Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving to a New Blog Address...Please Come Along!

Hello,

I have recently recognized that the address of this blog is not consistent with our Facebook page address, our website, etc... .  Therefore, as I need to make all of our marriage coaching business addresses cohesive,  I needed to drop the "the" from this blog's address....so that it will read "marriage guy and gal" rather than "the marriage guy and gal."

Well, I didn't do it right, so I now have the pesky situation of having two blog sites.....but this one you are seeing right now (since it has the "the" and shouldn't) will be discontinued.  Therefore, I'll be posting only on the other from now on and eventually will discontinue this.  I plan to transfer as much content as is feasible, so I hope there will be decent enough archived posts.  However, the new blog is now at:  www.marriageguyandgal.blogspot.com

I am sorry for this, and humbly ask that you, a member or a new passerby,  please click the link to our new site and register as a member there.   Thanks for following us!

Hope to see you over at www.marriageguyandgal.blogspot.com

Blessings, Michelle and Tim

Friday, July 6, 2012

7 Tips for Resting and Planning

When you have free time, how do you spend it?  What?  You don't seem to have any free time?  I'm not surprised.  Life is often easily crowded with multiple responsibilities.  Yet, as we face a brand new weekend, I'd like to encourage you to carve out 15-60 minutes just to rest, regroup, and plan.  Sometimes, taking the time to rest and think can save us so much more time than going about life drained and frazzled. 

Here are some steps for a refreshing time-out:


1) Find a secluded place- your bedroom with the door closed, your parked car (assuming it isn't sweltering in this heat! ;-), a park bench, a corner of your backyard....whatever works for you!

2) Play a song or two of music you love-if this is readily available and will not add to your stress, otherwise, skip it.

3) Shut your eyes, and Take 3-5 sets of deep breath in for the count of 10, hold for five seconds, and release it out for a count of 20.-  Feel more relaxed already?

4) Offer up a prayer.- Let God know your heart, and take time to listen to HIM.  (Eyes still shut can lead to better rest and concentration).

5) Rest.

6) Consider what your life priorities are.-  How well are you meeting them?  What are a few things (3 or 4) that you can do in the next week that can help you to gain a better overall outlook or gain perspective on how to approach your life better, for more effectiveness, less stress, and greater benefit to your priorities?  (For instance: Can you make a call or send an e-mail to resign from an activity that is causing your whole family undo stress?  Can you choose to delegate a household chore to another member of the family? Can you choose to attend church on Saturday night rather than Sunday morning, grocery shop on Monday morning rather than Sunday night, or exercise at home instead of driving 10 miles out of your way to go to the gym?)  What will make your life easier and most effective, aligning your desires with God's design and your life priorities?

7) Go take on the new week! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Agreement with Your Spouse

When my husband and I got married, one of the precepts that we chose to build our life upon is that we would seek to be in agreement before we would pursue any given course.  This has served us well.  At times, we have said "no" to certain things or "yes" to certain things, and sometimes we have even chosen to simply wait and pray.  However, no matter what, if we are not in agreement about what to do in a particular situation, or at least in agreement as to what road we will pursue when we have differences, we will choose not to go forward.  Yet, one of my favorite scenarios is when we individually hear from God and come to agreement without having discussed it first. 

For instance, this happened tonight when a young woman at our church was speaking with me about her upcoming missions trip.  She was overflowing with the beauty of Christ, and I really wanted to commit to pray for her and perhaps commit to a financial gift for the ministry God is calling her to do.  I hadn't realized it directly, but I basically had a peaceful thought that just seemed right about what I would like that gift to be, and I now realize that that was God speaking to me.  I know this because about ten minutes after I shared her mission information with my husband and said that I would like to see if we could give something toward her endeavor, he said that we should see if we could give x amount. 

I told him that that was exactly what I was thinking, but hadn't thought to share that with him yet. He told me that he thought I was thinking of that number and that we would be in agreement.  This is so God! 

We cannot figure out God's ways.  His ways are higher than ours, and He knows what He is doing!  If you are married and don't know what course of action to take, we recommend taking the situation to the Lord in prayer and waiting on Him for the answer.  Agreement and peace between you and your spouse may just be the way to know that still small voice of your Heavenly Father directing you in the way you should go.

P.S. Tonight, I finish my month of daily blog posts, but I hope to continue to post at least one to three times per week, even though June is over.  I thank you for joining me this month, and am grateful for your readership! 

Serving Him with you,
Michelle

Friday, June 29, 2012

Building or Tearing Down?

The wise woman builds her house,  but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
(Proverbs 14:1).


 




This verse really speaks to me, as I have personally seen it to be true in my own life and in the lives of some of those I know.  In my own life, it didn't take long for me to realize, as a newlywed, that if I didn't yell and start arguments, fights would very rarely occur.  My husband is just a peace loving guy.  This doesn't mean that we haven't had disagreements, but it does mean that when I chose to be responsible with my own words and actions, things went best for me, my husband, our marriage, and our household.  Needless to say, I still (almost 17 years later) choose the path of peace and respectful discussion rather than being argumentative and yelling (at least the majority of the time ;-).

I've watched people with beautiful families tear them apart with adultery, deception, put-downs of a spouse, wall-building, and game playing, to name just a few of the foolish deeds, that people commit with their own choices.

What are you doing to build up your house?  What are you doing to tear it down?

Much of what happens to us is the result of our own choices, whether the choices are wise or whether they make our own hands destroy that which we desire to build.




Thursday, June 28, 2012

Movie Wisdom for Your Life

My husband, Tim, and I are huge movie buffs.  We like so many genres.  From the classics to action-adventures, from romantic comedies to sci-fi, and of course, anything by Pixar.  So, for a light-hearted but meaningful post today, we are going to post some of our favorite movie quotes that are great insights in ways to live: (Some are our best paraphrases, so the quotes may not be perfect, but the gist is there, lol!) 

