t fit with the staff either. I had jumped ship…on both sides…and found myself swimming in very lonely waters.

So, when my husband retired we decided to move to the community where our son and his family live. I had prayed that I would find a place to belong, a place to serve, a place to be known and loved, and a place where I could know and love others without the obstacle of staff vs. non-staff history.

We started attending our son’s church at probably the worst time in the life of the church. A few months before we moved, the senior pastor resigned. A good friend of ours was on staff at the church and I saw firsthand the difficulties of working in a church without a senior pastor. In our denomination, whenever a senior pastor leaves, the rest of the pastoral staff is required to turn in a letter of resignation. The board can then decide to keep them until a new pastor comes. Once hired, the new senior pastor has to make a decision (within 90 days) if he/she is going to accept those letters of resignation.

We attended the church for seven months before a new senior pastor came. During that seven months…a time of getting used to a new community, a new home, and trying to find an office for my business, I watched as my friend struggled with “do I stay and hope the new guy keeps me? Or do I go?” The interim was hard on the church and staff, and hard on me, a former staff member whose only hope was that I would find a place to serve and a place to belong.

As a counselor and friend, I walked through those dark days with my staff member friend. I tried to help her problem solve when she told me about the issues she had with the board and the interim pastor. I prayed that the new pastor would be able to see her strengths and gifts and affirm them. I also prayed that he/she would be able to see my strengths and gifts and help me find a place to serve.

I don’t know all the details, but at the 90 day mark, my friend was let go. I grieved with her, and I grieved for myself. It seemed that this was not going to be a place where I was going to be able to serve. Partly because I had already volunteered for a few ministries and never heard back from anyone about whether or not they wanted my involvement, and partly because I recognized that the culture of the church was not welcoming. In my mind I connected the easy “disposal” of my friend with a place that was unfriendly and unloving. It didn’t help that even after a year of attending my son, daughter-in-law and a few of their friends were the only people who talked to us Sunday after Sunday.

I’m sure my attitude could have been better. My emotions ranged from anger to hurt to sadness to grief to hope and back. Not typically an emotional person, I found myself near tears after many Sunday morning services. I was grieving the loss of a familiar place where people loved me, wishing that I could find a place to fit, and longing for connection and purpose.

It has been a year since my friend’s resignation was “accepted.” I have watched her struggle as a single female try to support herself after losing her job in the worst economy since the great depression. I have walked beside her as she tried to pick up the pieces of her shattered self-esteem. I have listened to her as she worked through the fear of getting back into ministry. I have fed her more days than not as she struggled to even have enough money for food. I have grieved with her, been angry for her, prayed for her, and wondered with her “why do people get up on Sunday morning and go to church when this is what they get?”

And as much as both of us wanted to walk away and be done with church, God kept speaking. He wouldn’t let either of us go. I recently stopped by my friend’s house and on her refrigerator, on a dry erase board, was a list of the blessings she has received since losing her job. She realizes (on most days) that even though the church has rejected her, God is still caring for her. As I looked at her list I wondered if I could identify the ways that God still cares for me.

I told a friend recently that I had given up on the church. Not necessarily given up on going to church, but given up my struggle to fit in. I acknowledged that for both me and my friend God has led us through what seemed to be a desert experience. I have to tell you…I hate desert experiences. I wish that I could learn about God in the sunshine on a beach somewhere. But it is in the desert experiences that God reduces us to radical dependence on Him.

Jeremiah 32: 40 – 41 says, “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”

I heard Dr. Larry Crabb this week speak about these verses in Jeremiah. He said, “Whatever God is doing in our lives, he is doing good…and he’s having a really good time doing it!” So, if that is true, what is God doing in my life and in the life of my friend? I wish I could say that I have learned all the lessons that I am supposed to during this time, but I know that learning is a journey, not a destination. In my limited understanding I believe that God is using this time to get me to stop looking to the church, to my position, even to the people in the church to find significance. Although I have always known at an intellectual level that truth, until I was swimming in those very lonely waters I didn’t realize how much I looked for approval in the eyes of those I served.

So many times in the last year I have complained. How could they NOT want me? I would be a valuable asset to any church! I have a lot to offer! Although I wasn’t the one let go, in many ways my journey mirrored my friend’s journey. It is no wonder that it hooked my emotions at such a deep level. I felt angry, hurt, depressed, and rejected. I felt it for her and I felt it for myself.

