Friday, February 21, 2014

Find Me in February

Brand new for you! My husband David and I are hosting a virtual book club. You can watch our first two VIDEO BLOGS by clicking on the links below:

Enhance Your Love Maps
Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration

Find out more about joining the book club at

Apply some glue - yes, glue - to your marriage. I know it sounds messy, blame it on Jesus - it was his idea!
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme 

Teenagers have needs too. This article is the first in a series of ten, which will help you understand and meet the relational needs of your teens.
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme

I ate too many potato chips, again. And I know I deserve to suffer. Aren't you glad we don't always get what we deserve?
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme

Also for Created Woman in the FREE 1st Quarter issue is an article called The Space Between Us. It's all about resolving conflict and how we came to terms with this necessary skill.  This is a great magazine to subscribe to for fashion and faith.

Finally - for anyone who has ever been scared about speaking in front of others - My first post at Faith Village - 4 Prayer Points for Fearful Public Speakers

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Daddy Every Girl Needs

Strength is an important quality in a father.  Daddies ought to swing their little girls around in circles and give them bouncy piggy back rides while they giggle down the hallway for hours on end. Whew!

My dad grew up on a farm. I never doubted his strength.

But there was something different about my dad.

One day I walked around the block to a neighbor's house and attended a girl scout-ish spin off our church sponsored. As with most kid friendly events, there was a craft involved and we created a family crest for our fathers. I drew a fluffy lamb in one of the quadrants of my crest. 

I remember having the distinct impression my mom was embarrassed by this lamb. But it made perfect sense to me.

My father was gentle. He was strong AND loving. That is a crucial conjunction.

It was his tenderness that stood out to me as a child. He never raised his voice. He never stormed around the house. His strength was quiet and I felt so safe.

Our God has this same crucial combination of strength and love.

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving...Psalm 62:11-12

He is the Lion of Judah AND the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth.

Looking back, maybe Mom was needing a little more lion from my dad. Someone to roar at three children and get them to shape up and act right!

God has the perfect balance of these two traits.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Exodus 15:13

Love to lead:  "Follow me. See, I am a lamb just like you."

Strength to guide: "Walk this way and do as I say."

If you need tenderness and arms to hold you, lean into his unfailing love. If you need guidance, allow his strength mold and shape your life today. 

I'm curious - do you see God as Lion or Lamb?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Want a New Marriage

Isn't NEW wonderful? I mean who doesn't love tearing open boxes, cutting off tags and peeling away plastic shrink wrap? Or what about that intoxicating new car smell? 

It's the American way. Throw out the old, outdated, previous model and wrap your arms around Brand Spankin' NEW!

Perhaps your marriage is losing it's sparkle. Maybe it has a few scratches and dents. This is bound to happen if you've been married any length of time. You might even need of a complete overhaul.

We attempt to make things new in a number of ways:

Put A New Ring On It
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend. My husband and I went ring shopping when we were in therapy. It seemed like the thing to do. I might be the only girl who walked away from our first twelve week program without new bling. I did try on a few rings. But the diamond that seemed to out weigh the pain we'd been through was pretty large. When I saw the price tag, I realized it would have been like toting around a really nice car on my left hand. I opted out. I'm not sure diamonds help heal a heart.

Get A New Spouse
I'll admit I considered this and I know my husband did too. I mean it only makes sense. If you want a new marriage, get a new spouse. Thankfully I'm a reader, and I read a horribly depressing book that helped me cross off this option. As bad as things looked, our mess was finally out in the open after years of being buried under ground. That's when you can actually make progress. I had to ask myself, do I really want to spend the next few years of my life pretending I'm perfect all the while waiting for the next guy's imperfection to rise to the surface? No thank you. It seemed smarter to work on the the problems I already knew about.

Have A New Baby
Nothing spruces up a tired marriage like a new baby, right? WRONG! In my experience babies make for exhausted adults who have less time and energy to invest in each other. I like my sleep too much to consider this option, but a lot of people do. We idealize what a new baby can do for a relationship and although it IS a new level of shared responsibility, that doesn't always translate into connection. 

Build A New Marriage
Who says you need new material to build a new marriage? David and I pulled on our steel toed boots, slipped on our leather gloves and did the work together. I won't kid you, it was the hardest work I've ever done in my life. 48 weeks of therapy, gut-wrenching homework assignments, regular accountability groups, countless books, hours spent processing with friends, and ultimately having the courage to surrender our pride and obey God all added up to a NEW marriage that is so much better than the one we had before.  Honestly, we really like each other. We are enjoying life together. The work was worth it. I am so glad we didn't throw in the towel, tearfully grateful we didn't give up.

You want a new marriage? Roll up your sleeves and do the work together. 

Check out our video blogs based on Dr Gottman's 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work.