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What can you do but to swim, swim, swim?" -Finding Nemo

"Just put one foot in front of the other." -Santa Claus is Coming to Town

"Get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out all day.  After a while, I won't have to remind my self to do it."  -Sleepless in Seattle

"Do or do not, there is no try." -Star Wars

"There is good in this world (Mr. Frodo), and it's worth fighting for." -Lord of the Rings



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Time to Laugh Together

  Do you ever wish you and your spouse were closer?  What about you and your children?  Sometimes, life gets so hectic with jobs, responsibilities, and stress that we forget to make and take the time to enjoy time together.

When is the last time you called your child up on your lap to read him a story?  What about the last time you took in a baseball game with your spouse, or went bowling with your wife?  There are so many wonderful and inexpensive ways to "touch-base" each day and each week with each other!

Take time to enjoy sharing life together!  Even a ten minute game of Yahtzee can build intimacy, or watching old cartoon episodes together can make you share in laughter and connection.

What do you think is enjoyable?  What does your spouse think is fun?  What do your children beg you to do with them?

Some ideas: 

Take a walk and hunt for animal tracks, pinecones, various leaf varieties, or flower types.
Go to a candy store and stock up on your favorites from childhood together.
Make homemade goop or play-doh and form it into letters to spell out something sweet or silly.
Get a book of silly jokes from the library and read them to each other.
Make "bucket lists" and share your thoughts with each other on the items you each want to do before you die.
Splurge on ice-cream with various sundae toppings, and have a "make-your-own sundae" time before popping in a Netflix movie you've all been wanting to see.

The possibilities are practically endless, but your joy and intimacy will continue to grow!

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Words of Healing

Proverbs 12:18
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Have you ever just basked in the warm and beautiful feeling of kind words being spoken to/of you?

It feels a whole lot better than sarcasm, rudeness, and thoughtlessness, doesn't it?  

These words of the wise that bring healing are gifts from our Heavenly Father.  He never wanted us to be cut down by others.  He never wants us to be hurt. 

The problem is that free will thing again; free will in a fallen world.  Sometimes good, and sometimes awfully distasteful, huh?

While I can't promise that you will never be hurt again by the carelessness of someone else, I can promise that God has better thoughts toward and about you than anyone trying to tear you down, and this includes yourself!  God thinks you are a beautiful creation, and He wants you to know it, too!

Just as kind words, wise words, appropriately timed words, and Godly words bring healing in our lives, we can bring healing and speak encouragment and edification into the lives of others. 

We have the power to impact our husbands, wives, children, co-workers, friends, relatives, and even complete strangers with our words. 

Don't forget the power of the tongue, or the power of the Lord to overcome it when it is used inappropriately.  Be the change you wish to see :-)!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kind to the Battle-weary

"Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle," Plato? Philo? Anonymous?

While this quote is not always attributed to the same person, and I can't be sure who originally said it, I do find the sentiment to be very wise, indeed.

Take that person speeding in their car behind you, for instance.  Are they acting like a jerk?  Or, are they doing their best to get to a hospital to say their final goodbyes to their dying friend?

The surly grocery store checker.  Is she just a nasty old bitty?  Or, did her husband just run off with a lady from his office? 

What about that nice person who lets you go in front of them in the check-out line?  Is their life going along splendidly?  Or, did their child just pass away from a rare illness, and they want to leave the world a little better than they found it?

We can never know what struggles are lurking behind the masks that people wear.  Some masks are intentional, and others aren't.  However, that could be fodder for a slew of other post topics.  The point for today is that whatever is coming across on the outside of a person may or may not be accurate as to what he or she is feeling on the inside.

The same concept of looking beyond the action to the heart of the person is a good one for marriage and parenting relationships, too.  Is a rude spouse merely having a bad day, trying to retaliate for a perceived but undiscussed slight, or completely oblivious to how he or she is coming across.  Is a spiteful teenager just mean, or is he or she angry that mom and dad got divorced and does not know how to deal with the world falling apart?

May the above quote remind us that we might be kind to consider the actions of others from differing vantage points, so that we can appropriately respond, encourage, and build up each other rather than taking it all personally and then taking it out on other people.  It is always better to give, and get, the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can We Be Honest?

Every now and again, I am reminded that honesty is not an inherent quality in a human being.  While I certainly strive to be a person of honesty and integrity, and I am sure that there are many, many in this world who also strive for this for themselves, there are times when I come across someone lying, and it just baffles me. 

The Bible tells us to let our "yes" be "yes," and our "no" be "no" and to think on what is "true."  I find that it should be fairly simple to decern what is truth and what is false hood, as these concepts are pretty self-explanatory.  However, I've noticed that humans often have trouble with such "easy" concepts. 

A few examples:

1) Husband asks a sulking wife, "What's wrong."  To answer, the wife says, "Nothing."    Hmmm.
Then, the wife wonders why the husband doesn't "get" her.

2) A parent tries to sneak his/her child into an event at the ticket rate only allowed for a child a year younger.  The parent is then clueless as to why it is difficult to teach the child to be honest.  Hmmm, again.

3) A girl is angry that her boyfriend doesn't trust her when she goes out with other friends.  Her way around it?  She lets him believe that she is still at home when he calls her, even though she isn't.  Wow, way to gain a reputation for integrity, right?


At some point, each of us needs to take a look at what we say we believe in, such as the concept of honesty, and we need to examine if our actions truly demonstrate the character we want to emulate for our children, toward our spouses, and within ourselves.  