I have found myself recently rereading some of my favorite Bible stories. The life of Joseph has always spoken to me, but never as much as it has this year. Joseph, favored by his father, chosen of God, sold into slavery, given up for dead, and imprisoned unfairly had much more to complain about than me. I often wonder if I could read the journals of some of my Biblical heroes if they would read like mine with an unhealthy dose of “poor me.” He may have complained, but at the end of the story he tells the brothers that sold him into slavery, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” Genesis 50:20a.

It reminds me of a story I read recently:

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.
Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

I know that God will redeem this year in my life. I know that God will bring good out of my circumstances and the circumstances of my friend. How? I don’t have the answer yet. My friend is working part time in a church. She still struggles to make ends meet financially, and she still has fears, but I see God healing her. The “dirt” that was thrown on her in her last ministry assignment is becoming her path to the future. God has not stopped doing good to her. Even the fact that she was only able to find a part time job in a small church is probably a blessing from God. She needed time to ease back into ministry instead of hitting the ground running in a large church. And I needed time to get over myself.

So, I wait…patiently some days, not so patiently other days. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines, but I am beginning to hope that God keeps me here until I am able to find my significance in Him alone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"One of the main reasons people underperform in their jobs is that they don't know 'why' they are doing them in the first place."
Laurie Beth Jones - Teach Your Team to Fish

Friday, September 11, 2009

Health Care Plan

Let me get this straight.

We are going to get a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes,overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke.

What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Louie Giglio - Laminin

Colossians 1:15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"What if success was more about finding your calling than getting a job? What if the important thing were not making a living, but making a life? What if, instead of beguiling others into thinking we're somthing we're not, we sought to become everything we were designed to be?" Jeff Myers

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"You and I need to learn to interpret our circumstances by His love, not interpret His love by our circumstances!" Anne Graham Lotz Just Give Me Jesus

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Go To Church

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.."I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.

"This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this .. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, ifIf I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing..... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"We never touch people so lightly that we do not leave a trace." -- Peggy Tabor Millin: Mary's Way

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tip Thursday

1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE. It will also condition your hair
5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off andsee the dead skin and blackheads
6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar On it!
10. Arthritis? Use WD-40 Spray and rub in; kills insect stings too
11. Bee stings – Use meat tenderizer or tape a penny to bee sting for 15 min.
12. Chigger bite - Preparation H
13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
14. Paper cut - Crazy Glue or Chap Stick (Glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals.)
15. Stinky feet - Jell-O!
16. Athletes feet - Cornstarch
17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub
18. Use Kool Aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put it in the detergentsection and run a cycle. It will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and wedrink this stuff)
19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint. Also Kool Aid in Dannon Plain yogurt as a finger paint. Your kids will love it and it won'thurt them if they eat it!
20. Peanut butter will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with acoffee filter paper. Put a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a soft rag. Rub it on a CD, and it will also take the scratches out of a CD.
21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep acan in your garage for your hubby.
23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls.
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with cornstarch and watch them slide on.
25. Heavy dandruff - Pour on the vinegar !
26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco inthe microwave, pour in to an empty filmcontainer and mix with the foodcolor of your choice!
27. Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie arubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
28. Preserving a newspaper clipping – Take large bottle of club soda andcup of milk of magnesia , soak for 20 min., and let dry. It will last formany years!
29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgatetoothpaste
31. For wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into thesalt.
32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain.It will absorb into the towel.
33. To remove labels off glassware, etc,. rub with peanut butter !
34. Baked on food – Put a Bounce fabric softener sheet in the baked on food container,
fill the container with water, and soak overnight. The static from the Bounce sheet
will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Also, you can put two Efferdent tablets and water in the container and soak overnight with the same results!
35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate Toothpaste and brush it!
36. Dirty grout – Use Listerine
37. Stains on clothes – Colgate
38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
39. Grease Stains – Use Coca Cola., It will also remove grease stains fromthe driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from carbatteries!
40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax - Sprinkle and letstand for 24 hours.
41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer, add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayeraspirin , or just use 7-up instead of water.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun Friday


An elderly woman died last month. Having never married , she requested no male pallbearers In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.'

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun Friday

Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, 'My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50.'The second boy says, 'That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.'The third boy says, 'I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!'

