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!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hollywood, You Got It Wrong!

This afternoon, I took in a chick-flick.  While I'm not a Zac Efron fan, as my kids watched Disney's High School Musical and sequel more than once, and I had seen quite enough of the young man, I went because it was the last day of our vacation, my husband and son were going to battleship, and it was the least offensive of the girly movies.

Confession, it wasn't bad.  I actually liked it.  For a chick-flick, it had all of the necessary elements: heartbreak, new beginnings, tension between the two love interests, drama, but a happily ever after ending, so to speak. 

Unfortunately, it also had pre-marital sex....and extended scenes at that (I know, because I was holding my hands over my daughters' eyes the whole time during both scenes.  Irritating.)  It wasn't that they showed oh so much in the way of skin, but the fact that from God's perspective, sex before marriage is really not smart.  My girls and I briefly discussed this on the way out, as we often do when viewing movies but discussing the benefits and downfalls according to a Biblical perspective. 

We talked about how the movie was great, but when they threw in the pre-marital intimacy, they sent the wrong message.  They sent the message that sex is beautiful and romantic when you are falling in love, before marriage.  However, the irony that I pointed out to my girls is that the female love interest ended up in her poor marriage the first time for having sex when in high school, getting pregnant, and marrying and then divorcing her high school sweetheart.  Now, somehow a few years older and "wiser," more skeptical, cautious, and concerned for the well-being of her eight-year-old son, she is taken with Zac's character and makes love with him, even though he just showed up out-of-the-blue a few weeks before, and she previously thought he was "crazy."  Wow, not smart!  Isn't that kind of romance and non-committed sex what caused the issues that she is spending the whole movie trying to recover from?  Honestly, Hollywood, romance and sex are only romantic when you can trust the commitment in marriage, but keep spreading the lie that sex out-side of marriage is romantic, and it is no wonder people get jaded, hop from lover to lover, and divorce rates sky-rocket.....some may think, "how can married love ever compete?!!?"

Well, I am here to tell you that it can far more than compete, married sex, love, and romance can blossom in the commitment of marriage.  Ordinary husbands can give Zac Ephron a run for his money, and ordinary wives can look hot in close-ups, too!  However, it doesn't come because of bad decisions and sleeping around before marriage....it comes from life-long self-sacrifice, loving another more than yourself, submitting, caring, and sharing the good and the bad.  When pregnancies come, they come into an intact home.  When troubles come, they come into a union that can stand against the ravages of momentary disaster or bliss and make it through to the other side. 

Hollywood, you've got it wrong.  Real romance and great sex comes from commitment...till death do us part.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reach for Help

What is it about humans that we would rather suffer in silence then reach out for help? Perhaps it is pride or the fact that we think we're strong enough on our own, perhaps we think society expects us to be able to do everything in our own power, without needing anybody else, or perhaps it is that old American tradition of individualism and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? Whatever it is, I am certain of one thing, it can be deadly. It can destroy marriages, bodies, and society. For God never meant for us to be isolated. He never meant for us to suffer in silence. He gave us His son, Jesus, because we cannot save ourselves...literally or figuratively. God wants us to live in community and relationship with others, to help lift others up and receive the help we need. People keep marriage issues silent from friends, family, and pastors, and counselors until it is so dire that mountains need to be climbed rather than ant hills. Some hide depressive thoughts or even suicidal ones which get stuffed inside rather than to make a phone call or see a physician. Don't let this be you. If you are putting on a brave exterior when your inner being is crying for help, reach out. We can't help each other when we don't know where the suffering is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5 tips to Listening Well

With all of the things on our to-do lists, it is often difficult to change course when a child needs to talk about something.  From who do what in math class to the new movie coming out this summer, kids have lots of things that they are eager to disclose, but are we parents listening?

Husbands and wives want to be understood by each other but often feel misunderstood, feelings are hurt, and resentments grow.

Any of this sound familiar?  If so, here are some tips to improve your "listening."

1. Physically focus on the person talking with you.  Make sure your eyes stay trained on the person's eyes and face.

2. Intentionally listen for the feeling that the person is trying to express.  Is it excitement?  Frustration?  Concern?  Joy?

3. Restate the feeling you believe the person is expressing and the reason you believe they are expressing it.  For instance, "You sound really excited that the Avenger's movie is just a couple of weeks away."  This validates the person and opens them up to wanting to share more.

4. Ask for clarification if necessary.  Then, repeat #3.

5. Stop whatever you are doing, take your focus off of your to-do list, and be present.  If you cannot stop what you are doing at the moment, ask the person to come back in a certain period of time, when you will be able to focus appropriately.  Your relationships will thank you!

If you need some help on learning skills to make your relationships better, or marriage-advice, click on over to the Marriage Guy and Gal website, we would be happy to help you gain the tools you need to improve your relationships!  www.marriageguyandgal.com