Do you want to be trusted by your husband, respected by your children, and a person of integrity?  Taking some time to see if our actions back-up our words and beliefs is well worth the investment.

When we can be honest with ourselves, we can learn to be honest with and for those we love, too.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More than Conquerors

In Romans, we are told that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. 

However, sometimes, our feelings may tell us a different story.  We may feel more like turning and running away, hiding under the covers, or stopping the world because we want to get off.

Feelings aren't necessarily wrong, but they are certainly not always true or helpful.  What are you facing today that you need to hear God's truth about rather than listening to your feelings?

The book of Phillipians tells us to think on what is true.  So, if we are to think on what is true, and the Word says that we are more than conquerors in Christ, what shall we fear?  What is it that you need to face head on with the truth? 

Choose to get your thoughts focused on God's truths, and your feelings will likely fall into line eventually.  And, if they don't, it still doesn't change God's truth.  With God on your side, you can face your fears.

Friday, June 22, 2012

God Created You, and He Loves You Very Much


God Created You and Loves You Very Much

The other day, I shared about a concept that my children have all learned at church…..considering if they are making the wise choice in regard to whatever dilemma comes along. 
Today, I want to focus on another of the gems that our children’s church pours into the lives of those it teaches.  “God created you, and He loves you very much.”  This concept alone can erase the insecurities of all those who truly believe it and practice the knowledge as they go through life.   It can help those whose spouses or parents have been less than supportive or may have been downright critical.  It can help the young child and the elder who feels alone in the nursing home.  “God created you, and He loves you very much.”   What if we all focused on the richness of this truth in our own lives?  God, the One and only Creator of the Universe and all that is in it, determined that He wanted you and me to grace this planet at this time in HIStory.  Wow!!!   Guess what else?  When we grasp this, we can then share it with others!  Taking the truth to the children, spouses, elders, nursing homes, orphans, single mothers, homosexuals, prostitutes, and the various communities we touch with our God created lives could revolutionize the world.  How about we start with affirming this truth in ourselves right now?!    “God Created Me, and He Loves Me Very Much.”    “God Created YOU, and HE loves YOU very much!”

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Focus in Your Desert Place


Are you feeling like you are just hanging-in-there, waiting for your big break to come, a situation to turn around, or life to offer you more than you are getting?

Don’t give up.  Sometimes life means treading water for a while or a desert season.  However, don’t forget that there is beauty in the desert. 

Deserts are filled with scrub, brush, and dust, but they are also filled with Spring-times of flowers on top of 40-foot Saguaro cacti and Prickly Pear cacti, flittering cactus wrens, jack-rabbits, and deer.  Even the barren desert in the winter offers views that might take your mind from focusing on the twigs to the washes running with seldom seen water that melted from the mountains surrounding the desert. 

Whether arid and dry or budding with new life, where is your focus?  Focus can turn the scene from desolate to amazing.  Wherever you are in life, right now, take the time to focus on gaining a new vantage point, one that makes your view a bit more encompassing of what the present time really means for you.  Is it a time to re-new your strength?  Is it a time to mourn, grieve, and heal?  Is it a time to take that next step in faith and keep chugging? 

Whatever your season of life, don’t forget that this season will not last forever.   Milk it for all it is worth!  Even if that means it is just a season to re-group and re-focus….there is no reason not to  seek the Lord for where you are and for where you are going.  He will lead you to your next step!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making the Wise Choice

Our family has been very blessed to be a part of an amazing church for the past eight years.  We all look forward to going each Sunday, and part of what makes the experience so rich is that our children are learning eternal truths through fun and practical ways. 
The middle-schooler’s are lead by wacky people who love to utilize the shocking to make the lessons stick, from slime to banana mashing, the young teens love it!  We are happy, if not slightly grossed out by some of the activities, but our 13-year-old son is continuing to flourish in his love of the Lord and knowledge of His ways. 
For the younger children, Kindergarten through 5th, the church focuses on teaching three main truths, and while all are of primary importance, one of them has been resonating with me over the past week.  This precept is “I need to make the Wise Choice.”  
After having all three of our children learn this over the past (near) decade, it has come to mean a lot to our family as we see how truly wise this concept is.  I have called upon this concept in my counseling/coaching work, and I have also used this concept when evaluating what will be helpful or not to my own situations.
So, I figure that it only makes sense for me to share this saying with you, so that you, too, may benefit!   
Before you say something that you aren’t sure you should say, or before you do something that you are not sure if you should do, consider the question, “What is the Wise Choice?”   Simply stopping to think about this concept can help us all to avoid making decisions that might be better off left avoided.
I hope my kids never forget this phrase, and I am sure that I am going to get lots of mileage out of it over the coming years!   “I need to make the wise choice.”

Hanging In


Are you merely holding on until you finally get your head above water?

It may not feel like it, but that is great!  Hanging-in when the waves of life crash down upon you is part of the process of growth. 

Only by perseverance can we achieve some of the worthwhile things in life.  Sometimes, hanging-in is the best thing you can do, but remember to pray as you hold-on, to make the most of experience.

Whether you are holding-on for changes in your marriage, hanging-in for a wayward child, or treading water while waiting for your education to be completed, the process is the same….
Keep doing the next right thing, and pray without ceasing.  Soon, you will receive the fruit of your labor, and your character will be emboldened, too!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Giving Your All


Do you ever feel like you have nothing left to give?  Like your enthusiasm is less than all the tasks before you?

Here are some tips to help you re-energize yourself and gain a better perspective!

Remember:

1)      Colossians 3:23- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men …



2)      The BIG picture.  Why is there so much laundry to do?!?!  Because you have been blessed with a family, spouse, children, baby, etc…  Focus on being grateful for the true reasons for your work.  Why do you put in grueling hours at the office, because it helps pay family medical bills, feed and clothe your children, provide your children with an education, whatever the reason…remember you are a blessing to your family with your willing heart and diligence.