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cell Phone vs.the Bible

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go.....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don ' t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think, where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saying No

"A 'No' uttered form deepest conviction is better and greater than a 'Yes'merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble." Mahatma Gandhi
I once heard it said that the word NO is a complete sentence. Although I agree that it can be,

many people have a hard time saying the word. I was facilitating a group last week when we starting talking about living a balanced life. Many of the women in the group agreed that their lives were sometimes out of control because they said yes to too many things. One woman stated that she feels guilty when she says no, and worries that she is hurting the feelings of the person she has to say no to.
So why is so hard to say no? In his book The Power of a Positive No, William Ury states, "Perhaps the single biggest mistake we make when we say No is to start from No. We derive our No from what we are against - the other's demand or behavior. A positive No calls on us to do the exact opposite and base our No on what we are for. Instead of starting from No, start from Yes. Root you No in a deeper Yes - a Yes to your core interests and to what truly matters."
Picture going on vacation with only a week to drive to your vacation spot, relax for a few days, and drive back home. You would pull out your map, make sure you know the quickest way to get there, and prepare yourself for the journey. You wouldn't want any unwelcome surprises (like a flat tire, a detour, stopping to see the world's biggest ball of twine, etc.) to keep you from enjoying your time away. And if you did have an unwelcome surprise, you might end up feeling frustrated and resentful that you didn't get to do all the fun things you had planned.
Unfortunately many of us spend a lot of time planning our vacations, but we don't spend time planning our lives. We get sidetracked from doing the best things because we say yes to doing good things that are on someone else's agenda. And then we end up feeling resentful because we are stressed out from doing too much...living an unbalanced life.
I often tell my clients that we not only have the right to say no, we often have the responsibility to say no! When we take the time to discover what truly matters we can say no in a healthy way because we are starting from yes!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"Never underestimate the power of your attitude. It is the advance man of our true selves. Its roots are inward, but its fruit is outward. It is our best friend, or our worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It has an outward look based on past experiences. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past; it's the speaker of our present, and it's the prophet of our future." John Maxwell

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Learning to be Content

I was reading through some of my favorite verses in Philippians today and read again Paul's statement "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13.

If we look at the life of Paul, we realize that God doesn't always protect his servants from the realities of living in this world. Paul found himself in some pretty miserable conditions; hungry, shipwrecked, abandoned, persecuted, in prison, etc. And yet, he said "I have learned the secret of being content." So what is the secret? And how can we learn it?

If you unpack the verses prior to to his statement you will see two parts to finding contentment. One is what we do, and the other is what God has promised.

Our part of the equation is found in Philippians 4:4-6 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God," and in Philippians 4:8-9a, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice."

God's promises are found in Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," and Philippians 4:9b "And the God of peace will be with you."
Contentment doesn't come from a life with no trials or a life of having everything we want. It comes from practice, and it comes from surrendering our lives to God. Paul could face any trial with confidence because he had learned, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Check out Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message, "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Biblical Hospitality

If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you are doing.
W. Edwards Deming

"Andy Stanley has said, 'The church is a family expecting guests.' Is your family ready? Have you prepared for the arrival of guests and all that is to follow? Let's say I've invited you into my home for dinner. I would put great effort into getting ready for your visit. I would take the piled-up newspapers out to the recycling bin, pick up the toys in the hallway and even run a dust rag over the furniture. I would want ot make sure that my home gave off the best impression of me. For our meal, I would be sure to make a dish you would enjoy. I would want to satisfy your hunger with something healthy and delicious. When you arrive, I would show you around, make sure you feel welcome and respected as a guest in my home. By preparing for your coming, I would be able to treat you with the hospitality you deserve.

The Church - your church - truly is a family expecting guests. And you should be ready to show them intentional hospitality when they arrive. While they are in your company, they need to feel comfortable and valued, no matter where they are in their spiritual development. When they leave, be proactive in giving them a return invitation they'll be hard pressed to refuse. Your church is a bigger representation of the bigger family of God. God is honored when you show your guests true biblical hospitality."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Windows


A young couple moved into a new neighborhood The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

'That laundry is not very clean,' she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, The young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: 'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.

'The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.' And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Friday

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon...She emphatically told Frank(and several others) That everyone seeing it there WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !
Frank, a man of few words,stared at her for a moment andjust turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.


Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house...
walked home...and left it there all night!!!