3)      If you feel overwhelmed, break your task down into bite-sized pieces, and you will be better able to tackle one small portion of the job at a time.  A few bits of progress consistently over time add up to a bigger task completed!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Dads Day

Happy Fathers Day to all you great men out there that love your families well! You have been entrusted with much, and your service that is Pleasing to God has important benefits both now and in coming generations. Don't grow weary, but lean on the Heavenly Father for His strength...He will never leave you and draws close when you call!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Reminder Not to Worry



Matthew 6:25-34 has a great reminder for us as we seek to draw closer to God for relationship with Him, health, peace, home, family, and work!  God's wisdom covers all domains of life.  Enjoy the reminder!

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gratefulness Tool

Phillipians 4:8 says, "8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (New Living Translation). 

It is no secret that what God destined to be written in the Bible so long ago still works today.  In fact, in the late 90's the Positive Psychology movement really go going, and gratefulness is one of the great parts of it.  When we are grateful, and notice the things that are blessings to us during the day, we develop a greater sense of wellbeing.

So, here is a tool for you to use, if you need a pick-me-up, a new way of thinking, or encouragement to appreciate the special moments of life and savor them for all their worth!  Keep a journal.  Get yourself a pretty blank notebook that you can keep by your bed at night, and every night before you go to sleep, jot down three things for which you are grateful, were blessed by during the day, or that went right. 

Over time, the habit of appreciating the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable may become second nature to you, and your contentment is sure to grow!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Five Insights for Marriage from Scripture


While we all know many of the typical wedding vow scriptures, have you really thought about what some of the basic spiritual parallels the earthly institution of marriage can represent?  The following is far from being conclusive (God's Word, the Bible, is the BEST resource for that!), but I hope it can give you some positive food-for-thought as you think about what God has designed marriage to be and to illustrate to the world.
1) It can be a Reflection of Our Spiritual Walk With Him-  Naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25).   Intimate, close, unhindered. 

2) It should be Edifying for both husband and wife and for their walk with the Lord- As iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), we sharpen our spouses for God's purposes.

3) It should be Strong, with God as our Glue.  A triple braided cord that is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

4) It should reflect the sacrifice the Lord made for us on the cross.  Self-sacrificing for the good of the other, as when both husband and wife do this for each other, both individuals and the marriage benefit.  No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friend (John 15:13).

5)  It should reflect the virtues of the love chapter: Patient, kind, always believing, hoping, loving (1 Corinthians 13).
Feel free to add your insights in the comments section below!   What a beautiful parallel God has given as he uses the earthly institutions to parallel spiritual principles and truths.  Think marriage is a great parallel?  Try parenting as a parallel, and let us know what you come up with!  marriageguyandgal@gmail.com or comment below :-)!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What does a Healthy Relationship Look Like?

Today are some good "secular" insights for what a healthy relationship looks like, and tomorrow, please stop back, as I will be posting some Godly insights for good relationships...wish promise to be even better!  Enjoy!  And, feel free to pass these on to someone you know who needs a yardstick in choosing well. 

What is Healthy?

You each respect the other’s opinions, thoughts, needs, and desires.

You each can work to find solutions which benefit you both. You each take care of both yourself and your partner.

You are free to be you, and your partner is free to be himself/herself- including freely sharing what makes you each unique individuals.

Differences are respected, and issues are resolved through respectful give and take of each other’s needs.

You and your partner are free to make decisions as to how you will live, where you will go, and what you will do without controlling pressure from the other.

You and your partner can trust each other, be completely truthful with each other, and feel safe in both the ways you share and the way your sharing is received.

Your thoughts and words are listened to and validated. You can take responsibility for your own feelings and actions without fear of pain, ridicule, or abuse.

You respect each other’s personal boundaries.  You resolve conflicts with words and not verbal, physical, or psychological abuse.

You are proud of who you are in your relationship, and do not compromise your values, viewpoints, or sense of right and wrong for the other.

What is Unhealthy?  You are physically, socially, emotionally, or mentally abused or abusive.

You are fearful to express your own viewpoints or feel the need to sneak around and tell lies for fear of reprisal, or this applies to your partner.

You need to defend your beliefs, needs, and viewpoints without being listened to and/or without being respected as you do so, or your partner experiences this.

You are forced or strongly encouraged into taking actions or engaging in actions which you would prefer not to, or you do this to your partner.

You feel trapped, voice-less, unimportant, or insignificant, or your partner does. Your partner criticizes or tears you down, or you do that to your partner.

You are isolated from community, family, friends, or activities you used to enjoy, or your partner is. Your partner blames you for all problems in the relationship, or you blame your partner for them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Does God Want?

Have you ever wondered what exactly it is that God wants from you?   The answer is probably not as much of a mystery as it may seem.  Jesus wants you to have an abundant life (John 10:10).

How do you get this abundant life? Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 

Then, you can Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, and acknowlege Him in all your ways, and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

While life as a Christian is not a promise of things always going right, trust in the Lord is what gives you a firm foundation, a solid base upon which to live your life.

If you want to seek after God's heart for you, seek out the scriptures daily, journal, pray, and seek insight from those you respect as elders in the Lord.  Thank the Lord for His blessings in your life, and seek to be a good steward of all that He has entrusted to you.  But, never forget that it is in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)...we cannot do this life in our own strength.  He is the rock (Psalm 62:2) upon which we live.  Seek Him (Matt. 6:33), and you will find the answers for your life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tips for When You are Overwhelmed

So, what do you do when the dishes are piling up in the sink, the laundry is calling, the kids are fussy, and you need to go to have paid the bills, done the paperwork, and made those calls yesterday?

Prioritize.  But, how?  

Here are some tips to help you gain some traction on those days when you feel overwhelmed:

1) Pray.  Give it all to God, and ask Him to direct your efforts.
2) Tend to the living needs and safety issues.  A kid's boo-boo comes before laundy, of course.  Working out an argument with your spouse comes before dishes, though, too.  Make sure the physical and mental/emotional needs of both those in your household, and your own are resolved.  Also, put safety needs first.  Examples might be: to remove any clutter from stairwells (avoiding potential falls or blocked walkways in case of emergencies or fire.), never walking away from a stove-top on which you are cooking something, and never leaving a small child free and unattended to take a phone call.
3) Multi-task strategically.  Put a load of laundry in the washing machine before going to do the dishes, as the laundry can be ready to move along to the dryer when you are done with the dishes...thus, two tasks nearly complete for the time it took to do one.
4) Do some quick "instant pick-me-ups": Clear the kitchen table, clear the end tables and coffee table, counter tops, and chairs, corral the toys, and close the doors and drawers.  It is amazing what you can do when you just take 15 minutes to "straighten-up."

For more help with the home, visit www.flylady.net.   And, if you need more help than just a quick list, consider contacting us for life or marriage coaching...we can help you strategize and gain results that will help you to eliminate stress, gain traction, and get peace: www.marriageguyandgal.com is our website, and my e-mail is marriagegalmichelle@gmail.com.

Blessings on your week!

--Michelle

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 9 and Day 10 of 30 Days of Posts

Well, I am blogging each day of June for 30 Days for God, Home, Health, and Work.  But yesterday, I completely forgot my need to blog until I was about to hop in bed at midnight....at least it was a Sabbath well done :-).  I took my Sabbath yesterday because today was filled with responsibilities that I knew would not feel like a day of rest.  Anyway, today's post with be a 2-for-1 so that I can catch up and keep my promise of 30 days of posts this month.  So, please consider this Day 9 and Day 10 :-).

Day 9 = Part 1) Respecting Your Own Needs   

When someone wrongs you, how do you choose to handle it?

I used to think that forgiveness meant being a door mat...I am so years over that now!

What I now know is that offenses are never okay, and forgiveness does not say that they are, but with Christ, we can speak the truth in love, state how we feel from our perspective, ask for what we would like from the other person, and forgive the offense. 

How would this work in a marriage, for instance?  Here is an example:

Perhaps your husband comes home late from the office and didn't call.  You are worried sick about him.  What would you do?

A) Yell and scream at him as soon as he comes in the door. 
B) Give him the silent treatment and cold shoulder.
C) Choose to be honest and act respectfully for the benefit of both your husband and yourself.

Of course, the feelings you might have might lead you to want to do A or B, but if you chose to do C, you chose the appropriate answer, so what might that look like?


1) Use an "I" statement to tell your husband how you feel, as in:  "Honey, I was so worried about you and whether you were okay that now that you are home, I am now feeling so angry at you for not calling to tell me you would be so late. 

2) Ask for what you want/need, as in: "Would you please call me the next time that you aren't going to be home at the regular time?"

3) Forgive, as in: Don't bring it up again and again.  There should be no:  "Well, if you had called...." guilting or anything to hold it over his head.

It is okay to feel angry, but what is not okay is to sin in your anger.  It is okay to stand up and speak up for yourself, but it is not okay to harm the other person in doing so.  Always, we must remember that we need to love others as we love ourself, and that often means to both remember to treat our own self well by speaking up for what we need or would like and to remember that the other person has feelings, too. 

Day 10 =  Part 2: The Purposes of Forgiveness

As I said, a long time ago, I used to think that forgiving meant that you let someone walk all over you and just kept forgiving.  This isn't forgiveness, it's just stupid.  I now see forgiveness as releasing the other person and the wrong from owing or owning you. Sure, the first part is releasing another from owing you restitution (not that it isn't right for the person to apologize or repay you for what they have stolen, but that you release the debt's necessity).  This naturally lead in to releasing the person from owning you, as in possessing power over your emotions.  If you do not forgive, you not only grow in bitterness, but you are giving over your power to another.  By forgiving them, they no longer have a hold over you.  You release them from their ability to impact you further.

So, I think that often God wants us to forgive others not just for the other person's sake but for our own freedom and ability to move on from the hurt and pain that was caused by the other.

So, the lessons from Part 1 and Part 2 as I see them today?  1) Be honest and real.  2) Do not let others hold power over you by letting bitterness take root.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Filling Your Life with the Right Rocks

Recently, I heard a really awesome parable by a Christian teacher, just wish I could remember his name!  Anyway, the story went something like this: 

(Hint: This may not be the analogy you think it is, lol!  It wasn't what I expected, either.)

A pastor wanted to teach his congregation about how to fill the 24 hours that each person gets per day.  He pulled out a very large, clear, glass jar, and into it he placed five large rocks.  He asked his audience if the jar was full.  The audience said, "Yes."  It looked full to them.        

The pastor then picked up a container which held some gravel, and he poured the gravel into the jar. The gravel fell in and filled in around the five large stones. He again asked his audience if the jar was full.  The audience, now catching on, said, "No."

"Correct," said the pastor.  He then pulled out a container of sand, and he poured that in the jar.  The sand, like the gravel, fell in and filled in all around the contents already in the jar.

Again, the pastor asked the audience his question, "Is the jar full?"  The audience kept watching.

Finally, the pastor took out a large container of water and poured it into the jar.  The water all fit.  Now, the jar was truly and finally full.

The moral of the story?   

Nope!  "The moral is not that we can always find more ways to fit more things into our 24 hours," said the pastor.  "The moral is that if we don't put our most important priorities in to our days (or our large rocks into our jars) that they will never be able to fit in to the busyness of everyday life."