(You gotta love Frank!)


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Transformation

Jesus taught transformation, not transactions. Transactions are lateral exchanges between people - be it goods or services. Transactions occur every time two people engage in commerce of any kind. I give yu this in exchange for that. Transactions are obvious and literal, commonplace and easy to spot. In contrast, transformations are invisible, uplifing, transcendent experiences that involve a fundamental shift or change.

The underlying principle of this lesson is that your first and foremost task it ot build relationships, not "make deals". Out of the relationshis will flow the deal, and more.

Jesus sought and taught transformations, not transactions.

Teach Your Team to Fish. Laurie Beth Jones

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

Dear God, help me to see what I do as more than an exchange of money for my services. Work through me to transform lives. In the counseling field it would be easy for me to isolate myself and end up on only the giving end of a relationship. I am realizing the need for transforming relationships in my life where I can be vulnerable and real.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"Christ the Lord is risen to-day," Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply. ~ Charles Wesley

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


But everyone who lined the streets had a different reason for waving those palms. Some were political activists; they'd heard Jesus had supernatural power, and they wanted him to use it to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick or dying. They waved branches, hoping for physical healing. Some were onlookers merely looking for something to do, while others were genuine followers who wished Jesus would establish himself as an earthly king. Jesus was the only one in the parade who knew why he was going to Jerusalem - to die. He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.

Bill Hybels - Willow Creek Community Church

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faith and Parenting

Lifeway Research recently put out the following article on fath and parenting. Interesting that many Christian parents don't look to the church or the Bible for advice on parenting.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., 2/25/09 – Most American parents feel their parenting skills and family life are pretty good, but they are reluctant to describe their homes as peaceful, relaxed or joyful and their daily family time consists mostly of eating dinner and watching television, according to a new study from LifeWay Research. While most parents are trying to improve their skills, far fewer look to the church or the Bible for help.

The national survey of 1,200 parents with children under 18 at home was conducted by LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The study found that 96 percent of parents agree they consistently try to be better parents. Fifty-eight percent agree strongly and 38 percent agree somewhat with this statement.

“Parents claim they are trying hard to be better parents but they are not welcoming outside guidance or advice,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research and co-author with Rodney and Selma Wilson of The Parent Adventure, just released from B&H Publishing Group, with complementary teaching and learning resources from LifeWay Church Resources. “The only source of advice that a majority of parents use a lot is their own experience. It’s as if parents are collectively reverting to a popular toddler saying, ‘I will do it myself!’”

Sixty percent of parents look a lot to their own experiences growing up as their source of guidance on parenting and another 31 percent do so to some extent.

By comparison, 21 percent indicate they receive a lot of guidance from a sacred text and 15 percent depend a lot on a church. A full 61 percent completely ignore parenting seminars and 53 percent have no use for books by religious parenting experts.

Only 14 percent indicate they are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting, the research revealed. Twenty-seven percent of Protestant parents are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting compared to only 7 percent of Catholic parents. Among parents with evangelical beliefs, 52 percent say they are very familiar with the Bible’s parenting advice.

A large majority of the parents describe their home environment as supportive (74 percent), positive (71 percent), encouraging (69 percent) and active (69 percent). At the same time, however, 61 percent are unwilling to describe their homes as peaceful, 49 percent as relaxed and 43 percent as joyful.

While 57 percent of the parents say their families eat dinner together on a daily basis and 45 percent indicate they watch television together each day, only 53 percent report they pray together at least monthly and just 31 percent report having religious devotionals or studies together at least monthly.

More than 80 percent of parents rate family life – the quality of family communication, time spent with each other, treating each other with respect – as good to excellent. Thirty percent, however, indicate their family’s spiritual life is only fair or poor.

A full 92 percent of parents agree they need encouragement, the study found. Almost 10 percent say they need help with parenting and 11 percent indicate they have nowhere to turn for encouragement.

Among parents who attend religious worship services weekly, 38 percent indicate they get no encouragement from a sacred text such as the Bible, Torah or Koran and 24 percent report getting no encouragement from their church or place of worship. Forty-three percent of Protestant parents and 85 percent of Catholic parents do not receive encouragement from a sacred text. As for their church, 39 percent of Protestant parents and 71 percent of Catholic parents say it is not a source of encouragement as a parent.