What are your top, big rocks?  Fit them in first in your day to make sure that they get in there, lol!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guiding You Child's Heart

Today, I got to see the beauty in the Pennsylvania summer that is soon approaching, and I got to enjoy the mild, sunny weather by taking my kids out to a playground at our local park.  It was filled with kids, and all looked to be having a great time.

However, I noticed the parents.  Some were busy talking to each other, some merely sat and waited, and some talked their children through various rules.

The children were just as unique in what they chose to do.  Some played on their own.  Some played with friends, and some teamed up with new acquaintances made right then and there on the playground.

We are each different in what we choose to do, how we choose to do it, with whom we choose to do whatever we choose, and how we both take-in and look at the world around us.

As parents, we have the special responsibility to be able to guide our children's worldview, shape their hearts and minds, and direct them in what we believe to be the most beneficial paths for them to take.

What are the things that you notice about your child?  Is he quiet and reserved?  Does she dance a lot?  Is she a natural leader, or he a natural born thinker?  Is your child sensitive to the needs of others, driven to succeed at every task, humble and unassuming?

No matter what your child's make-up, God has built into your child(ren) amazing gifts and abilities that no one else on earth can quite deliver in the same way.  Only your child can make the unique contributions that God has designed (him/her) to provide to this world.

One of the ways that we can support this is to notice the traits that He has placed in each of our children and to cultivate that which He has planted.  Never worry yourself with comparing your child to others, as no other was ever created to be that specific person, and God is much too wise to make anything that is not necessary.  Our children are exquisitely fashioned by the Creator to be exactly as He desires them to be.  Let's pray and guide their hearts according to the way He fashioned them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a bad day, and Today has been a good one.  In my mind (which I'll freely admit is both creative and quite unique; yeah, we'll just go with that description :-), I classify days into four types: Good Days, Bad Days, Really Good Days, and Really Bad days.   So that you can follow my path of thought, I'll start with describing the Really Bad days. 
Really Bad days are the ones where someone I love dies, is struggling in a nursing home, is fighting for life in some way, or has been severely hurt in some way. Conversely, Really Good Days are the ones where I just so clearly see and feel God shining down: the promotion comes through, the bonus comes through, a loved one gets a much needed answer to prayer, mountains are undeniably moved in my own or my loved ones lives.

Then, there are the regular Good Days and Bad Days.  I consider Good Days to be most every day that life is going along status quo, there is a roof over our heads, there is food on the table, God is on the throne, and my loved ones and myself are not facing any severe trials (such as those in the Really Bad Days category).  Consequently, Bad Days are really, in general, Good Days which merely have some uncomfortable components to them. 

Yesterday was one of those kinds of days for me. 

I had to be somewhere for a 7am appointment that did not go as planned.  The puppy's "routine" visit to the vet ended up costing way more than we had budgeted (Grateful for Dave Ramsey's Emergency Fund step), and I ended up not feeling very well by late afternoon, which made me pretty miserable throughout the evening.

Then, there was today, a day that I had been concerned about how it would work out.  I had a one-hour class to teach at 12pm on the complete opposite side of town from where I needed to be by 2pm and to which I still needed to get directions.  In between, I needed to pick up my kids to take them to the 2pm activity, stop at a grocery store to get cookies for it, and finish putting the final touches on my children's homeschool portfolios which were going to be evaluated at the 2pm activity.  I knew it looked like it promised to be rough, again.

However, today is a good day (bordering on Really Good ;-)!  My 12pm class ended early by more than 10 minutes, my smart-phone really was smart and found the gps directions right away to something that I merely had a name and a city for rather than a street address, the kids were ready to go when I got home, the portfolios were complete, the sun was shining, the grocery store trip quick and relatively easy, and everything that needed to be accomplished at the 2pm meeting could not have gone better! (Portfolio reviews went great, and they even had a great lunch spread where I could still stay on my eating plan).  Hooray!! 


Now, if I had based today on the concerns I had for it or on how yesterday went, I would have likely not wanted to get out of bed this morning, and if I had known what yesterday was going to be like, I would likely not have wanted to get out of bed then either! However, each day is a brand new day; a brand new start to see what adventure awaits.  God is still on the throne, no matter how we classify our days, and Good or Bad, He holds us.

So, if today (or any day) isn't going well for you, wait for tomorrow.  God always has something good for you right around the corner!

--Matthew 6:34: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." (NIV)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Clearing out the Clutter

Spring and Early Summer is a natural time to do some housecleaning.  You can open up the windows, get some fresh air circulating, and clear out the clutter in your home.  I love this type of day!  I love that I can spend some time tossing the papers and boxing up to give away the things that are just taking up room in our home and making a clear, clean, new slate.
Our lives are a lot like a house that has been closed up for the season.  We take in the good that happens to us, but we also acquire a lot of things that are not beneficial to us.  We have anxieties and fears lurking in the dusty corners of our being, bitterness, jealousy, and hate that has taken root, selfish negative desires, broken hearts, and overwhelmed souls.

However, it is the season to fling open your spirit to the wonderful healing God wants to do in your life, in your marriage, in your family, and in your home.  What is cluttering your life, and what is getting in the way?  Give it to Him.  He can make all things bright and shiny, even better than Spring Cleaning, but it is a process. 

Just like you can't likely completely declutter and deep clean a two-story house in only one day, our lives often have lifetimes of toxic build-up.  So, start to clear out your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental clutter, and if you need help, seek it out.  Friends, family members, clergy, or a Christian coach or therapist can help you cleanse yourself of the broken things which no longer work for you and help you to grasp on to the brand new experiences and freedom which God has for you!