McConnell concluded, “Christians are routinely neglecting biblical guidance and encouragement in their parenting today, relying instead on their own personal experience.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marriage Monday


Last month we celebrated our 35th anniversary. I wish I could say that after 35 years we had arrived at "marital bliss", but I can't. What I can say is that the lessons I have learned in the last 35 years could not have been learned any other way. I have realized that God allows us to be in relationships that are sometimes "irritating" to sharpen and refine us. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Have you ever pictured iron sharpening iron? Sparks fly as the two pieces of metal collide. But it is through the collision and the heat that the sharpening takes place.

Most of us grew up believing the ending to most fairy tales, "They got married and lived happily ever after." And most of us who have been married for a while have probably been disappointed that it really isn't that easy. So, what do we do when the sparks fly? And trust me, they will! Here are some tips for how to handle conflict in marriage...some of them that I have learned in 35 years, and some that I'm still trying to master!

  • Face your fear of confrontation. I hate confrontation...but my husband loves to get things resolved. I learned pretty early in our marriage that our fights could last 5 minutes or 5 hours...and it all depended on me. If I tried to avoid confrontation my husband would keep going until the situation was addressed. If I got in there and "fought it out" the confrontation was usually over in 5 minutes!
  • Focus on the behavior, not the person. Say, "could you please put your dishes in the dishwasher", not "You're such a slob!"
  • Stay on topic. Our fights in marriage usually follow the same themes...but be careful not to bring up past hurts or failures, even if they are similar to what is frustrating you right now.
  • Be assertive (and respectful). Assertiveness is found in the balance between passive and aggressive. Aggressive says, "I only care about me, so I'm going to walk all over you, and if you don't like it, too bad." Passive says, "I only care about you, so you can walk all over me and I won't say anything." Assertive says, "I care about you, AND I care about me, so I won't do anything to intentionally hurt you, but I also won't let you do anything to intentionally hurt me."
  • Really listen to your spouse. Most of us know what we are trying to say, and sometimes it just doesn't come out right. Our spouses are no different. There are times when my husband says something that I perceive as mean. I have to really listen to what he is trying to say, and sometimes say "If you just said what I think you said that hurt." This gives him the opportunity to restate what he meant...not what I heard!

Living happily ever after takes a lot of work...but it is worth the effort!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frog Seminar


Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of avery high tower.


A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants....The race began....Honestly: No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach thetop of the tower.


You heard statements such as:"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top."or:

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"


The tiny frogs began collapsing. Oneb y one....Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher..


The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up....But ONE continued higher and higher and higher....This one wouldn't give up!


At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!


THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?


It turned out....That the winner was DEAF!!!!


The wisdom of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic....because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!


Always think of the power words have. (There's life and death in the power of the tongue - Proverbs 18:21.)


Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions! Therefore: ALWAYS be.... POSITIVE!


And above all:Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams! Always think: God and I can do this!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why Go to Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing..... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stressless Saturday


Picture yourself near a stream.

Birds are singing in the crisp, cool mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here.

No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that place called the world.

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is clear.

You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water.

There now, feeling better?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women Drivers?!

I don't think this is how most women drive, but it's funny!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fun Friday

Cancel your credit card before you die..........(hilarious!)

Now some people are really stupid!!!! Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die. This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.

A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00.

A family member placed a call to Citibank. Here is the exchange:

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'
Citi bank: 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'
Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'
Citibank: 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'
Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'
Citibank: 'Excuse me?'
Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'
Citibank: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:
Family Member: 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'
Citibank: (Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'
Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.' (Lawyer info was given)
Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'
Family Member: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax:
Citibank: 'Our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'
Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'
Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.'
Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'
Citibank: 'That might help...'
Family Member: ' Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'
Citibank: 'Sir, that's a cemetery !'
Family Member: 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day


"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not
everything that can be counted counts."
(Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fun Friday

CREATIVE PUNS FOR EDUCATED MINDS:

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
18. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
19. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
20. A backward poet writes inverse.
21. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
22. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
23. Don't join dangerous cults. Practice safe sects.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stop It!

Do you think I should try this method in my counseling practice?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fun Friday

How Twins Are Made

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life Lessons

Written By Regina Brett of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio. To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here goes one more time:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life toothers.You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you should not be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath.It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion.Today is special.
22. Over prepare … then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now!Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:“In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive every one everything.
29 What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything.Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.Your friends will stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative: dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.