P.S.  If you need help with relationship/marriage issues or self-esteem issues, (or questions :-) don't hesitate to post here, and I will answer, or visit our website for coaching services at: www.marriageguyandgal.com

Blessings on your day!
--Michelle

Monday, June 4, 2012

For God and Husband (or Wife)

You know what I am thinking about alot today?  Going back to basics. 

What are the things that absolutely must be in place to keep things running smoothly in life?

Dishes?   Laundry?   Doctor Appointments? 

Yes, any of those things can be necessary to home efficiency and health.  However, if you are married, there are even two more primary relationship basics that I am thinking need to have priority over any of the three (although the dishes and laundry certainly can't wait too long, LOL!)

1) How is your relationship with the Lord?  2)  How is your relationship with your husband?

As I have been personally seeking how to make all the business of life fall into place and to grow closer to the Lord, I realized that God hasn't changed or moved.  If I am not feeling close to Him, then, as in human relationships, I need to talk with him and listen to Him.

Interestingly, when I began to intentionally take time to pray at the beginning of the day, I began to feel closer to Him (and I certainly pray any time, but intentionally starting the day is a recent thing in my life--not that I've not done it before, but busy-ness got in the way, ya know?)

The same thing works in marriage.  If we feel that we are drifting apart, we can choose to commit to talking...even better: communicating.  Carving out direct time each day to both speak and listen to our spouse.  In that, relationship grows, and we grow closer.

Finally, I am also recognizing that I want to make another commitment....making the choice to pray for my husband intentionally each day.  Wow!  Communicating with God on behalf of my husband...A Definite Win-Win!!

Today, I prayed, really prayed for my husband, and I am so glad I did.  Men carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, and if we wives can help them through practical ways and prayer, it is our privilege to do so.

Have you prayed today?  Have you talked with your spouse today?  Have you prayed for your spouse today?

No matter your answer, no matter if you have been doing so for years or never thought of it, we can both be intentional to do these things today!  Join me?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rest and Rejuvenation

Do you ever just feel like you want to pause the world for awhile to catch your breath?  I know that my husband and I do.  We would love to be able to pause time to spend even more time together and with the kids, to get caught up on household tasks, and to get caught up on work, and errands! 

While that type of situation isn't likely to happen, (unless we have enough vacation days, but on vacation days, who wants to work?) there is a built in day for relaxation each week.  Do you take advantage of it?

In the past year or so, I and my family members have taken the concept of Sabbath a bit more seriously than we had.  We don't make it specifically a Saturday or a Sunday, but we do try to make it one or the other, simply because they are the ones most likely not to have work scheduled into them.  I suppose that a Sabbath could easily be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or the two days I left out, without it really changing the importance of setting aside a day for God as well as rest and rejuvenation.  In the Bible, we are told that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, so I take that to mean that we don't have to be religiously strict about what we do or do not allow ourselves to do on our Sabbath but that it would make sense for it to be refreshing to our spirits and our bodies.

Sometimes, I am tempted to make my Sabbath a day for getting caught up on the things that there didn't seem to be time for during the week, but (since that "pause button" does not exist) I remind myself that God intentionally planned for us to have a day each week that is set-apart for Him and for our good.

Turns out that once I determine that a certain day is my Sabbath, I forget about the chores on which I need to catch up, and I happily choose to relax.  Again, beneficial choices become easier the more and more we practice making them.  Often, this means church, a nap, a movie with the family, and a meal out at a restaurant, but it could mean a walk in nature, praising the Lord in song, Bible reading, and eating a hot dog with your favorite toppings.  I'm pretty sure that it is the concept that God was wanting us to grasp, that life is about Him, and that He grants us peace and rest. 

How about you?  What do you enjoy about the Sabbath, and if you don't take one, why not start today!

Blessings,
Michelle

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Seek Ye First...

We all carry a lot on our shoulders each day.  There are always meals to make, clothes to clean, and a myriad of other "to-do" items on our agendas.  So, for Day 2 of 30 days of posting on growing for God, Home, Health, and Work, I want to share about something that I have found to be a great help to me when I feel overwhelmed with house duties, homemaking, homeschooling, and the juggle of it all with work and the need to eat right. 

Wow, just that sentence makes me feel overwhelmed!   

I have decided to take God's Word as truth, and as such, I have found that practicing Matthew 6:33, which tells us to seek God's kingdom first and all these things shall be added unto us, is very helpful to getting the day off to a great start and keeping it going along well. 

What this often looks like in our household is me choosing a Bible verse to share with the kids, saying a prayer for the day, and praying for my husband.  It has also been me crying out to God that I need Him to show me what to do, because I am overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

While I don't always remember to start the day right, or more likely, something calls for my attention before I even get a chance to get out of bed, I have found that the days that I dedicate to God through prayer, and ask for His direction in living, are the days when I am most relaxed, accomplished, and peaceful.

Maybe this is something you already do?  But, if not, I hope it inspires you to give it a try!  God's Word is a great place to learn how to take care of ourselves, our lives, our homes, and our families!

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Handle the GLITCHES of Life

Today is Day 1 of my 30 days of posts on topics to teach and encourage us as we seek to grow closer to God and to improve our lives in regard to Home, Health, and Work.  So, wouldn't it just figure that on Day 1, I am having internet connectivity issues? 

While I am certainly not delighted at this situation (and am definitely not as focused as I would like to be while blogging at a restaurant with a chatty older man next to me, tons of conversation around me, and three kids who are ready for me to take them home already....did I mention that I lost my original draft of this post because of connectivity issues at this said restaurant, ugh!!!), I am choosing to look at this as an opportunity to post on somethings that I have found helpful to remember and practice when the unexpected occurs. (I will blog on what I had originally thought I would post on today tomorrow, unless something else unexpected occurs :).

Things like the internet modem being outdated and going berserk when I need it most, or getting lost on the way to take my kids to the first day of an activity when we were already running late can make the frustration and stress level go through the roof.  So can losing my keys, misplacing the cell phone, getting low on gas at the wrong time, and any host of other "unexpected glitches." 

Here is my run-down of what keeps me sane during such times (and believe me, I have a LOT of them!)

1) Take a Deep Breath, and Remember to Give the Situation To God and Pray for His Direction

2) Recognize that the Glitch will likely not impact you past the next day or month.  Will it really matter in a year from now?

3) Choose to think of the positives of the situation.  Perhaps, God wanted that traffic jam so that you would not be in front of a drunk driver at a time when he would have swerved into you if you had not been delayed.  When else do you get uninteruppted time alone with your kids in one place together?

The more we accept that things don't always go as we expected or planned, the more we can choose how to react when the glitches occur.  After all, if we give in to the frustration and stress with screaming or complaining, we are hardly making the situation better.  But, by keeping our wits about us, we can pass on to our kids or those around us, the wisdom to take life as it comes and make the best of it.  What does it benefit us to stress over the glitches anyway?

May your day be blessed, and I not loose this before it is posted successfully.  See you tomorrow for Day 2!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

30 day challenge for God, House, Health, and Work

Lately, I have been giving a lot of thought to why I feel so overwhelmed sometimes.  Could it be that I am a wife, mom of three, new business entrepreneur, homeschooling mom, church and community volunteer, and homemaker?  Yeah, maybe.  Like many of you, we women wear so many hats that life can become unmanageable if even one thing gets out of line.  For me, this became very apparent in March, April, and again in May when first one of my kids got sick, then I got sick.....rest, oj, doctor's advice, followed by dirty dishes left in the sink, more take-out food containers, sluggishness, a pile of laundry on which to catch up, and paperwork that has been waiting for a chance to see daylight.  Struggle to catch up on things.  Another kids sick, me sick, the dishes..., laundry..., paperwork, etc...!
I don't know about you, but I got to a point of desperation.  Something has got to work; I need a system.  A system to put my life responsibilities in order, a way to make everything run more smoothly, even when the unexpected tries to rear its head.
Well, I have hit on an idea that I am going to try out, and I would like to welcome you to join with me.  For the month of June, I am dedicating 30 days of blog entries to focus on how God, housework, family needs, activities, health, and business can be transformed into stability rather than chaos,
a system for working it all without going crazy, and hope for you and for me so that we can lessen those times of feeling overwhelmed.  Please join me! 


     We'll start together on June 1st!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Can We Talk? 4 Honest Steps to Life Success

Lately, I have been imagining a new kind of day.  A day where I no longer feel the need to hold back from saying exactly what I think, believe, and feel, or the intensity with which I do.

Imagine with me for a moment...

Perhaps, I might tell the fast-food worker that messes up my breakfast order that while I may be quite an intelligent human being, I cannot figure out how to eat my hotcakes with syrup when I have not been given utensils, hotcakes, or the syrup in the bag she just handed me.

Or, I might mention to the young man at the gas station that I don't actually think of blaring rap songs containing the f-word to be very pleasant musically.

I might even pull the bride aside at her wedding and express how perfectly horrible I thought her bridesmaids' tattoos looked as they shown through the plunging necklines of their gowns.

All right, even in the land of make-believe, I cringe at actually doing any of those things.  I have too good a censor button between my brain and my mouth.  Sometimes I wonder if it is too good, for as a counselor and coach, I am called to be authentic, but I am also to be client-focused.  My spiritual beliefs are not to be imposed upon my clients, even when I know the answers to their issues can all be found in God's Word.  I may be honest about that which I believe and share insights from my understanding, but this is only if such topics are client initiated in some way. 

Since I know that each person comes with a history that is uniquely blessed and tainted by the positives and negatives in this world, I am fine with carefully measuring my words to be true, encouraging, and helpful without forcing my personal beliefs....even though I personally desire for each person to come to know Jesus as their own Savior.

I personally and professionally believe that Counseling and Coaching that are of any good are always going to be based on God's truths, whether the counselor, coach, or client is aware of this or not.  I believe this because God set the world into motion, and He provides the guidebook for successfully navigating this thing called life.  All truth is God's truth.  If it is true, He is the author.  So, while I want to be professionally ethical, I also want to share the truths of God, otherwise, I would be personally and professionally inauthentic. 

So, while my pretend day was fun to imagine, I would never really want to speak my mind in ways like those above that might hurt someone for no beneficial reason.  But, I do want to tell you here, in my no-holds-barred blogging the following truths, and I know that if you believe and follow them, you will have true success in your life and relationships:

1. God made you for specific and great purposes.  He alone can reveal this to you.  Seek Him and find success, but shun Him, and you will never find fulfillment.

2.  Happiness is not a guarantee in life.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, but happiness fluctuates. It is better to seek the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart, for He put those desires in there for you to want to attain in the first place, than to go searching for happiness that is elusive.

3. When you give up your life to God, He gives you so much more than you could have ever imagined.  He knows the plans He has for you, for a future and for hope....walk with Him through Bible reading and prayer, reach out to others, and be a good steward of what God has given you. Your life will be abundant. 

4. Ask Jesus in to your life and your heart.  You don't have to be perfect because He is.  He is the only One who can save you from your sins and give you eternal life, and life abundantly on this earth, too.  If you really want a great life, seek the Maker.  There is only one YOU, and He knows who you are!

What do you know, I guess I just lived my imaginary day....I told you exactly what I wanted to say.  Now, you can do with it what you wish.  The next steps are up to you!